Sunday, September 27, 2009

Selecting Drupal for McNiff Plumbing & Heating

I've been helping a local service provide, James McNiff of McNiff Plumbing & Heating improve his website. When we started, his site was a single page, over 60 keywords, and practically no inbound links. Website Grader gave it a 7 out of 100

My first work was to try and touch as little as possible and clean up the HTML so that the site was more search engine friendly. It was actually less time to re-implement the site in clean HTML with CSS, but it was still one page and still was lacking on the SEM side. Website grader raised it to an 8 out of 100.

Version 2 broke the single page into three pages, Home, Services, Comments and to add a rudimentary Contact form. I like working in Ruby on Rails, but his hosting provide charged extra for that application, so I used ROR to generate the web pages, captured them statically and uploaded the static content to his provider. Website grader raised it to a 12 out of 100.

Adding listings to his services and website to some business directories has helped, raising his score to 15.

However, Mr. McNiff didn't really like to content, which had been carried over from the original site and he wanted to be able to add pictures to his site. Given my interest in Drupal, I thought this was a perfect application for trying Drupal.

The hosting provide had a control panel installer for installing Drupal, which set up the MySQL database and installed Drupal 6.14. Here is a list of the modules that I added to begin configuring the site:
  • Admin Menu
  • Advanced Help
  • CCK
  • Devel
  • FCKEditor
  • Google Analytics
  • IMCE (for image upload)
  • INT Meta
  • Webform (although the Contact module looks sufficient)
Please note, that as of this posting, the Drupal site is hidden. As soon as it's ready, I'll swap Drupal to the HTML root and archive the current site.

Next up, a bit about configuring Drupal for a site with essentially static content.

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