With more and more media sites moving to open-source CMS platforms such as Drupal, the expectations from these platforms are ever growing. Today, with years of evolution and adoption by some of the leading media houses, Drupal is poised to meet some of the most challenging demands of modern online publishing. Here’s an attempt to capture the top 10 requirements of a modern editor and how Drupal addresses them.
1. Dynamic layouts and news based Landing pages
Modern editors need the flexibility to change the site’s layouts on the fly. Drupal’s Panels and supporting modules provide everything that an Editor needs to manage the site’s layout. The intuitive “drag and drop” interface to arrange various sections along with the ability to customise the content templates provides unlimited control over the layout and style.
2. Content Management and Publishing Workflow
News Editors need easy-to-use, versatile content management interface to enable creation, modification and management of content. Drupal’s Node system provides a uniform way of content organization. Every content item is a node. This allows Drupal to provide a standardised user interface to create and manage content.
The Content Construction Kit (CCK) allows enables creation of new content types with custom fields. CCK with Views is a highly versatile combination with which any content creation, and presentation requirements can be met.
Drupal supports scheduled publishing. This is extremely useful while publishing exclusive content at a predetermined time.
A multi-stage Editorial workflow is essential for sites where there is a multi-tier editorial structure. Drupal’s powerful workflow module allows workflow rules to be created based on taxonomy, content types, users etc. Email notifications can be enabled for various stagtes in the workflow.
3. Flexible Taxonomy
Editors need to organize the content into various sections and sub-sections. Each content item would have associated tags which are very important in interlinking content. Drupal's Taxonomy system is highly flexible allowing the editors to create and manage hierarchical taxonomy terms.
4. Complex Content Relationships
Internet publishing is all about pushing relevant content to the reader. Related content is a great way to engage the reader and reduce bounce rate. Modern sites require complex content relationships to be created and managed.
Content relationships can be built both manually and automatically. Drupal’s entity reference system allows editors to cross reference content manually and the taxonomy system builds content relationship by grouping.
Examples for Entity Reference: Building People reference, Image Reference, Gallery Reference, etc. for a particular News Article
Example for Taxonomy: Grouping of News, Images, Gallery,etc. under a single Section like Nation or International.
5. Mobile – enablement
Content consumption on mobile devices is rapidly growing and mobile would soon become the primary delivery platform. It is therefore extremely important for the Editors to ensure that the content they publish can be viewed on mobile devices.
Drupal has a rich set of “responsive” themes which can be used to implement designs that automatically adjusts based on the device. This allows a single code base to support multiple devices.
Editors too would need to access the editorial functions from their mobile devices. Drupal’s editorial interface can be mobile-enabled.
Mobile apps provide rich user interface on the device. It allows the device’s capability to be fully exploited to deliver highly personalised user experience. Drupal provides comprehensive web APIs using which versatile mobile apps can be built.
6. Social Media Integration
Social media is an invaluable vehicle to take the sites brand value and content to the potential readers. Therefore, integration with popular social media sites are essential for modern publishing.
Drupal supports integration with popular social media sites. Single sign-on with Facebook, Twitter, Google etc. are available. Modules are available to facilitate content sharing with these platforms.
Editors would need to create “special” sections within the site to cover specific events and occasions. For example, world cup football would need special coverage with news, blog, photos, videos etc.These are microsites that inherit the base layout of the main site and has the ability to share content across the site. The microsites would usually have custom access rights for select editors to perform content updates.
Drupal offers a rich set of tools and methods to create and Microsites. Complex microsites with dedicated editorial team, publishing workflow, layout and content categories can be created.
Content pages based on a specific taxonomy can be customized using context & delta module. Provides flexibility to change layout, theme, menus or blocks based on the taxonomy.
8. Feeds and Subscriptions
RSS feeds and newsletter subscriptions allow content to be pushed to the readers. Drupal automatically creates RSS feeds for every content type. Customised feeds are possible too.
Drupal’s newsletter management tool allows Editors to compose newsletters in pre-defined templates. Newsletter subscriptions can be managed within Drupal or by using a third-party service.
9. Search Engine Optimization
A significant percentage of traffic to media sites are from search engines. Properly optimised sites will rank high in search engines thereby maximising search traffic. Drupal has mechanisms to automatically optimise pages for search engines. This includes clean URL, meta tagging, HTML best practices.
10. Multi-lingual Capabilities
Multi-lingual support with language-based editorial control are important for sites published in multiple languages. Drupal provides extensive support for languages. Content translation, editorial workflow, administrative interfaces are some of the key features. Designated editors can create the same content in different languages and publish them through independent workflows & rules.