What Tools Do I Need on my Website?
When I think of tools, I think of something that's designed to make life easier. They can be used to achieve a specific goal, function or process in a shorter period of time. Below is a list of web tools that can get you through the work week a little bit faster.
Content Management System
A content management system (CMS) is a software package designed to make it easy for non-technical users to add, edit and manage their website. If you're looking at starting a new website, I highly recommend using an open source CMS such as Drupal to get your site up and running, and make your life easier.
Once your website is up and running, you will want an easy way to manage it. While using a CMS makes this easier, there are a few tools that can make it even better. I recommend having a clean looking administration theme and an easy to use admin menu. While Drupal comes with these out of the box, I find there are better contributed modules such as Admin Menu and the Ember Theme.
If your site is larger or you are mass updating similar content, you will want to have a tool to do this. Thankfully, there are two modules that can help. The Admin views module brings the power of views and greatly extends the customization of Drupal administration pages. Secondly, the Views Bulk Operations module gives you the power to do mass updates to your content, which can save many hours of mundane tasks.
What’s the point of having a website if you don't know how many people are looking at it? If only there was an easy way to tell how many of your customers are actually using your website.
No, I’m not talking about using a 90’s era hit counter. I’m talking about using a sophisticated tracking system that can separate hits into unique visits. Something that can tell what age, gender or city they’re from, how they got to your site and what your conversion rate is. It’s called Google Analytics, and it’s free.
Back in the day you had to know a little HTML in order to post content. Today, with the help of a good WYSIWYG editor, this is a thing of the past. WYSIWYG is a fancy acronym for "What You See Is What You Get". It’s a text editor that brings common word processor features directly to your web page. It then transforms your content into beautiful looking HTML.
For Drupal, I recommend using the popular WYSIWYG module along with the CKEditor library. CKEditor is a free open source text editor that can greatly enrich your website experience.
Let’s face it, people can be lazy. They’re not going to share your awesome content with their friends unless you make it easy for them. Fortunately, there are a few good options when it comes to social sharing. I recommend using; ShareThis, AddThis or AddToAny.
Unfortunately, the internet isn't always a safe haven. Not only are your customers trying to contact you, but unscrupulous people are trying to exploit and take advantage of you. If your site has any contact forms or allows users to sign up for newsletters (which it should) you need to use protection. Thankfully, there are a few options to protect your precious webforms. You can use standalone modules such as Captcha or Recaptcha, or third party services such as Mollom.