Increase Traffic to Your Website
Content is typically only one aspect of what constitutes a web site there may be interactive features that you want to deliver, such as blogs, surveys, videos, audio, discussion forums, online forms, e-commerce, RSS feeds, or other interactive features. In this task list all of the interactive features that you wish to provide to your visitors.
The great thing about the Internet is that nothing is permanent (ignoring, of course, those sites that allow you to view old versions of pages, such as The Way Back Machine on archive.org). Working with your Web site visitors to make tiny adjustments to your interface on a regular basis can help you to create a loyal fan base because it is involved in the development of the Web site. You may even choose to apply the open-source development philosophy of Release early. Release often. Listen to your customers. Massive changes to a user interface suddenly will be more disruptive than a series of small changes that happen on a regular basis. Each of these changes might be small (for example, improving the navigation for a specific set of tasks, offering new tools, fixing the display for specific browsers), but their collective impact on your visitors may be huge. If you are working with an online community that has a forum, you might want to add a forum topic for Web site suggestions....
Time is money, and you will need to put a lot of time into your message board to make it worth your while and be something special. Generally, you need to pay very close attention to how you decide to organize your forums. Keep your forums in line with the main content of the rest of your web site. People are on your site because they are interested in what your site has to say on a particular topic, and having a forum for their discourse will be a boon to your traffic (and repeat traffic). It's a good idea to make a map of your site's content (if you don't have one already) and model your forums and categories against that map.
On the module administration page (admin modules), the table listing all of the modules and their status will have an extra column, named Throttle. All but the essential modules (such as System, Block, and User) have a check box that, when checked, means that the module and all of its functionality will be turned off in times of heavy load. Here, you must decide which modules perform site-critical functions and which do not. For example, in the case of the popular article that is attracting loads of traffic to your site, disabling the Node module in throttle conditions will prevent the article (and all other content) from being viewed. While this will probably solve your traffic problem, it will also make a very bad impression on those who came to read the article. So, the Node module is not a good target for throttle controls. The following
This chapter is about the reader's view of your blog. It is about what your visitors see and how they interact with your blog. That interaction, or experience, is important in ensuring your visitors get the most from your site. If the experience is positive they find what they want, and they can interact easily and successfully then they will want to come back. A good design will drive that experience.
In all the scenarios I've mentioned, and in any others appropriate to your blog, you must try to anticipate what your visitors will want to do next. You want to help them take their next step, even if that next step is to leave your site Here are some possibilities of what visitors will want to do next and how you can help them
With your Drupal website, you can choose what your visitors can do with or without a user account. For example, a default Drupal website allows all site visitors to view published content but does not allow them to post comments. You can allow all site visitors to post comments by simply granting them the permission. First, here's a bit of terminology. Site visitors that are not logged in are anonymous users, once they create an account and log into it they become an authenticated user. The purpose of creating an account in Drupal is to uniquely assign content or permissions to a user. Similar to a government ID number, Drupal assigns each user a unique ID, which is used to link their comments, content, votes, profiles, and other data to them. Without this ID, Drupal cannot track the user. Drupal will create a local account for the user even if they log in with an external username and password (as is the case with OpenID).
This works very well for sites with a fairly high number of repeated visitors. Learning what is where and even what is available on your site may take a few visits thereafter, it is very efficient. If most of your visitors visit only once, they do not have a chance to learn the ins and outs of your site. They might be happier with a less structured layout.
The idea of an online community can be greatly enhanced if the community spans multiple sites. One problem that plagues the Internet in this respect is the requirement that visitors must log in to every site they visit, often with different usernames and passwords. With database prefixing, you can sidestep part of this problem by allowing your visitors to use the same username and password for multiple sites. Listing 6-3 shows the db_prefix definition that makes this possible.
For this example, our Flash application will be very basic. For the most part I would just like us to walk through the process of creating a Flash application within Flash, and then take that application and embed it within a page in Drupal. Once we have conquered this, we will be geared up to create some really cool applications that will surely wow your visitors. But keep in mind that your imagination is the key, so feel free to go crazy and create something very cool, and not feel limited with what we create in this section.
With the explosion of content on the Internet, Content Management Systems (CMS) have become mainstream for any web site administrator, who wishes to manage the onslaught of new content on his her site. Although there are many different flavors of CMS, Drupal is rapidly becoming the system of choice because it offers a powerful and extensible framework that can mould to any application. However, when it comes to style and usability, Drupal requires a lot of work to get the look and feel in the way that you and your visitors would expect from any top-notch web site. With that said, one can easily see how the combination of Flash and Drupal is a match made in heaven between beauty and the brain.
Suppose you would like to know who is currently visiting your site, but this is not information that you want your visitors themselves to be able to see. The solution is to activate the Who's Online block and use a path fragment to limit the visibility of the block to an area that only you (or other administrators) can access. One such area is the User Administration section on the admin user page. The Administer Users permission is required to access this path, and since you will probably not want to extend this permission to normal site visitors, it is a perfect candidate for showing information that only you or other administrators are supposed to see.
As the owner of your new Drupal site, one of the questions you should be asking yourself is, how are you going to engage site visitors so that they come back frequently One of the most effective ways of ensuring visitor loyalty is to engage them with interactive features such as blogs, discussion forums, polls, and webforms. Site visitors are more likely to return if they posted a question or comment in a discussion forum on your site, or if they posted a comment to one of your blogs and want to see what others had to say about their comments. In this chapter I will show you how to enable and configure the three most popular interactive modules that ship with Drupal 7 core, laying the foundation for hooking your site visitors and keeping them coming back for more
The one thing to remember when using the Boost module is that only your anonymous site visitors will be served static HTML page versions of your Drupal dynamic data. It will be business as usual for your authenticated site visitors. When they login, they will continue to receive the dynamic live version of the Drupal node. You will want to keep this in mind when you decide whether you will use this module on your site. If your site is heavily trafficked by anonymous users, then you'll want to try out Boost. If you have a community portal site that depends on authenticated user comments and forum activity, you may not want to use the Boost module or at least be aware of its limitations when it comes to how it works on that type of site.
Content can be organized in a lot of different ways. In this section, we look at how Web site visitors navigate through content. This process is not the same as considering where the navigation areas appear on the page. Your content must be sorted in a way that your Web site visitors recognize. By understanding how you want to arrange lists of content on your site, you will be better equipped to choose the most appropriate tools to build these lists.
Permissions in Drupal are similar to having a bouncer at a fancy nightclub users are denied access unless explicitly allowed. This creates a default secure environment but requires you to remember to grant access when you have enabled a new feature, added a new content type, or enabled a new module. To underscore this point, the Contact module you just enabled is available only to site administers and not to anonymous users. Obviously, this is a problem. Follow the next exercise to enable the Contact form for all site visitors.
Drupal's Contact module is a great way to quickly add a simple contact form to your website. Multiple categories can be used to send inquires to different groups of people. The auto-reply feature is also nice to let site visitors know that their e-mail has been received. Once enabled the contact form is always available at http localhost contact. However, the menu link is not enabled by default, so be sure to add a link to the contact form in your menu.
Unless your site is purely focused on a blog, you'll likely want to provide site visitors with a mechanism for viewing recent blog posts. The Blog module provides a block that you can place on a page to automatically list the most recent blog postings made on your site. To assign that block to a region on your theme, click the Structure link at the top of the page, followed by the Blocks link on the Structure page.
Most Web site visitors are highly familiar with the chronological form of content organization, as it is commonly seen in blogs and calendars. In a blog, the units of content (blog entries) are sorted from most recent to oldest. Visitors to the Web site must navigate through the history of the Web site to find each unit of content. When using the Blog Module, Drupal displays new entries on the front page of the Web site by default (see Figure 1.6).
You might be wondering how your site visitors flip to the other languages of your site. You can direct Drupal to automatically select your site's language based on the visitor's information, allow users to manually select a new language, or you can choose to do a combination of both. Unfortunately, none of these options are automatically configured thus your users will be unable to select a different language until you enable one or more options.
The techniques described in this section are geared toward evaluating Web site visitors before they submit their content to your Web site. More sophisticated services are also available that will help you to evaluate content after it has been submitted to your Web site. These services include Akismet and Mollom.
Users (or site visitors) in Drupal 7 are divided into two general categories anonymous users and authenticated users. Anonymous users are individuals who visit your website and do not log in using a user ID and password. If you visit www.cnn.com and don't log in, you're classified as an anonymous user. With Drupal, you have the ability to support anonymous users, and you also have the ability to restrict what an anonymous user can do on your site. Authenticated users are visitors to your site who log in using a unique user ID and password. I'll cover how user IDs and passwords are created shortly, but understanding the difference between the two categories of users is important.
The optional modules that are bundled with the standard Drupal tarball don't include modules for handling image files, video, or audio specifically, although the Upload module allows site visitors to attach any one of these files to a page, story, blog entry, or forum post that they create. By default, Drupal site visitors fall into two categories anonymous, which includes any random person browsing the site, and authenticated, who are the people you allow to register. You probably don't want anonymous users to be able to create image nodes (picture pages), for instance. If you want a private site and don't want strangers registering for accounts, you can specify this on the User settings page, for example on an Ubuntu machine By visiting the Images page, you can set the name of the directory where uploaded pictures are stored (the default is images), the maximum file size you allow site visitors to upload, and the pixel dimensions for full-size images and thumbnails (see Figure...
A story, similar In form to a page, is ideal for creating and displaying content that informs or engages website visitors- Press releases, site announcements, and informal blog-like entries may all be created with a story entry. By default, a story entry is automatically featured tin the site's initial home page, and provides the ability to post comments.
A story, similar in form to a page, is ideal for creating and displaying content that informs or engages website visitors. Press releases, site announcements, and informal blog-like entries may all be created with a story entry. By default, a story entry is automatically featured on the site's initial home page, and provides the ability to post comments.
informs or engages website visitors. Press releases, site announcements, and informal blog-like entries may all be created with a story entry. By default, a story entry is automatically featured on the site's initial home page, and provides the ability to post comments.
You may find that you need to use the core Profile module. This may be because your site was upgraded from Drupal 6 or because your profile is very simple, won't be expanded, and you need private or hidden fields and don't want to use contributed modules. In the following three exercises, you will explore how to create user profiles with Drupal's core Profile module. You start by creating a profile that contains public and private fields. Next, you allow site visitors to view user profiles and a page that displays all members interested in a particular sport. Finally, you explore what a hidden field is and how you can use it within your organization.
In order to view the public fields of your member's profiles, the viewing user must have the View User Profiles permission. By default this is only granted to Administrators your visitors are unable to view the profiles although they can fill out their own personal profiles. Follow the next exercise to grant and to view the page created for all members interested in a particular sport.
Until now, you have carried out the basic configuration of Drupal and Ubercart, you created the categories and subcategories, and you have inserted all the products. Now, you have a fantastic product catalog with amazing product descriptions, great photos, and multiple attributes. The store visitor can spend hours browsing all these products, checking all the details, and absorbing all this information. But you didn't build this shop just to allow the site visitors to stare at the products, and you want to give them the opportunity to buy the products.
You may be asking yourself what the difference is between the Profile module and user fields. This is the confusing part on the surface the two methods are nearly identical. They both allow you to capture additional information from the user. If your goal is to capture only public information (that is, information added by the user and available to all site visitors) the differences won't seem significant (if there are any.) However, if you are capturing private and hidden information, the differences are quite significant.
A cached page is updated whenever an event occurs that would modify the page, such as updates to the content or comments posted to the content. The caching system may be defeated on high-traffic sites, because Drupal will be continually updating the cache. In this situation, adjusting the Minimum Cache Lifetime setting forces Drupal to wait until a specified time period has passed before refreshing the cache. This setting will reduce the load on the server and keep your site responding quickly but it may give your users outdated and stale information. So unless you have an incredibly high-traffic site, you should leave this setting at as shown previously in Figure 9-8.
As we saw in Chapter 4, Managing Categories, Products, and Attributes, Ubercart creates a default Catalog page to help site visitors to browse through categories and subcategories. This is the default functionality for most e-stores and it's absolutely necessary for ours. Customers are used to this way of navigation and it's very convenient for them. If you analyze the stats of your store you'll confirm that the two most common methods that visitors use to locate your products are browsing the product catalog and searching through the search form. Now, if you want to use advanced marketing methods and suggest specific products to your clients, you have to create custom functionality. We'll show you how to enable new custom views and how to create your own.
There are situations where there simply should not be any HTML characters. The username is a perfect example of such a situation. While the form validation for creating usernames prevents the creation of invalid user-names, modules cannot rely on that to protect site visitors from potentially harmful usernames. The philosophy in Drupal is to validate the data on input but filter the data on output to make it appropriate for the context. So for display in the browser, usernames are sent through the check_plain function. Here is an example from the User module
A More Like This block shows your visitors more content that is similar to what is being displayed on the page. This is not only good to increase the amount of time visitors spend on your site, but it's also a great way to tell Google what content is related. Your content is now more connected and that's a good thing for your site visitors and search engines.
Load balancers distribute web traffic among web servers. There are other kinds of load balancers for distributing other resources such as a hard disks and databases, but we'll cover those later. In the case of multiple web servers, load balancers allow web services to continue in the face of one web server's downtime or maintenance.
Unlike the page title, the title attribute can be used to annotate many different things on a web site. Titles can be used on images, objects, applets, and more. (For more information, visit http www.w3.org TR REC-html4 0 struct global. html title). Browsers display the title text in different ways. It is what will be displayed when a mouse hovers over that object or what will be read if your visitors are using screen reading software.
In this chapter, we're going to return to our discussion of Drupal caching mechanisms and take a detailed look at the Memcache API and Integration contributed module along with the best methods of installing and configuring this module to allow for more granular and advanced cache configurations within our site. In Chapters 5 and 6, we used the Boost module to enable advanced caching for our anonymous site visitors. In this chapter and in Chapter 8, we're going to look at the best methods of enabling caching for our authenticated users, and investigate how to get even more control and flexibility over the Drupal caching system using contributed modules.
Drupal allows you to control when your modules and blocks get enabled and shown to your site visitors. This helps you to prevent bottlenecks in your server's web traffic and to optimize your server load to prevent any congestion that it might experience with its bandwidth and traffic. Throttling blocks and modules becomes increasingly important on larger scale websites where you have many blocks and modules active. You may have a site that contains a large number of blocks, for example, that have been built with the Views module. You can throttle these blocks, so they only get enabled when the site visitor calls a page that is supposed to show that block. The throttle module allows you to configure it, so it automatically gets enabled when the usage of your site goes above a certain threshold. For example, this can be the number of anonymous users visiting your site. When a certain amount of visitors are on your site, you can have Drupal enable throttling.
Keep similar ideas together and your site will be more useful to your visitors. It's also easy to see where you might have a weakness in your site's content. If you've got five pages on topics A and B, but only one page on topic C, then you know where to focus your writing efforts. Finally, Drupal allows you to create RSS feeds around any topic. That makes it easy for visitors who are interested in new widgets to keep track of your R&D department while avoiding the content about your cat's latest misadventure in the garbage disposal.
Much of the SEO that we've accomplished so far is visible to your visitors (for example, titles, headings, body text, and even a sitemap or two). In this chapter, we're going to address some of the more technical aspects of on-page SEO. Over the last ten years, many elements have been added to the HTML specification. The search engines themselves have developed other elements to help you communicate better with them. Since our ultimate goal is to do well by the search engines and our visitors, it's time to embrace your inner geek and get technical with your SEO. Pocket protectors ready Let's do this thing.
Caching as much data and content as possible, especially the content that you show to your anonymous site visitors which includes content, blocks, and menus that may not change frequently, will help Drupal to speed up page load times on your site. Drupal will keep the cached data stored in a temp location either on the server or in the MySQL database. The site can easily fetch it for load time from that location.
Even if garbage collection is run on only 1 percent of the page requests, this means that 1 percent of your visitors will experience a slowdown as PHP locates the old sessions and expires them. The length of this slowdown is determined by how many sessions and how many expired sessions you have. A site with little traffic and nearly zero sessions won't notice a slowdown, but a site with millions of logged in users and thus millions of sessions may notice a considerable slowdown.
Drupal themes have changed radically from version 5 to version 6 however, there is no reason to change the design of page that is displayed to Web site visitors when you upgrade the theme from one version of Drupal to another. Keeping this point in mind, you should find it a relatively quick task to upgrade a theme with only a few minor changes to your current theme files. Work through the following checklist to create a Drupal 6 theme
Click on the Poll link, revealing the form that you will use to create the poll. As an example, create a new poll that asks site visitors to vote on whether U.S. college football should adopt a playoff structure like the National Football league. Follow the example in Figure 9-14 and create the poll by entering the question and the answers from which you want visitors to select. Hopefully the fourth answer receives the most votes To make your poll visible to site visitors, you could provide a menu link to the poll by using the techniques I described earlier in this book (for example, adding a menu item), or you could use another feature of the polls module, which is a block that lists the latest poll. To enable this feature, click on the Structure link on the top menu, and on the Structure page click on the Blocks link. On the Blocks configuration page, scroll down until you see the Most recent poll item, and change the region to either the left or right sidebar. Once you have...
With an understanding of the visitor types, the content that they will want to see on your site, and the logical groupings or major pages that will make up your site, you can now define the navigation (menus) for your site. If you know that a specific visitor type is a primary visitor of your web site, you should make it easy for that visitor to find the information that they are seeking. The typical mechanism for doing that is to provide some form of menu or menus. In this task you would identify all of the links that you wish to provide to your site visitors and how those links should be organized (as menus). Using the library example, you may decide that you want a primary menu at the top of the page that provides links to About the Library, Locations and Hours, and How to Contact the Library. You may decide that you want a secondary menu that links visitors to pages for Books, Movies, Music, and Events. You may decide that you want another menu that helps to direct specific...
We've created some Node Content in the last three chapters. Interesting and useful content is a necessity on any web site, particularly on those built around a Content Management System. However, this may not be the only necessity. Another necessity is making the browsing experience on your site pleasant for the visitor, and in this context, making the content easy to find. Having content on the front page of the site is one way to make it findable, but the amount of content is limited to a point before the page becomes unwieldy. In this chapter, we will make it easier for site visitors to find our content in a number of ways.
So far, your web site doesn't have much to say. The front page still shows a Welcome to your new Drupal web site message, which is only intended to be seen by you, the site owner. You can remedy that by using the Create content link on the left navigation bar. The default installation provides links for two kinds of text content Page and Story (see Figure 12-27). The Page content type is similar to the pages on a static web site, whereas the Story type is much more Web 2.0, with automatic links from the home page and the ability for site visitors to leave comments (if you want to allow them to do that).
If you navigate to the AdministersSite configurations-Site maintenance (admin settings site-maintenance) page, pictured in Figure A-11, you can set the site into offline mode prior to the upgrade taking place. This mode is useful, as sometimes updates can temporarily cause errors before the entire process is completed. Offline mode makes the site inaccessible to regular users while still allowing administrators to work on the site. You don't want users creating content while you are updating the database, because this could lead to losing some data or errors displayed to your site visitors.
Most web sites sit on dedicated servers in ISP data centers because they benefit from better bandwidth connections to the Internet than are typically available at home. Also, you don't have to leave your home PC switched on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week because web site visitors can arrive at any time. A good server installation benefits from multiple Internet connections, back-up power supplies, and a skilled network or system administrator on site. All these things help keep web sites going around the clock, when a simpler domestic setup could go down. This Apache test page can't be accessed by anyone else yet, unless your broadband router or other Internet connection is configured to allow incoming traffic on port 80, the traditional port for serving web pages. To enable public access to your computer, and all that implies, check the documentation that came with your router to see if it allows port forwarding.
By default, this plug-in allows your visitors to subscribe only when they leave their own comments. If you prefer, you can allow them to subscribe without leaving a comment. Simply add a call to the plug-in's template tag show_manual_subscription_form in the comments.php theme file (full instructions are in the readme.html file see step 5 of the installation section). The resultant comment form will have a section named Subscribe Without Commenting, as shown in Figure 17-8. If your visitors click this link, they will be presented with an administration page (styled like the WordPress administration pages) listing all the posts to which they are subscribed and allowing them to remove subscriptions, block all notifications, and change their e-mail address, as shown in Figure 17-10. You can customize the styling of the subscription management page, the wording of the form controls, and the messages that different visitors see from the plug-in administration page, shown in Figure 17-12....
With regard to your database, there isn't really a lot you can do to reduce its size. The bulk of your database is your content your posts and pages, your visitors' comments, and your links. You don't want to get rid of any of that because it is the lifeblood of your blog. However, the spam comments can go, as described next.
The files in the first category include the scripts that were delivered with the Drupal installation, contributed modules that you may have installed, customized themes, and the configuration file (settings.php). From the standpoint of a backup strategy, these files are relatively easy to deal with. Their volume doesn't increase even as site traffic grows, and you know every time they change since you make the changes yourself. If you simply take the time to manually copy these files to your local machine every time you install something new or make a change, you're already ahead of the game. The files in the second category the files uploaded as content to your site can be more problematic. They can change regularly as your site visitors upload more and more content, and their volume can become quite large. (My personal blog, for example, amassed 1GB of images in slightly over a year of operation.) The strategy for making backups of these files must be different from the strategy for...
Thus far, you have added user accounts, created and managed your content, and explored many of your site's configuration settings. In this chapter, you explore two of the most important aspects of creating a robust website. The first is enabling and configuring your search engine to provide a way for your visitors to dig through your site's content. The second is performance, or perhaps better said, how to make your site fast. In this chapter, you explore Drupal's caching options and other site optimization techniques.
The last URL is self-describing, making it easier for your site visitors and, more importantly, for search engines to understand what the content of the page will contain. As you can probably guess, this last clean, self-describing URL is what you want. To make your life easier, the Pathauto module can automatically create these URL aliases for you based on information like title, taxonomy, and content type. The only thing you need to do is to download, install, and enable the module although you should take a few minutes to configure or verify the default settings.
XML Sitemaps are great for search engines but as you can see, they're not user-friendly at all. Some of your site visitors will want to see all of the pages or sections available to them on your web site. That's where a Visitor-facing sitemap comes in handy. Fortunately, there is a Drupal module that will do that for you automatically It's called the Site map module. Not only does it show you a nice overview of your site but it can show the RSS feeds too. Everybody raise a glass to Nic Ivy and Fredrik Jonsson, respectively the original author and current maintainer of this module. Cheers, gentlemen
Both the Site map and the Syndication modules add blocks which display your RSS feeds. It's a good idea to add this block to your blog pages. You can add them to all of the pages if you feel that would be helpful to your visitors. Carry out the following steps to add RSS links to your blog
This is definitely the least fun, exciting, or sexy portion of administering a Drupal website, but it's undeniably one of the most important. Periodic review of your reports can alert you to security updates, hack attempts, database errors, application issues, or other items that could bring your site offline. You can also glean valuable information from these reports, such as where your traffic is coming from or what people are searching for. Enabled modules can also add their own custom reports (for example, the Statistics module adds the Top Visitors report). This is an area that simply cannot be overlooked.
There may be cases where views that return a large number of items take longer than desired to load on the screen. If you have a high-traffic site with views that return large numbers of items, it is advisable to use the caching mechanism provided by Views. Caching causes the view to first check to see if that list exists in cache and, if so, renders it from cache instead of going to the database and retrieving every row that meets the specified criteria. It is a great feature that improves performance. The downside of this feature surfaces if you have content that changes frequently. A highly dynamic list of content using caching may result in items that were added, changed, or removed from the database not appearing as they currently do in the database, as the view was cached and Views did not go to the database to re-read all of the values. It is a helpful feature and something that you should consider using. In our example, the list of events is short and we don't anticipate...
The Aggregator module included with Drupal's core allows you to pull in content from other sites for display on your own. This is a great way to curate content for your visitors and site members. Planet Drupal (http drupal.org planet) is an excellent example of aggregation. The Planet pulls Drupal related news from over 350 sources displaying them in a single page and providing a single combined RSS feed.
Perhaps your blog is primarily about offering information of a tutorial nature and soliciting feedback. In this case, your visitors still want to read what you have to say and perhaps provide feedback, but they will also want to find more information and other resources about the subject. Your articles are likely to have more structure than a news-type blog post, and perhaps include images or illustrations. It may be that the piece is long enough to split into multiple pages.
We've looked at Views, which gives us a means for displaying Node Content in a different way than Drupal normally gives us. Another example of presenting information to your visitors in a different way is a Blog. A blog is an online diary. Blogs can add richness and intimacy to a site by bringing the site visitors closer to the author. Blogs are meant to contain informal content, as opposed to the typical content found in a Story or a Page.
The visitors to your Web site will be constantly interacting with that Web site. A simple Web site may only offer links as points for interaction in other words, your visitors may be able to view pages and navigate between them, but not much else. In contrast, in a community Web site, where visitors are able to interact and enhance Web site content, you will need to consider more fully how visitors and community members interact with your Web site. As part of this process, you need to think about the tools your Web site visitors are using to capture and consume the content on your Web site. To accommodate their needs, your interaction plan may include developing a printer-friendly version of your pages, a high- and low-bandwidth template, and a public private theme for your site. If your Web site is updated regularly, and you are providing an RSS feed for your content, you will also need to consider the attributes for this feed. Will you publish the whole story or merely a content...
Your Web site must be able to communicate to its visitors all aspects of the tasks it is capable of performing as well as the content that is available to be consumed. Your visitors must have a clear understanding of what everything on the screen means before taking action. This means visitors must have a clear sense of what they will be revealing or accomplishing before they perform a task. By using both images and language, you can combine content and style to produce a pleasing experience for your Web site visitors. Every screen in your Web site represents a decision point. Each time a user performs an action, that individual will have a certain idea of the desired outcome based on the information you have provided on each page. Based on this action, the screen will change and the user's objectives will be either met or not met. Either way, the screen will have entered a new state. Based on the new state, Web site visitors may be able to confirm whether they have successfully...
Tasks should require as few steps as possible to complete. People like finishing things, so why not make it easier for your Web site visitors to be happy Wherever possible, you should provide clear instructions on how users can perform the discrete tasks that are relevant to them. Limiting each task to a single screen allows people to complete the steps at their leisure. Sometimes, however, you may need to guide your Web site visitors through a specific series of tasks. Perhaps the most common of these sequences is the navigation of a payment gateway. If you know you cannot avoid a multistep process, consider adding the following features
The next piece of advice regarding updating Drupal is to use a test site and perform the update on it before trying it on your production site. Having a clone of your production site is a great way to test updates and lets you discover potential problems in advance, saving you and your site visitors the headaches of having a broken production site.
A theme defines how your site is laid out and appears to your site visitors. Themes define the colors and fonts used on your site as well as if your site uses one, two, three, or more columns. Themes are highly configurable in Drupal and can be fully customized by a web designer. The Drupal community is filled with designers that have created many custom themes. They are freely available for download at http drupal.org project themes.
The Webform module helps you build forms that can be filled out and submitted by Web site visitors. The module collects response data, which can then be output into various formats. For example, a .csv file to be imported into a spreadsheet application such as Microsoft's Excel or OpenOffice.org's Spreadsheet. Typical uses for Webform are to create questionnaires contact, request, and register forms surveys and polls. This module has also been used as an issue-tracking system.
Have you ever asked yourself why you have to create a new username and password on every site The hassle of trying to remember a new username and password has quickly become an Internet annoyance nearly on par with spam. Your site visitors are probably feeling this Internet pain and Users who log into your site with an OpenID have an account on your site, but the OpenID provider handles the authentication of their username and password. Your site also does not store their password so if they changed their password the account still works. Follow along with the next exercise to enable OpenID for your site visitors and to log into your account with an OpenID from one of the many OpenID providers.
If your content is sorted hierarchically into sections and subsections, visitors to your site will be able to browse through each of the different categories to find information that is of interest to them (Figure 1.9). Within Drupal, you may choose to implement a controlled vocabulary with pre-determined categories, or you can opt to use free tagging and allow categories to be entered when the content is created. Both approaches have merits. A controlled vocabulary generates a rigorous system that is predictable for both content editors and Web site visitors. Free tagging, by comparison, is often more appropriate for community-generated content where thousands of users may enter slightly different types of content into your Web site. Alphabetical organization works best when users know the exact name of the thing they are looking for. This is especially true with very long lists of content. The word the is perhaps the biggest enemy to alphabetical organization. Although your Web site...
Unless you plan to be an extremely busy person, you'll most likely want to recruit a few people to help manage your site. You'll also probably want to allow your site visitors to create an account on your site. Like most websites, a user account provides a visitor with a personal profile and allows them to track their content, and you can grant them permissions. As you saw in Chapter 3, Your First Drupal Site, creating a members-only website is as easy as removing the permission from the Anonymous User role.
If you want to sound credible, don't write on topics that you don't know about. Or, at least do some research so your readers will trust what you're saying. Since most of your content will be about what your site or company does, this shouldn't be too hard. With a well-researched article you can generate a lot of trust with your site visitors. Plus, it's OK if you don't know everything. Just admit that up front, so your users will give you the benefit of the doubt if you flub up the details. That's a great way to solicit feedback 'Hey, I'm no Widget cleaner expert here. Let me know if I got this right '
In the previous exercises, you explored public and private fields. The user who is creating the profile enters these two fields. Public fields are available for all site visitors to view, but only site administrators can see private fields. By contrast, hidden fields are available only to administrators for both input and viewing. The user of the profile cannot view the hidden fields on their profile.
A role for site visitors who are provided access to non-public content that is intended only for authenticated users (visitors who have been assigned a user ID and password). These users can view content and add comments to content, but cannot author, edit, or delete content.
Facebook has over 200 million users so it's very likely that someone visiting your Drupal site is also a Facebook member. The Facebook Connect module allows site visitors to login with their Facebook credentials and import their Facebook picture and profile information. In addition, this module allows your site members to invite their Facebook friends to your site and also updates their feed on Facebook when they post a comment on your site.
You may be wondering how the Frontpage view had a path of frontpage. The answer lies on the left side of the view in what is known as a display. A view pulls the data and sorts, filters, limits, and manipulates it. A display is how the data will be shown (displayed) to your site visitors. Each view may have one or more displays that take the output of a view and make it available in different ways. The Frontpage view has two added displays Page and Feed, as shown in Figure 11-15.
The node plus sign, block triangle, and comment octagon represent HTML template files used by the node, block, and comment modules respectively. You can see that these are passed into the theme and that the theme lets the comment octagon and block triangle pass without modification. The node plus sign, however, was overridden and turned into a diamond. The final rendered page sent to your site visitors used one of the block triangles to theme the user login block, two of the comment octagons to theme two comments, and one node diamond to theme a node.
The default Drupal core engine comes with a module that allows you to search the contents of your site. There are four steps to enabling search on your site enable the search module update the permissions for users to search content index the content on a regular basis through the use of a cron job and display the search form to site visitors.
As a convenience, the Location module lets you set a default country for your web site with the Default Country Selection field. This should be the country that generates the largest portion of your traffic. Whichever country you set here will be selected by default in all location forms.
If your site gets linked to by a popular website, or otherwise comes under a Denial of Service (DoS) attack, your webserver might become overwhelmed. This module provides a congestion control throttling mechanism for automatically detecting a surge in incoming traffic. This mechanism is utilized by other Drupal modules to automatically optimize their performance by temporarily disabling CPU-intensive functionality.
Lucky for us, one of the coolest things about RSS in Drupal is that we never need to worry about creating these feeds ourselves. Almost any list of nodes in Drupal has an RSS feed associated with it. Your main page has an RSS feed that has every node published in it. If you created category pages, then there are RSS feeds automatically created for those pages. Even pages created with the Views module have RSS feeds associated with them. However, all of these RSS feeds are hidden from view. If you know they're there, then you can make use of them. However, if your visitors can't see them, then they can't subscribe to your site's content.
To achieve this we do not need any new module installation but rather the plain old Drupal taxonomy system. We will make two taxonomies one for product mangers, which they can edit while they add new products, and another in which users can free tag your content. These free taxonomy vocabularies are also referred as folksonomies. Furthermore, everyday practice has shown that relevant taxonomy blocks can really boost your site traffic, page views, and eventually conversions that translate to purchases. The vocabularies that we will alter are the following
Disqus (pronounced discuss ) is a service and tool for facilitating web comments and discussions. The Disqus comment system can be plugged into any Web site, blog, or application. It makes commenting easier and more interactive, while connecting Web sites and commenters to create a thriving discussion community. Disqus makes it easier for people to comment and track their contributions on a single profile, which they can display as a comment blog. After all, there really is no difference between a great comment and a great published article. In addition to allowing authors to track their own comments across multiple Web sites, Disqus allows Web site visitors to reply to comments through email or mobile technologies, and to edit their own comments after submission.
Zen is a standards-compliant base theme built and supported by a worldwide team of highly talented web designers. This base theme is designed to provide highly flexible yet semantically correct XHTML that can be stylized purely through CSS. Using Zen allows you to focus on your design and not on the underlying structure that your visitors don't see.
Meta tags are pieces of text in the header of your web site that tell search engine spiders about your site. They are not visible to your site visitors, which make them handy places to communicate details about your site that visitors just don't care about. The problem is that in the stone age of search engines (1997) many people abused the meta tags by stuffing them full of keywords. This was invisible to their visitors but the search engines gave a lot of credence to the meta tags, so it was a viable way to get to the top of the search engines. Nowadays, most search engines ignore meta tags as a ranking mechanism but do take them into account for other things, so they're important to maintain on your sites.
To do this, go to the Blocks admin page here Administer Site building Blocks. You'll notice that there is a new checkbox selection for Throttle. You can choose which blocks to throttle by checking the Throttle checkbox next to each of your enabled blocks. We'll go ahead and throttle all of our blocks except for the User login, as we still want to allow users to login to the site during high traffic periods. The throttle functionality works the same here as it does with modules. These blocks will be temporarily disabled during high site traffic. Once you check your throttle boxes, save your blocks configuration. The next time you have high site traffic, these blocks will be temporarily disabled.
Collecting information from site visitors through online forms is another key interactive feature that is easy to enable and use on your new site. Using the Webform contributed module, you can create simple forms (such as a form that is used to submit a question) or complex questionnaires using the features enabled through the Webform module. To demonstrate how easy it is, I will walk you through the process of creating an online suggestion box where site visitors can enter and submit suggestions to you through a form on your website. The example that we are using is an online forms-based suggestion box. On this form, we will allow site visitors to enter a suggestion, pick from a list of categories that fit their suggestion, indicate whether they would like us to follow up on their suggestion, and require that they provide us with their e-mail address so that we can contact them.
There are a couple minor changes we can make so that the commenting experience is improved for site visitors. To change the comment options, go to Adminis-tersContent managements Content types (admin content types) and click edit next to Blog entry (admin content node-type blog edit).
In this project, we are going to make use of that RSS feed to add a web clips region to our pages. We will allocate a small portion of the page layout to display a random item from our XML feed. This is similar to what Google does in Gmail. By showing a random item from our RSS feed on every page, we might entice site visitors to spend more time clicking around on the site.
If your site gets linked to by a popular website, or otherwise connes under a Denial of Service (DoS) attack, your webserver might become overwhelmed. This module provides a congestion control throttling mechanism for automatically detecting a surge in incoming traffic, This mechanism is utilized by other Drupal modules to automatically optimize their performance by temporarily disabling CPU-intensive functionality,
Although it's not required, setting up an Associate ID at http affiliate-program.amazon .com gp associates join allows Amazon to credit your site when your visitors click on an Amazon.com link and purchase a product. If you're feeling generous, the Amazon module also allows you to use the Drupal Association's ID, automatically donating any commissions from purchases to support the Drupal project.
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