Welcome to our New Website (and How We Did It)

Welcome to our new website!  We're excited to have you here.  We'd like to take our first blog post to describe how we built our site.

First, we used Drupal, a popular open source Content Management System (CMS), to create the overall framework of the site.  CMS allows us to be able to build the site and then allow our staff to be able to log into the site to provide content updates and new blog posts without having to write any code. 

We REALLY like Drupal as a CMS, as we've built a few sites for our clients with it.  With it, you are able to get a beautiful site created very quickly.  We chose it over other CMS's (such as Wordpress or Joomla) because it has a huge amount of support on the Internet and it can provide a lot of enterprise functionality by using its additional modules.  We even built an entire social network with it!  We've seen groups with other CMS sites (such as Wordpress) quickly out grow them when they want to do more than have static pages and blog. 

We used a variety of modules to create our site.  Modules are like "plug-ins" for our site.  They allow us to snap in more functionality as we need it.  We added a few modules for different reasons to our site, here's a list:

  • ANTISPAM - This module adds a filter to help us remove spam in our comments.
  • CAPTCHA - We used this module to display CAPTCHA images on our site (those funny verification codes when you submit a comment to make sure you're a real person).  This allows us to avoid automated spammers posting on our site.
  • CKEDITOR - This allows us to be able to make rich text changes to our site when we do things like post blogs
  • FAQ - This drives our FAQ engine on the FAQ section of our site
  • FB SOCIAL - This displays the Facebook widget on the right hand side of the page and puts the "Like" button on our blog posts.
  • GLOBAL REDIRECT - Used for search engine optimization (SEO), this will redirect any "ugly" URL's to a "clean" URL if it exists
  • GOOGLE ANALYTICS - This allows us to track our traffic on Google Analytics
  • IMCE - This allows us to be able to upload and manage images when we do things like post blogs (such as that Drupal image in this blog post!).
  • NODE WORDS - Used for search engine optimization (SEO), this allows us to include meta tags inside of our pages and blog posts to help define our pages and have them found by search engines more easily
  • PAGE TITLE - This allows us to define the title of each page we create inside Drupal.  Without it, Drupal just gives the pages a generic name.
  • PATH AUTO - Used for search engine optimization (SEO), this will create a "clean" URL for dynamic content created on our site
  • SERVICE LINKS - This displays the social media links at the bottom of our blog posts, encouraging users to share the content.
  • SITE MAP - This allowed us to build our site map you can see at the bottom of this page.  This helps with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
  • TWITTER - This module posts our Twitter Feed that you can see on the side of this page.
  • VIEWS - This allows us to build dynamic lists such as the one you see on this page that shows our recent blog posts.

Another nice part of Drupal is that it allows you to create Themes.  Themes hold the "look and feel" of your site and can be changed on the click of a button.  Our crack design team at Referral Circle built this theme by starting with the Waffles Theme and altering it as needed.

Well, we hope you like the site as much as we do.  Stay tuned for more blog posts!