Drupal - from CMS to conversion machine

Thor Andre Gretland in the office

Not sure how to use Drupal for lead conversions? We give you a look under the hood of the module Drupal Gutenberg, which can transform your system from a solid CMS into one that drives sales and conversions almost on its own.

Troublesome change requests

How much does publishing a landing page really cost? How much does a sale cost? Clicking the "publish" button is cheap, but we see many Drupal installations where you have to spend unnecessary hours pasting in text, filling in fact boxes and meta information, and find, edit and upload images.

If you have a simple website Drupal can be easy to use, but problems arise when it's a bit bigger. For example: you want to edit a fact box on a given page. You access the page and click edit, but all you find about the fact box is an ID referencing a content type which automatically fetches content from somewhere else. It's controlled from a separate backend, and is impossible to change on the page it's actually on. And it's not just about a simple fact box: you might have 10-20 other widgets which are also controlled from their own UI's. 

Another problem is when you want to change the layout of a page. A rigit layout is fine for smaller pages without much content and without the need to quickly setting up exciting articles or inspiring landing pages. If you need any of those things in a standard Drupal setup you have to ask a developer. Making changes turns into its own little project, and isn't worth the time and cost.

Forget A/B testing for optimizing landing pages, adjusting the layout to the text and reacting quickly to current events by publishing a nice campaign page before the situaton changes.

It might seem like Drupal isn't really fit for online marketing, especially if you want to act as quickly as you should in today's market. The content administration is there: Drupal is the most powerful enterprise level CMS out there, but the immediacy is lacking. Or is it?

Gutenberg for Drupal

Gutenberg gif


This GIF is captured directly from edit mode in Drupal Gutenberg, and looks pretty much exactly like how website visitors will see it. Gutenberg used to give WordPress a distinct advantage when it comes to the editor experience, but when we build Gutenberg for Drupal that advantage was erased. There is now a CMS which both shines in complex content administration and fast and simple content production.

Earlier I mentioned the fact box controlled from its own UI - With Gutenberg that box will exist in the user interface of the relevant page, and can be changed in edit mode on the page.

Gutenberg is based on blocks, which enabled content producers to edit articles, blogposts and landing pages as they please. Setting up a landing or campaign page is as easy as inserting the desired blocks (which they have permission to use) and fill them with content. Articles work in the same way, which goves producers power to adjust the layout to the page's needs.

Spend time creating content, not coding


Gutenberg comes with many editing possibilities out of the box, but it's with using custom blocks the editor really comes into its own. Do you need to show the last published articles in a certain category? No problem. Need a two-way integration with content creators' profile pages? We can do that. The image above shows a hero-section on a page, which can be edited within certain restrictions. This gives content producers great freedom at the same time as not being able to go beyond the business' design manual.

When operations like these become as easy as selecting a block, you'll be able to reduce the time needed to set up a page drastically. All power is given to you and your empoyees, so that you no longer need to call up a developer to get the page looking like you want.

Patterns for Gutenberg 

If you really want to turbocharge your content production we often use "Patterns", which are really templates for blocks or groups of blocks. Unlike reusable blocks, patterns allow editing the content of the blocks you select. So if you want a landing page to always contain certain elements, you don't have to input the same blocks over and over. Just open the patterns panel, choose the correct template, and begin producing content.

Powerful conversions

When you can set up pages as easy as pie there is no longer any problem in A/B testing content, move images around, change the layout, move CTA's or other buttons... All in all make your landing pages as friction-free as possible. When we know that poor UX is a big part of the reason many fall off in a conversion path, an investment in a WYSIWYG editor should almost be required by law.  Combined with a good CRM like HubSpot, you'll be able to optimize UX and conversion paths as fast as all that.

Frontend, but backend

Headless development means to develop frontend and backend separately.  Drupal is, just like WordPress, a so-called monolithic CMS where the frontend is built into the system. But if you want to serve your content on several platforms, like apps, websites, smart watches and coffee makers, you'll meet some obstacles when displaying the content. Headless is a good option in these cases, because the frontend can be adjusted to the platforms themselves.

If you have a setup where the content is sent to different publishing platforms via API, Gutenberg works nicely by storing the content in fields, and editing it in Gutenberg. Then the frontend can fetch the information vi RESTFul API's.

This makes it so that you'll have the same, simple user experience for content producers that you have in Gutenberg with more traditional setups.

A natural choice for the more complex websites

Enterprise-size businesses set high demands for their CMS,es, and Drupal is the best choice when the project is of a certain size. Whether it's manintining user databases, content or sales processes, Drupal delivers. The platform is after all made with large operations in mind. At Frontkom our goal is to make Drupal the most user-friendly enterprise CMS out there, and with Gutenberg we are already well on our way there.


Thor André is senior business advisor in Frontkom with 20+ years of experience working with web projects. Thor André is an expert in Wordpress and Drupal and was also chairmain of the board in Drupal Norge for some years. He writes about CMSs and how to leverage technology for business growth.

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