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FAQ

Drupal is great for SEO.  In fact, it's one of the main reasons to choose Drupal over any other CMS.  We work with designers to help them understand what makes a website good for search engines so that great search performance can be designed in right from the start.  We provide SEO training to our clients and can also give training to designers so that they keep on top of the ever-changing state of SEO.

When starting Infomagnet, we had a choice: A traditional approach with an office in town or no offices, no big overheads and all the world's coffee shops to meet our clients.  The advantages of the latter are not just for us but are really felt by our customers too.  Lower overheads means better value for our clients and means that we can afford to search the world for the best programmers we can find.

The really big advantage though is when it comes to support.  We don't have office hours - and even if you do business with someone with a local office, chances are the servers hosting your website are in one location, the staff are in another and you're in another location again.  We're online and available far more than any office based company - we provide remote support on your website (we can administer it from anywhere) and the same goes for our servers (the data centre is manned 24/7 in case of hardware failure).  But support isn't just about your website - it's about you.  We are available to our clients for training and support many hours each day.

Some of our clients have never met us - others we meet regularly.  We're available to see you in a surprising number of European, North American and South American cities.  And we're available on the phone, on skype when you need us most.

Drupal is licensed under the GNU General Public License, version 2.  You own the design copyright if this is agreed with the Designer and you own any code custom created to produce the design.  All site code is made available to you at any time on request and, the code behind the Drupal CMS is in the public domain.

This question is key and your should ask it of any potential developer / software.  Find out what kind of license the software and database have and who owns them.

Drupal7 is currently in an alpha stage. According to http://drupal.org/node/725382:

We will switch to betas when the upgrade path from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 is working. Once we hit beta, we will become increasingly strict about accepting any more changes and we'll also commit to making HEAD to HEAD upgrades work.

So, it's still a bit uncertain the exact date of a final release, or even a release candidate.

Then you've come to the right place.  Much of our work is training and we're well used to clients for whom computers aren't second nature.  That's good... you want to be an expert and spending time on your business, not your computer.

We provide full training and have yet to come across someone who doesn't find our websites easy to use and administer.  If you want a great online shop that sells to the world, then there's a lot to learn and it takes some time........ but we're there all the way.  Our approach is hand-holding.  We give you the minimum you need to get started as quickly as possible whiile we handle the bits you can't yet do.  And as you build confidence in both your business and your website, you naturally want to take over more of the administration and functionality of your site.  We give you full training to do this, one simple chunk at a time.

Running a Drupal website is easy - you don't need any technical knowledge at all.  During your training, we speak plain English (or French, Spanish, Russian or Italian) with a minimum of jargon. And you get the support of a whole community of happy Drupal users - and with that, an amazing amount of goodwill.

We're Drupal developers so we're going to say "Drupal" aren't we ?  But don't knock Wordpress, Joomla or Plone, they're all good bits of software, very popular and, for the developer it can be easier to work with a simpler, more basic CMS (that's not the case for the site's admin or end users though).

The main question is how far you want to expand....  and how well you can plan your site's future.  Wordpress and the others really won't cut it as an online store - and you're going to run into limitations pretty quickly if you want to do much beyond a blog and some ordinary pages.  If you can afford the initial outlay (because, yes, often it does cost more to develop a Drupal site compared to say Wordpress) it will work out cheaper and better in the long run.  And check before you assume that Wordpress or Joomla is going to work out cheaper than Drupal - there are more low cost Wordpress and Joomla developers out there but we work very efficiently and you'd be surprised that developing a Drupal site might be cheaper than you think.

There are different kinds of support that you will need when you build and run your website.

  • Training and application support
  • E-business consultancy
  • Bugs and technical support
  • Hosting support

We provide all of the above.  Hosting support is 24/7 and ensures that your website is kept up and running all the time. (We have server uptime of over 99.99 %).  Hosting support is included in our annual hosting fees.

We provide technical support and bug fixes - all bugs are entered into our bug tracking system and are assigned to a handler.  Priority is given to anything that might prevent sales or access to the website.  Technical support is charged on an as needed basis.  In practice, most gallery sites need little to no support each year (although they often want to implement new features).  E-commerce sites require somewhat more technical support and it is highly variable from client to client.  Don't forget that since Drupal is open source software, support can be provided by companies other than ourselves - so we need to be competitive to keep your business.

Much of our work centres around our understanding and experience in all aspects of E-business.  We're often faced with questions which are not of a technical nature but concern business process, internet culture, internet business, trends, compliance and marketing.  We provide this support too, often working with partners who specialise in our clients' business area.

We also offer training in all aspects of Drupal and Ubercart use and e-commerce from planning and getting started all the way through to the technical aspects of coding and deploying high traffic secure Drupal websites.

The biggest challenge when coding a website is to ensure that it looks the way the designer intended whether viewed on Mac, PC, Linux, iPhone.... in Explorer, Safari, Opera, Firefox or Chrome....

One particular problem the web designer and coder face is which font to use.  When a web page is shown on your screen, the text is displayed using a font that is already installed on your computer.  There are only a very few fonts that are (nearly) identical on all popular operating systems.  That's why, when you look at web pages, they tend to use just a few fonts, Times, Arial, Georgia, Verdana, Courier, Helvetica, Geneva, MS Sans Serif, Lucida, Tahoma, Trebuchet and (dare we say it) Comic Sans.

Often designers wish to use other fonts on a web page - it can certainly look a lot less nondescript.  There are different ways of doing this depending on the use and the amount of text.

Instead of using text, a graphic image of text can be used
One has to be careful doing this as it cannot be edited by the user and it brings up various accessibility issues (text cannot be resized, special precautions need to be taken to ensure it works with screen readers for the blind).  Additionally, search engines cannot read text images so, unless you use some clever methods, there are disadvantages for SEO.

You can use SIFR or JITR
SIFR can often be a good compromise if not too much text on a page uses a non-system font.  It takes text which is in a system font and uses Flash to render this text on-the-fly within a small flash file and then scale this to fit the available space.  It's a pretty good technique that's not bad for search engines or accessibility (although not perfect either) and can be used if there is not too much non-system font to render on each page.  Best of all is if Flash fails or is not installed, the text displays using the default system font.  JITR is a very similar technique to SIFR but uses Javascript instead of Flash.  In our experience, both are good techniques but SIFR is more reliable, more widely deployed and performs better.  Neither are particularly good when it comes to menu items, links or anything requiring mouseover effects.

You can use Typekit
It's a neat solution that allows your browser to load fonts on-the-fly from typekit's own servers.  There is a good selection of fonts to choose from and fonts are licensed so this isn't a free solution but it's fast, scaleable and can work well.  It does not, however, work on older browsers.

Since 2004.  We got started early on when looking at different solutions for an online antiques store and were convinced by the fantastic flexibility it gives to the site owner as well as the stability of Drupal core.

Yes, we're always happy to work with new designers.  We have a list of deliverables that a competent graphic designer will be able to create, so please put your designers in touch with us and show us your ideas.

When we build you an e-commerce website, you won't be told just to read the user guide !  We give you training in every aspect of e-commerce.  After all, we have experience of all kinds of e-business so you should take advantage of this to help your website work.

The first training you receive is how to operate your site.  Unlike a simple gallery website, there is quite a bit to learn - processing orders, stock control, generating reports, handling refunds, vouchers, free samples........  Although straightforward, it takes a while (and at the beginning, you need to concentrate all your efforts on marketing) and so our approach is one of hand-holding.  We give you the minimum you need to get your site running and making sales as quickly as possible.  We handle everything that you don't know how to do....  and when something new arises - say, the first few times you need to give a refund or place an item in a sale, we show you how and make sure you're confident about it before moving on to the next thing to learn.  You are safe in the knowledge that there is always enough expertise to run your site professionally and keep your customers happy.  This kind of training can continue for a prolongued period as you wish to do more advanced things with your site and learn its capabilities as well as add more functionality as you grow.

Not only will you receive technical training but all new clients get a grounding in search engine optimisation, online marketing and the use of statistics to run their business.  Again, we take the same hand-holding approach as we do with technical training, giving you advice and news about the latest internet marketing trends you should employ.  How do you use blogs, forums, video, email, linked-in, Facebook and Twitter to enhance your business - this is all part of the training that we can provide.

Flash is a very useful technology.  It is a browser plugin that you're probably familiar with and allows you to view all kinds of interactive content on a website such as videos and animations.  It is very popular with almost all desktop users (estimates vary from 95% to 99%) having the ability to view flash content and over 90% having the latest version.  It certainly can add motion and life to a website and is much liked by many web designers as, visually, you can do almost anything with it.

However, increasingly, many devices do not support Flash.  Notably Apple's iPhone and iPad will not display Flash content and Apple is committed to not providing this in the future.

Moreover, Flash has many drawbacks - it can be very slow to load, is generally very poor for search engines and poor for accessibility.  It's use for video once seemed quite ubiquitous but looks set to lose favour as video is natively supported in HTML5.

All this means that for any business related site, you should avoid a Flash website.  It will almost certainly not get the results you're looking for.  We use Flash sparingly and think that this is the best aproach.  Use it only when there is no other way of achieving the desired result.  In general, most animations can be done with javascript and this works much better across all devices.

EPOS (Electronic Point Of Sale) is a combination of software and hardware which lets a merchant accept various modes of payment (card, cheque, cash, gift voucher) when they are face to face with a customer.  You are already familiar with EPOS systems in use at the checkout in most shops, restaurants and hotels.  EPOS allows you to take payments for goods or services and typically ties in with one or more other systems such as accounting, stock control, ERP, inventory management, CRM.  Most usually you'll see EPOS with a cash drawer, a touch screen, a barcode scanner, an invoice printer and a card reader but a good EPOS system is a lot more than just a replacement for a cash register.

If you have a physical store as well as a website, chances are that you'll need an EPOS system.  By integrating your system with your website, you gain common stock control, no matter how many shops, warehouses and distribution centres you have.  This is important - when a customer orders the last item in your shop, you don't want to let them buy it from the website.  When there is stock in one shop, and a customer wants it in another, you need to know where it is and to have a system to transfer it.  EPOS allows you to do all of this and is an integral part of multi channel retail selling.  The same applies for hotels, spas and restaurants - allowing your customers to make bookings via the internet but still being able to reliably take bookings in person or over the phone is key to a successful business.  EPOS systems can do a lot more than this - in bars and restaurants, the system is used to keep track of ingredient use and to manage re-order quantities based on the dishes and drinks sold.......   If you'd like to know more about EPOS, please get in touch for a chat and a demo.

The best websties have some good planning behind them.  Think about what you want the website to do for you - find new clients, communicate with existing clients, sell goods, be found in search engines, collaborate to write a book, share photos and videos, sell tutorials....  whatever it is, write it down and make notes on it.  You don't need a full technical specification but written notes will help you and your web developers a great deal.

  • Make a list of sites you like and note what you like about them and what you don't like too.
  • Have a budget - it's always best to have a clear budget in mind.
  • Take into consideration how much time you will be likely to happily spend every week working on your site.
  • Have a marketing budget - without this, you won't get visitors to your site.
  • Have a marketing plan - as above; without planning how you'll reach your audience, they won't find you.
  • If you want to get users to part with personal details, think of a suitable value exchange.
  • Choose the right designer - make sure they understand you and your brand, make sure they understand how you will market your product.
  • Choose the right developer - see our guide here.
  • Buy a domain name - ask us first because not all domain name registrars are equal!
  • If you're looking at an ecommerce site, decide what kind of business you will have and get a suitable bank account and merchant account.

As standard, we code websites to work on a certain set of browsers and operating systems.  Mobile devices are optional and cost a little more to test and ensure that your site displays correctly.

There are so many mobile phone types with different means of displaying websites that we review with you which ones, if any, should be supported.  Having said that, we find that our sites tend to work perfectly on iPhones and Blackberries even without specific coding and testing.

See our standard and optional list of browsers and operating systems for cross-browser support here.

This is a good question and we're not immediately going to say "It's us!".  We've prepared a useful little document / checklist to help you choose the right web developer.  Please download it and have a read - most people find it interesting.  You really need to look for someone with expertise (not easy to judge for a new buyer), plenty of business experience - not just writing software - someone who has the right approach (somewhat easier to judge but also read up on best practices in development) and most importantly you want a developer who listens well.  After all, they are translating your needs and your ethos and communicating it to the world.

Our key advice:

  • Use open source software
  • Avoid anyone who won't tell you what software they are using or says it's "our own".
  • Make sure they're available to talk to any time and test them to a bit to see just how available they are.
  • Don't be too influenced by design.  Just make sure that the developer can make complex designs, even if they're not to your taste.
  • Avoid Flash developers - it's a great technology but needs to be used in combination with other technologies, not on its own.
  • Find out how rigid the quote is and phone their existing clients to see if they deliver on time.

Infomagnet can certainly help you with the design of your website - by putting you in touch with the right designer for your needs.  Design is not only a matter of personal taste but also of choosing the designer that fits your brand values and your budget.  We work with a number of designers - we have our favourites of course - not only can we recommend a good one but if you find one you prefer, we'll happily work with them too.

Design should really be seperated from the development of your site - both are extremely important.  Your technology choice and the choice of your developer have a long-term impact on your business.  Design is more easily changed....   and moreover, the skill sets are so different that nobody is great at both design and development.  Our approach is to let you communicate directly with the designer, giving the designer the creative freedom they need (we like designers to challenge us) - we're on hand to consult with them and with you on technical issues, usability, accessibility and compliance.

As much as you want !  With notable sites like The Whitehouse, Mattel and Warner Bros using Drupal, you can be sure that handling large amounts of traffic is not a problem.  If your site starts to get a lot of traffic, we will help you to make periodic reviews of your hosting requirements.  But it's only when you get a lot of traffic that you might outgrow our standard Drupal hosting - and at this point we can provide a tailored hosting solution based on your needs and budget.

The fastest way to get support is to email support@infomagnet.com  Our clients also have our skype contact details.

For non support enquiries, just email us at info@infomagnet.com or call on +44 (0)20 7193 3323

Contact details are here.

There are a lot of considerations when asking that question. So, for a proper answer, you're really better off talking to us and telling us what your needs are.  But here's a short answer:

Compared to Ubercart, Oscommerce is bulky and old and not designed to be easily themed.  It's truly awful in this respect.  A good developer can still build a nice Oscommerce store but really there's no comparision - Ubercart wins hands down, and that's before you've even considered the advantages that the Drupal CMS gives you in terms of flexibility, SEO and ease of use.

Zen Cart is somewhat better than Oscommerce (it's a development of Oscommerce, and unlike Oscommerce, it's properly templated) but again, for a quick answer, is not as good as Ubercart.

Drupal ecommerce has lost out to Ubercart these days.  It is very flexible but not very feature packed.  You can, of course, add as many features as you want by coding them and building modules but for most uses, it's better to start with Ubercart and it now has far better support than Drupal ecommerce.

Magento is a bit different - it's much loved and there's no doubt that it's a good bit of software - but, given a free choice, it's not generally what we'd advise.  Magento started out as open source but now it is available in three versions - two with more features and paid support (from around $3,000 and $13,000 a year) - these are not open source so you can't fully customise them to your needs.  The other, open source, version is very limited on features, does not conform to PCI-DSS compliance and the CMS it uses is not loved by users at all - it's weak.  Neither of the two lesser versions have page caching, logging, or order archiving - again, severe weaknesses.  There is only a limited set of modules available with the open source version of Magento.  Moreover, often we develop unique features for our clients' sites (a good e-commerce site often has some unique functionality as well as a unique look) some of these features could simply not be done with Magento.

Usually Ubercart wins out - but we are realistic and we like to look at every business case on its merits. We know many e-commerce packages from Actinic to IBM's Websphere so please get in touch and we'll help you decide what is the best long-term solution.

As standard we make our sites compatible with:

  • Internet Explorer 7, 8
  • Firefox 3.x
  • Opera (latest version)
  • Safari (latest version)
  • Chrome (latest version)

The above are tested on Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Linux, Mac OS.

We offer Internet Explorer 6 compatibility at a small additional cost.

Further compatibility testing can be carried out at extra cost.

In particular, iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, iPad are all operating systems for which we are routinely being asked to ensure compatibility.

Our experience is that this changes all the time.  Even when different clients are shopping around for the best merchant account deal, the same banks seem to offer wildly differing prices and transaction fees.

Our advice is to shop around and contact them all.  Negociate as much as possible (especially set-up fees) as they are all able to improve their initial offer to get your business.

We have compiled a list of UK merchant account providers here - please let us know how you get on.

A CMS (Content Management System) is a piece of software that allows someone without any technical knowledge to add and modify the content of a website.  If you want a website where you can change things yourself - text, images, video, downoadable files - then you'll need a CMS.  Often a CMS will give you additional features such as a blog, a photo gallery or a newsletter.

There are very many different CMS available, good bad and indifferent.  Some are free, others require purchase of software or a license.  We use the Drupal CMS - we have chosen it because we think it is the best available.  It also happens to be free.  It is suitable for all kinds of websites from big to small.  You're in good company if you choose Drupal - have a look at this list of notable Drupal sites here as well as our work - all done using Drupal.  If you're considering another CMS, let us know - chances are that we have some knowledge of it and can always give you an opinion on its advantages and disadvantages.

Your website is available to view in all countries (assuming it doesn't upset state censors in some countries such as China).  Wherever you can access your website, you can also log into it and administer it too, adding or editing content as you wish.

If you expect an international audience for your website, you may wish to think about internationalization.  To localise a website to a specific country, you need to:

  • Translate the content
  • Translate the menus and navigation
  • Translate the interface
  • Market and SEO in each language
  • Know how to deal with the foreign language enquiries

Drupal powered websites are excellent when it comes to internationalization - in every aspect, from the translation publishing workflow to SEO.  Make sure you ask about internationalization at the beginning of your website development and design as, even if you add it later on, it has an impact on the design of the site.

There is one main technical challenge in coding a website - to make your site look like the mockups on every computer, no matter whether it's Mac, PC, Linux, an iPhone, an HTC smart phone with a small screen, a high definition TV, a games console........ viewing with Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera.....  the list goes on.  In a perfect world, a website is designed so that it will view correctly on all computers, all devices, large and small.

But, in an imperfect world, we decide which browsers we will ensure your site works for.  This decision and subsequent testing is called cross-browser compatibility testing.  It is a long process of testing and fixing because, naturally, a website will not display correctly on all these devices, browsers and screen sizes.  When we create a site, we try to work with the designer to ensure "graceful degradation".  This is the principle that if one graphic element does not display correctly, it is replaced by something that might not look quite as good as intended (but still not ugly) and that this should not affect the display of the rest of the site, nor its functionality.

As standard, we ensure compatibility with a standard range of browsers:  Firefox 3.x, Internet Explorer 7,8, Opera, Safari and Chrome, latest versions.  Each of these are tested on Windows XP, Vista, 7, Linux, Mac.  Further device compatibility and testing is carried out at additional cost.

Yes - we suggest you do!  You can have as many email addresses and forwards as you want, within reason.  We run our own email servers and use gmail as a backup and when you need to use webmail.  You can also send and receive with your own domain using Gmail.

We price all work on an individual basis.  We have a menu pricing system so it's easy and fast to price........ and we need to hear your detailed requirements first so please get in touch.  After an initial briefing by mail or a chat on the phone, we can give you a ball-park figure.  With a full brief, we can then give a formal quote, valid for a month and, for many websites, we are able to offer fixed price, fixed timescale development.

We generally find that our pricing is mid-range and we're told that our service is top-end.  You'll also find that prices for web development vary enormously and it's difficult to see why.  So please tell us about other solutions and developers you're looking at as we have plenty of experience and can tell you the differences, advantages and disadvantages for a whole variety of ways of building websites.

Selling on ebay is a great way to get started for some businesses.  Some businesses never progress beyond ebay selling, others require a website and sell on other platforms too, including ebay.......  Multi-channel selling is seen as very important to many businesses now.  You may pay a higer commission and listing fees to ebay but it's certainly a cheap way to get your name and your products in front of a huge number of interested buyers.

To make selling on ebay easier (and often cheaper too), some of our sites have an "export to ebay" function.  This allows you to list your goods quickly and easily on ebay with your own listing style and as many images as you like with no picture hosting fees.

Every application, CMS or technology has its advantages and disadvantages. Drupal is no exception.  For a fairly balanced appraisal of Drupal's weaknesses, read the Wikipedia entry.  From our experience, we'd say the usability and learning curve issues are really not applicable to site owners - they tend to find our sites very easy to use, learn and administer.  Backward compatibility has necessarily been sacrificed as the price to pay for the fast-moving development that is needed for websites and web applications.  Performance, like all good software, is always on the table for improvement - we're constantly making improvements to both the software itself and the hosting environment and other Drupal developers are doing the same.  While considered a weakness, we find that site performance is no worse than comparable sites and controlling our own hosting environment ensures we can work on performance improvements without restrictions.

Ubercart is a module which adds e-commerce functionality to a Drupal website.  It is well featured and makes use of many standard Drupal practices.  We like Ubercart - it's a great piece of software on which to build a leading e-commerce website.

Ubercart has many user contributed modules giving it extra functionality - from payment gateway integrations to gift vouchers, tax schemes and shipping system interations.  Apart from taking advantage of Drupal's very stable and versatile core, Ubercart makes use of much Drupal's methodology and has allowed us to create some very complex custom functionality for our clients easily and quickly.

If you'd like to see how Ubercart works and get a behind-the-scenes demo of a successful e-commerce website, please get in touch for an online demo.

In a word, no !  Drupal is very simple for the end user and for the administrator of a website. It really is one of the easiest and simplest CMS to use.   When creating a website, there may be more work and more planning required from the developer at the outset  when compared to, say, Wordpress or Joomla.  The reason for this is there is so much functionality available and so many modules......  This could be confusing for a newcomer to Drupal development but for an expert, it's run-of-the-mill work.  If you're a developer who is new to drupal, it's worth sticking it out through the learning curve, it will make life much easier for you in the future as your website expands.

We build newsletter functionality into our wesbites - they are a very powerful marketing tool.  In fact, integrating a newsletter into your website is important as it gives the user control over their subscriptions from your website and thus the confidence they need to sign up.

We make use of different newsletters - simplenews is, like the name implies, simple.  It integrates perfectly into Drupal websites and is often the easiest / least cost way of getting started.  We also work with other popular newsletter systems; Mailchimp, Aweber, Constant Contact.  These provide more featues, statistics, flexibility and functionality - and are also a little more work to integrate properly into your site.

We give full training in newsletter administration and also offer advice on copy - newsletters work extremely well for some of our clients and it can take only a small difference between a mail that ends up in the deleted items or one that leads to a sale.

If you want to accept payments for your goods or services and you have already looked at shopping carts such as Ubercart, then the next step you'll need to make is to set up a method of receiving payments.

These vary from the most simple such as Paypal (you just visit their site and sign up in about 5 minutes) to more complete, professional solutions.  For most online shops we recommend to use a merchant account and a payment gateway as this provides the smoothest user experience and certainly looks more professional.  It depends on the nature of your business though, sometimes other solutions can work well.

You will need an internet merchant account from either your bank or another merchant account provider.  This is where funds are transferred when you receive payment. Merchant account providers take a percentage of each credit card transaction (or a fixed fee for debit cards) and may well charge a set-up fee.  Some merchant account providers charge a minimum monthly fee.  Please get in touch with us to recommend the most competitive merchant account provider in your country.  For UK businesses, see our list of UK merchant accounts and read our advice about how to get the best deal.  Merchant accounts generally accept payments from all cards except Diners Card and American Express - you need a seperate account for these.  If you have a bricks-and-mortar shop, you may already have a merchant account for accepting card payments however you will need an internet merchant account for accepting payments over the internet.  You may also wish to consider whether you need a MOTO (Mail Order / Telephone Order) enabled account - not only does this allow you to accept those transactions but it is also a good backup in case of problems with your website.

You will also need to use a payment gateway - (want to know what a payment gateway is, click here) this sits in the middle, between your website and the bank and provides a host of functionality as well as communicating with the banks systems to transfer money.  Payment gateway providers typically charge a monthly fee and some charge a per transaction fee or percentage. Again, pleease contact us for payment gateway recommendations in your country.  In the UK, we generally use Sagepay.  Apply for a Sagepay account here and we'll help guide you through the process.

There are also banks who will provide both the merchant account and the payment gateway.  Often this is not the most competitive way of accepting card payments so don't be tempted on the grounds of simplicity.  Merchant account providers often push you to use their payment gateway - be wary of this practice as you should consider the merchant account and the payment gateway seperately; it certainly gives more flexibility for your business this way.

Still confused?  Then please contact us and we'll listen to your requirements and make our best recommendation for accepting card payments on your site.

Drupal is the most popular Open Source CMS (Content Management System).  It is free software that is used to power and develop all kinds of websites from some of the most notable, highest traffic sites on the internet to small home-businesses and personal blogs.

The "Drupal Core" gives the basic functionality that you expect of any CMS - user login and registration, page creation, editing etc.  This functionality can be expanded by the use of free "modules" which extend the capabilities of the system.

Being open source, and using the PHP programming language, any sufficiently competent programmer capable of working with PHP can create new modules and add new functionality.  No programming skills are necessary to perform ordinary day-to-day use and maintenance of a Drupal website. Because Drupal is open source and so widely used, it is very stable and thoroughly tested.

There is absolutely no restriction on how many products or pages you have on your website.  We have built websites with over 50,000 product lines and from a technical point of view, it really doesn't matter how many pages you have.

As your site grows, you will attract more traffic and your site files and database will grow.  Depending on how big you grow and how fast, you may need to consider your hosting needs.  We are always happy to advise on the best possible hosting for a given budget or a given amount of traffic.

Absolutely not...  Using Drupal, or any good CMS, is easy - when you are logged in, you get the option to create and edit pages... and you get a nice little text editor, very similar to Word which allows you to change text styling without using html.  See the image below - that's what this FAQ looks like when editing it!

This is a good question, after all, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all perfect solution in any sphere - certainly not in web development.  We're realistic - Drupal is not the answer to everything..........  but on the other hand you should bear in mind that most people want to do similar things on the web - selling products, showing images, getting found in search engines, blogging, video, sharing files.....  And it should come as no surprise that the biggest open source content management system, the one with the most people working on it, is naturally great at doing the things that most people want to do on the web.

If you have a very set idea of what your website will do now or in the future, then, particularly if the scope of functionality is limited, there may be better solutions than Drupal.  But if, like most online businesses, you don't quite know what tomorrow will bring, let alone one, two or five year's time, no other system offers you as much flexibility as Drupal.  You want to add E-commerce, photo galleries, collaborative book writing, file uploads, pay per view, pay per click, multi-seller multi-buyer environments....   it's all available out of the box with Drupal.  And more is being added every day.

Being open source as well as very popular means you're not stuck with one developer or a little known technology - this probably gives you the biggest IT advantage you could want in business.

To see if you're considering good technologies and to compare with Drupal, please give us a call - if Drupal is a good solution for you, we'll show you why, if not, we'll tell you straight.

Yes we do.  SEO is an ongoing process.  Your targets change, your website changes, your business changes and the goalposts keep changing too since search engines change all the time.  When Infomagnet build your website, you're at a great starting point for SEO.  The site is well constructed and desiged for SEO and we give you training so that you can work on your copy, titles, descriptions, images and links for SEO.  After a while, you'll want to do more than this.... Infomagnet are always available to provide consultancy - to train you, to carry out SEO and, when necessary, to manage the right partner for your business.  SEO is not one-size-fits-all work........  sometimes it combines so closely with your other online marketing or your PR and marketing in general that it is more appropriate for your marketing department or agency to do some of this work.  We welcome this approach and advise on the technical aspects of SEO related changes that are recommended.

Multi-channel selling is extremely important to many businesses.  Amazon is a fast way of reaching a huge number of buyers and is a trusted brand where buyers know that customer service counts.  Not only is selling on Amazon a fast way of reaching a market but it's a good way to get your brand known and trusted.

We can provide a number of tools to help you sell your items on Amazon and other sites as well as your own website.  If you're selling a significant volume this can make listing items on Amazon much faster.

Yes.  We do a lot of integration work with Drupal / Ubercart - whether it's an accounting package, EPOS, a booking system or a delivery and warehousing system, we are familiar with using imports / exports and APIs to integrate Ubercart with other programs.  Please let us know your accounting needs and we'll advise on the quickest way to get started.

Yes.  Ubercart comes as standard with a stock keeping system - it can monitor stock levels on a global or individual variant basis.  Ubercart sends site administrators warnings of low stock levels and produces reports relating to stock and stock levels.  The out of stock system prevents items being added to the cart and can show any relevant message required.  We can add functionality to pre-order out of stock items.

We can also expand Ubercart's stock keeping functionality, normally by use of a third party EPOS or inventory control system which can predict stock depletion rates and re-order automatically.

Yes, we do.  Infomagnet offers a complete hosting solution on our own servers.  We have our own servers in a data centre in New York.  Backups are taken daily to a mirror server in Texas and weekly tape backups are made on a fortnightly rotation.  All our sites are run as local copies of a Subversion code repository offering version control as well as additional security for your codebase.  Read more about our hosting and backups here.

We offer Google Analytics to our clients.  For most purposes, this is the most comprehensive statistics package you could wish for.  Google Analytics gives fantastically detailed information, not only about how many visitors you have but also:

  • Where your visitors come from
  • How they found you
  • Comparisons to the past
  • What keywords were used
  • Sales conversion rate
  • Languages
  • Browser and plugin usage
  • Operating system
  • Language
  • Country
  • Region
  • Comparisons with the past and trends
  • How differnt keywords relate to sales and page visits
  • Different navigation paths taken through your site

The list goes on and on......... In fact, Google Analytics keeps adding more features and functionality, it's an incredibly powerful package and, used correctly is a key tool to market and manage your online business.  We provide training to use Google Analytics - our clients tend to find this fascinating and learn the real principles on which a profitable online business works.  When you spot an unusual trend, we're available to help explain it and suggest suitable changes to your site to profit from it.

If you want to accept card payments online, money has to be transferred from the cardholder's account to your merchant account.  Banks will not allow you to connect directly to their systems and so it is necessary to have a trusted "payment gateway" between your website and the bank's systems.

All of the authorisation, fraud checks and funds transfers are done through the payment gateway.  Payment gateways charge for this service - some charge a flat monthly fee, others charge based on the value of transactions.

We are happy to recommend a suitable payment gateway for use in your country - please get in touch and we will let you know which ones to look at.  In the UK we favour Sagepay but also work with other payment gateways.

Paypal is one of the most recognised and trusted internet brands.  Paypal operates in 190 markets, accepts payments in 19 currencies and has an active user-base of over 73 million users.

If you have a Drupal / Ubercart e-commerce website, then accepting payments with Paypal is easy.  It's just another off-the-shelf module.  It is easy to obtain a Paypal account, it is a reliable service and their fees are reasonable.  It is much easier than setting up payments with your own merchant account and payment processor.

Whether you should accept Paypal on your site depends very much on the kind of business you have.  Although widely accepted and trusted, it is not perceived as a "quality" brand and although Paypal does protect the purchaser quite well, their customer service is often perceived as lacking.  You may well have noticed that major brands, particularly high-end, quality brands do not tend to accept Paypal as a payment method - there are two reasons for this:  Perception of the Paypal brand values and how this may affect the perception of the e-commerce store's brand....... and transaction / settlement fees which, if you are processing a significant volume, are more expensive with Paypal.

It's really all about perception and user experience - we've built sites that use Paypal only, others that use a merchant account and payment gateway only - and some that use both.  Tell us all about your business and we'll advise you what's best.

You can have as many pages as you wish on your website - and since you add, edit and delete pages yourself, there is no cost involved in creating each page.

Creating and updating content on your website is useful - not only do your site users like to see new content but search engines like to see a regularly updated site with lots of pages on a similar topic or theme.

Computer software generally falls into one of two camps; proprietary or open source.  You will already be familiar with the former - products such as Microsoft Windows, Word, Office and many other common software are proprietary products.  You pay for this software and it comes with a certain set of features and it comes with support.  Every so often a new version comes out and you can upgrade with a new purchase to get new features.

Open Source software is different.  It is free and comes with no support – you pay an expert for support as you need it.  Open source software is free in a second sense:  The “source code” of the software is also freely published and that means that an expert can change it and make it do anything you want.
 
There are advantages and disadvantages to each model.  We favour and work with Open Source software.  It means that it can always be made to do whatever you want – and it has the huge advantage that if you are not happy with the service we provide, you can take the source code in the knowledge that it can be developed by a competent programmer.  For a small business it is very flexible and it means that we have to stay competitive to keep your business – there is no technology lock-in.

For a full explanation of open source software, read the Wikipedia entry here.

From a technical point of view, not much.  Infomagnet provides you all the training you need to operate your website.  Learning how to add and edit pages and products is easy - about the same level of difficulty as sending an email with an attachment.  And even if you find this difficult, you'll soon learn and we're here to help you at every stage.

Much more challenging is everything else that you need to learn.  Even for experienced business owners, commerce and marketing on the web can be daunting.  Not only is there a lot to learn (search engine marketing, search engine optimisation, pay per click for example) but it seems to change all the time - the internet is a fast moving medium.  We're here to provide training and guidance at every step, not just technical support.

You'll find that you appreciate a partner who has their finger on the pulse when it comes to technology - to suggest next steps and keep you up to date with the latest trends in marketing, technology and law.

A classic question that doesn't have a straighforward answer. It depends.... The first thing to say is that it depends what business you're in - if it's highly competitive (maybe you've just had an idea for an online pharmacy or a dating website!), then you'll need a big budget and every trick in the book.  If, on the other hand, you have a very bespoke product or service with an unusual name and a particular niche that you're marketing to, you might not need to do anything at all. Chances are that there'll be so few other sites competing, that you'll be on the first page in no time without doing much at all.

If you're somewhere inbetween those two extremes, there are a couple of useful bits of advice:

If someone promises they can get you on the first page of Google (you'll receive lots of spammy mails promising this), they're probably not very reputable at all!  Nobody has a special, cheap, universal way of guaranteeing a first page result.  If they did, everyone would be going to them and the first page of Google would be very long indeed.

Cater to your website users first and search engines will follow.  Search engines are looking for very much the same things as users - a site with lots of same-subject-relevant content, regularly updated with rich media (text, images, audio, video, pdf files.....).  They're also looking for a site that people like to spend time on, that others think is worth blogging about and linking to.  So make a great site, adhere to simple guidelines and web standards, write really useful content and, as long as it's well built, search engines will like it.  Beyond that, there's more that can be done of course but that really is the first step to building a site that does well in search engines.  Simply build a site that people will like.

We quote how long it takes to build your website once we agree the specification.  We then build it within the deadline, every time.  To give you a rough idea of build times, count on 8 weeks for a Drupal gallery website, 12 weeks for a Drupal / Ubercart e-commerce site.

Some jobs are more complex - for example, some broking sites, large community sites or ones with very specific and unique functionality take longer.  In this case we clearly tell you if the deadline is an estimate as opposed to a quote and then subsequently review at agreed key stages.

Yes - but it does all depend on the design!  In general we use applications like Pixel Perfect to ensure 100% compliance with the design mockups.  Some designers are better than others at producing designs that are suitable to be produced on the web.  The restriction is never Drupal but always understanding how fonts, graphics and changing page styles and dimensions affect rendering of your design on the web.  While we give designers a free hand to push creative boundaries and challenge us as much as possible, we are also available to consult on design - particularly with a view to usability, accessibility and SEO.  Designers who we work with like this approach and it's mutually very satisfying to improve each other's work.  We often find we're discussing interesting ideas with designers about how to make websites work.  At the same time, we know you want your designs to be perfectly replicated; if you'd like a demo, including comparisons with live sites and design mockups, please get in touch.

Ubercart can be integrated with EPOS systems and Infomagnet is one of the few companies to have done Drupal EPOS integration.  We favour the ECOPOS system from In2 Technology as a reasonably priced, industrial quality, open source EPOS system.  We are also happy to create integrations with other EPOS systems.

We have chosen to use Ubercart for our e-commerce sites. We have found that it is stable and well made and also that the user interface is very straightforward for our clients. There are other good e-commerce suites too but they lack the flexibility you get with Drupal.  The ones we're always asked about are Zen Cart, OS Commerce and Magento.  Of these, only Magento is a serious competitor.... but with a big weakness too.  The business model means that the full-featured version is expensive to support, with severe restrictions on who can support it, and it is not open source.  The free version is open source but the content management, SEO, availability of modules and flexibility aren't a patch on what you get with Drupal.  The CMS is weak enough that if you're using the free version of Magento, you should consider a Drupal / Magento integration - it's a bit messy but you do get the best of both worlds.  However, Ubercart gives you the real flexibility you need by working directly with Drupal in a very user-friendly way.  We've developed so many additional features for Drupal / Ubercart.  EPOS  integration, delivery and warehousing system integration, gift vouchers, product recommendation engines, product kits.... multi-vendor multi-buyer environments.... the list goes on.  We really do think that no other e-commerce suite gives you this flexibility.

Yes it does.  We create sites running Ubercart that are fully VAT compliant.  Unlike some packages, Ubercart does not have support for specific taxes such as VAT or GST built in but instead uses modules to add this functionality - this is a good approach.  In fact, although it might seem like a simple, universal tax VAT can get so complex that each site requires some analysis and thought.  What kind of goods are you selling?  Are you selling wholesale or retail or both?  What volumes are you turning over?  Are your customers in the same country as your business, in the UK, in the EU or outside the EU.........?  And for each of these, are your customers VAT registered with an EU VAT number ?

There are different solutions to full VAT compatibility - sometimes this is achieved using Ubercart, sometimes it is achieved using a third-party accounting system such as Quickbooks and sometimes it is done with an EPOS system.  VAT compatibility needs to be assessed in each case but in the majority of cases - particularly retail sales - it is quite simple.  In any case, Ubercart can be used to create a website which is fully VAT compliant.

You may find this flowchart for working out your website VAT requirements useful - download the PDF here.

As standard, we give you some basic reports that you can generate and download as often as you like.  These tell you things like your daily, weekly and monthly sales, your VAT collected, your profit, your customer activity, coupon usage and your stock positions.  We also offer more detailed custom reports that can be used on their own or in conjunction with an accounting package.  All reports can be downloaded from the site as CSV spreadsheets.  Please tell us what information you need and we'll let you know how this can be pulled into a spreadsheet.

MOTO stands for Mail Order / Telephone Order.  When you have a merchant account to receive funds from online sales, it must be an "internet merchant account".  If you wish to accept card payments over the phone or via mail order, you need a MOTO enabled merchant account.

Even if you do not intend to make telephone sales, it is often useful to have MOTO as a backup.  If there is a problem with your website or a customer phones with a query, you can use MOTO to process their payment using a terminal or a virtual terminal.

Most of the popular payment gateways can be used off-the-shelf with Ubercart.  Paypal, 2Checkout, Sagepay, ClickandBuy, iDeal, NoChex, DineroMail, Barclaycard EPDQ, SPplus, Moneris, GiroPay, Adyen, Chinabank, Gestpay, PagSeguro......  the list goes on and on with literally hundreds of popular payment gateways and banks covered in order to take payments in most countries.

Your choice of payment gateway should be purely commercial based on setup fees, ongoing fees, transaction and settlement costs.  Of course you need to take into account customer service too.  In the UK we recommend Sagepay - it's the most popular payment gateway with highly competitive fees.

Chances are we can work with the payment gateway of your choice but if you let us know your requirements, the country your business will be based in and the amount of transactions you expect to process each quarter, we'll make a good pre-selection of payment gateways for you.

At infomagnet, we develop useful modules and often sponsor them, making them available to the wider Drupal community.  You can see a list of our key modules here.

If you require a module, or are unhappy with the functionality of an existing module you are using then please get in touch and we'll give you some ideas of how best to develop module functionality.  Sometimes the choice of expanding an existing Drupal module or creating a new one can be difficult - we can carry out a code review and advise on the best course of action.

The cost of designing a website spans everything from very cheap to very expensive.  You've certainly seen examples of both!  How much should you spend ?

Firstly, it depends on your starting point.  Do you already have a logo or a brand ? If not, it really depends on your business - but design is always key to how you are perceived and if you're just a very small business, it's worth spending on a nicely designed logo, bigger businesses really do need to think about their brand, how and where it will be used.  We can put you in touch with a suitable designer or a selection of designers based on your needs, style and budget.  Get in touch first for a quick chat.

When it comes to your website design, a simple gallery site is a lot less work than a full e-commerce site but whatever kind of website you need, don't skimp on design costs, set a budget and see what you can get done for that budget.  Design is the single most important way that you have to distinguish yourself from your competitors as well as by far the overriding factor for your website visitors when deciding whether they should trust you.  Website development costs tend to be a fairly fixed expense so, knowing this, allow as much as you can for design and marketing.  Please feel free to contact us and we'll give you some initial ideas on a suitable design budget based on your needs.

Selling goods or services on the internet is not without its risks - but the one huge advantage of a web-based business is how you can use simple analysis and statistics to ensure profitability.  There is a very basic formula for e-business, the same in fact for any business but with an internet business, everything is measurable and traceable - and that means that you can run your business very much more efficiently.

Any business wants the average cost of a sale to be lower than the average profit from a sale.  For an e-business, this is measurable on a per site, per product, per category, per variant, per user, per day, per country or per language basis....  So much of the unknowns are removed.

In traditional media, you used to advertise and make guesses at what effect that advertising had, how many people saw your advertisement, how many remembered your product, how many converted to sales.  On the internet, almost all of the unknowns are removed.  If you create an internet advertising campaign or even an SEO campaign, you can see the effect that it has on each page of your site in incredible detail. You know how much each website visitor cost you.  You also know what percentage convert to sales and how much each sale cost you.  And you can make changes in real-time to your products, advertising, copy, prices....... anything in fact, until you find the best formula for each product to have the best ratio of income to cost of sales.  The tools that you have to do this are powerful but they're also easy to use, anyone can run an e-business this way and make it profitable....  as long as they have budgeted enough for marketing, because it's a competitive world out there.

At Infomagnet, we get to see a lot of business and marketing plans and can help you understand how to make your e-commerce site profitable as quickly as possible.  Please get in touch to have a chat about how your plans for e-business can be turned into profits.

The answer to this question is simple - it's all about marketing.  We get to see a lot of business and marketing plans and are amazed by how some businesses think their website will get traffic without marketing.  The hard reality is that if you build a site and don't actively market it, you'll get between 2 to 5 random (worthless) visitors a day.  But there's not a direct correlation between marketing spend and website traffic.  To successfully market a site, you need either time or a marketing budget or both - the more you have of one, the less you need of the other.  And you need knowledge of your market.  It is possible to market a site with no budget at all but it requires hard work, lots of time and plenty of research on the internet.

But how much traffic will you get and how much do you need? A very rough guide is that most e-commerce sites have a conversion rate of between 0.5% and 2.5%.  That's only a very rough guide of course but work back from there and guess your average sale, your average profit and work out how many sales you need and hence how many visitors you need.  With this information, we can help you plan your online marketing so that you give yourself the best chance of success.  As to how many visitors you will get - how much time and money are you able to put into marketing your site?  When we know this, we'll help you determine targets and give you the tools to make sure you can monitor and meet them.