In part 1 of the article, you learned the factors worth considering when looking for an open source website building tool. Next, we will introduce to you some tools available on the market.
Droopler is a Drupal distribution for website building, based on Drupal CMS (Content Management System). Download and use for free (with full set of functions). This tool allows you to create scalable websites from pre-made components so you don’t have to code anything.
There are more than a dozen elements (called paragraphs, to be exact) that you can use, like:
To create your website, you can use the default basic layout and easily edit its elements, or build every page the way you want, taking advantage of elements. There is no limit to the number of sections you can add to a subpage, as well as the number of subpages you can create. Every page layout you build will be responsive so it will look great on desktop, mobile, and tablet. Below you will find some of the more useful Droopler features.
Droopler contains a blog made up of paragraphs. Thanks to them, you can easily add content such as text, images and video embeddings.
You can configure per-page meta tags and ALT tags for all images, create user-friendly URLs (with a short and logical structure) and sitemaps (with the XML sitemap generator) that meet your needs. Meets sitemaps.org guidelines. To see how your Droopler website is performing, you can install the Google Analytics module.
Simply installing the Drupal Commerce module is enough to get a ready-made online store. Once you do that, you will have access to the ecommerce theme in Droopler. Regarding the fact that this website builder is based on Drupal, you can also use other modules it offers, such as to add a payment system or shipping options.
You can use Droopler for simple small business websites, Drupal corporate websites as well as for website makers with many small websites.
Although it will take more time and effort than doing it with Droopler, you can also build a website without coding with Drupal. It is a free and open source content management system. After installing it, you will see the names of the sections where you can make changes to your website. Below we will briefly describe some of them.
Your new Drupal site will have a default theme that you can configure (by modifying colors or adding your company logo). However, there are nearly three thousand free themes available in the Drupal theme directory. After installing one of them on your website, you can change, depending on the theme, color scheme, background image and favicon (a small icon displayed in the browser’s window tab). browse, next to the site’s title).
Another key feature of Drupal are modules that allow you to extend your website in a variety of ways. There are more than 40 thousand free modules. They allow automation of page alias generation (Pathauto module), the already mentioned integration with Google Analytics and protection against bots (Captcha module).
Joomla is an open source website building tool, free to use under the General Public License, that allows you to build, manage, and publish content. After installing this tool, you will see some default templates. However, you can find thousands of those apps (both free and paid) on other websites. Many of these templates allow you to modify fonts, colors, and layouts without coding using a GUI (graphical user interface). All templates are responsive because Joomla uses Bootstrap for this purpose.
Dashboard. Source: Joomla Documentation
Now let’s take a look at some of the key features of this website builder:
To expand or add new features to your Joomla site, you will need to install a dedicated extension. According to the official Joomla website, there are more than six thousand of them (both free and paid).
Microweber.org is a free and open source website builder created using the Laravel framework. It contains a default template called Dream, which has more than a dozen page layouts like About, Portfolio, Contact Us, Shop, and Checkout. There are also 75 pre-prepared element layouts, such as Testimonials, Right Text, Left Image, Blog Posts, that you can drag and drop onto the page you’re working on. In addition to Dream, you can also use the free New World template by downloading it from Microweber.org. You’ll also see six premium models there.
To enrich your website, you can also use (mostly free) modules such as Calendar, Ratings, Tags and Video embedding. Some other options you will have in Microweber are:
WordPress.org is another example of an open source website builder. Be careful not to confuse it with WordPress.com, another platform with very limited features included in the free plan. The first of these tools is free to use. The only cost to you will be the hosting, but as we mentioned at the beginning of this article, that is the case with various open source website builders.
By default, this website builder gives you three themes – pre-formatted layouts that you can use without coding. But there are over eight thousand free themes available on the WordPress site, and you can find many more paid themes elsewhere.
WordPress allows you to create and edit pages and blog posts. With the WordPress Editor, you can move, modify, and customize every block on your website. For articles, you have quite a few content tools to add drafts, write, and schedule publishing. You can also set who can change text using the user management feature. It allows you to assign specific roles on your website – admin, editor, and contributor, just to name a few.
We will now look at some other useful WordPress features.
Publii is a free and open source static site generator. That means it builds HTML pages from elements or templates and uses content sources (for comparison, in Drupal and WordPress content is stored and managed in the database). You need to download the Publii app to create and style content on your desktop (Windows, Mac or Linux). Then, when you click the dedicated button, the files will be displayed and uploaded to your server. As in the case of the other builders mentioned here, you don’t need to code anything to build your website.
To create your website using this tool, you will work on a theme. There is one included in the app and over 20 others (free and paid) available in the Publii Marketplace. By default, your website’s home page will be automatically generated from post elements such as title, featured image, and short description. The ability to change this layout varies by theme.
To create a post, you can use one of three editors. WYSIWYG Editor allows you to write content and insert images just like fe in Microsoft Word. Block Editor divides each paragraph or image into a separate block that you can customize. Finally, the Markdown Editor exists in a more convenient HTML form. The difference here is that instead of opening and closing tags, you use keyboard shortcuts and placeholders to write text or insert graphics. However, with the final editor, your content will not have many attractive styles.
Publii also contains SEO options. Thanks to this, it automatically generates friendly URLs and XML sitemaps. You can also fill in the title and meta description, and enter your Google Analytics tracking code.
As we explained in this article, the name open source does not mean that every website builder that has it is completely free. Besides the hosting costs you pay in most cases, some tools also offer more attractive paid features, such as additional themes.
While cost may be an important factor for you when choosing a website builder, also remember to check out features related to content management, blogging, multimedia management, SEO , analytics and forms. They should allow you to easily create and manage your website, while providing a seamless user experience. The following applies not only to visitors but also to you and others who will work with this website on a daily basis. For this purpose, it is important to test and decide which website architectural model will be easier and more flexible for you – based on customizable components or templates.
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