Brick Factory’s Nine Favorite Drupal Modules

Drupal is well known as an incredibly robust content management system, or CMS. Brick Factory uses Drupal for most of the websites we create, both for our customers, and for ourselves. One of the factors of Drupal that makes it so very versatile is the ability to add Drupal Modules.

What is a Drupal Module?

I'm not talking about this kind of Mod, but I do love the style!
I’m not talking about this kind of Mod, but I do love the style!

One way to think about Drupal Modules is in the context of video games. Many games start out with a standard set of features, perhaps a boring person with a boring car. But the game allows users to enhance those features. They can add a cool sound system or a flashy paint job to the car. A Drupal Module, or Mod, is an optional installation to extend, expand, and customize Drupal’s functionality.There are Mods for basically every function you
Continue reading "Brick Factory’s Nine Favorite Drupal Modules"

NPR is getting rid of some of its news blogs (with more blog “changes” to come)

NPR is the latest publisher to decide that blogs are confusing to audiences in 2018: It’s getting rid of five of its news blogs, with more blog changes (which I read as “cuts”) coming over the next few months. On the way out: International news blog Parallels, education blog NPR Ed, All Tech Considered, music news blog The Record, and breaking news blog The Two-Way. The content will all be incorporated into corresponding topic pages (Education, Music, and so on), wrote NPR public editor Elizabeth Jensen. From her post:
Sara Kehaulani Goo, a managing editor overseeing digital news operations, said the moves follow the changing way readers are finding stories. They are far more likely to follow a link posted on Facebook than to start at the landing page of one of those blogs, she said. “At the end of the day, people aren’t coming Continue reading "NPR is getting rid of some of its news blogs (with more blog “changes” to come)"

Making Your Website Work for You: Knowing What to Track and Why

The most important lesson I’ve learned at Brick Factory is that results matter. What good is a website if it doesn’t help you reach your goals? We work closely with a ton of nonprofits, and when it comes to their websites, our clients are usually focused on two major goals:
  1. Growing their email list
  2. Increasing online donations
You can track these key metrics through your email marketing platform, CRM, or donation platform, but what if you want to look at this data in relation to how users are interacting with your website? Not so easy if you don’t have the right infrastructure in place. If you set your site up correctly, there is a wealth of donation and email sign up data to be mined. Understanding how, when, and why your visitors take action (or don’t take action) can help you figure out what’s working, where to switch things up,
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Last blog standing, “last guy dancing”: How Jason Kottke is thinking about kottke.org at 20

In 2013, Jason Kottke wrote a prediction for Nieman Lab’s year-end roundup: “The blog is dead, long live the blog.” Kottke was then (and still is) owner of one of the longest continuously running blogs on the web: kottke.org, founded in 1998. “Sometime in the past few years, the blog died. In 2014, people will finally notice,” he wrote. “Sure, blogs still exist, many of them are excellent, and they will go on existing and being excellent for many years to come. But the function of the blog, the nebulous informational task we all agreed the blog was fulfilling for the past decade, is increasingly being handled by a growing number of disparate media forms that are blog-like but also decidedly not blogs.” Kottke.org, however, is decidedly still a blog. It also celebrates its twentieth birthday this year. I spoke with Kottke about the Continue reading "Last blog standing, “last guy dancing”: How Jason Kottke is thinking about kottke.org at 20"

The Wall Street Journal shutters eight blogs: “The tools for telling” stories have changed

On the heels of ending its news digest app and fine-tuning its push notification strategy, The Wall Street Journal shut down eight blogs on Monday. Their topics ranged from legal news to the Chinese economy to arts, culture, and entertainment. The shutterings were another condensation of platforms in the Wall Street Journal’s digital strategy, folding coverage of the topic areas into the Wall Street Journal’s homepage. One of the Wall Street Journal’s oldest blogs, the Law Blog launched in January 2006 with a “simple name but a novel approach to legal news in the pre-Twitter era,” the paper’s law bureau chief Ashby Jones wrote in the blog’s farewell note:
Law Blog was the first of its kind at the WSJ and was an immediate hit, attracting readers from all corners of the legal world. Its success helped usher in a sort of Golden Age for blogs at WSJ and Continue reading "The Wall Street Journal shutters eight blogs: “The tools for telling” stories have changed"

The Verge launches Circuit Breaker, a gadget blog-as-Facebook page

Is Facebook the new RSS? Vox Media’s tech site The Verge is trying something that might answer that question: It’s launching a gadget “blog,” Circuit Breaker, that will live primarily as a Facebook page, with posts appearing in the Instant Articles format. The New York Times’ John Herrman, who first reported the news, wrote:
Circuit Breaker will be edited by Paul Miller, a former employee of The Verge who is returning to the company. Mr. Miller said the new page would reach for a “core audience” of hard-core gadget fans. The Verge offers some popular gadget coverage, but Mr. Miller said many of those gadget fans “feel neglected when we’re talking about Netflix” and technology’s role in the broader culture. The page will also steer clear of covering the business of tech, leaving industry stories to The Verge or Recode, the tech news site founded by Continue reading "The Verge launches Circuit Breaker, a gadget blog-as-Facebook page"

The New York Times gets rid of Bits as a standalone blog

The New York Times is shuttering its tech blog, Bits, as a separate destination. From a post Wednesday:
“When Bits was born, blogs were the path toward a digital future. They were the only way for us to publish quickly, without the constraints of print deadlines and production. No more. We now have a home-grown publishing system that allows us to more seamlessly integrate our tech coverage across the web, apps, print, social media — everywhere you find our journalism. So for clarity and simplicity, the blog goes away and all tech stories will now carry the label of Tech. You will still see the Bits identifier on some of our journalism. The Bits email newsletter will continue, as will Bits special sections and daily reports that summarize the big news of the day.”
The New York Times did a big rethink of its blogs in 2014, Continue reading "The New York Times gets rid of Bits as a standalone blog"