8 Quick Tips For Beginners To Easily Get Started With Drupal

Drupal has been used by a lot of big brands worldwide–Google, Yahoo, and Sony to name a few. Even universities and countries like Harvard and Belgium are enjoying this free, convenient, reliable, and user-friendly content management framework.

Drupal can be overwhelming at first because of its flexible and powerful range of functions. If you are planning to get started, listed below are quick tips to help beginners understand this web platform.

Tip #1: Choose a different theme other than Drupal Core

Beginners might be surprised to realize that Drupal isn’t really what they’ve pictured— a flawless content managing system that does all the work. No, it isn’t really all that. The core build of Drupal actually lacks certain features. Drupal, as a whole, is meant to be a framework that can aid in creating a content management system tailored to their needs.

So for starters, a plan in mind is necessary. If the goal is creating a website in the least amount of time, choose the premium Drupal theme as it has almost everything a website needs. However, if the goal is to create a more customized theme for a certain type of site, know first the focus of the website. Afterwards, the next step is to choose among the distribution profiles available that would fit the site’s requirements.

Tip #2: Set up Backup and Migrate

Install Backup and Migrate to take care of important database from your site. This way, the administrators can download or save the files in the site’s private file location when inevitable mistakes occur.

Tip #3: Choose modules wisely

A new Drupal user should not get too overwhelmed with the wide array of modules the system offers. Installing every module deemed relevant is not really advisable, since some modules have similar functions and could possibly interfere and create conflicts with each other. Limit the number by carefully choosing which module would best aid the website’s performance.

Tip #4: Personalize your URL

When a user does a Google search, the URL appears almost like a paragraph of undefined letters, numbers, and symbols. Thus, having URL aliases can be helpful not only for the administrators but also for the visitors. For instance, URL aliases like https://www.drupal.org/features can be easily remembered, because it’s short, simple, and relevant to the page’s content. Drupal’s Pathauto will help achieve this.

Tip #5: Keep your navigation features simple

Navigation should be easy and user-friendly. And by user, this means both the website administrators and visitors. Site navigation can either be organization oriented or visitor oriented.

Organization oriented approach is probably the most common interface as it caters to almost all types of visitors. Basically, there is the Home page, Who we are, What we do etc. It was designed to guide visitors who are looking for information and services, as well as those who want to get in touch with the website owner.

The visitor oriented approach, on the other hand, is helpful if the website already has regular traffic of visitors and/or subscribers. For example, www.satisfind.com, a mystery shopping organization, has a Client and Shopper Log in feature on their site. This sorts out the regular site visitors from the new ones, giving each group respective information depending on their membership.

The important factor to keep in mind is that navigation should not be complicated for the users. It should be organized, making sure that the users will get to the page they want easily.

Tip #6: Organize content types

Creating content types in Drupal allows site builders to define the details that would come with a certain content (e.g. news, podcast, article, etc). This could include the numbers, text, and images. Organizing content labels, as well as the fields for each one, would then help administrators and users to easily follow what a certain content type needs.

For efficiency and less confusion, make sure that labels are clear and can stand alone without the help of descriptions. Labelling fields properly is necessary, so the information are placed where they should be and that adding or modifying certain features can be done smoothly.

Tip #7: Limit the number of views

Maximize views by placing all relevant content in it. Ideally, having one view for each content type is enough. For example, if the website has a Music feature, all related blocks should be included in it: the different genres of Music, Artists, Albums, Most listened, Most downloaded, Most reviewed etc. Limiting the number to one view reduces the possibility of multiple pages, feeds, blocks etc.

Tip #8: Turn on performance, clear cache

Turn on Drupal’s performance settings and make sure to clear cache when you add any changes in your website. Drupal has a caching mechanism, so certain changes made by the administrator will not take effect unless caches are cleared.

To sum up, Drupal is relatively easy for beginners but keep in mind that enough effort should be done at the start to ensure that Drupal can perfectly aid with the whole content management system. Above are quick tips for beginners to keep in mind when getting started. If you wish to build a Drupal website from scratch, take a look at step-by-step guides to show you the way.

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