Drupal has been one of the best content management system platforms on the web, along with Joomla and WordPress. With Drupal, you can easily and quickly get a website up and running without learning how to code or purchasing a third-party service to help you with that. Whether you’re looking to create a simple personal blog or a professional online presence for business, it can all be done with this free, open source CMS solution.
Benefits of Building a Webite with Drupal
Drupal has many highlighting features that make it stand out from competition.
You can download and install Drupal on your hosting server for free, regardless of the core software, contributed modules or a library of templates. This can significantly help you reduce web development cost.
Drupal makes it easy to customize attributes from features to layout and operation. Particularly for designers and developers, they can have access to a number of choices to meet their high-end needs.
Drupal typically delivers faster page loads and response times than other website builders, thanks to the less resource-intensive core that requires less expensive server or hosting setup.
.Extensive API Support
Facebook, Twitter and many other major social networking platforms offer an extensive API support for Drupal, on which developers are able to build custom modules.
Besides, Drupal is SEO friendly because it offers you a flexible way to display content that is loved by search engines. And also, your Drupal website is responsive to both desktop and smartphone screens, which gives you more possibility to generate leads.
Build a Website on Drupal Step by Step
Now, I will walk you through the essentials of creating a Drupal website. By the end, you will have an understanding of Drupal’s fundamental building blocks.
Step 1. Register a Domain Name
Your domain name is your unique identity, which determines the first impression of your website on visitors, defines your company brand, and also, affects your SEO. If you are serious about your online presence, a domain name is a worthwhile investment.
Here are several tips to help you get a good domain name:
1.Buy a domain name that is easy to type and remember;
2.Avoid slang terms, hyphens, and numbers;
3.Keep a domain name shorter;
4.Stick with .com, .net, .info, .org extensions;
5.Don’t use trademark domains;
Step 2. Find a Web Hosting Plan
There are so many web hosting providers on the market and you might get confused and frustrated when facing so many choices. Fortunately, there are some criteria to steer you choice. Just as we’ve mentioned detailedly in the article—How to Choose a Reliable Drupal Hosting Service—you need to consider at least four factors: compatibility & installation, performance, technical support, price.
If you’re going to build a small to medium-sized Drupal website, consider going with Bisend. We’re offering three web hosting plans that fully support the latest versions of Apache, PHP, and MySQL database. Importantly, we make use of leading edge technologies, for instance, SSD and Intel Xeon processor, to optimize server performance. For easy management, we include a free Plesk Onyx panel in every web hosting account.
Step 3. Download & Install Drupal
Downloading and installing Drupal is a fairly straightforward process, particularly when your hosting provider offers you the 1-click installation functionality.
Take Bisend as an example, you can easily and quickly have the Drupal application installed via the Plesk Onyx panel. Just log into your Plesk Onyx account, and go to Applications > Featured Applications, find the Drupal icon and click on Install, then the latest version of Drupal will be installed. If you have other desired Drupal version or want to change default installation settings, you can choose Install (Custom) option.
Step 4. Create Users
If you just need a simple Drupal website and you’re the only one who will author, edit, and manage the content, you can keep the default installation settings. Otherwise, if you will have to share content creation as well as management activities with others, you need to create accounts for those users.
In the Manage administrative menu, navigate to People then click Add user and fill in the form fields as required.
Step 5. Choose a Layout & Theme
The appearance of your website plays an important role in how visitors react. When it is attractive enough, it may also help improve business relations and visitors will be willing to stay longer to read your content. So, you need pay more attention to the choice of the layout and theme for your Drupal website.
Navigate to the Appearance menu, and click Install New Theme. You will see a large number of enabled themes, which will be a little bit overwhelming, however. To find a most suitable one to your website, you should take several factors into consideration: easy of customization, responsive, simplicity, and your design vision.
After you select a theme to be your default, you can visit your Drupal website and see the new layout based on the theme you’ve selected.
Step 6. Develop the Homapage
The homage is one of the most useful and popular pages on your Drupal website. When visitors land on your website, the homage is the first thing they will see. To set up a static page to act as the forefront, you should navigate to Content > Add Content > Basic Page, then add a title to the article and fill the body with the text you wish to display on the front page.
After that, click the Promotion Options in the right to expand its window and then select the checkbox next to Promoted to front page. If you would like to add more fields to your homage, go to Structure > Content types > Basic page > Manage fields > Add field and add any field with a label.
Note that the homage is just an example of how to create a page in Drupal. Besides that, you need to add the “About Us”, “Contact Us” and other pages to your website.
Step 7. Add Contributed Modules
Drupal takes pride in a loyal, supportive community, where developers contribute thousands of excellent modules to the platform. The modules are helpful for expanding upon the functionality of Drupal core.
Just visit https://www.drupal.org/project/project_module, and then search for the module you want to add. There are two options of downloads you can choose: tar.gz and zip. After download it to your hard drive, you can upload it to the sites/all/modules of the Drupal installation, using FTP client. Then unzip the files and enable the module on the Admin > Modules page.
Step 8. Utilize Blocks
Blocks have been a highlighted feature of Drupal. They provide a means to create widgets to display User Login, Who’s Online and other content in the header, siderbar, footer and other regions on your page. You can create a block by enabling core or contributed modules. Once a block is created, you customize its appearance, size, shape, and position; as well, you can decide which web page you want it to appear on.
This tutorial just went over the main steps of how to create a website on Drupal while introduces different functions of Drupal that you may need. Nevertheless, there’s still many information you need to explore by yourself, in terms of developing compelling content and driving traffic to your Drupal website.