Drupal Starter’s Guide


Last week I introduced the Content Management System (CMS) and some of the reasons why I recommend selecting an open source CMS like WordPress or Drupal for your web site.  This week, I would like to go more in depth on Drupal, and I will let Six Revisions take the discussion even further with their thorough starter’s guide tutorial.

Drupal is one of my favorite platforms for developing small business web sites for several reasons:

  • Flexibility (to use it for many different types of sites)
  • Wide availability of free modules (a.k.a. plugins) and themes
  • Well-structured and documented code
  • Built on PHP and MySQL – cheap, reliable, and widely available hosting
  • A great developer API and hook system
  • Relatively large developer base, should you need new features developed
  • Arguably the best CMS for SEO

Most of you have probably never heard of Drupal, though, so it couldn’t be that popular, could it?  It’s actually used on some very high-profile websites that you have probably visited.

The biggest win for the Drupal community was the migration of whitehouse.gov to Drupal when the Obama Administration took office.

White House New Media Team on Using Drupal from Development Seed on Vimeo.

There are a lot of sites that use Drupal, including 2% of the top 10,000 websites on the Internet. Here’s a small sampling:

  • The White House
  • McDonald’s
  • The PGA Tour
  • NASA
  • Ubuntu
  • 20th Century Fox
  • The South African Government
  • Mensa (they’re geniuses–they should know a good CMS!)
  • Intel
  • The Grammy Awards
  • CNN
  • Many Universities (Duke, MIT, Harvard, etc.)
  • Warner Brothers Records
  • Buckeye Interactive!

If you haven’t had enough, here are some more resources to help you see how popular Drupal is:

Drupal has it drawbacks, though, so don’t jump to the conclusion that I’m a Drupal zealot.  When WordPress can get the job done for a client, I usually select it over Drupal because WordPress is more user-friendly out of the box.

So if you’re starting to like what you hear about Drupal, you should give it a try.  As I eluded to, Six Revisions put together the best comprehensive guide to Drupal that I’ve seen.  In their article Getting Started with Drupal: A Comprehensive Hands-On Guide, you will find another brief discussion of the pro’s and con’s of Drupal, a little on the differences between WordPress and Drupal, and then a very thorough step-by-step guide to installing and trying Drupal for yourself.

Let me know your thoughts on Drupal and how the tutorial goes.  If you’d like a demo or have any questions about whether Drupal would be a good fit for your site, post a comment or contact us and I will be happy to answer all of your questions!

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