After installing a new Drupal site you may be wondering what to do next. I would advise reading tons of drupal tutorials, blog posts, and forum posts. However, I know this can be a little overwhelming at first. So here is a list of the top 10 things I think you should do after installing drupal.
If you don't know what clean URLs are, they are a great feature of drupal that allows you to get rid of the ?q= portion of any web requests. For instance when you create your first node it will have an address of http://www.mysite.com/?q=/node/1. That is very annoying for people to remember and search engines hate it. If you don't know it already most sites live or die by their search engine placement so you want to be search engine friendly. Doing things like this is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO. When you have clean urls turned on the address would instead be http://www.mysite.com/node/1. Starting with Drupal 6 the install program tries to automatically enable clean URLs but if you are installing an older version of Drupal, or for some reason you the automatic setup didn't work here is what you do to enable clean URLs:
Once you have clean URLs turned on you no longer have the annoying ?q= parameter in your URLs. However, wouldn't it be nice if you wrote a page about Drupal Help if instead of the URL to that page being http://www.mysite.com/node/75 it was http://www.mysite.com/drupal-help. This would be much easier for people to remember and in Search Engine Optimization terms it helps you get a better rank for having keyword such as druapl and help in your page url. Luckily for us the Pathauto makes this very easy.
Note: If you are interested in Search Engine Optimization you need to make sure you don't have duplicate content on your site. By itself Pathauto will create duplicate content. Because a page can be indexed by either node/75 or the friendly URL like drupal-help. If this is a concern to you I recommend you also download and install the Global Redirect module. This module makes sure that duplicate content is handled correctly with a 301 redirect.
Your new Drupal site is a lot more fun to play with if you add a little content to it. To start out with just add a few stories like you would to a blog. For example create one thats title Look We're Online. Tell some details about what its like running setting up Drupal. How long it took. Some info about yourself. After that add an About Us or an About Me page. This is a good start to any reputable site as it allows your visitors to know a little more about who their dealing with.
You can add stories by navigating to Create content -> Story on the left navigation bar (make sure your logged in as Administrator). By default a story has its summary published to the front page of your site. Where as a page doesn't. However you can overide this in the Publishing Options section when you add a story or page.
You can add a page by navigation to Create content -> Page one the left navigation bar. By default a page does not show up on the front page unless you check the appropriate box under the Publishing Options section. If you want to create an About Us page. Add a page and give it the title About Us. Then expand the Menu settings section. Set the Menu link title to About Us, leave the Parent item set to Primary Links and the weight at 0. Then add the body of the page and click the Save button. Now you should see an About Us link in the upper right corner of your website. This is where <Primary Links> are displayed.
If instead you want to have the About Us on the left side of the screen click the Edit tab for your about us page. Go to the Menu settings section and set the Parent item to <Navigation> instead. If you would like to learn more about customizing Menu's in Drupal I suggest you read through Menu Handbook section.
You want visitors to be able to interact with you right? Whether your running a simple blog or your selling a product you must have a Contact Me or Contact Us page. Drupal makes it very easy to create one of these. Simply navigate to the Module admin page by going to Administrator -> Site Building -> Modules. Next enable the Contact Module and click the Save Configuration button.
Next set the Contact form settings by going to Administrator -> Site Building -> Contact Form. Click on the Settings tab. Here you can set the message to have shown above your contact form, how many times a user can submit a contact form, and if you want users to be able to have personal contact forms. I would suggest turning off the personal contact forms until you need them. If this is enabled, than any user that registers on your site is able to have a personal contact form that other people can use to send messages to them. This is nice in that users never have to give out their email address to third parties, but it can also be a security hole if people use it to send spam.
Save your settings information and click the Add Category tab. You must have at least one category set up for the contact form to work. A category corresponds to a label the user will select when sending feedback. Depending on what label they select you can set who the feedback gets sent to and what auto reply the user gets. If you only add one category than the contact form not display a list, but just use that one category. I suggest you at least create one category such as Web Site feedback and have it sent to your email address. You might also want to play around with other categories, such as Product Request, or Request for more info. You could also set up categories to correspond to different divisions in your company.
Once you add one category you will be able to see your contact page by going to http://yoursite.com/contact. Pretty simple. You probably want to add a menu item that points to your contact form. To do that simply navigate to Administer -> Site building -> Menus -> Primary Links . Then click the Add item tab. Set the Path to contact, and the link title to Contact Us or Contact Me. Set the Weight to 5 so that is displayed farther to the right of the primary links.
Unless you love using HTML you probably want to add a WYSIWYG Editor to your drupal installation. WYSIWYG stands for What You See Is What You Get and it allows you to edit a page in a visual fasion instead of having to use the HTML code. Although I highly suggest you learn at least some basic HTML if you are going to be doing much with Drupal, I also know that sometimes its nice to be able to create content fast with out worying about the HTML code.
The most commonly used Drupal WYSIWYG editor is TinyMCE. The TinyMCE Module. An explanation of how to install the TinyMCE module is on the main projects hompage. Read the directions and you should have it up and running in no time.
If you havn't already done so, register at drupal.org. Once you've registered you will be able to ask and answer questions on their forum. Also as you learn more you can report any bugs you find and even contribute solutions. You can also sign up for the Drupal newsletters that will notify you of any big Drupal news or Security announcements.
One thing you should play around with right away is creating a custom content type. By default Drupal ships with the page and story content types. However, you are not limited to only these. You can create any content type your heart desires. For example on this site I created a custom Tutorial content type. This lets me easily add tutorials with custom fields. Try creating a new content type. For example create a content type called Animal. To do this navigate to Administer -> Content Management -> Content Types. Then click on the Add content type tab. Set the Name to Animal and the Type to animal. Then set a simple description and click the Save content type button.
Now you have a simple new content type. You can further add custom fields to it by downloading the Content Construction Kit Module (CCK) . It lets you add custom fields to your custom content types you create. For example on the Animal type you could add a field that lets you specify the weight of the animal, or the name, or the age, etc. There are also many useful addon modules for the CCK that allow you to add other field types.
Unless you are creating a simple five page brochure site you probably are going to want to have search set up on your site. This is very easy to do. The first step is to enable the Search module. Do this by navigating to Administer -> Site building -> Modules. Then check the box next to the Search module (under the Core - optional) section. Next check the Save configuration button. You will notice the search text box appear on the top of the left column of your site.
Once you have the search module enabled you can change the search settings by going to Administer -> Site configuration -> Search settings. You will notice that 0% of your site is indexed. We will see how to force the indexing to happen in a second. One of the most important settings here is the Minimum word length. If you are going to have a fairly small site I recommend setting this to 1 instead of 3.
Once you have your search settings saved you can navigate to Administer -> Reports -> Status Report. Here if you click the run cron manually link Drupal will index your pages on your website. Now you can try a search and see what comes up. Overall Drupal's built in search is pretty accurate. If you want you can also check out additional drupal search modules.
If you want to make your Drupal site look like your own you will need to learn about themeing. To start with browse through the Drupal Theme Section at drupal.org. Try downloading some different themes and see what they look like. Than make tweaks to them and see if you can learn from what they are doing. After that spend some time checking out the Theme Developer's Guide. After that just dive in and learn as you go. If you have questions feel free to ask them here or in the Drupal forums.
Taxonomy means a method of categorizing something. This is exactly what Drupal taxonomy does. It allows you to organize and categorize any node you create. Although, its a little hard to understand the taxonomy module it is well worth learning. As you develop your site, you will inevitably run into a time when you need to rely on the taxonomy module. To begin learning about it check out the taxonomy handbook page. From there you should learn enough to get you started. After that you have to just jump in and start trying things for yourself.
Recently my site was lost. I have been able to re-create the content but unfortunately I will need to re-upload any pictures that are in my tutorials. Please feel free to still use the tutorials and I will upload the pictures soon. Sorry for any incoveniance.