Congratulations on beginning the REQUIRED training process for building a Drupal site. The Drupal transition is an exercise in both migrating into an easier to use content management system and of equal importance, an opportunity to improve your site's navigation, content and images. The steps below are meant to be followed — in order — to get the most out of them. At the end of your build, you can contact us about how to launch a Drupal website. If it appears that any of this training was skipped or not followed, the Web Team will ask you to complete all portions of the training/checklist. Therefore, it's a good idea early on to see what that checklist consists on.


Important Tip Before You Start ... The most guidance while in the tool working will be seen beneath each field -- denoted by the blue "TIP" graphic. Web masters should follow these tips as much as possible as you work your way through the various templates -- they guide you through which field appears in which template.


STEP 1: Is Drupal Right for Your Website Needs?

Drupal is for the most forward facing university content and its departments and colleges. There are other website needs that exist. Find out which platform is right for you.


STEP 2: Request a Drupal Group

If you've determined your website is an appropriate fit for Drupal, you must add yourself to Drupal before you can be added to a group. You do this by logging into Drupal. Expect to be denied access, and then you can complete the request for a Drupal group.

If you have already built a website in Drupal and are beginning a new website, you can complete the request for a Drupal group.

While you wait for your group to be built, you can plan for your Drupal site.


STEP 3: Brush up on content best practices

Before you jump into building, it's important that you brush up on best practices for web writing and page creation. Because this transition is an exercise in improvement, there's an expectation that sites coming to us for launch will have done some heavy lifting in the area of content creation. Plan for web writing on highly visible pages and learn how to write great web copy.


STEP 4: Learn about your web accessibility responsibilities before you start building

UVM takes ADA compliance and web accessibility very seriously. Though our Drupal templates have some default settings that help with web acessibility, it is important to remember web accessibility remains the primary responsibility of web content authors and editors. Read the primer on web accessibility and sign up for our required accessibility training.


STEP 5: Consult the website content checklist

This content checklist is something you will want to continue to return to again and again to guide you through some of the current guidelines. For example, if you are an academic unit, we have a required template for majors pages. There's also a required style for banner images/stories. Learn about it all in the content checklist.


STEP 6: Make data-driven decisions about what content you no longer need

We know that you have a lot of people invested in this website, and we find that those people care about data. Therefore, it helps you as you develop to be intimate with how people are using your website. Do you have Google Analytics attached to your account? If so, now would be the time to assess how people use your website. Contact the Web Team for more help in this area and learn about adding Google Analytics to your new Drupal website.


STEP 7: Login to Drupal and familiarize yourself with the "My Workbench" Interface

Login and find My Workbench.

You will want to bookmark this login to Drupal: as you'll use it every time you login to make an edit or work on your website. Login with your personal UVM netID.


STEP 8: Update your group settings

Learn about your group settings.

Find your group settings: "My Workbench" > "My Groups" > Edit tab


STEP 9: Learn about and create your group's homepage

Because your Drupal website is technically anchored by this homepage, every group needs one. The first content you should create is your group homepage. Even if you don't plan to populate it first.

Explore homepage templates: Your content, as well as the type of unit you are will guide your choice of homepage templates.

Plan homepage content: Read "Plan for your Drupal homepages." Watch the video "Plan for your Drupal site homepage."

Build out your homepage: Now that you've planned, learn how to build your homepage.

Create a homepage banner: Tutorial on creating a 1200 x 300 photo banner.


STEP 10: Build a general page

Before you take this step, you'll want to be sure that you have developed some content for a basic page -- sometimes an "About Us" page or a "Contact Us" page can be among the most basic first pages to build. Watch the video on how to build a basic page.

Do you plan to add this new page to your site's main menu? If so, jump to the next step.


STEP 11: Develop your site's menu

First, you must plan for your navigation. Building a menu item is very much tied to page-building in Drupal. If you haven't completed the previous step of building a basic page, do so now before you build your menu.

Note: Academic units and colleges are asked to follow our required navigation, which means that they first must build out the corresponding pages of content.


STEP 12: Continue building and adding enhancements to your site

As you continue working in Drupal, you'll get more adventurous. Add accordions! Build a webform! Add call-to-action buttons! The Drupal toolbox will become your number one source for how to add enhancements. NOTE: Be sure you are linking properly as you build. Fixing these can be time consuming for you at launch.


STEP 13: Launch your Drupal website

When you're done building, read about launching your Drupal website.

Site maintenance: conduct an annual site review

Some of these guidelines are specific to academic units, but most of it applies to all UVM websites. Checklist for annual site review (PDF)

Maintain an existing Drupal website

This online training is meant to take editors from group creation through the launch of a website. Learn how to edit an existing Drupal site.


Join our listserv

All of our Drupal enhancements are announced through our webinfo listserv. Please join our listserv.


Attend a help hours session

The Web Team offers weekly walk-in help hours. If you're having trouble with building your site, stop in. Hours are always updated on our Drupal Web Guide homepage.