Getting Started With Drupal

If you’re contemplating switching your CMS to Drupal, you’ve probably heard that it can be difficult to learn. While this is true, Drupal is a very robust and flexible CMS that may be a good option for your business. Don’t let a steep learning curve scare you off this powerful and customizable solution. With proper preparation, you can successfully migrate to Drupal, train staff in core functionality and get your site off the ground.

A Successful Migration to Drupal

Preparing to leave an existing website and change to Drupal can be the most intimidating part of the project. Make sure that you’re doing this because you think it’s a good idea and because Drupal meets your needs, not because Drupal is a trendy CMS solution. To ensure that nothing’s left behind, you’ll need to provide the team in charge of developing your Drupal site with an exact copy of your present site. Your existing CMS may export the data as a CSV, XML or other file type.

Getting Started With Drupal

If you plan to change elements of your branding or marketing, do so now. Debuting a new look and a new message completes a total update of your business. As you modify your branding, explain any changes to the development team.

Take the chance to rewrite any Web copy that isn’t serving your need. Small tweaks can bring a page into line with your new brand. Major changes can outline frequent areas of confusion. You don’t have to alter website copy, but it’s a good idea to review everything, bring any inconsistencies into line, make sure all information is current and toss out any outmoded pages.

If you plan to host the site internally, review your hardware specifications and update anything that needs it. If you aren’t hosting the site yourself, identify a responsible host. Save yourself a headache later by identifying hosts that have experience with Drupal and caters specifically to Drupal clients. Put your tech point person in touch with the development team. She can provide the team with the DNS, SSH, website login and analytics information for a successful transfer.

Getting up and Running with Drupal

While not all of your staff may need to use Drupal for their job, some will. Marketing may want to blog about new products, and development may wish to create portfolios for grants, for example. As a next step, get these employees on board with Drupal before the switch. Consider bringing in a trainer, using Drupal’s extensive training resources to identify local options. The more opportunity that your staff has now to become comfortable with creating and editing resources in Drupal, the smoother things will be post-switch.

You may decide that it’s in your organization’s best interest to hire someone internally to maintain your Drupal site or to work with a contractor. A contractor works well if you have few updates, but if you anticipate making ongoing changes to your site, it may be more cost effective to hire someone.

You’ll mitigate any Drupal fears by working through this process a step at a time. Doing your preparation work incrementally and focusing on the future will net you a cohesive website that your team feels comfortable using.

Image Credit: KROMKRATHOG on Freedigitalphotos.net

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