How to add content to your Drupal website

Adding a new page to a Drupal website is probably the easiest thing you can do in Drupal, none the less there are a couple of important things to be aware of so I am writing this to help beginners understand.

To add a page you have to be logged in. If you are logged in you should have access to a menu on the right or left side of the screen which should have your username at the top. In that menu (if you have been granted permissions) then you should have a link that says “Create Content”. If you don’t have the Jquery menu module installed then you will need to click that link in order to see the links below it. However if you have Jquery menu installed and enabled for the Navigation block (I set all my sites up like this) then you can just click the plus sign to the left of the “Create Content” link to see the available page types. The content types you will see will depend on your site, but default installations come with page, book, poll, forum topic, and story. To keep it simple I am not going to explain the differences between the different content types for now. For now just click “page”.

Once you click the link you will be taken to the edit page for that content type. Add your title, add the body (the main content of the page) and when you are ready click submit. For a simple page this will get the job done. You will be redirected to your new page where you will see a set of tabs at the top which allow you to edit the page (if your user has been granted the sufficient permissions).

A couple of issues to be aware of when adding pages to Drupal:

  1. If you have the node words module installed you can customize the text that will be shown for the description tag (this is important for Search Engine Optimization). However if you don’t have the module installed, or if you don’t fill in the meta tag field then Drupal will automatically take the first 255 characters and use them for the description tag. So pay attention to what you put in the first paragraph of your page. I once messed up my ranking for a site by not paying attention to the fact that I had inserted a flash animation in the top of the page and I had forgotten to use the nodewords description field. The result was that my description tag was invalid gibberish to google. (Note: This was for a site using Drupal 5, I don’t know if the same issue would occur on a Drupal 6 site, but I don’t want to try to find out.)

  2. If you have a Wysywig editor installed such as Tinymce or FCKeditor then you should make sure that the editor is turned off before pasting text from a word processor such as Microsoft Word or Open Office. For Tinymce you do this by clicking the “Disable rich text” link underneath the field you are editing. If you don’t disable rich text before pasting in your content then you will insert all kinds of broken and convoluted html into your page. This is never a good thing, and sometimes it can have strange and unexpected consequences such as disembodied text floating above your menus (I’m not making this up I have seen this happen).

The page you are adding might have more complicated fields if it has been highly customized with CCK, however, if you are just getting started with Drupal this should give you a good foundation. It’s actually very easy to do.