How to Start a Drupal Blog from Scratch?

Drupal is a commonly-used content management framework and its installation can also be turned into a blog, a newsletter, a forum, etc. In this tutorial, we’re going to take you through the journey of creating a Drupal blog from scratch, which can be done with several simple steps. Now, scroll down and get started with your blogging career.

Some Prerequisites Before Starting out

Before doing anything at all, you should know some prerequisites that will keep you from wasting a lot of time and money later on. The first thing you need to do is have a prior planning on your blog. Seriously speaking, this planning stage is particularly important for any serious webmasters, and you can ask yourself those questions as below:

  • What is your personal blog’s purpose?
  • How will you boost traffic for your own website?
  • What will make your Drupal website stand out from the crowd?

Preparatory WorkAnother preparatory work needs mentioning is choosing a proper domain name. In most cases, it will take quite a bit of time and finding to select a name that you may like and one that is still available. But it is worthy to put a lot of time into the thought process for a domain name unless you want to get plagued by a poor name.

Last but not the least, you should settle on a great hosting provider that ensures a better user experience and hosting environment. Based on users’ feedbacks and rankings, BlueHost has been entitled as the most recommendable web host that offers free domain name registration and one-click Drupal installation at a cost-effective price of $2.95/mo only. Note that, this special offer can be claimed through the following promotional link, and no coupon code is required.

BlueHost Promotional Link Activation

How to Get Your Drupal Site Setup?

As is mentioned above, Drupal is by all means a good idea to start a blog site. In the following, we would like to firstly guide you through how to set up your Drupal blog site for later use. Note that, we will focus on how to get such a powerful CMS application installed through an auto-installer – Softaculous – that is provided by most hosting providers.

Step 1 – Login to cPanel Control Panel
At the very beginning, you should firstly log into the cPanel control panel with your username and password. Upon entering, there will be a list of editing options in this panel page, including “Databases”, “Domains”, “Files” and much more. Here, you only need to further down to this “Software and Services” section and make a click on the above-mentioned “Softaculous” icon.

Login to cPanel Control Panel

Step 2 – Access the Softaculous Homepage
If done correctly, you will be taken to a menu page where there are a load of options that are sorted by specific functionality and availability. Just expand the “Portals/CMS” section from the left-hand categories menu and you will be displayed with lots of applications as follows.

Access the Softaculous Homepage

Step 3 – Click Drupal Install Button
All you need to do is select Drupal and click on its icon to proceed with your site creation process. As you can see, there will be a Drupal installation screen, and you are allowed to have an overview of this application from the inbuilt features, admin panel screenshots and demo. Besides that, it is also possible to read users’ ratings and reviews about this platform. After you’ve gone through all those mentioned parts, it’s time to press this blue “Install” button.

Click Drupal Install Button

Step 4 – Configurations to Software Setup
Here comes the most important section, in which you are required to fill in personal information about your Drupal blog site. Allowing for convenience, Drupal itself will automatically input some fields within this “Software Setup” area. Each option out there is quite self-explanatory, and you can redefine any option if needed. For instance, you can install your Drupal site in a subfolder by typing relative name like “Drupal” in the “ID Directory” section.

Configurations to Software Setup

Step 5 – Re-create Your Admin Account
In the below “Site Settings” and “Database Settings” areas, you are able to specialize the site name and table prefix based on personal preferences. Make sure the filled-in “Site Name” is highly-relevant to the main purpose of your Drupal site. In the meantime, it is important to change the values of your admin username and password to enhance your website security within this “Admin Account” section. Note that, the default “admin” username can be hacked easily, and a weak password will make your site in great danger.

Re-create Your Admin Account

Step 6 – Check Some Advanced Options
After that, there are several “Advanced Options” as is showed in below. From here, you can decide whether have automated backups and email notifications for available updates. By the way, you can also specify the backup rotation. To put an end to this setup process, you only need to make a hit on the bottom “Install” button.

Check Some Advanced Options

Important to Note: The whole installation process will take 3-4 minutes, and you’d better not leave this processing page until it is accomplished completely. If everything goes right as expected, you will be notified with your Drupal site’s URL and administrative URL. It is highly recommended to write down the URLs or copy them into a local file.

How to Build a Blog with Drupal?

Now that you’ve done with the installation of Drupal, you will be able to further customize your Drupal site. The rest of this tutorial will give an insight into how creating a basic blog site with the latest Drupal 7.3 version.

Login in Your Drupal Account
Without doubt, the first thing you need to is login to your admin panel with unique username and password. In the meantime, Drupal will empower you to create a new account and request new password as is showed below. Do not forget to click this “Log in” button to take effect.

Login in Your Drupal Account

Enable Blog Function in Modules Tab
Once done, you will be transferred into the homepage of your administrator panel. As you can notice, there are many editing options from the following screenshot, and you can edit the current account, add new content and have an overall management on this installation. To start using Drupal as a blog site, you must go to “Modules” tab and check the “Blog” option from the following column. Remember to click the “Save Configuration” button to make it work.

Enable Multi-user Blog

Download & Install Drupal Modules
By definition, Drupal modules refer to a collection of files that are written in PHP language and include some functions and structures of Drupal core. In layman’s terms, you are able to personalize the outlook, layout and feel of your Drupal blog site. To achieve this goal, you can go back to the same “Modules” page and click this “Install new Module” link. Beware that, the installation of modules and themes require the FTP access to your own web server.

Install New Modules Link

To start with the module installation, you will have to download the modules that you don’t already have from this “Drupal Module Pages.” Note that, the module version should be fully compatible with your version of Drupal, and it is recommendable to download those “Recommended” versions. Given that you’ve downloaded a .tar.giz or .zip module on the local computer, you can insert its extracted URL or upload it from local folder to perform this installation process as below.

Insert & Upload to Install

Note for Beginners: Within the Drupal module repository, there are plenty of options that will make you feel overwhelmed easily. To set up a blog with Drupal, you may refer to the following Drupal modules that are extremely useful in establishing an eye-catching site.

  • Context – that allows you to control contextual reactions and conditions for different sections of your Drupal site. Besides that, this module comes with two additional modules – Context UI and Content layouts.
  • Token – that allows you to have a central API for any modules, and in the meantime, display their specific token values. Basically, the tokens are bits of text that you can place into large documents via placeholders.
  • Pathauto – that allows you to generate URL or path aliases for many kinds of content (taxonomy, users, nodes, terms) without any user input. Pay attention that, it is built on a pattern system where administer can alter and use tokens.
  • Chaos Tools – that allows you to manage the panel pages through a rich set of inbuilt APIs. More importantly, you are allowed to manage far more than just Panels with bountiful tools, such as Ajax responder, form wizard, object caching, exportables, etc.

Create a New Page
In this section, we will show how powerful Drupal is by adding a new page within a few clicks. To be precise, go to “Content” > “Add Content” and you will be prompted to choose “Basic page” for your static content. As a matter of course, you can choose the “Article” option for blog posts, news and other time-intensive content.

Add New Content

Once done, there will be a new “Create Basic” page, from which you can fill in anything you like in the “Title” field. In the below “Body” field, you are allowed to use multiple text forms that include “Filtered HTML”, “Full HTML” and “Plain text.” Assuming that you choose the “Filtered HTML” option, the addresses for webpages and email will automatically be turned into links.

Fill Content Title & Body

At the bottom of this page, you are prepared with various settings, such as “URL Path”, “Revision”, “Authoring”, “Comment” and “Publishing”, etc. Pay attention that, the “Menu Settings” section empowers you provide a menu link for your Drupal site, and you only need to specify the menu link title, description and weight as follows. Note that, you can select “Home” in the drop-down “Parent item” list to put this page on the front page.

Customize Menu Settings

Enable Access Control in Blocks
To do this, head over to “Structure” > “Blocks” and you will be presented with a drag-and-drop interface as below. Obviously, you can customize the block content that will appear in the site’s header, sidebar, footer and many other regions. At this place, all you need to do is click this “Add block” link so as to proceed with your configurations.

Click Add Block Link

Once clicked, you will be asked to fill in block title, description and body fields of your requirement. Since you’ve done with all those settings, scroll down to the “Roles” section so as to show this block page for the selected roles, including “anonymous user”, “authenticated user” and “administrator.” If you leave this section as it is, this newly-created block will be accessible to all users.

Select User Roles

Till present, you already have a blog site with Drupal, and it is possible to add as many blog posts, images and links as you like. This is only the beginning, and more surprises and possibilities are reserved for you to find.