Editing and Adding Content to a Drupal Website

A Drupal CMS Guide

Getting Started

Most of this user guide comprises step-by-step instructions for common editing tasks that Bear Group develops, but first, we want to give you a brief introduction to what makes Drupal sites different than sites you may have worked on in the past.

What Makes a Drupal Site Different?

Traditional websites are static—each page exists as a separate file stored in a directory on your web server. If you’ve ever worked on websites with Dreamweaver or other desktop web development software, you’ve worked on static websites.

Websites built with a CMS like Drupal, are dynamic sites. Instead of dozens of static HTML files, the pages of your site are assembled and displayed from a database, every time someone visits it. This structure allows for much more flexible sites that can have anywhere from 20 to 20 million pages.

The other big advantage of a CMS is that updates to your website content are all done through your web browser—Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Firefox—instead of having to edit it with desktop software tools and upload the new file to the right place on the server. Since you’re working right in your browser and saving your changes right to the database, your updates are available on the site as soon as you’re ready to publish them.

How Much HTML Will I Need to Know?

To manage and update your site content, no specific coding or HTML skills are required. However, that doesn’t mean that the HTML isn’t there if you need it. Much of the editing you’ll be doing on your site is done with a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor. You’ll have a toolbar full of formatting options similar to the tools available in a word processor. But it’s useful to know that when you’re using those tools, you’re actually building the HTML code that will display your content.

WYSIWYG editor

If you aren’t comfortable with HTML, then you never need to look past the WYSIWYG editor. But if you do have some familiarity with HTML, you can always click the Source button on the formatting toolbar, to edit the HTML directly. So HTML is not a requirement, but it can come in handy, when troubleshooting a page or incorporating more complex formatting into your site’s content.

Learn to Love the Save Button!

Working with the WYSIWYG editor can often make it feel like you’re editing in a word processor, but there is still one major difference: In a desktop word processor, your changes are automatically saved as you go. That is NOT the case when editing in Drupal! Your progress on a page will not be saved until you click the Save button, typically found at the bottom of the page. Click it early and click it often, to avoid losing your work.

Getting to Know Your Drupal Site

Logging In

In order to start editing or adding content to your site, your first step is to log in with your user account. You’ll need the username and password for your account.

To log in:

  1. Go to www.<YOUR COMPANY>.com/user.

  2. You should see a Login tab. Type your username into the Username field.

  3. Type your password into the Password field. NOTE: If you ever forget your password, click on the Request New Password tab to reset it.

  4. Click the Login button to log in to the site.

Login box

Introduction to The Administrative Toolbar

Once you’ve logged into your site, you’ll notice that a black toolbar has appeared across the top of the page. This is the administrative toolbar for your site. From here, you have access to a wide array of configuration options. Although each of the menus on this toolbar has many configuration options, you’ll likely spend most of your time using just a few of them.

Here is a quick introduction to the administrative menus you’ll be using most frequently:

  • Content – From this menu, you can add, edit, and administer your site’s content. To see a complete list of your site’s content, click on the Content heading at the top of the menu. To add content, mouse over the Add Content link, and then select a content type from the list. 

  • Structure – In this menu, you’ll find options for editing some of your site’s structural elements, including blocks, menus, and views. 

  • People – From this menu you can add and administer your site’s user accounts. 

Editing & Adding Site Content

To keep your website up to date, you’ll need to edit and add content on a regular basis. In upcoming posts in this series we will cover:

If you’re new to editing site content, we encourage you to start by reviewing the basic Drupal definitions and terminology. If, on the other hand, you’re just stuck and need some help configuring a particular type of content, please contact us directly or connect with us on social.