Drupal is a powerful content management system that offers a vast array of functionality, customization and publishing options. As of 2014 there is an estimated number of more than 1 million websites being powered by Drupal, ranging from small personal websites to large government based portals.
The core Drupal application features a range of functions that assist webmasters in creating, editing and publishing content to the web. Some of these, as found in most content management systems, include:
- WYSIWYG Content Editor
- Multiple Content Types
- In-Built Search
- User Management
- Templating/Theming Control
- Module Management
- SEO Benefits
Although Drupal is an extremely powerful software out of the box, there are still a range of additional functions that may be required to suit your needs. Fortunately, Drupal has a large community which includes over 30,000 developers, as of 2014, who create and develop a range of modules that cater to specific uses and build enhanced functionality on top of the core application.
The Best Drupal Modules
Firstly, a Drupal module is a piece of code that is installed in conjunction with the core application that adds in an additional set of functions or options that may not have otherwise been included in the application. They may also be of an enhancement nature which means they don’t add any new functionality but further enhance functionality that already exists.
At the time of writing this there are more than 27,000 modules available for download from the official Drupal Module Directory. Such a large number may be daunting when you first browser the module directory, particularly so if you’re not looking for anything in particular.
If your only new to Drupal and just looking for a few of the better Modules to help you get started, the following will provide you with a brief overview of 5 useful and handy modules that are well worth installing.
Views is one of the most download Drupal Modules and recommended for use on almost any Drupal website due to the increased functionality and management it provides. Views is a flexible and dynamic query builder that makes it easy to grab and display certain content types with ease.
2. XML Sitemap
XML Sitemap is a simple yet essential module that should be installed on all Drupal websites in order to receive the biggest SEO benefit. XML Sitemap creates sitemap.org and search engine complient sitemaps for your websites which allows search engine bots the ability to mor eintelligently crawl and index your site.
Panels is a useful module that allows Drupal webmasters to create multiple customized layouts for different uses through the use of a drag and drop dashboard. The drag and drop content manager allows you to visually see your layout as you’re designing it, making it easy to keep an eye on exactly what you’re doing and what the layout looks like.
Webform provides the ability for webmasters to create a range of customizable content forms for use by website visitors. Some of the forms that can be created via this module include contact forms, surveys and petitions – all of which can be set to send a receipt to the users email address.
5. Google Analytics
Tracking the activity and behaviour of visitors on your website is an important activity that should not be neglected due to the ability it provides for you to further improve your website. The Google Analytics module provides an easy medium for the addition of your analytics code onto your website whilst also adding a range of selectable options to better enhance the way it tracks visitors on your website.
Looking For More
Should the above listed modules not suit your needs it may be worth heading over to the official Drupal Modules Directory and browsing through the thousands of modules available. These modules range from simple added extras and existing function modifications all the way up to large modifications that change the code Drupal functionality.