Choosing Drupal Site Features - dummies

By Lynn Beighley, Seamus Bellamy

Your choice of features depends on the purpose of your Drupal site, as well as your user base. Here’s a sampling of site types and site features to consider:

  • Blog: Obviously, if you have a blog site you need the Blog module. But you may want to provide a page about yourself, a contact form, and a page with archives of previous blogs.

    Consider adding advertising blocks to your site as the number of visitors to your sites increases.

    If your site consists of blogs about a set of topics, you might want to create a submenu with links to these topics. A good example (and also a site that sometimes offers Drupal tips) is Smashing


    Blogs don’t have to be the voice of a single author. Multiple users can have blogs. You may want to build a site that features a number of blog writers.

  • Brochure: Brochure sites are largely informational, and the information on these sites doesn’t change very often. Generally, they contain

    • A main page

    • A contact page

    • Directions

    • Sub-pages containing more information

    A good example of a brochure site is the National Park Service’s Grand Canyon site (NPS GrandCnyn). It almost looks like a printed brochure that has been turned into a site. Very little information on this site ever changes.

  • Community: A website for which its members provide the content is considered a community site. Community sites are often sponsored by a company and used to advertise, while providing a valuable resource for users of a product or participants in some activity.

    Most community sites are part of a larger site and primarily consist of forums. You will often see advertisements and company branding, as well as links back to the other sections of the site, as shown on the community forums at Frommer’s, a travel book series.


  • Image gallery: Image galleries abound on the web. They may contain images from a single source or allow registered users of a site to contribute the pictures. You’ve probably seen Flickr, a site that combines both image gallery and community website features.

    An image gallery can be extended to become a media gallery, offering videos, podcasts, or PDFs. The idea behind the site is to serve as a repository for files, allowing them to be previewed online, and under certain conditions, downloaded by visitors to the site. These sites need a form to allow files to be uploaded to the site.

  • Information or news: These sites are almost the opposite of brochure sites because their content frequently changes. The focus is on publishing blurbs that visitors click to read the full story. An example of this sort of site is Google News. Every time you visit the page, the news headlines have changed.

    News is acquired or aggregated from a variety of sources. News sites are typically very busy and don’t have many other features beyond the headline links. New headlines may also be accompanied by thumbnail images.

  • Storefront: From brick-and-mortar stores like PetSmart and Target to online-only retailers such as, storefront sites abound on the web. Storefronts exist to sell, and usually focus on doing that. You don’t see many bells and whistles on shopping sites.

    As you can see they have links to the products prominently displayed, a link to a shopping cart, and often a Search box to help visitors quickly find products they are seeking.


Search boxes are great additions to most types of sites. They don’t take up much room, and they save visitors to your site lots of frustration when they are looking for one particular subject, item, or article. Drupal has a preinstalled module for adding one to your site.