Building a Website on the Drupal Federation

This is meant to be a starting point from which to develop a plan to build a new website.. The actual timeline will depend on the size of the site, the number of people working on the project, the bandwidth of the people engaged in the process, and the deadline by which the new site is to be launched. 

Assess Content

  • Develop a sitemap for current site – top-level pages are generally enough. See: Sitemap Examples
  • Establish which content currently exists and what still needs to be written. 
  • Check for accuracy and timeliness of information to be posted to the site.

Establish a sitemap for the new site 

  • Determine which sections will be defined by which content types – landing page, unit/division page, program page, lab, etc. See: Content Types and Paragraphs 
  • Which sections will have blogs, news, faculty pages, etc.
  • Determine which paragraphs, etc. are desired on the front of the new content types. (Icons, news, social media, etc.)

Gather Content and Assets, Documents, Images, Audio, Video, etc.

  • Determine what content needs to be written – programs, initiatives, divisions, etc. Start that process as early as possible.
  • Determine what images are needed. Obtain them as early as possible. 

Establish an approval process

  • Determine the level of leadership involvement in the process.
  • Consider which leadership at various levels of the unit might need to approve layouts, organization and content.

Request a Domain Name

  • All sites on the SoM Federation should have a domain name. 
  • Read the Duke Domain Request Policy and submit a request for a domain name.
  • Domaine names may take a couple of weeks to process, so ensure that the request is submitted early in the web building process. 

Determine site branding – See Drupal Style Set-up

  • Select secondary color for buttons, pull quotes, text + image shadow. One color for the entire site.
  • What color header option - white logo on blue or blue logo on white?
  • Is there a utility Bar above header? (directory, contact us, apply, donate, etc?)
  • What type of top level menu – traditional drop down menu or mega menu?
  • What will the footer include – address, phone number, social media icons, newsletter sign-up, etc.

Determine what level of assistance is needed to build the site. 

  • Determine whether all content will be built by unit staff or if a third-party vendor is required. 
  • If a vendor is contracted to to assist with building the site, the vendor must contact DHTS before they begin work. Please include  both and on the email.
  • Are additional people needed? Who can help?
  • Use the web editors forum for to answer questions about layout, migration, building sections, etc.

The information on this page is meant to offer a broad outline of the necessary steps required to prepare to build a Drupal site on the School of Medicine Federation. Resources are supplemented by training classes, videos, MS Teams user group, and a documentation website are available to assist users building their site.

  • Drupal Content Types and Paragraphs (vpn required) - description of the content types and paragraphs available to units on the federation. 
  • Sitemap Examples - examples of how to create a basic layout of a new site and determine which content types go where.
  • Drupal Style Set-up Options - branding decisions that will need to be made at the development level before the staging area can be established

Build the Site

  • Receive the staging site from OIT-DWS/DHTS
  • Layout top level menu/navigation (blank pages) See Building the Site
  • Layout additional content types as site is developed
  • Build new “home” pages for programs, units/divisions, labs, etc. – add desired paragraph types

 Add the content

  • If editors are assisting, ensure that they have proper training, documentation, access to the site, and the approved sitemap for their section.
  • Complete an entire section at a time before moving to the next.
  • Use the new sitemap to ensure that all of the content for each section is moved and placed correctly in the new layout.
  • Test hyperlinks, etc. as they are built to prevent broken links.
  • Troubleshooting will be through the editors forum or if necessary ticketed for technical support.
  • Review to ensure that you are be following the proper guidelines for content entry and site setup.

Seek appropriate approvals as the site is developed to ensure that the process isn’t held up or major changes aren’t required at the end of the project

It is understandable units may need assistance with building their site. Here are some options, in order of preference. Keep in mind that the majority of migration efforts can be done by someone who takes the training that will be provided by SoM.

  1. Find a person in your unit who can be recruited to assist with the build.
  2. Partner with another unit who has someone who can assist with the build.
  3. Hire someone temporarily, (temp service, student, staff, etc.) to assist with the build.
  4. Hire an outside vendor who can assist with the build.
    • If you hire an outside vendor/web developer, ensure that they know that this is NOT a web development project. Developers will not be able to edit the Drupal infrastructure.

Keep in mind that whatever rout you choose, completing the pre-build process as laid out above, will significantly reduce the amount of time required to move content and thereby reduce costs.

How to make requests:

You will need to communicate with your business managers to acquire the appropriate documents and authorization for expenditures.

  • Requests to hire a student (or other staff), are made by submitting a Vacancy Management Approval Form.
  • Requests for temp services (including Duke Temps) are made by submitting the Expense Approval Request form and selecting “Contracts/Service Agreements/Temporary Services >$2,500 .”
  • Requests to hire a vendor are made by submitting the Expense Approval Request form and selecting “Web/Software Dev, IT consulting, Cloud-based offering. (any amount)
  • Submit a ticket in ServiceNow. Include your staging site URL, your new domain name, and a timeline for launch (at least 2 weeks notice is required)
  • Post Launch – review site again to ensure that it looks and functions as it should. Contact the Web Advisory Council to request new functionality
  • Visit the SoM Web Federation User Group in Teams to ask or answer questions or to provide support for others on the federation.