Mistakes made when using Drupal as personal blog
Being fallible (not being the pope) I learned some things from my Drupal installation. Dries asked me to keep a list of things, and this is a record of what I still remember.
Beware though that this list is focused on using Drupal for a personal blog.
You do not need the Blog module !
If you just want a personal blog, you really don't. I consider this vital advise, especially because not using Blog seems counter-intuitive and because it is described as:
Blog: Enables keeping easily and regularly updated user web pages or blogs.
You can simply use the Story content type for writing your blog articles and it makes your Drupal structure much more simple. The Blog module is really meant to allow individual users to have their own Blog, which is definitely not what I wanted. If you however made the same mistake as I did, here is the medicine:
mysql> UPDATE node SET type = 'story' WHERE type = 'blog';
Don't create Vocabularies or Terms individually
Don't do like I did and create your "tags" in advance, you really do not have to. And definitely do not start to put them in different categories and all that. Just create one Vocabulary called "Tags", enable free-tagging and be done with it. Every article you can simply add your tags in a comma seperated list.
The whole Taxonomy idea is a nice and abstract idea that covers all possible uses that far outreach the goals you have for a personal blog, so don't bother. You can always start using it if you are ready for it and if there is a *real* use.
Get used to and remember the Administer menu
I had a hard time finding exactly where some things resided in the menu and literally searched for more than 30 minutes to find where I could re-enable the Menu block for Anonymous users. This was not a pleasant experience, especially since I disabled it myself and couldn't remember where or how.
Maybe I have to add that late night hours are not the best times to contemplate something like this :)
Play with it and then start over
This is something I should have done, but time-constraints (a night only has 8 hours!) and other responsibilities of course get in the way. It is so easy to set op a second Drupal instance once you want to do it properly that you shouldn't care of breaking things.
Select a good set of modules
Some of the shortcomings I felt after I finished my setup actually were taken care of by powerful modules, only I didn't know of them. Of course I browsed the list by module name, but if you're not looking for something in particular you won't notice the interesting ones.
I ended up with the following list of additional modules, but I appreciate if you fill in some you use for a personal Drupal blog:
- Captcha: prevent spam, but don't set it too difficult !
- Event: nice if you want to tell visitors where they can meet you
- Pathauto: important if you want a link that contains keywords (your title)
- Recent Blocks: by default Drupal only has a Recent Comments block, which I didn't find that useful for my bog
- Update status: this one is a *must-have* module, it can mail you a report when Drupal or modules get outdated (or have security related fixes)
I played with much more modules, but none of them survived the test of time :) Let me remind you that this article is about using Drupal for a personal blog. There are many many more modules that are useful, but less so if you only want a personal blog.
Disable what you don't need
I noticed that there was a lot included that I didn't need and I probably enabled stuff that I thought was useful. However I ended up with the following short list of non-core modules:
Comment, Menu, Path, Search, Statistics, Taxonomy, Tracker
Do you still remember your mistakes with Drupal ? Let us hear them !