Plan your SharePoint site – get started

Applies to: SharePoint Online.

The objective of this guide is to allow site owners to design a new SharePoint site that fulfils business objectives, user needs, and can be nurtured with occasional monitoring. Use this guide as a checklist.

This guide is composed of three separate parts:

  • How to get started

In this guide:

  • How to get started
  • Determine the purpose of your site
  • Define the audience
  • Think about the look of the site
  • Plan on managing the site

How to get started

There are many possible methods that can be used to construct a new SharePoint site, but your site development strategy will be based around your unique business objectives and user needs. While planning your site, use the following questions as a guide to direct you to the appropriate kind of site to create, the types of web parts to use, and how to control and maintain your site. 

What is the purpose of your site?

Is your audience your immediate team?

If the answer is yes, focus on creating a team site. If the answer is no, you likely need to create a communication site.

A SharePoint team site links you and your team to the content and resources you rely on every day. Team sites can connect to a Microsoft 365 group, which allows users to automatically access team site applications. Learn more about what you can do with Microsoft 365 groups. 

Look for inspiration in this team site guided walkthrough and the SharePoint look book.

Common use cases for team sites:

  • Team communication – Communicate and engage with your team through news, shared content, and people profiles.
  • Product support – Bring together announcements and information for employees on the front lines of your retail services. Access and share product info, news, and training resources relevant to specific product teams.
  • Team collaboration – Enable collaboration at a team level by creating a site that includes news, conversations, shared files, and team calendar.

Do you need to communicate to dozens, or even hundreds of people?

If the answer is yes, you need to create a communication site.

A SharePoint communication site is an ideal place to share information with dozens, or hundreds, of people. You can share news, reports, statuses, and other information in a visually compelling format. Communication sites cannot be connected to a Microsoft 365 group.

Look for inspiration in this communication site guided walkthrough and the SharePoint look book.

Common use cases for communication sites:

  • Branding site – Resource page for employees that includes company guidelines and assets so they can apply the right branding across their deliverables.
  • Benefits site – Multiple HR resources brought together in one place like company news, events, contacts and information on benefits. Automate common tasks like processing time off requests from employees by using PowerApps.
  • Training site – Use a call to action button to get users started on training courses that guide the user through custom learning experiences.

Who is your audience?

Do you have users in more than one geographic region? 

Amid creating your site, you may also need to change regional settings for a site, based on where and who your audience is. You can use the Multiple Language User Interface (MUI) feature to let your users change the display language for a site or create sites in different languages

Will guests outside of your organization need access to the site?

Consider how you will need to work with people outside of your organisation while communicating, sharing files and folders, or collaborating on shared content. Furthermore, you can stop sharing an item, see who it’s shared with, or change the permissions others have to it, if you’re the owner of the item.

Will users need to access this site on a mobile device?

If users will be using SharePoint on a mobile device, you must learn how to configure your site for mobile, and ask users to download the SharePoint app.

What are the accessibility requirements for your users?

It’s strongly advised that you learn about your audience’s accessibility needs and establish accessibility guidelines for your site. SharePoint can be customised to ensure your site can be used by everybody, regardless of device type, browser, and many other variables. Resources for creating accessible SharePoint sites

What will the site look like?

Do you have access to brand assets like the company logo and brand colors?

In the modern SharePoint experience, you can quickly change the look and feel of your site to match your company or organisational brand. You can customise the logo, colours, and navigation. Collaborate with marketing and communication teams to locate approved brand assets.

Do you need images and videos for your site?

Formulate interactive sites by adding video, images, diagrams, and illustrations to communicate ideas. It’s recommended that before the process of building your site, you collect high-fidelity images and video assets early in your content planning stage.

How will you manage and maintain the site?

Who will update site content and how often?

Ensure content stays topical to ensure your site bears complete relevance and value to users by establishing a maintenance team and schedule. Use site analytics to see page and user trends.

Next steps:

Now that you understand some of the major components to planning your site, move on to the next segment, site planning basics

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