How to create Intranet with SharePoint Modern Communication Sites – Part 1

Microsoft has released lot of new tools to levering SharePoint Online capabilities to build modern intranet. You can get inspiration by looking the SharePoint Look Book from Microsoft.

In this series of posts I will demonstrate how to create Intranet with SharePoint Modern Communication Sites.

Intranet Hub Site (root hub site)

To begin we need to create a new SharePoint site collection which will become an Intranet root site. We will create new site collection by selecting Modern SharePoint Communication Site Template. You can choose from three ready made designs “Topic, Showcase or Blank”. Select design you like, give name to the site and create a new site by clicking Finish-button.

Create a Communication site
Select site design and give name for site

After few seconds, you can start creating the content to your new communication site. But before that we make one important action. We register our new Intranet Communication Site as Hub Site.

If you are the SharePoint Admin you can do that from SharePoint Online Admin center by selecting the site and choosing “register as hub site” command from a hub site drop-down-menu. You can register hub sites also via PowerShell.


Register Hub site from a SharePoint Admin Center

Organizational Hub Sites (associated sites)

We can create new sites same way like we created our Intranet root site. Create few organisational sites like “HR, IT, Marketing, Our People” and so on. Select communication site template or team site template.

After you have created organizational sites, you can associate sites to root hub site (in our case Intranet) from SharePoint Online Admin center by selecting the site and choosing “Associate with a hub site” command from a hub site drop-down-menu.

Associate site with a hub site

Intranet home page

When we have created Intranet root site and few organisational sites, we can start creating content to the Intranet home page.

I created following elements to the Intranet front page.

  • News (News web part)
  • Events (Events)
  • Weather (Web Part)
  • Company Tools (Quick links)
  • Intranet Launch counter (Countdown Timer)
  • Recently changed documents from Intranet Hubs (Highlighted content)
  • Survey (Microsoft Form)
  • Survey Results (Microsoft Form)
  • My Recent Sites (Sites)
  • My recent Documents (Recent documents)
  • My Team meetings (Group calendar)
  • Spacer (Section with text)
  • Footer (Quick Links)

News

For news we create two web parts. First will show top news from the Intranet root site as carousel and second will show all news posts from the root hub site and associated hub sites.

Top News carousel: Insert a news web part to front page and select following settings: News source > Select Sites > Intranet hub (our root site). The select news layout > Carousel.

Select News source “Intranet Hub”.
Choose Carousel layout

Company news: Insert the second News web part to the front page and select following settings: News source > All site in the hub, layout > Side-by-side.

Company news listing “side-by-side”

Events

Events are usually important part of the intranet content. We can create events listing by inserting Events web part. Communication site has already Event list which is our event source. I will select following settings: Source > Event list on this site and Layout > Compact.

Events web part with compact layout

Weather

SharePoint Online modern web parts contains Weather web part. You can place it to intranet front page by selecting +icon and adding weather web part to section you like.

Weather webpart

Company Tools

Company Tools can be created by using SharePoint Online Quick Links Web Part. You can use from the six different layouts. Note, when you add new links, you can pick thumbnail pictures from the Office Fabric icons.

Company Tool by using Quick Links Web part
Quick links url and description
Quick links icons

Intranet Launch counter (Countdown Timer)

You can add Countdown Timer web part to your intranet to boost your intranet launch. Select Countdown Timer web part and choose settings you like.

Countdown Timer to intranet launch

Recently changed documents from Intranet Hubs

One useful element for your intranet can be Highlighted content web part. I added Highlighted content web part to show recently changed news from all intranet hub sites.


Highlighted content web part to show recently changed items

Survey and survey results (Microsoft Form)

SharePoint Online modern web parts has nice integration to Microsoft forms. You can easily add surveys your intranet front page by using survey web part.

Survey integrated to Microsoft Forms
Show survey results at intranet front page

User specific content

You can give personal feeling to your intranet front page by adding user specific web parts to your intranet front page. I have added My Recent Sites (Sites), My recent Documents (Recent documents), My Team meetings (Group calendar).

List frequents sites for current user by using Sites Web part
List users recent documents from SharePoint sites by using recent documents web part
Show users Team Meetings by using Group Calendar Web part connected to Office 365 Group

Spacer

You can add simple spacer to your intranet front page by editing a section with the text.

Footer

Footer can be created to Intranet front page by using Quick Links web part. Microsoft have Hub site level Footer element in their road map.

Footer by using Quick Links Web Part

Conclusions

That was my first post in this series. In the next post I will cover more useful Intranet building blocks like, Top Navigation (Megamenu) and Footer.

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