Sites are distinct areas of your intranet which allow you to group content by type, provide Site-specific navigation, limit the viewing audience or editing permissions - or do all of these things, easily.
In This Article
Sites can be used on your intranet in numerous ways. Your main intranet is the home site, and you can also add endless team sites. The most common uses of team sites are:
- Important organizational content - common uses are Human Resources, Facilities, or key departments, which likely would include the same theme and branding as the main intranet. For example, if your intranet had a lot of Human Resources content, the easiest way to show users the content would be to provide an HR content menu distinct from the regular intranet menu. In addition, no one but HR staff should be able to update the information, so there's edit security as well as site ownership.
- Team site with view restrictions - common uses are project sites, department sites, and cross-functional groups. In this situation, a team site can function as more of a 'clubhouse', where access is limited to specific group members, and there's a distinct identity such as a theme, branding, and colors. A menu is less important in this case; more significant is the separate identity and restricted access so the team can collaborate and communicate information which is only relevant to them. Both view and edit security are key in this scenario, and likely site ownership.
- External team site - common uses are for external vendors or board members, where it's important to reveal key information without sharing the entire intranet. View security is key in this scenario, and the theme may be altered to reflect more of an external brand. The intranet will typically be externalized in this scenario; learn more in our Build an Extranet (Lockdown Guide) article.
From the Intranet Connections Blog
View Your Sites
Sites are managed in one place. To see all of the sites in your intranet, click Admin top right, then click the Assets tab.
You'll now see all of the Site Cards from your intranet displayed alphabetically, other than your homepage or Home Site, which is always listed first and has a small flag on the Card (outlined in green, below) to indicate it's the Home Site.
Every Site has a Site Card, showing at a glance the icon, title, description, and number of user views within the past 30 days, as shown in the example below. To change the icon, title, or description, click the Site Card, click the edit pencil for the area you want, make your edits, then click the blue save icon.
The Site Card also provides information and actions as follows:
- Copy (only available when you mouse over Card) - click icon to copy the site
- Trash Can (only available when you mouse over Card) - click icon to delete the site
- Magnifying Glass - indicates Site is included in intranet's global search
- Menu - indicates Site is included in an intranet menu
- Lock - indicates the Site has at least basic view security
In addition, a flag icon indicates a site is the Home Site for the intranet.
Add A Site
Adding a Site is very easy. Click the Admin link, top right, and click the Assets tab. You'll now see all of your current Sites, as well as a button to add a Site - click the + icon as shown in the image below.
You'll be prompted to add a name for your Site, and you may also want to add a description. If you just want to Create the Site and return to work on it later, click Create. If you want to create the Site and immediately start adding Pages and Apps, click Build. Learn more about adding Pages and adding Apps.
Each Site has its own navigation menu which shows on the left. This navigation is unique to the Site and is separate from the Global navigation of the intranet, where you can create mega menus.
Keep in mind that when you add a Site to your intranet it isn't automatically added to the Global navigation. You'll need to add it to the navigation, as explained under Intranet Architecture > Create Navigation.
Copy a Site
If you're planning on adding numerous department or team sites to your intranet, the easiest way to add them is to create a base skeleton site with the Apps or Pages that will be common to all team sites, and use this as a template each time you create a new site. Note that copied Pages will retain their content, but Apps will have no content.
As an example, in the image below you can see the TEMPLATE site, which has a general name and description (1) and is showing 3 Apps and 1 Page (2).
To create a new department or team site, when in the Admin area on the Assets tab, mouse over the TEMPLATE site card to show the copy icon. Click this icon, give the new site a name, and click Create. You now have a new Site with the Apps and Pages/content already in place for the team.
Secure a Site
Depending on the reason for creating a Site, you may want to secure the Site, or limit the access to it. There are two levels of permissions when applying security to a site, as follows.
Users who are Site Owners are given full rights to view, add, edit, or delete Site content. Additionally, Site Owners may control the access to and design of their site, depending on the options selected. Assigning a Site Owner allows for delegation of the management of a Site. To assign a Site Owner:
- Navigate to the Site you want to secure.
- Click Toolbox on the right.
- Click Assign Site Owners.
- Choose the user(s) or the group(s) who should own the Site.
- In the section Site Owner Role, click the checkbox(es) for the actions Site Owners should be allowed to perform. Note that all Site Owners must have the same roles, and you can't individually specify.
Site Access settings give you control over the view permissions users and/or groups have for your site. When you enable the Apply View Security option as below, the Site will be locked down so it can only be viewed by the users and groups that you explicitly define as having view rights.
Limiting site access is easily done, by following these steps:
- Navigate to the Site you want to secure.
- Click Toolbox on the right.
- Click Secure Site.
- Click the box for Apply View Security to limit user access.
- From the drop-down menus, select the user(s) or the group(s) who should be able to view the Site. Note that you can select any combination of users and/or groups.
- Repeat until all users/groups have been selected as appropriate.
To remove a user or group, click the red icon beside the name, and the change will be made immediately.
Any user who hasn't been selected or isn't part of a selected group will no longer see the Site in their navigation, and will get the message below if they attempt to access content directly with a provided link. Note that Super Admins and Administrators can view all intranet content regardless of permissions.
All sites excluding the Home site will contain several properties that can be modified. The properties can be accessed by clicking the Properties option in the right menu of the site admin. The options that can be changed are:
- Including site content in global and site searches, this is enabled by default.
- Pin the home site's navigation to the left column, this is disabled by default.
- Switch between advertising content to either both the home site and this site or just this site, this is set to just this site by default.
Theme a Site
By default, a new Site will inherit the Home Site theme. This may work for you if it's a regular content piece of your intranet, like a Human Resources site.
However, if the team has a completely distinct identity and personality from the regular intranet, you might want to give it a separate design, or theme. To do this, when you're on the site, under Toolbox click Theme This Site which will take you to the Advanced Theme Editor; you can also access the editor via the Admin area by clicking the Design tab and under Home Site Theme select your site from the drop-down and click Advanced Editor. Learn how to change a theme in the Advanced Theme Editor article.
Create a Site for External Users
Many customers have a requirement to either provide part of their site as externalized, or to create a portal for their Board of Directors. In the case of the Board site, only board members should have access to their site content (i.e. other than intranet admins) and board members shouldn’t have access to the rest of the intranet. This can be done, but multiple steps are required.
Step 1: Allow for External Access
Users will either need access to the intranet through VPN, or the site will need to be externally accessible for outside connections. Learn more about externalizing in the Build an Extranet (Lockdown Guide) article.
User accounts will need to be granted access to the site, as in Step 3: Create Extranet Accounts, below.
Step 2: Create and Secure Board Site
Create a Team Site for your Board of Directors following the 'Add a Site' information in this article. The goal of this site is to include content relevant for the board, typically, a one-page site for quick reference to relevant information such as links to external resources, documents specific to the Board, a place to capture meeting notes, reports, etc.
Once your site has been created, you need to lock down the site to a Board group. You can either have users created in Active Directory (AD) and members of a Board Group which will sync with the intranet, or create this group within the intranet. To create the group in the intranet, in the Admin area on the Security tab, click Create a Group, give the Group a name, click (and Ctrl-click) on users' names, then click Save to both create the Group and add members. lock down the site by going to the App Admin area, and clicking Site Access (1). To lock down the Site, click the box for Apply View Security (2), and under Groups Who Can View, select Board (3).
You’ll see above that the only group with access to view this site is the Board group. Note that if a user has view access to a site, they’ll have view access to all contents of that site (i.e. Board Site).
Copy the URL of the Board home page as you’ll need this for the Board member’s accounts in the next step.
Step 3: Create Extranet Accounts
For Board Sites, the common approach is to make each board member an ‘extranet’ user. To do this:
- Navigate to the user’s account in the Admin area on the Security tab > Find Logins.
- As shown, below, set the Login Redirect URL (1) to the site’s address that you copied from the previous section. You can either use a relative link by adding a couple of dots to replace the domain part of your address (e.g. ../Site/view.cfm?siteID=2000349), or use the full link and check the box for ‘Absolute Path’.
- Check the box beside global permissions do not apply to this user (2) so the site-specific permissions will apply.
- These steps will need to be repeated for each extranet user.
Impersonation is great for testing out security settings, but it won’t show the behavior of what a user will see when they first log in, as it bypasses the log in state and will automatically put them on the home page of the intranet.
Due to the requirements of needing to verify what a Board Member does and doesn’t have access to, we recommend creating a new account with both the ‘login redirect URL’ and ‘Global permissions do not apply’ enabled on the account, then using this account to test access.
Step 4: Add Board Site Content
Hopefully by this point you have a clear sense of the content needed for your Board site. Typically, at least a Documents and Company News App would be on the site, especially if you’ll be hosting documents for the Board members or want an area for meeting notes. Because the site has been locked down, only users within the Board group you’ve assigned will be able to access the content in these apps.
To add an App to the Board site, follow the instructions provided in the App Overview article.
Once you have some Apps in place, on the Board home page in the Site Navigation, include links to any Apps that were added and any external resources that they’ll need quick access to. Add some other homepage content as well, perhaps some widgets for external content such as stocks. Learn more about widgets in the Widget Overview article.
Step 5: Hide the Intranet Home Page [ optional ]
Extranet users will be able to access the intranet Home page because it's available to all intranet users. Other than the home page, Extranet users with ‘Global Permissions do not apply’ enabled on their account can't see intranet content unless they've been provided with explicit access to the content.
Sometimes Admins don't want their intranet Home page to be accessed by extranet users, in which case you have to remove links to the Home page (though their permission to access the Home page remains). To hide the intranet Home page access links, you’ll need to both replace the logo in your header with an image, and apply view security to a ‘home’ link in your global navigation.
Note that these steps will affect all intranet users, so consider this before taking action. Specifically, the header image will no longer be linked, so users won't be able to click it to return to the intranet home page.
Replace Logo With Header Graphic
If you have a logo on your site, you’ll need to remove this and add a header graphic instead, as the logo is a default link to the intranet home page. To do this:
- Prepare a graphic which meets your site specs; learn more in the 'Global Site Layout' section of the Design tab article.
- Top right on your intranet, click the edit pencil to edit the header.
- Click Logo and click the X to remove the logo.
- Click Header Background and Choose File to locate your prepared graphic.
- Click Upload New Image.
- Click the blue Save icon to retain your changes.