When creating an intranet for your business, building the platform is just one component of a larger puzzle. Creating a homepage that keeps the attention of your employees and encourages them to engage with the SharePoint platform, now there is the real challenge.

In this blog, we will cover five tips that you can use to design an engaging intranet in SharePoint. We will look at improving out-of-the-box branding, removing static content, adding personal touches, and going a step further with Valo.

Branding –

Your employees would be able to use SharePoint unbranded, it would just be a little bit dull. When your employees open SharePoint, we want them to be greeted with a platform that is an extension of your company. We want it to look and feel familiar, to be something interesting, not something generic.

Admittedly, out-of-the-box design features are limited, but they do go a long way in changing the user experience. The first and most major way you can alter the design is by modifying your overall SharePoint theme.

Go to your site and click Settings and then click Change the look > Theme.

Find the look that you want to use and select it. SharePoint will show you a preview of what your site will look like and if you are happy with the look you simply click Save. If you don’t like the theme you’re previewing, click Cancel to revert it.

To customise the colours to your brand colours on a default SharePoint theme, click on the theme you want to use and then click Customise. After this, choose the main and accent colour you want and then hit Save to apply it.

Get rid of the Hero Images – Add a news Feed

The banner at the top of an out-of-the-box SharePoint, is filled with several static images and static content. It takes up almost all the space above the fold and seeing the same content, every time you open your browser, quickly becomes boring. It doesn’t let your people know about upcoming events or keep them informed about company news or wins.

We recommend removing this and replacing it instead with a news feed. Something that can be updated regularly, by different people within the organisation. This can include upcoming events, articles on new projects or initiatives, it can also showcase different articles to different people, with different permissions.

We covered how you can remove this and install a newsfeed in our latest live event, you can watch it on-demand here.

Trust your creators to create engaging content

Restricting who can post and share content on a newsfeed, can be a massive barrier to your people actually embracing SharePoint. If content is only updated by the CEO or Department Heads, it can make your people feel like they are being talked at, rather than a valuable part of the conversation.

We recommend removing restrictions on who can post, and putting trust in your team. Encouraging your people to post business wins helps with both employee engagement and business morale. Seeing your colleagues having even little successes during these challenging times can provide a better atmosphere and help you feel more connected.

Add a Sidebar (Vertical Section)

Our next tip to building an engaging intranet is to add a sidebar or vertical section. These are great as they create an opportunity to share an additional element of either information or personalisation.

We’ve found the most popular vertical sections are things such as social media feeds to encourage employee to employer social engagements, or if you are using any Office products in 365, you can show recent documents and pick up where you left off on any projects.

Bring in the pro’s

Whilst we can utilise the above to create an engaging enough Intranet, there may be some businesses that want to go further. If you have found yourself looking for richer design functionalities we recommend looking at Valo.

Valo is an intranet product designed to help businesses get more out of SharePoint and Microsoft 365. It does this in a multitude of ways including improved navigation, ease of use, and of course beautiful designs built by experts. By using a product like Valo, you can build an enterprise-grade intranet, at an SME cost, with little to no coding required. You can find out more here.

Your SharePoint homepage should be the first thing an employee sees when they start their day or open their browser, and it’s important that what greets them is informative, engaging. Whilst the steps above may seem small to some, they can go a long way in improving the adoption rates of an intranet.

If you are looking to build an engaging intranet in SharePoint, why not check out the recording of our webinar here, or get in touch today to speak with a member of our team.