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Communications, Design, Intranet

Your intranet front page *is* a blog

networkI’m sure the most used and most valuable real-estate on your company intranet is the front page. No other page is seen so often. I should expect your intranet home page greets people as soon as they launch their browser.

(Of course, other pages do well for hits too – your Job Opportunities page for instance, or perhaps your ‘classifieds / internal eBay’ section, or maybe just the Canteen Menu page… Would be nice if your Health & Safety pages and Human Resources pages were popular – we can dream can’t we?)

Your front-page is no doubt filled with the opening paragraphs of recent company news stories and ‘urgent’ announcements. The page soon fills up, and stories get pushed off the front page, never to be seen again. Perhaps people beg the intranet editor for a ‘permanent link’ to their news or department from the front page. But when a story gets pushed off the home page, where does it go? In to some dark dank archive?

So how do you arrange your archive, and how do you provide easy access to it, for when people need to know what was announced about pensions and redundancies last month?

That’s my question. Me? Well, at the bottom of every news story I publish, I have three useful links in the info-rich footer that I designed and implemented.

  1. Topjumps the reader back to the top of the page, especially good for long pages;
  2. Home – returns the reader to the front page of our intranet – perhaps were we expect them to go naturally after reading a story;
  3. Archive – takes the reader to the top level of the dungeon archive, in the hopes they can find their way, Theseus like, through the labyrinth of the past.

How is your archive arranged? Currently, mine’s arranged by week, then by month (and then by year). So really, it’s like a blog, except one has to click numerous times to get deep into the past. It’s a bit clunky and tedious to build and navigate to be honest.

So, that’s what I’m looking for in a new intranet. I want a Content Management System (CMS) that allows me (and other, allowed publishers) to create sub-sections and web pages on our intranet, but I also want the front page and other departmental home pages to be blog-like. And of course, I want all blogs to create an XML RSS Newsfeed, so employees people can subscribe to the news that interests and affects them.

Ross Dawson has some interesting observations about how corporations need blogs to enliven their intranet and communications.

Over to you

So how do you manage the flow of stories to your front page? Where do they go when they get pushed off?

What’s the structure of your news archive?

How do you provide easy access to the archive?

Is your front page powered by blog software already?

[Wedge]

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About Wedge

I’m Wedge, and this is my website! I’ve worked within internal communications since 2004, managing intranets and digital comms. Now I’m a freelance comms and intranet specialist - I help organisations plan and improve their intranets. I work with other agencies, and write a lot of blog and magazine articles. I founded the Intranet Now conference. You can catch up with me on Twitter - I’m @Wedge.

2 thoughts on “Your intranet front page *is* a blog

  • I wish it was! I’ve been giving the argument that we should use a blog engine for news content for a while, but we’re too far down the road with our new CMS to change now, I’m afraid.

    I won’t mention the vendor (it’s not my job to manage that relationship, I’ll leave that to IT), but we have a CMS implemented last summer that doesn’t even generate RSS feeds out of the box. (The story I’ve heard is that other teams were already using this tool, so it was an IT efficiency for us, the intranet team, to adopt it, too.)

    Our archive, at the moment, is atrocious. It’s just a list of stories that have fallen off the front page presented in descending order, 20 stories per page. I can’t stand it. It’s linked directly from the front page, so it is easy to find, at least.

    With a blog engine, you get easy publishing, RSS, dynamic tagging, and an easy-to-use archive right off the bat. Our news stories are published in our CMS, but we do use blogs for comments. And, we do frequently link to blog posts from the front page.

    I couldn’t recommend more the use of a blog engine for intranet news. I’m going to start pushing for the abolishment of all static pages on the intranet. It’s such wasted effort.

  • Sounds like you know the frustrations I’m talking about, the the benefits we could reap from a blog-like archive. Thanks for popping by.

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