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April 17
Site Configuration Steps for SharePoint 2013

When creating a new SharePoint site, it’s pertinent to have proper configuration guidelines set within your company. Things like naming conventions, types of site columns and content types, lists, libraries, and other apps should be planned out before the configuration of a site begins. These items often are housed in a general document that is accessible by everyone on a project team so it is easily updated. Below are some simple steps to configuring a SharePoint site easily and effectively.

The first step to take when configuring a SharePoint site is to create your site columns, content types, and add basic apps that will house content. These are akin to the roots of a tree: without them, a SharePoint site will not be able to grow. When creating site columns and content types, there should be guidelines on how these are grouped and named. For example, when creating a new site column, the naming convention should go something like this – “ABC Site Column Name” – the acronym of the business is first (to help with categorizing and sorting) then the name of the site column. The site column should go into a custom group called “ABC Custom Site Columns.” This way, all custom site columns are easily accessible and always grouped together. The same naming and grouping convention should apply to content types. Site columns and content types are both created at the root level site under the site settings menu.

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*Always make sure to be at the root site when creating site columns so they become reusable throughout the site collection.

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*This is an image for creating a site column.

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The next step in configuring a SharePoint site is creating places where content will be housed. SharePoint offers a number of out of the box (OOTB) options for organizing, storing, and dynamically rolling up content (once your site is configured). There are calendars, task lists, document libraries, image libraries, custom lists, and many more options that can be suited to whatever the site needs. When adding one of these apps to a site, the naming convention should remain similar to that of the site columns and content types. For example, when adding a new document library, it could be called ABC Human Resource Documents.” The acronym keeps things organized and all custom apps will be sorted so they are easily found. Thankfully, customizing these apps to suit the business needs is simple by adding content types so users can add additional metadata on items they are uploading or creating. Apps are created at the appropriate site level by going to the site actions menu then “Add an App.”

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*Adding an App is accessible from any site

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*Note that both items are easy to find because they begin with “ABC.” By knowing the business acronym, a user can quickly scroll to that part of the page and find apps without having to scan through content they do not need.

The next item on the agenda is the site build out. Creating sub-sites and pages that will eventually house content is a vital part to configuring a SharePoint site. Most businesses have a certain way they want their URLs named, but if there is none, stick with a naming convention that makes sense. For example, if you plan on using acronyms, use them consistently such as HR for Human Resources and PR for press releases. If acronyms are not favored by the business, stick with short naming conventions that are to the point. Oftentimes users reference URLs, so the shorter the URL, the easier it is to remember. Pages can be trickier, especially if the site has a lot of content. Try to keep things organized by creating a special name that goes along with what type of content will be on the page. For example, if creating a news article, the URL could be abc.com/news/news-article-dec2015.aspx. This URL shows that it is a news article written in December 2015. 

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*This is just an example of a news article. Naming conventions should be ironed out before content is added to a site to keep a concise structure.

This was just a brief overview of how to begin a site configuration and set up of a new SharePoint site. These are best practices when creating a SharePoint site. These practices will help keep a SharePoint site organized and up-to-date while users are able to easily access information.

Lindsey Eom is a Senior Consultant and User Interface Designer for Protiviti. She loves all things UXD and is currently in a Master’s program at Kent State University to learn more about her passion.
Lindsey.eom@protiviti.com​​

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