Optimize your intranet with 6 SharePoint templates

One of the most powerful qualities of SharePoint is its sheer flexibility, especially when it comes to creating intranets. You can more or less build any page by assembling different combinations of web parts together it means you can achieve a SharePoint page design to suit almost every different business need – from your intranet homepage to a departmental landing page to a community page to a highly engaging news article.

However, because the design possibilities are so wide sometimes teams struggle to know which is the best SharePoint layout for their specific need. This is particularly true when devolved publishing is in place and there are content owners who are not trained communicators or are less used to using SharePoint. Left to their own devices they can come up with a SharePoint page design that isn’t focused on the user or meet the required publishing standards.

One of ways to tackle this issue is to leverage SharePoint templates. These are pre-set SharePoint site and page designs that reflect good practices and common business needs. SharePoint templates provide an excellent starting point to creating user-focused intranet sites and pages that deliver value.

In this post we’re going to do a deep dive into SharePoint templates covering what they are, why they’re so valuable and the common templates that get used for intranets. We’ll also show you five of our favourite templates to give you some inspiration, covering both SharePoint site templates and SharePoint page templates.

What is a SharePoint template?

A SharePoint template is essentially a pre-determined SharePoint layout for a page or site than be used as the starting point for creating a part of your page or site on your intranet.

SharePoint templates come in two main types:

  • SharePoint site templates that provide a shape of an overall site (a collection of pages that sit within your broader intranet)
  • SharePoint page templates that deliver a specific SharePoint page design.

There are number of different SharePoint templates that can be deployed directly from Microsoft that are explored in the Microsoft SharePoint look book.  However, you can also create your own SharePoint templates to use internally within your organisation, for example across your publishing or content creator community.

What are the benefits of SharePoint site templates and SharePoint page templates?

SharePoint templates deliver value in a number of different ways. 

Saving time

A SharePoint site or page template provides a significant starting point for creating a page or site, providing the right layout and web parts which can then be edited as appropriate. This can save large amounts of time and support the productivity of busy site editors and authors.

Inspiring ideas

SharePoint’s flexibility is a strength but having that much creativity can mean it is hard to know just exactly where to start, particularly for less experienced publishers. SharePoint templates provide an excellent source of inspiration for both seasoned intranet professionals and less confident users to achieve the ideal SharePoint layout.

Supporting your publishers

Using templates helps do some of the heavy lifting around SharePoint page design for your site admins, publishers and content creator who may not be professional communicators and are infrequent users of SharePoint. It gives them a starting point that also reflects your publishing standards and best practices. 

As part of our user adoption and change management support we provide a site with SharePoint template examples that also come preloaded with guidance for your publishing community. This has always proved to be popular with intranet teams and publishers.

Establishing consistency and content standards

Using SharePoint templates helps to enforce publishing and content standards across your intranet, establishing consistency in the look and feel and ensuring everything is on-brand. It also provides a consistency in layout across different sites and content types making it easier for users to find what they are looking for on a particular page.

Six essential SharePoint page templates for your intranet

At Content Formula we help our clients to create SharePoint templates that make a difference. Below are six essential templates for an intranet. For a change, we haven’t included homepage designs – you can view these in a companion article about SharePoint design. Note that these templates include both out-of-the-box SharePoint web parts but also some Lightspeed365 features.

1. News page template

News will inevitably be one of the most used SharePoint page templates within your intranet. This SharePoint template can bring some consistency to news items across different areas of the intranet. It encourages the use of headlines to break up a story, as well as eye-catching elements such as images and quotes to make a news item more engaging and inviting.

2. How do I page template

This How Do I page SharePoint template provides instructions for employees on how to complete a task and get things done. A task can be simple or have multiple steps. Typically, the How Do I template is used to explain how to log an IT support ticket or claim expenses, or something more complex like applying for paternity leave.  

This SharePoint page design makes it easy for employees to follow each of the steps and adds further detail with embedded documents, process diagrams and even forms to trigger workflow. The SharePoint layout also includes a prominent contact display for users to get in touch if they have questions about the task or process.  

3. Region or location template

Most intranets have information about different locations. This Region or location template provides information and news about a particular region, country or office and can either be aimed at people based in that location, or the rest of the business and be about that location. (It’s usually not best to mix both these use cases.)

To a certain extent this versatile SharePoint page template provides a route to more detailed pages or sections, but also provides news as well as links. There are also key contacts.

4. Contact information template

Intranets often help connect people to each other. The Contact information template is an attractive and useful way to introduce members of a team or department to a wider audience, helping encourage the right person to contact. This SharePoint template ensures people can view team details divided appropriately into different areas with contact details prominent, as we well as the ability to click through to individual profiles. The search box supports findability while additional links to other resources on the right also provide additional context about the team.

The Contact information template could be part of a wider SharePoint site template for a department or team section of the intranet.

5. Triage template

The Triage SharePoint page template is another versatile page for your intranet. Some pages act as places to guide users to other important pieces of content based on their needs. The Triage template presents options to different pages in an attractive way with images for each resource. These can then be arranged under different headings. At the bottom of the page there is an opportunity to place an option for people who haven’t found what they are looking for.

The Triage SharePoint page design can be used for initiatives, information resources on areas such as strategy, service hubs for HR or IT and more.

6. Knowledge base template

Intranets are go-to places of knowledge providing a single source of the truth. The Knowledge base SharePoint site template is an excellent way to present a collection of knowledge such as a policy library, list of “how to” details or even brand assets. While the top section provides details and context about the collection and also can highlight specific items within it, it’s the A-to-Z listing and search facility which often provides the most value. Note that the Knowledge base template uses Lightspeed365’s powerful handbook feature which is not available out of the box with SharePoint.

The power of the SharePoint template

SharePoint page templates and site templates help to ensure your site is consistent, on-brand, attractive, usable and accessible.  If you want more information on SharePoint templates or improving your SharePoint layout and design right across your intranet, then get in touch!

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