Organize your intranet with SharePoint hub sites

Organize your intranet with SharePoint hub sites

As business goals and team structures evolve, so too must your sites and the content that lives within them. Ideas must flourish and grow, not become rigid or stale. SharePoint hub sites bring flexible, dynamic building blocks to your company intranet – connecting collaboration and communication. Associating sites together in a hub site enhances discovery and engagement with content, while creating a complete and consistent representation of your project, department or region.

 

Microsoft first disclosed SharePoint hub sites during Ignite 2017. And today, we are pleased to announce that they are now rolling out to Targeted Release customers in Office 365. We are encouraged by early adopter feedback and can’t wait for every customer to use and adopt them.

 

SharePoint hub sites bring the following new capabilities to you and your intranet:

 

  • Cross-site navigation – increase visibility of and navigation among associated sites
  • Content rollup – read aggregated news and discover related site activities
  • Consistent look-and-feel – establish a common theme to improve visitor awareness of connected sites
  • Scoped search – focus on finding content that resides within the hub site’s associated sites

The Contoso Travel HR communication shown here as a part of the HR hub site, Web view on the left, within the SharePoint mobile app on the right.

 

Hub sites support good governance, giving admins a growth framework to maintain relationships between sites over time. They are easy for admins to establish and bring efficiencies for people who work inside and across the sites on a day-to-day basis. And when managing change within the business, it is easy to move a site from one hub site to another.

Getting started with SharePoint hub sites in Office 365

You can convert an existing communication site or modern team time into a hub site, or you can start with a brand-new modern site. We recommend selecting a communication site as the hub site. You can associate multiple team sites and communication sites to model and promote an intranet that reflects the way your people organize. It is easy for admins to create one or more hub sites. After a hub site is created, approved site owners can associate existing team sites and communication sites with the hub site.

Let’s dig into the details.

Use the SharePoint Online Management Shell to establish your hub sites

Admins, you are the enablers. And the SharePoint Online Management Shell (aka, PowerShell for SharePoint in Office 365) is your enabling tool of choice.

The PowerShell cmdlet you’ll want to get most familiar with is: Register-SPOHubSite https://contoso.sharepoint.com/sites/HR (where HR URL is the full-path address of the existing site that you want to convert into a hub site). You then will assign a unique security group to designate approved site owners that can associate sites to this new hub. You simply create a mail-enabled security group and add the users. You then run an additional PowerShell command to give that group permissions to associate their sites to the hub site.

 

Note: You must be a SharePoint administrator or above in Office 365 to create SharePoint hub sites. Site owners, however, can associate a SharePoint site with a hub site that already exists.

Learn more how admins create and manage hub sites.

Associating a site under a hub site

Once a hub site is established, it’s then a two-click process to associate to the hub site.

As the site owner, go to the site you want to have associated to the hub site. Click Settings (gear icon) > Site information > hub site association and select the desired hub.  You’ll only see the hubs you have permission to associate to. And then click Save. You will see the hub navigation appear above. The site itself will inherit the hub theme, and news and activities will begin to flow up to the hub site home page – along with a search crawl of content for any site associated to the hub site. And at any time, per a reorg or change in business direction, you can easily move sites between hub sites. This is the power of a dynamic intranet, one that can change and adapt with the ebb and flow of your ever-changing business landscape. Note: individual sites can only be associated to one hub site at a time.

Site owners can associate an existing team site or communication site with a hub site.

Note: Sites associated with a SharePoint hub site don't inherit the permissions of the hub site or any other sites associated with it. Each site, including the hub site, will retain their current permission settings. And as easy as it is to associate a site to a hub site, you, too, can dissaciate from one.

 

Learn more how to associate and dissociate your sites to and from hub sites.

 

Design your layout and choose you theme

Once the hub site has been established, you’ll then want to further set it up and refine it for that organization -- so the hub site carries the right name and logo, the preferred navigation elements, a preferred theme, and the desired layout for news, sites and highlighted content. And all will re-flow and present beautifully within the SharePoint mobile apps.