What is the Best-Practice for a Site Layout using SharePoint 2010, for a Medium Business?

Posted on 2010-09-20
Last Modified: 2013-11-19
Hello everyone!  I recently started a job as a fledgling developer at a company looking to move into SharePoint.  We already have a SharePoint server and basic frontend in place, but since this is a first both for myself and the company, we are unsure of how to proceed.

Basically, we want news, basic collaboration and file search support, with expansion options.  While I have looked online, there hasn't been much in the way of "distinct limitations" for choosing a particular template type.  The recommendation I'm leaning towards making looks like follows:

1. A Team Site for the main site - this will allow for basic news, announcements, outlook tie-ins (via Calendar list) and so on.  I'll probably add an RSS feed to tie to an outside blog related to the company as well.  

2. A Document Vault Site used for storing general documents.  It seems to me that going with a document vault will allow for greater expansion possibilities, and provide useful functionality should the number of documents become unwieldy (search, etc).  It seems unlikely to me that they will manage to hit the 10,000,000 file limit, but I thought splitting them up based on department (see #3) would improve performance and leave room to scale.

3. Two document vault sub-sites (sub to #2) - one for HR and one for IT.  Same reasons as #2.

The company is looking to start off with a basic site and expand into using SharePoint much more heavily from there, so I'm looking for something flexible and able to scale easily.  Since I'm a new-comer to this, I was hoping for some advice and feedback from some more experienced with SharePoint.

Thanks for your time.
Question by:HeavyBlade
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 33720166
in SharePoint 2010, they did away with the "Collaboration Portal", so you'll likely use the Wiki template and build it out the way you want it.

See for the discussion of 'where'd it go?'

Author Comment

ID: 33720311
Hello FastFngrz, thanks for the quick response!  What I meant by collaboration was that I wanted to enable outlook and other office tie-ins, allows users to work together with each other's schedules and tasks.  Sorry, that wasn't very clear.  Does your recommendation of the Wiki template still stand considering that?
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 33720401
Sure it stands, but you don't want to put those kinds of things right on the master homepage.. You CAN, but probably want to save that for a subsite somewhere lower in the information architecture

The homepage is the landing for everyone in the company, most teams aren't based at the root.

Use the Team site template to share calendars and tasks - as you describe.

HomePage for everyone
   Common sites for everyone (like policies, common forms, common references)

   Department Landing page (where everyone in the company sees what the dept is doing (announcements, blog about the dept, key contacts, maybe the calendar)
      Department working sites under the landing page
          - team site
          - wiki knowledge base
          - document libraries
          - and stuff
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Author Comment

ID: 33720826
That sounds much more solid then what I had in mind.  I'll work on planning out a basic structure, and go from there.

May I ask why you chose to make the site collection a Wiki Template?  Does this provide functionality that other templates do not?

Thanks again.
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 33721291
The top site in a site collection is the "home page" for that site collection.  If it's the root site collection "/", then it's the "home page" of the whole Intranet!   A wiki template gives you flexibility in putting content where you want it, without a lot of the extraneous content of some of the other templates.

You'd be wise to create a playground web application, where you can instantiate each one of the templates, play around in each one and see what's what.

Author Comment

ID: 33726076
Ok, that makes more sense.  Thank you very much, FastFngrz.

One last question, if I may.  I noticed you didn't say anything about the Document Vault sub-sites.  Do you feel this functionality is mostly covered by the site Lists, making the sub-sites redundent?  It seems to be so, but the search feature is missing (I imagine this is just a feature I need to turn on).
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 33727412
The "Document Vaults" are really called "document libraries" (doclibs for short) in SharePoint, and while you can put 5 million files in one library, chances are you'll want to have separate libraries for separate things... each library can have it's own:
   Metadata (additional columns to store, filter, sort, classify)
   Content Types (extremely powerful functionality, explore BEFORE deploying in production!)
   Connection to Outlook 07 for offline access

Permissions & Metadata are where you'll likely want to differentiate one from another

and while you can create folders in doclibs, in general, I prefer using metadata and a filtered view to limit the # of documents shown in a single screen.

Each team/department will likely have their own (set) of doclibs, where they can contribute and others outside the dept (maybe) can view only.

Author Comment

ID: 33727740
Just to be clear, this is the "document libraries" that shows up on a site's quick launch bar, and not a seperate site?  Or are we talking about a seperate site that shares the type name document library?

Author Comment

ID: 33756054
Thank you for your continued patience . I guess what I'm trying to ask is, for managing documents, should I be using a "Document Library" (which is a library component of an existing site), or should I create a new site beneath the current site, using the "Document Vault" site template?

Author Comment

ID: 33756443
Ah, sorry, I think I see what the problem was, the sites are called "Document Centers."  Though I'm sure I've heard of them being referred to as "Document Vaults" before.  Either way, my mistake.
LVL 11

Accepted Solution

FastFngrz earned 350 total points
ID: 33758798
All doclibs live in a site, whether its the root "/" or a subsite is up to you - it depends on the audience and the editors, as well as the navigation that you'd like to have into the doclib. In general, the higher in the hierarchy, the read/write ratio increases (more people read then editors update). Most folks put company wide documents high up, and team documents down in a team site.

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