Building a complex SharePoint site (or multiple sites) can be a time-consuming process, but with the help of a SharePoint site builder, it can become much simpler. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced user, a SharePoint site builder can help you create consistently structured sites that meet your needs. Read on to learn more about site builders and whether they’re right for you.
What are the different ways to create SharePoint sites?
There are a few different ways to create SharePoint sites and each method has its advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to consider your specific needs and skill level before deciding which method to use. The methods are as follows:
- Creating a basic site by following the built-in SharePoint user prompts - Following SharePoint’s site-building instructions allow users to create a site by simply clicking on each guide and following the prompts. This method is ideal for those who don't have a lot of experience with SharePoint or who need to create a site quickly. However, it may not offer as much customisation as other methods and if you’re creating multiple sites it can be very time-consuming.
- Creating a site from scratch – Creating a site without SharePoint’s built-in guidance gives users more control over the design and functionality of the site but requires more technical knowledge.
- Pre-built templates - Using pre-built templates available out of the box in SharePoint Online offers a balance between ease of use and customisation options.
- Using PowerShell – You can use PowerShell to create a SharePoint team site and add users to the site. IT professionals tend to use this method when they need more control over the creation process or when they need to automate the site creation process.
- Using a SharePoint site builder - This may be the best option for those who need to create multiple sites quickly and easily.
How are sites currently being created within your organisation?
Before deciding whether to use a SharePoint site builder, it's important to assess how sites are currently being created within your organisation. Are they being created from scratch or are pre-built templates being used? If the current method is working well, there may not be a need to switch to a SharePoint site builder. However, if there are challenges or inefficiencies with the current method, a SharePoint site builder may be worth considering.
What are your goals with using a site builder?
Before deciding to use a SharePoint site builder, it's important to identify your goals for using the tool:
- Are you looking to save time and resources by streamlining the site creation process?
- Do you want to ensure consistency and standardisation across all sites within your organisation?
- Are you looking for a tool that can help enforce site creation that complies with the policies and regulations of your organisation?
- Are you hoping to empower non-technical users to create their own complex sites without relying on IT support?
Understanding your goals will help you determine which SharePoint site builder is the right solution for your organisation.
Once you have identified your goals, evaluate the features and capabilities of different SharePoint site builders to ensure they align with your needs. Some site builders may offer more customisation options or focus on quick and easy site structure construction of multiple sites, while others may prioritise ease of use for non-technical users or allow for the creation of sites that enforce your organisation’s governance policies. Additionally, consider the level of support and training required to effectively use the tool and look at what is offered by the site builder provider to ensure your team will get the most out of it.
What are the advantages of using a site builder?
There are more than a few reasons to use a third-party tool to automate your SharePoint site creation and while they typically do require a little learning on the part of administrators, a site builder can be very beneficial to your organisation in the following ways:
- The time and resource savings it can provide. With a site builder, non-technical users can create multiple sites quickly and easily, without having to rely on IT support. This can free up IT resources to focus on more complex tasks, while also empowering users to take control of their own site creation process thereby increasing productivity within your organisation.
- A site builder can ensure consistency and standardisation across all sites within your organisation. This can improve usability and reduce confusion. By providing users with a set of pre-defined templates, a site builder can help ensure that all sites within your organisation have a consistent structure and functionality.
- Users can quickly create multiple sites that meet their specific needs. With pre-built templates and customisable options, users can quickly create multiple sites that meet their specific needs without having to start from scratch.
- A SharePoint site builder can provide a user-friendly interface. An easy-to-understand interface that doesn't require technical knowledge, makes SharePoint site creation accessible to a wider range of users within the organisation.
- The ability to enforce governance policies. With a site builder, you can set up rules and guidelines for site creation, ensuring that all sites are created in accordance with your organization’s policies and procedures. For example, you could assign sensitivity labels to certain sites or enforce multiple owners upon site creation to prevent content from being orphaned when the original owner leaves.
How to know whether using a site builder is successful.
If you’ve been using a site builder for a while, it’s a good idea to take the time to evaluate its impact on your organisation. Measuring the success of the use of a SharePoint site builder depends on several factors and there are a few questions that you should ask yourself:
- Did it make it easier for users to create the sites they wanted and more importantly did it create unnecessary issues for administrators?
- Did the site builder streamline the site creation process and save time for users?
- How difficult was it to train users to use the builder and will training new users be an ongoing problem?
- Was the site builder effective in applying governance across the sites the builder created and how easy was it to configure?
- Did the site builder make it easy to group sites together and has navigation to these sites and their management improved?
Finally, it’s important to consider the cost-effectiveness of using a site builder. Does the tool provide a good return on investment, considering the time and resources saved by using it?