SharePoint provides various templates or site types so that you can create sites. These templates use similar building blocks but target different scenarios. They differ from each other in various ways, such as how they store information, how they present it, and even the nature of the functionality that they have to offer.
This recipe shows you how to create a site using the Team site template, which is the most commonly used site template for team collaboration.
Your organization should do the following before you can create sites from the SharePoint start page:
- Grant you access to SharePoint as part of the Microsoft 365 suite
- Enable the creation of sites from the SharePoint start page
- Enable the creation of modern sites in your Microsoft 365 environment
How to do it...
To create a new site from the SharePoint start page, follow these steps:
- Browse to the SharePoint start page, as described in the previous recipe.
- Click on the Create site option and then Team site, as shown in the following screenshot:
- Enter a title and description for your site, and confirm or change the pre-selected Group email address, Privacy settings, and language (more about these settings later in this recipe). Then, click the Next button, as shown in the following screenshot:
Furthermore, you should carefully choose Privacy settingson this screen. Choosing Private for this setting means only selected members that you have allowed on the next screen will have access to view and modify content within the site. Selecting Public for this setting would mean that everyone in your organization, by default, will be able to view and modify content within this site. You can always change the site's permissions after it has been created.
- At this point, SharePoint will start creating the site in the background.
- Even as it does that, SharePoint will prompt you to optionally invite other users to your site. These users are typically people from your organization who you'd like to grant owner or member access to this site. This can be seen in the following screenshot:
Users who are granted owner access to the site will be able to alter site permissions, add and customize pages, and change other key elements of the site. This access should only be granted to a select few users from your team.
People with member access are granted the ability to contribute to the content on your site. They can carry out tasks such as adding, editing, and deleting documents and/or list items. They can also view all the content within your site.
There is a third permission setting that isn't shown here, and that is visitor access. Visitors to your site can view the content within your site. This content can be presented through informational lists, documents, or pages within your site.
Who you grant member and visitor permissions to should be carefully considered, but know that these permissions can be changed after the site has been created.
- Clicking Finish will then redirect you to the home page of this newly created site.
Congratulations! You just created a new site in SharePoint Online.
How it works...
At its core, a SharePoint Site is a website that lets us store information and then present it in different ways. Information can be stored as data in lists and in the form of documents and/or files in libraries within the site. SharePoint uses pages and, optionally, web parts in these pages to show this information in a variety of formats. When you create a new site in SharePoint, it automatically creates one or more of these artifacts for you within that site. Finally, every site that gets created comes with search capabilities built into it. Search in SharePoint is a quick way to find information relevant to you, not only from within your site but also other sites and workloads that your organization may have enabled in Microsoft 365. We will learn more about Search as part of the Searching content recipe in this chapter and then go through it in more detail as part of Chapter 8, Search in Microsoft 365.
Types of modern site collections
At the time of writing this book, Microsoft has made a variety of templates available for modern site collections. Let's go over them now.
This type of site collection is primarily used for collaboration within a team or a department actively working on shared content. As mentioned earlier, this is by far the most common type of site template used for creating SharePoint Sites. SharePoint Team Sites are also connected to Microsoft 365 groups, which, in turn, are connected to other components such as Planner and Outlook. Examples of team sites include sites created for individual project teams to collaborate on, extranet sites created to work with external partners or vendors, and sites created for internal departments (such as the Human Resource department or Finance department) for their team collaboration. This means your organization would typically have a lot of team sites.
This type of site collection is used to broadcast a message or simply tell a story to your organization. Communication sites can be used to share news, reports, strategies, and other information in a visually compelling way. The content in a typical communications site will be shared with a large audience (potentially the entire organization). Examples of communication sites include your intranet landing site, a training site, a site where members in your organization would view key business metrics, and a site that's created to gather information for an organizational merger. This means your organization would typically have very few communication sites.
SharePoint hub sites are a way to bring together (roll up) information such as news and activity from a family of related site collections. As the owner (administrator) of your site collection, you can either register your site as a hub site or associate it with an existing hub site collection. If you choose to associate your site with an existing hub, your site will inherit the look and feel (theme) of the hub site.
Your site will also inherit other properties of the hub site, such as the navigation bar, additional navigation links, applications, or custom lists with specific columns.
Additionally, the users who have been granted access to the hub site will start seeing content, news, and activity being rolled up from your site, along with any other sites that are associated withthat hub site. This makes it easier for users to discover related content from across all these sites. An example of a hub site could be an enterprise Sales portal providing shared resources for the organization-wide sales teams and connecting multiple regional sales team sites and communication sites.
A home site is your organization's designated intranet landing site. Behind the scenes, the home site is just another communication site, but with the following differences:
- It aggregates content from your entire organization through news, events, videos, conversations, and other resources.
- The search experience in the home site defaults to the entire organization. This means that if you perform a search from the home site, it will bring back results from the entire organization.
- You can only designate one site from your entire organization as the organization's home site.
It is highly recommended that you create a home site as a place to aggregate content that is of utmost importance to your organization.
You can read more about the home site and the best practices surrounding its setup here: https://m365book.page.link/Home-Site
In this section, we will briefly review the concept of site collections. We will then look at the difference between the deprecated classic user interface versus the more modern experience.
Site versus site collection
As noted earlier, what we created through this recipe was a site collection. Simply put, and as the name suggests, a site collection is a collection of one or more sites that are grouped under the same URL. More often than not, all sites within a site collection will share identical navigation, branding, audience type, and sometimes even similar security.
When you first create a site collection, SharePoint will create a top-level site, or what is known as the root site, for you. You can then create as many subsites as you'd like to create under this root site. You could also create as many subsites as you wish under these sites. All these sites and subsites may or may not be based on the same template as the root site.
Modern versus classic experience
SharePoint supports two different user interface (UI) experiences:
- The more modern, fluid, and mobile-friendly experience
- The classic experience, which is now being deprecated
The modern experience makes it easy for you to create dynamic sites and pages that automatically adjust to the resolution of the device that they are being viewed on and are, hence, mobile-friendly. The modern site experience also includes a newer, modern way of working with lists and libraries. Since the classic experience is being deprecated and no longer recommended for creating new content, we will only be discussing the modern experience in this book. For those of you with the inquisitive mind, here is a great article on the SharePoint community blog explaining the modern experience and why you should use it for creating new content: https://m365book.page.link/Why-Modern
- Chapter 3, Workingwith Modern Sites in SharePoint Online