We’ve been back and forth now for a few months on creating a portal for our company. Keeping tools and information in a central location has been a challenge to say the least.
The goal for creating a custom portal / intranet for our company is to have a place where all of our staff (in-office and remote) can have a centralized environment for documents, resources and tools.
For instance some staff members would use old versions of certain documents, or other staff members might not even know that we have certain tools available for use.
Our needs are really minimal right now. Most of our forms are managed by Wufoo and most of our documents and tools are hosted in the cloud. Very few tools with the exception of SEO Screaming Frog, Scrapebox and Xenu are local applications. My wishlist for the portal included:
- (sales) a centralized system for proposals, invoices, and email templates
- (SEO & dev) a centralized system for tools and auditing systems
- (company) a place for employee time tracking, project management and other quick links
With that said, I chose to develop this myself to keep costs minimal and future expansion easy.
The intranet is coded using 100% Bootstrap CSS which makes this app super mobile friendly and usable across pretty much any device. I used a template that was originally meant for an image gallery but to me I thought they’d look really swell as buttons. My vision was modeled from the Firefox homepage of “recent tabs” I’ve always loved the look of this and thought it had a great UX. The intranet is live on the web, but de-indexed from Google and no-followed etc. SO while it isn’t really hidden from everyone, it isn’t publicly available either.
In a few days I had a working mockup created and version 1 was born!
One of the challenges I had was linking to external, internal, and intranet resources. I was able to get around this by uploading some of the documents (our invoice for e.g.) to the server itself and linking to these resources appropriately.
Here is a better screenshot of the home screen:
A few notes for anyone wondering:
- the blog schedule is an internal document we use to keep track of our blogging frequency. It is a private Google Doc we use and update almost daily.
- The SEO and website questionnaire is a form that we send to new clients to get a better understanding of our clients’ needs. I wrote up a little post on creating an SEO questionnaire here.
- We use Gmail (Google Apps) for our email. This makes it easy to flip back and forth between personal and work email, while keeping all data redundantly stored on Google’s servers.
- We use Basecamp for all project management and Hootsuite to schedule social media posts for our clients
Implementing the Intranet
Getting people to adopt anything new can be tricky. The first thing I did was make sure it was set to the default page on everyone’s computer / laptop and suggested it as well for our remote workers.
After a few days I started noticing a few people in our office using it which was nice to see. I personally use it a lot being that I use most of these tools and resources on a regular basis.
I’ve already started accessing the intranet on my phone as a quick way to find files or tools when I don’t have the address handy.
I’d really like to get all of our HR stuff up on the portal as soon as possible. It would be cool so that when we get a new hire we can just point them to a download packet and complete the required paperwork, or forms.
I would also really like to integrate our CRM into the system. Also I am planning on adding social profiles so employees can have easy access to share posts or check-in on Facebook, etc. From time to time we have employee incentive programs to check in etc. I was somewhat sloppy when creating some of the buttons, I’d like to ultimately standardize the colors / font sizes on all of the buttons.
For now it really has everything we need. It feels good to have another system in place to help people get more organized and on the same page.
If you’d like to check out a live and semi-working version of the portal you can email us to request.
If you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them. I’m always open to more ways to be efficient and productive.