Thursday, August 14, 2008

Naming a SharePoint Site

A few thoughts on picking a URL name for the a SharePoint Intranet site: The URL name is one of the most central branding pieces of the site. From my experience, this is a tough decision for organizations because a corporate Intranet is so many things and (will become many things that are not even conceived yet). Nevertheless, it is an very important one and one that needs to be made at the beginning of the Intranet build.

- The URL name needs to be easy to remember, be consistent with company branding, represent the content it delivers but also not be so specific that it can’t be flexible and grow and deliver new functionality.

- I would not vote for the name “sharepoint.mycompany.com” because users shouldn’t have to care what technology is being used to deliver functionality. We aren’t selling sharepoint to employees. We  are delivering company content and the company brand to employees.

- Many companies use their company name along with a generic word like “web” or “net”. This is because the name should represent the company, and the content it contains, but also be general enough so that you can add content to it in the future that is still described by the URL name. For example Microsoft uses “http://msweb”.

Here is what some other companies are naming their Corporate Intranets. Some of these are projects I’ve worked on, and some are from research:

Microsoft uses

http://msweb

Home Security Company uses

http://compannamenet

McKinney ISD uses

http://moss.mckinneyisd.net (I think this is a bad name, it was decided on in a hurry)

DELL:

http://inside.dell.com

Bank ONE

http://intranet.bankone.com

Yahoo

http://backyard.yahoo.com

Sprint

Http://iconnect

Catapult:

http://home.companydomain.com

On other projects where I haven’t pressed my client to come up with a good URL name for their Intranet, we end up using a name that no one likes and then we get stuck with it. Note it is relatively technologically simple to change the URL name (DNS entry change and a SharePoint setting), but it is difficult to change user habits once a name has been chosen.