SharePoint Home Site – The Why and The How


Home sites are not new, but with the more recent release of the Viva Connections (formerly known as the Home Site App), we decided to shed some light on the Home site itself.

It is essentially a communication site that should serve as the landing page for your organization that bring together news, events, content and conversations.

We believe that all organizations should make the proper use of it, and if you haven’t already migrated to SharePoint Online, now it’s time to consider that move as the Home site is not available on-premises.

With the on-premises world, you are limited to the home page of the root site collection, while the flat site hierarchy of SharePoint Online is giving you unlimited potential.

Home sites

What is the SharePoint Home Site?

The SharePoint home site is the single landing page for your organization’s Modern Intranet. It’s a communication site that brings all your users together, connects various sources of news, conversations, videos in an intuitive way and targeted to specific groups. You can only have one Home site, so it’s a unique location that you should strategically consider in your Intranet planning.

Key Points

  • When: Announced in May 2019, Roll-out finalized in April 2020
  • How: Setting up a Home site for your organization
  • What: Provides a single landing page for your Modern Intranet

Main Benefits

Why should you use a Home Site?

The Modern Intranet’s landing page should be the essential hub for workplace information. With one click, your users should be able to grasp the most important news, updates, and events, which will help them stay on top of the latest updates and feel connected to your organization.

Single location for news

News can be found across different sites in your organization but it’s best to have one single location that is consolidating them. Home sites allow you to display organization news, as personal, relevant content targeted to specific user groups.

SharePoint Organizational News site

Engaging experiences

Engaging experiences are key to the intelligent intranet and home sites allow you easily embed conversations, video, and content from Microsoft 365 and more so you can connect your users with the information and activities that matter to them. Anywhere, on any device.

SharePoint Recommended viewing

When you promote an existing Site to a Home site, the search scope reverts to Organization (instead of the default hub or site context scope). The integrated search, powered by artificial intelligence, allows deeply personalized insights to be surfaced to make your users more productive and take advantage of the collective knowledge from your organization both inside and outside of Microsoft 365.

With Viva Connections (formerly known as the Home Site App), the search experience is consistent within SharePoint and Teams.

SharePoint Intranet Search

Easy to beautify

Robust menu options, such as the recently released megamenu, allow you to create a visually engaging navigation experience that can show multiple levels at the same time. This enables you to better organize and showcase the related content and sites from across your organization.

SharePoint Mega Menus

Building a great looking home sites is now an easy task. With the new organization design for communication sites, you have a great starter kit to get you moving fast. New page options, like a vertical column, and ever-expanding list of out of the box web parts provide additional design options to meet your organizational design needs with less development time.

Easy to access – SharePoint Mobile App

There is a new Home icon available in the SharePoint mobile app for those users who have access to Home Site.

SharePoint mobile app - One touch access to Home site

With Viva Connections (formerly known as the Home site app) you get a one-click access to the Home site in Microsoft Teams, where the majority of your users would typically spend their day anyway.

Microsoft Viva Connections

How to setup a Home site?

Promote using PowerShell

After you create and customize the communication site that you want to use as your home site, you need to run a PowerShell command to set it as your Home site. To run this command, you must be a site admin on the site.

1. Download the latest SharePoint Online Management Shell.

  • Note: If you have a previous version of the SharePoint Online Management Shell, go to Add or remove programs and uninstall “SharePoint Online Management Shell.”

2. Connect to SharePoint as a global admin or SharePoint admin in Microsoft 365.

Connect-SPOService -Url -Credential

  • Note: If you’re using an MFA-protected admin account, please use Connect-SPOService -Url to go to the web-based login.

3. Run Set-SPOHomeSite -HomeSiteUrl (Where siteUrl is the site you want to use)

You will get a confirmation like that:

The Home site has been set to . It may take some time for…

In addition to setting up the Home site, we recommend configuring the Home site as an on-click destination for your company logo. You can achieve that by customizing the organizational theme.

Go to the Microsoft 365 Admin Center -> Settings -> Org Settings -> Organization Profile -> Custom themes -> Logos. You’ll need a URL to your logo and the URL of the Home site in On-click link.

Microsoft 365 On-click link logo

Setting up Global Navigation

Read more about setting up the global navigation in our detailed SharePoint App bar post. Remember the considerations when choosing navigation source:

For home sites that are a hub, you have two source options:

  • Select the site navigation source to display the home site’s navigation.
  • Select the Hub or global navigation source to display the home site’s hub navigation.
  • Note: When you apply the extended header layout to the site, you will no longer see the hub navigation.

For home sites that are not a hub, you have two source options:

  • Select the site navigation source to display the home site navigation.
  • Create a secondary set of navigation nodes specifically for the global navigation panel by selecting Hub or global navigation. Then, select Edit global navigation to create the new global navigation menu. Click Save when you are done.
  • Note: For home sites that are not a hub site and choose to create a secondary set of navigational nodes for the global navigation pane – if you decide to make your home site a hub in the future, the new hub site navigation will inherit the current navigational nodes for global navigation and can be edited at any time.

What is the difference between a Home site and a Hub site?

Hubs and Home sites are both added functionalities to two the two types of Modern SharePoint sites: communication and team sites.

Home site Hub site
A home site serves as the top-level portal with unique functionality like special SP mobile treatment, organizational news, tenant wide search, etc. A hub is used organize sites with a shared theming, navigation, search and news roll ups.

One vs. Many

While you can and normally will have multiple Hub Sites in your Modern Intranet, you can only have one Home site. You can change your home site, of course, so do not worry. Just keep in mind that changing it takes up to two hours for the changes to take effect.

Can a home site be a hub as well?

Yes, absolutely. Your Home site can be registered as a hub site but can’t be associated with a hub.

What if I don’t want to use the Home site?

You can use the OOB SharePoint start page, powered by graph intelligence available for all users. It is essentially a personalized way finding and resources tool and it will continue serving its purpose. SharePoint home site, on the other hand, is an organization’s top portal. It’s a carefully crafted collection of news, content, conversations and video to deliver an engaging experience that reflects an organization’s voice, priorities and brand, so we strongly recommend taking advantage of it.

Home Site considerations

  • You can set only one site in your organization as a home site.
  • The site can be registered as a hub site but can’t be associated with a hub.
  • The first time you set up a home site, it might take up to several minutes for the changes to take effect.
  • If you run the command again to switch your home site to a different site, it might take up to 2 hours.
  • Home site is not available in SharePoint on-premises.
  • Home site ≠ Hub site
  • Global navigation in the SharePoint app bar must be enabled for SharePoint resources to display in the Microsoft Teams app bar for Viva Connections (formerly known as the Home site app)
  • Search customizations applied to SharePoint sites will apply to search results in Teams when on the home site. All SharePoint out-of-the-box site headers are compatible with Viva Connections desktop. However, if you modify your SharePoint site to remove, or significantly change the site header, then these contextual actions may not be available to the users.
  • Viva Connections was originally announced as the Home site app.

Conclusion

The SharePoint Home Site is a key feature of your organization’s Modern Intranet information architecture. It empowers your users to create beautiful, fast, natively mobile, digital experiences with just a few clicks. The correct approach to implement your SharePoint information architecture is the one that suits your needs. If you feel lost with home sites, hub sites, landing pages, global navigation, SharePoint app bar, Viva Connections, let us do the heavy lifting for you. You will find the added value of an experienced partner being on your side. We at Impactory have created the information architecture strategy for companies from any size and industry. Reach out to us to get you moving fast.

Additional Resources

  1. Bringing your SharePoint home site to Teams? Find out how to use the Viva Connections (formerly known as the Home Site App) in our detailed Viva Connections (formerly known as the Home Site App) blog post
  2. Microsoft Viva Connections (formerly known as the Home Site App) is just one of the four Microsoft Viva modules. Read more about all of them in our dedicated Microsoft Viva blogpost.

IMPACTORY

Ihr zuverlässiger und performancestarker Partner

Bei uns erhalten Sie ein breites Service- und Beratungsangebot rund um Planung, Einführung und Umsetzung von SharePoint, Microsoft 365 oder Hybrid-Anwendungen. Profitieren Sie dabei von unserer langjährigen Branchenerfahrung

Leistungen

Wir sorgen dafür, das Microsoft 365 und SharePoint in Ihrem Unternehmen optimal läuft

Lösungen

Mit innovativen Lösungen zu mehr Produktivität. Unser Ziel sind effektive Lösungen, die einfach und schnell in Ihrem Unternehmen umzusetzen sind