The homepage of your intranet will get the most traffic on your site by far. That being the case, it is important to have a strategy for homepage usage to ensure you are taking full advantage of this valuable communication space. Working with our hospitals over the years we have developed some best practices to help that we'd like to share and discuss.
Keep it fresh - This may be the most important! The homepage will set the tone for the rest of your intranet. If the content is stale, staff will stop coming to the site. We recommend updating homepage content a minimum of 1-2 times a week. While certain areas of the page may be static, the announcements and news feeds need to stay fresh. Plan your content in advance when possible and try to maintain a "well" of stories and information you can draw from when needed.
Engaging Content - Your homepage should be engaging. Typically this means including rich graphics and interactive content. Scrolling images have become very popular because they draw the user in and are also a great way to save space. Videos work great too. Try having your leadership record a video blog with their smart phone instead of a text blog. If you have an activity feed or commenting functionality, the homepage can be a great place for these types of interactive content as well. Lastly, ensure that your homepage gets seen by having your IT department assign your intranet as the default homepage for the browser. This way it will be seen by staff each time they open a browser to access the internet or other web based applications.
Less is more - Do you have to scroll down past the "fold" of your intranet homepage to see content? Is your intranet homepage a hodgepodge of content that has been added over the years? We see this a lot! Try to trim down the amount of content on your homepage to fit above the fold. Also with too much on the homepage, it can be difficult for staff the see the important things you want and need them to see.
Maintain Control - This relates to the last item. The homepage should never get to the point that it is overwhelming or full of stale content. Along with your governance team, make decisions about what content truly belongs on the homepage, where it should go, and who will maintain it. Typically Marketing or Human Resources staff maintain the intranet homepage. They tend to have the most insight into new things that staff want and need to know. Have a process in place for others to request homepage content. A simple electronic form with a few fields will allow staff to request you add a news item or something to the calendar.
Putting these best practices in place will set you on a path to a better intranet homepage. What other types of things are you doing with your homepage to keep staff engaged? Post your comments and feedback below.