Your Intranet Guideline

If you work on an intranet site for a company, please read-me

Over the years I have built and worked on tons of intranet sites. When brought in to work on an existing intranet site, I commonly face a fairly big problem. There is no guideline to site management.

When I sit down it’s assumed that I will know where content goes, server capabilities, if the company has a style guide, backup procedures, and how much control I actually have. The list of unknowns is essentially infinitely long, and to make matters worse, the boss often has no clue as well.

Where is Your Guideline?

The first thing I do when jumping into a clients intranet is to look for the readme.txt file within the root directory. It’s about the only way a previous webmaster can communication or pass along the current guide. That leads me to writing this post. It’s often not there.

So here is what I do. I create a text file within the root directory called 000-Read-Me.txt. I use the three zero’s so that it’s often listed near the top of the directory. If you work on an intranet site, I hope we can work together on this, by you creating this file as well.

Within the readme file I list anything that could be of importance to another webmaster that needs to work on the site. Contact information for myself and the server administrator, where articles get archived, important meta data that may be required, and the list goes on. It’s basically and instruction file on how to add or edit content on the site.

Sometimes the readme file is not enough. I am currently working on one intranet site where instructions are extensive, including a specialized style and marketing guide. In this case I create a folder called 000-Read-Me, and include all the files there, making sure that I note their location in the readme file. And because many might first look in the folder title 000-Read-Me before seeing the readme file in the root directory, I include a brief readme file within the folder that says where to find the main readme file.

So that is what I do. Feel free to comment below on what you do. Maybe together we can set some intranet guidelines.

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