To start blogging with Sharepoint, it is necessary to understand a few basics of this Microsoft program. Next and especially for those new to using Sharepoint and/or just beginning to blog, it can be used to receive internal brand image feedback before going live to the public. With this known, blogging, above any other thing, presents your organization’s expertise which, in turn, builds trust which transitions readers into brand loyal users and/or employees. At its base, Sharepoint blogging stimulates team interaction. As longtime Sharepoint users, we were very excited when Microsoft added blogs and wikis to this software! Whether using it for internal or external interaction, blogs (short for web log), allows you to conduct an online conversation, receive feedback but most importantly, tweak processes, products and services in a way which builds long term viability of your business. One feature of Sharepoint blogging is it allows team members or trusted writers to easily contribute content. If taking this route, an administrator must, at all times, monitor the quality of contributions and make necessary tweaks before others are allowed to read it.

Sharepoint blogs allow users and administrators to readily float thoughts, ideas as well as company-direction with readers, elicit feedback and then allow posting of ideas as well as comments. Let us be clear; we are in no way suggesting that you alter company direction based on either external or internal feedback. Whoever said “buy-in from team members is the most important part of management and the customer is always right” is a fool and doomed to failure! Nevertheless; as with blogs hosted on traditional websites, those who start and maintain them can post their ideas and comments in a series of linear, chronological posts. After this task is complete, others who visit can (and often will) reply to particular posts of interest which invites future readers to join the conversation. Key to stimulating participation from contributors and commenters is setting the correct permissions for each. Whether writer or administrator (not that these are mutually exclusive one from the other); setting up permissions, at the outset, assures as smooth running blog or wiki. In Sharepoint, a blog is a sub-site whereas with regular, publicly accessible websites, blog posts are assigned as ‘subpages’.

Within Sharepoint 2010 and 2013, blog template enables creation and management posts that you and others make as well as any comments team members or general readership make about content. The procedure for setting up a Sharepoint blog is straightforward and quite simple. The only catch is that you’re generally going to want to change at least one default blog template setting (which we will cover shortly) before you or others begin the process of posting content and inviting others to read and make comments. The default setting you want to change is the ‘content approval’ site setting that defaults to ‘yes’ but needs to be set to ‘no’ so that you don’t need to stop and approve each comment (at least for team members if not the general public) before they appear live. In our most humble opinion and to begin with anyway; it is worth setting aside time to approve each blog post made even for team members.

Although this will be viewed by some team members as an issue of trust, as a business owner, senior leader or other responsible for brand image, it helps establish direction and expectations. Remember – when something goes wrong, will the public, shareholders, customers or other investors contact your direct reports or you? It is true that those who seek constant buy-in from subordinates are doomed to mediocrity! We digress. Screening content, however, should be much less of a concern with blog’s restricted to team members under your direct supervision. If it is a concern, you probably need to address the issue and outline clear policies and procedures for what is and is not blog and comment appropriate.

To create a new blog for your Sharepoint site, follow these steps, in order;

Log on to Sharepoint and open the sub-site under which you want the new blog to appear. If you want the new blog to be available under the top-level Sharepoint site, display the homepage.

Choose ‘create’ from the ‘site actions’ drop-down menu. Sharepoint opens the ‘create page’.

Click the site’s ‘workspaces’ link column at the far right. Sharepoint opens the new Sharepoint site page.

Type the name of the new blog in the title text box and then press ‘tab’. Sharepoint then advances the cursor to the ‘descriptions’ text box.

Type a blog description into the descriptions text box and then press ‘tab’. Sharepoint advances the cursor to the ‘url name’ text box.

Type a name for the blog sub-site (without spaces) into the ‘url name’ text box. The name chosen here will form the basis for the blog site’s url. Next; you will need to select the blog template.

Click the ‘blog option’ on the ‘collaboration’ tab of the ‘select a template’ list box.

(Optional) Make any necessary changes to the permissions, navigation, and navigation inheritance settings that your new blog requires.

Click the ‘create’ button

Click the ‘manage posts’ link in the ‘admin links’ column on the right.

Choose ‘list settings’ from the settings drop-down menu.

Click the ‘versioning settings’ link in the ‘general settings’ column.

Select the ‘content approvals no radio’ button under the ‘require content approval’ for ‘submitted items’ heading.

Click OK. After the alert dialogue box closes and you’re brought back to ‘list versionings’ settings page, click that page’s OK button.

Click the name of the blog’s button on the ‘top link bar’.

Sharepoint is, indeed, key to effective internal management of business processes as well as external brand image so get started using this tool NOW.