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Jaime López
Jaime López

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Choosing the Right News Management Approach in SharePoint Online - Single-Site vs Multiple-Site Architecture Considerations

In this article, I aim to shed light on the intricate work of the team entrusted with overseeing the news published on the company's intranet. Their pivotal role in upholding strict standards and guidelines for the content is crucial to maintain a cohesive and professional image for the company.

I delve into the multifaceted challenges that this team faces on a daily basis and explore their experiences and insights on how they navigate through the intricacies of the chosen content architecture. This in-depth perspective offers a unique insight into the complexities of content management within a business context.

Screenshot of the landing page of The Landing SharePoint Online site template

Join me as we explore the challenges faced by this team and provide some solutions to implement to ensure that the company's intranet content remains of the highest quality and aligns with the organization's vision and mission.

My name is Jaime López and I have been working as a developer and architect for more than 20 years. If you like this article click on the heart, if you like the Substack subscribe, and if you want to enrich the content add comments.

The Role of the News Content Manager

The role of the news content manager of an intranet is a critical one, tasked with the responsibility of safeguarding the company's reputation and upholding established standards. This mission is not one to be taken lightly, and as such, the individual or team responsible for this position is typically drawn from the internal communications, human resources, or marketing department.

Their role involves overseeing the information that is published on the intranet, ensuring that it aligns with the company's values, and adheres to the organization's set standards. It's a high-pressure role that requires a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of the company's culture and vision.

The Pros and Cons of the News Sites Architectures

SharePoint Online intranets consist of sites, with the root site of the site collection being the most common. These sites contain various types of content, with news being a standard type used to report on company events, successes, happenings, and other relevant information.

When it comes to managing and publishing news in SharePoint Online, there are two primary architecture models to consider. Let's explore these models in more detail to gain a deeper understanding of their benefits and limitations.

  • Single site: This refers to a centralized approach where a single site serves as the main repository for all news-related activities, and one person is responsible for creating, editing, and publishing news posts. These are some of the advantages and drawbacks:

    • Dependency on other departments to provide news content can increase complexity and create bottlenecks for managing and publishing news,
    • Having a single person or team responsible can simplify privacy and compliance content management, as they have greater control over the content,
    • Security management can be easier to handle as access controls and permissions can be more tightly managed,
    • Using a single-site architecture for news management in SharePoint Online can mean not utilizing certain Microsoft 365 features that are designed for multi-site architectures,
  • Multiple sites: This describes a decentralized approach in which multiple sites act as repositories for news-related activities. Each site is owned by one department, area, or team. These are some of the advantages and drawbacks:

    • News creation complexity can be reduced as each site takes responsibility for creating and publishing its own news content, allowing for more efficient and targeted communication within specific departments or teams,
    • Privacy and compliance content management can become more complex as each site owner is responsible for their own content, potentially leading to inconsistencies in content management and compliance practices,
    • Security management can be more challenging as access controls and permissions must be managed across multiple sites, potentially leading to increased risk of data breaches or unauthorized access to sensitive information,
    • Microsoft 365 features like hub sites, organizational sites, and site channels are less applicable in a single-site architecture, as they are primarily designed for multi-site environments.

Single-Site Architecture Challenges in SharePoint Online News Publishing

When designing and implementing a single-site architecture for an intranet, there are several challenges that must be taken into consideration. One of the most significant challenges is the dependence on other departments to provide content, which can cause delays and difficulties in managing and publishing news. Another important challenge is managing expectations and maintaining consistency across the site. Effective communication and collaboration are crucial to ensuring that everyone is on the same page and working towards a common goal. Finally, managing the workload of a single person responsible for creating and publishing news can be overwhelming, which is why it is important to have a clear plan and effective tools in place to support them. This chapter will explore each of these challenges in more detail and offer practical solutions for overcoming them.

1. Dependence on Other Departments

As a content manager, the quality and relevance of the news content are essential to ensure the interest and engagement of employees. However, when content creation relies on other departments, it can lead to delays and difficulties in meeting deadlines. The lack of control over the content timing, quality, and relevance could impact the overall effectiveness of the communication strategy and result in a disengaged workforce.

In order to overcome these challenges, it is important to establish clear communication and collaboration channels with the departments responsible for providing the content. This could include regular meetings, feedback sessions, and performance evaluations to ensure that the content creation process is aligned with the company's goals and expectations. By managing expectations and maintaining consistency, content managers can increase the likelihood of meeting deadlines and delivering engaging content that resonates with the workforce.

Photo Of People Doing Handshakes by Fauxels from Pexels

2. Managing Expectations

As the sole person responsible for creating news content, the expectations for the quality and quantity of the work can be high. The pressure to consistently deliver high-quality content can be overwhelming, especially when other departments have high expectations for the news. However, it can be challenging to meet these expectations when other departments do not provide the necessary information or content in a timely manner. The content manager may also face constraints due to limited resources or a lack of support from other departments.

By working closely with other departments and communicating the needs effectively, the content manager can ensure to have the resources and support necessary to create content that meets the needs of the organization. Ultimately, the success of the news content relies on effective collaboration and communication across departments, as well as a willingness to be flexible and adapt to changing circumstances.

3. Maintaining Consistency

When relying on other departments to provide news content, it's important to keep in mind that each department may have its own tone, style, and messaging that they prefer to use. These differences can lead to inconsistencies in the news content that is published, which can be confusing or frustrating for employees who rely on the intranet for up-to-date information. As the content manager, it may be necessary to work closely with the departments providing content to ensure that their contributions align with the established standards for the intranet.

Maintaining consistency in the news content can also be a challenge when dealing with content from different departments. It's important to have a clear understanding of the tone, style, and messaging that are appropriate for the intranet, and to work with other departments to ensure that their contributions adhere to these standards. This can require ongoing communication and collaboration to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the overall quality of the news content remains high.

4. Communication and Collaboration

Effective communication and collaboration with other departments are essential to creating high-quality news content. However, it can be challenging when different departments have different communication styles or preferences. For example, some departments may prefer email communication, while others prefer phone calls or in-person meetings. This can make it difficult to establish a consistent communication strategy and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Team working on a laptop by Mimi Thian from Unsplash

5. Managing Workload

Managing a large volume of news content can be challenging, especially if one person is responsible for creating and publishing it. It may be difficult to stay on top of deadlines and maintain quality if the workload becomes too heavy. In addition, if other departments are not providing the necessary information or content in a timely manner, it can exacerbate the workload and create additional stress.

To manage this workload effectively, it may be necessary to prioritize and plan content creation carefully. This could involve working closely with other departments to ensure they understand the timelines and requirements for submitting content. It may also be helpful to establish a content calendar to keep track of upcoming news items and deadlines. By planning ahead and collaborating effectively with other departments, it is possible to manage a large volume of news content and maintain high-quality standards.

Multiple-Site Architecture Challenges in SharePoint Online News Publishing

Multiple-site architecture can be a challenging approach to managing news content, particularly for organizations with a distributed structure or multiple departments. While this approach provides more control over content creation and management for each site, it also presents unique challenges. Ensuring consistency across all sites, avoiding duplication of content, managing multiple workflows, ensuring access for authorized personnel, and managing resources effectively are just a few of the issues that can arise. In this chapter, we will explore these challenges and provide insights into how to address them effectively.

1. Ensuring Consistency

In a multiple-site architecture, each department or team may have its own site for publishing news content. While this approach can provide more autonomy and flexibility for each department, it can also create challenges in ensuring consistency across the organization. With each site operating independently, it may be difficult to ensure that the tone, style, and messaging of news content align with the overall communication strategy of the company. This could lead to confusion or a lack of clarity among employees, and may ultimately impact the effectiveness of internal communications.

To address this challenge, it may be necessary to establish clear guidelines and standards for news content across all sites. This could involve developing a style guide or editorial standards to ensure that all news content is aligned with the company's brand and communication goals. Additionally, regular communication and collaboration between departments can help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same objectives.

2. Duplication of Content

Having multiple sites for news publishing can lead to duplication of content across different departments. This duplication can cause confusion among employees, as they may receive the same news item from multiple sources or may miss important updates if they are only published on one site. Moreover, it can also lead to a waste of resources as departments may spend time and effort creating and publishing content that has already been created and published by another department.

To mitigate this challenge, it is important to establish a centralized system for news publishing that can be accessed by all departments. This system can include guidelines for content creation and publication to ensure that there is no unnecessary duplication. Additionally, it can also include a tracking mechanism to ensure that all departments are aware of what has already been published and what needs to be published. By creating a central repository for news publishing, companies can ensure that employees receive consistent and relevant information without the confusion and redundancy that can come with multiple sites for news publishing.

3. Managing Multiple Workflows

Having multiple sites for news publishing can result in multiple workflows that need to be managed and coordinated. This can be challenging, particularly if each department has its own unique workflow, tools, and processes. The process of managing multiple workflows may be time-consuming and require significant coordination between different departments. Without effective coordination and communication, this can lead to delays in news content creation and publishing.

To manage multiple workflows, it's important to have a centralized system in place that can track progress and ensure consistency across all departments. This may involve creating standardized templates and processes, as well as implementing a project management system that can help keep track of deadlines and dependencies. Additionally, establishing clear communication channels and protocols can help ensure that all departments are aligned and working together towards common goals. By streamlining workflows and promoting collaboration, organizations can improve efficiency and ensure that news content is created and published in a timely and effective manner.

4. Ensuring Access

Multiple-site architecture brings the challenge of ensuring access to relevant news content for all employees. With different departments having their own news publishing sites, it can be difficult to ensure that all employees are able to access the information they need. This could be further compounded by the possibility of access restrictions or the need for additional permissions to view certain news items. As such, it is important to invest in effective communication and coordination efforts to ensure that all employees are aware of the different news sites available to them and how to access them. This could involve regular communication through different channels, such as email or intranet, and offering training or support to employees who may need assistance in accessing the information they need.

Workflow strategy by Campaign Creators from Unsplash

Ensuring access to relevant news content is especially important in ensuring effective internal communications and employee engagement. When employees are unable to access the information they need, they may feel disconnected from the company and less engaged in their work. This could lead to reduced productivity, morale, and job satisfaction. Therefore, investing in strategies to ensure access to relevant news content is essential in creating a cohesive and engaged workforce.

5. Limited Resources

In a multiple-site architecture, the need to manage and oversee multiple sites for news publishing can create a strain on resources. This could be due to the need for additional staff or technology to manage the multiple workflows and ensure consistency across different departments. Limited resources could also result in a reduced frequency of news content or a decrease in the quality of content due to a lack of time or resources to devote to the creation process.

Notebook by Asley West Edwards from Unsplash

Additionally, managing multiple sites can also require significant coordination efforts and communication to ensure that all employees have access to the relevant sites and are aware of the different news items being published. This can be challenging, particularly in larger organizations with complex structures and a diverse range of departments. Therefore, it is important to consider the resources needed to effectively manage multiple sites before implementing a multiple-site architecture for news publishing.


The article proposes two architectures for news publishing, Single-site, and Multiple-site, as the foundation of a company's news publishing strategy. SharePoint Online's existing features allow the chosen architecture to evolve according to the unique needs of the employees and the company.

Furthermore, the challenges discussed in each architecture are just a few examples that news creators encounter. Other challenges should also be considered when deciding on the basic architecture and possible adaptations.

In my experience, the Multiple-site model is the most popular because it offers more possibilities for news creation, content management, and security administration. Microsoft's functionalities are also geared towards the Multiple-site architecture and do not favor the Single-site model.

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