Microsoft are dropping Office 365 Public Website
It’s a real shame, but Microsoft are dropping the Office 365 Public Website! Every O365 subscription was entitled to add a “Public Website” to their collection of SharePoint sites. To those that checked, it was effectively a full SharePoint Site which allowed anonymous internet access (without user permission level hassle), and could be used as the prime or other website of a business.
Having a public SharePoint Site is actually a fantastic feature – because it brings all the CMS functions (Content Management System) to a website. Simple… but deceptively feature rich! The reality of many websites is that they can be generated or modified from templates or designed from scratch (in HTML and CSS) – but critically, that does not make them have CMS capabilities. So no “News” page – which automatically formats your branded set of news posts, including date ranges, tags, titles etc. Exactly what Google expects in order to improve your ranking, let alone simply allow business staff to write the content and publish. Basically, that business user would have to get someone to author the HTML in order to create each page – and that is not likely to happen without a song and dance! Even further, you don’t want staff publishing any old bad grammar and rubbish – so a CMS provides you with approval workflow, ie. the very thing that SharePoint was built for!
So, it’s a great loss – but understandable in that it was a huge gift which was unlikely to be implemented properly and widely, which is why Microsoft prefer to let 3rd parties handle this aspect, because it is so important and needs to be controlled. It’s not as easy as it may seem to template a website onto a CMS. But if you want that public website using the excellent power of SharePoint (let alone it’s integration with all other functions and secure access), let us know and we’ll show you your options.