Many organisations choose to use what is called an intranet (or extranet). It is a space located online (or on a private server) that a company and its employees can use to improve task management and assignment, send alerts, communicate, share files and content easily, boost the social atmosphere of the company.
So, in the end, an intranet is a great way to improve communication and information shared inside a company. Better communication means better workflow: project deadlines are meat faster, important files – and all the files you use on a daily basis – are at your service. On top of that, it also decreases your expenses.
Up to now, only large and medium-sized companies were using intranets because intranet (let alone extranet) used to be really expensive (more than 200 $/month for a private network in 2014).
Nowadays, the price issue has been overcome, and companies are able to get a private space by spending way less money. The intranet/extranet market has extended to smaller businesses and associations. This was made possible thanks to WordPress with its fellow themes and plugins.
What is intranet/extranet?
If you don’t know what an intranet is yet, let’s talk more technical. An intranet is a computer network inside a company, which creates an internal space for its members. It is a kind of private internet where only computers connected to it can access certain web addresses (IPs).
An extranet is conceptually the same thing but, technically, it is used when the members (in our case – company employees) are located in different places and cannot access the same local server. A simple example could be a company with offices in different cities. However, you can also use an extranet even if you are in the same building as web servers are way cheaper than private servers.
A very basic intranet can be composed from just a shared folder connected to a network: all files in that folder will be visible to other intranet members (depending on their permissions). However, in this case, your intranet members will just be able to share files; they will not be able to enjoy such features as internal messaging, project management, task assignment, calendars, wikis, blogs and other content.
If you want to use these features, you need an expert to build a private website (or, possibly, a software system, but a website is much simpler). It doesn’t necessarily need to look cool but it has to work well with all the features requested. Due to the network setup, this website will be accessible only to intranet members.
So, to recap, your company needs a:
● System analyst: At least, you need him/her to set up and take care of your network periodically – for updates, security check-ups, potential future changes;
● Developer: If you don’t want to use only shared folders.
Of course, it will entail certain costs and take some time.
So, today I will talk about WordPress because it can solve this problem in a really simple way.
Why choose WordPress for your intranet?
WordPress is the most frequently used CMS in the world. It was born for blogging – but nowadays it is so much more!
● 74.6 million websites depend on WordPress;
● 40 translations of WordPress;
● WordPress.com gets more unique visitors than Amazon (US);
● 29 000 WordPress plugins and growing daily.
WordPress provides a basis for your intranet and allows adding new features easily. A lot of features are already provided in themes or plugins. So, you just need to install a brand new theme and set it up. Furthermore, you can extend its features in a sec: you have 29 000 plugins available for you. It offers you a lot of ways to improve your intranet: forum, cache, paid membership, slider, etc.
As for the network setup and system analyst issues: WordPress doesn’t actually solve them but allows you to avoid them. What I mean is that, by using WordPress, you can easily set up a usual website which would be accessible only for users with certain credentials. So, if there is no particular necessity, this solution can be a good fit for your company.
How an intranet built with WordPress can boost your company work
Below, I will show some important but simple features that your company can enjoy through using an intranet built on WordPress and the right theme and plugins.
User profile and information
Every user can have his/her own page, where important (or less important) information, such as email, phone number, office number, team or group memberships, etc., can be displayed.
You can send messages to other members or groups.
Create groups for members
Members can be grouped by work team, section or company department. Groups can also be used for more social purposes.
Here, group membership roles can be managed: by making them visible to all or not, by allowing all members to request joining the group or not.
Internal blogging news
Blog posts are, of course, in the core of WordPress, so you can have a space for news, announcements and official communication available only to the members of your company.
Project and task assignment
This is a very important feature, which can boost your performance. With the right theme or plugin, you can have a space for each project, where you can assign tasks to members, share documents, links or any pieces of information, publish comments or announcements for all members, keep track of progress using the task bar.
This doesn’t require much explanation: you will have a calendar where all employees can see appointments, project deadlines, new events, etc.
You can manage folders and subfolders, upload files that the employees have to use on a daily basis.
You can easily handle a wiki for basic information (something like the following image), including revisions, hierarchy, categories and searches.
Manage user membership across your app
You can assign different roles to members, with each role having its own permissions. Members with the right permissions will be able to edit pages, projects, wiki content, publish news and so on. Members can do everything from the frontend – they will never see the WordPress dashboard and environment, so no need to be a WordPress expert.
Woffice: all-in-one WordPress intranet theme
As I have already told, if you want your company’s intranet to enjoy good features, you need to use the right theme and plugins.
Woffice is a WordPress theme designed specifically for intranet and extranet. It contains all the core plugins and features that your intranet needs. It also includes some premium plugins worth $120. Thus, you can save a lot of money and time.
While I was writing this article, 1750+ happy customers chose Woffice for their companies. This is because all the features described above are already present in Woffice (all the screens that I have posted here were taken from it), and it allows enjoying a lot more features, such as forum management, courses and online teaching, drag-and-drop page builder, user map, chat functionality and much more.
Woffice is a responsive theme, so it is accessible from all devices: desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. In addition, it is translation-ready, and it has already been translated into more than 10 languages!
One of the important things that made Woffice so appreciated is the professional support service. Woffice teams work on customer requests every day, with a maximum response time of 24 h. They take care of customers as much as they can.
Woffice is sold from Alkaweb on ThemeForest – the most famous marketplace for WordPress themes. Here, Woffice is the most sold intranet theme, and at this point it should be easy to understand why. You can see the Woffice page on ThemeForest here.
Plugins to enhance the intranet mode
Here is a small list of some other features that can improve your intranet performance. All these features are achievable with plugins perfectly compatible with Woffice:
● Forums with BBpress: It is forum software with a twist from the creators of WordPress. It allows you to easily create and manage a forum space.
● Courses & online teaching with LearnDash: Do you need a training area for your employees? This plugin is perfect for this purpose. It allows creating courses, lessons, assignments and easy management of all contents.
● Badges with BadgeOS: Does your company have the “Best employee of the month” theme? Thanks to this free plugin, you can create achievements and issue sharable badges.
● Albums & videos with rtMedia: Add albums, photos, audio and video encoding. Set privacy, sharing, frontend uploads and more. All this works also on mobile and tablet devices.
● Calendar and events with EventON: Provides a stylish and powerful calendar solution for the members of your intranet. This is one of the premium plugins included in Woffice for free.
● Cache with WP Super Cache: This free plugin increases the performance of your pages.
● Charts and graphs with Visualizer: This is a simple and easy-to-use plugin – for creating, managing and embedding interactive charts into your pages.
● Facebook login with Nextend: With this plugin, your members will be able to register and log in to the private area using just a one-click Facebook access. This plugin is totally free and well-supported.
I hope you enjoyed the article, and it will help you. Please let me know in the comments below what you think and whether you have questions.
If you want, you can also check more intranet wordpress themes.