Create an Intranet Using Custom WordPress Themes and Plugins
WordPress is the ideal software publishing platform for creating a robust intranet for your small to mid-sized company. It's no wonder that it has just been voted as the Overall Best Open Source CMS for 2009. This puts WordPress ahead of Joomla and Drupal as the leading content management system for not only blogging, but corporate intranets as well. This open source software is optimized and tested by a community of literally millions of developers and users.
WordPress allows you to adapt their free and open source blogging software to suit your company needs. You can easily extend the collection of employee personal data (called "User Profiles" in WordPress), and manage access to the posting of content or comments using a variety of user permissions (called "Roles"). This will allow you to collect instant employee feedback on new corporate initiatives, events and products or promotions. It's backend admin dashboard has been honed to be the most user friendly user interface of its kind. The extensive library of 3rd party plugins oriented towards intranet functionality also allows for easy integration of videos, user photos, image galleries, event calendars for employees and the list goes on.
So how do I set up an intranet using WordPress? Well, start by visiting WordPress.org to download the latest version. Then you'll need to select a theme (the download comes with a selection of generic blog themes, but you'll likely want a customized theme for intranets like the one we designed below - click to view larger image). Once you have a theme selected, purchased, or custom coded you'll then add "plugins" (once logged in as the admin, in the Dashboard menu below "Plugins" click on "Add New").
Click the image below to enlarge.
Here is our list of 8 highly recommended WordPress plugins for your intranet;
1) Registered Users Only
This plugin basically allows you to secure your otherwise public website to a password protected site. This can create an "extranet" for employee use only. Alternatively, you may have your own internal database which you want to provide a single sign-on with.
2) Simple LDAP Login
This plugin provides you with the ability to support Microsoft Active Directory and OpenLDAP (and other directory systems which comply to the LDAP standard, such as OpenDS). Basically you can then get a single click sign-in process going where your WordPress database updates at the same time as your internal database of usernames and passwords. Alternatively, you may find that the Active Directory Integration plugin has more options, and is actually an extension of some of the LDAP plugin code.
3) User Photo
If you'd like the ability to display photos of your employees each time they either post an article or comment, then this plugin will enable that. It simply adds this image upload capability to the end of your User Profile form in the WordPress dashboard.
This is a great way to allow employees to give a 5 star rating to articles, posts or new product or service ideas etc.. Instant employee feedback quantified in a visual manner.
5) WP Events Calendar
This calendar plugin is easy to use, offers a mini single month calendar for your home page side bar, and a larger multi-month calendar for viewing, editing and adding new events. It's easily customized to your corporate branding colours as well.
6) WP Wall
This plugin will add "Facebook-like" functionality to your intranet by allowing users to post or "shout out" comments, with their User Photos attached. You can then view a page which shows a full listings of all comments sorted by time/date etc..
7) Different Posts Per Page
Although the benefit of this plugin may not be clear at first, it is very valuable to restrict one article or post per page. By doing so, you can capture only the comments relevant to that specific post.
8) Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
The function of this plugin is simple, but the algorithym behind it is complex. This increased your intranet's relevance for employees by showing 3 or 5 related posts or articles right after each post. It is very effective at ensuring 2 or more articles are related, and relevant to the reader.
Contact us for a quote on development of a customized Wordpress intranet or to purchase the theme above modified to your company's information.