8 Comments

Setting up an internal blog – advice needed!

I’ve been asked to look into some solutions for setting up a blog for internal communications within my firm. We need something that would be visible to staff only, and that is preferably cheap/free and fairly simple to set up. We’d like it to be visible through our intranet – we wouldn’t be able to integrate it fully, as our intranet is incredibly basic, clunky and has minimal tech support, but we can embed live web pages within the intranet. At the moment, the front page of our intranet is updated by Marketing. They add details of recent press coverage, upcoming events, new clients, cases we’ve won, and any big firmwide announcements. These front page stories usually change about once a week – sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on what’s going on. We’d like to use the blog initially as an easier way of publishing these stories, and storing old ones. this would possibly be an interim solution – we are looking at implementing Sharepoint within the next 18 months, so at that point would probably use Sharepoint’s blogging tools.

The solutions I’ve thought of (and had suggested to me) so far have been:

Hosted WordPress.com blog, set to private

Pros:

  • Free
  • Easy and quick to set up

Cons:

  • Would need users to log in individually (I think!)
  • Hosted externally – not very secure if we’re putting potentially sensitive information on the blog
  • Would need to pay extra to have more than 35 users

Self-hosted WordPress.org blog

Pros:

  • More secure to have it on our own server
  • Bit more flexible

Cons:

  • More technical knowledge required to set it up, more time consuming
  • Not entirely sure if we can restrict access to certain users – WordPress Codex seems to imply you can, but it’s fiddly. Anyone tried doing this?

Yammer (or similar service)

Pros:

  • Private, secure
  • Easy to set up
  • Free version (though not sure if we’d end up paying for the premium version)

Cons:

  • Not exactly what we were looking for – microblogging, rather than blogging.
  • Relies on good uptake within the firm – would take a lot of effort to get everyone using it.

So, those are my ideas so far. Any other suggestions? Anything I’ve missed or misunderstood? I’d be very grateful for any advice anyone has, no matter how basic! I’ve had my personal blog for a bit over a year, but I’ve got no real experience of using blogs as private, internal communications tools. Has anyone set up anything like this before?

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8 comments on “Setting up an internal blog – advice needed!

  1. If you want something free and easy without asking users to log in, you can simply install local WordPress and make it accessible to a specific IP range only (using the webserver config).
    Or am I missing something?

  2. WordPress is relatively easy to install locally. You need to be able to copy files to a local web server (preferably one not accessibly outside the company!), create a mysql database, and edit a text file just to fill out the database name/username. Web server needs to be able to do PHP.

    That’s about it, but of course if you don’t have permission or those services than it’s not easy at all. Once installed, upgrading is easy.

    I’m 99% you can restrict it to users in a quite easy way, but haven’t checked, certainly do-able.

  3. Go WordPress. You can take both WordPress.com of self-hosted. That’s your choice.

  4. We run WordPress at Uni of Lincoln and with a couple of plugins and some technical help, you can do this. The plugins are:

    http://sourceforge.net/projects/wpmu-ldap/
    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/more-privacy-options/

    Good luck!

  5. Good experience with the free version of Yammer for a short time in a provincial government setting, largely due to the participation of the Chief Information Officer.

  6. Beautiful example of WordPress used as blog, current awareness and general library promotion: http://lancashirecare.wordpress.com/. Sue Jennings has had great success with her site and her users find it an invaluable service, judging from her very impressive stats (also generated as a hosted WordPress service)

  7. I’m a bit late on this conversation but I’d love to set up WordPress for external AND private internal posts AND have certain functional groups like Advisory Board, Finance etc have access only to specific categories or otherwise separate information…possible?!

    • Thanks for the comment Mike! Bit beyond my area of expertise I’m afraid, but I would suspect not, or at least not all on one blog. You might be able to have multiple Wordpres installs to manage something like this, but I’m afraid that’s as far as I could say with any confidence! Good luck with your project though.

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