Office 365 is pretty cool, but can you host your public facing website in the Microsoft cloud?
Yes you can, here’s how.
The first part of this post covers the administrative steps involved with creating a new public facing website in Office 365.
The remainder of the post will simply highlight some of the things I thought were pretty cool.
The first thing you need to do is create a new site collection for your new Office 365 public facing website.
To do this, from the Office 365 administration center, click “Mange site collections”:
Now from the site collections screen, you want to create a new public website.
To do this, from the Site Collections “new” drop down, select “Public Website”:
The “Create Your Website” dialog box appears (below). Fill out the fields, they are pretty self-explanatory (Title, Website Address, Language, Time Zone, Administrator, Storage Quota and Resource Usage Quota):
It’s worth noting these fields are all required (I tested this):
Congratulations, you have just created a brand new public facing site on Office 365!
It lands you on your new site:
Now you simply change the new site to suit your needs. Add some content, some images, some bling. Change the look and feel, add your logo, header, footer, pages. Get the site structure the way you want it (navigation).
Does it have all the same capabilities as a dedicated SharePoint 2010 public facing website? No, but for me that’s almost a good thing – here’s why: The Office 365 public facing website CMS interface is different, better, easier and well thought-out. It’s also a familiar and intuitive interface b/c the ribbon concept is still in-tact.
In my opinion, it’s just way easier to use and I was well impressed with it.
Here are some of the things I really liked.
Your pages are conveniently found by clicking “Web Pages”:
Click on page to load the page in edit mode (About Us for this example):
This is the page in edit mode:
You can probably tell from the above screen cap how you would do things like control the color of your site, the footer, background, text, theme, style, page layout, navigation, etc… but what the above still image doesn’t show you is how you can resize a Zone by dragging it. That’s brilliant and I wish it was like that with the box version of SharePoint 2010.
Resize zones by dragging them:
Cool new Web Part (Map & Directions):
Select a style:
Tons of stock photos for your header:
Control the location of your pages:
There’s tons more Office 365 public facing website capabilities to explore and I’ll be updating this post as time permits.