I am working on a portal project that was a custom asp.net wcm/ecm portal and i will develop it in sharepoint from scratch.

In that custom portal there is a 5 level menu hierarchy. And only some levels have contents and some levels are only for building the hierarchy.

So in sharepoint point of view, i will build the same menu hierarchy bu creating sites and subsites at five level.

Firstly is this OK, and best practice?

And some levels has no content. Only the leaf level subsites has content, and the second level of subsites have contents as welcome pages.

So what to do when the user clicks and goes to the subsites that has no content?

I am planning to develop custom top navigation bar, and give the url as # to the sites with no content, or redirect the user to the related parent-parent site.

What are your thoughts.


2 Answers 2


Proper and complete response to these questions would ask for some "It Depends!". Q: did you considered Publishing vs. Collaboration, you say ECM, but what doest it mean for your business requirements, you mention only "Pages for the leaf" so I would imagining Publishing would be your choice? In other words have a look here for a quick overview, but the debate is wider http://blogs.msdn.com/b/mossbiz/archive/2009/06/23/clarifications-collaboration-vs-publishing.aspx

5 levels deep is not really bad, but too much for my taste. I usually stop at 3, with special cases dedicated to those sub-sites where people need a "secret place" where security permissions inheritance would be otherwise broken at library/list level.

Navigation providers are your friends from multiple considerents - they provide caching, come with security impregnated, etc.(i'm considering here single Site Collection scenario!), have a look here at an example: http://kjellsj.blogspot.ch/2012/06/sp2010-navigation-sitemapprovider.html

The simplest way to have the full hierarchy, is via Site Settings-Navigation and use Views Subsite and View Pages as well as Inherit from Parent navigation bar.

  • Hello marius, thanks for your answer. But i didn't get your answer. What do you offer about my "sub-sites without content" problem? They are only there for creating hierarchy.
    – ozdogan
    Commented Oct 8, 2012 at 7:14
  • 1
    No content,means simply no pages, but by selecting the check-box to show Sub-sites, than also those will be visible, appearing as Navigation nodes (a home page will always exist at least!), what you could do in that case, use another page-layout for automatic redirection (e.g. use the Redirect Page layout) Commented Oct 8, 2012 at 14:40
  • And set that page (instance of redirect page layout) as the default (welcome) page for the sites with no content?
    – ozdogan
    Commented Oct 8, 2012 at 14:44
  • yes, indeed, that is what should one solution Commented Oct 9, 2012 at 16:04

It is not necessary to make sites and sub-sites for preparing the navigation, what you can do is create a new Site with Publishing Site template OR simply turn on the Publishing feature from site collection features - then you will have an option to manage Site Navigation in Site Settings - in the Look and Feel section, Navigation option - as shown in the screenshot:

enter image description here

You can follow this URL

So for those level's which don't have content, you can make a link with page OR just a link with # in URL.. that will redirect it to the parent site!

Please let me know if you need any clarification!

  • Hello arsalan, thanks for your enlightment i didnt think about adding custom links with #. But, what about the deployment of this? Is your solution has the potential of easy deployment as a solution
    – ozdogan
    Commented Oct 8, 2012 at 7:11
  • Hey, this is not a custom solution - it is OOB available if you have SharePoint Standard/Enterprise Edition... Do you want to know that either this navigation appears when you backup/restore sites? Or when you save site as a template? Commented Oct 8, 2012 at 12:08
  • Yes i know this is OOTB. As this is a publishing site, save site as a template wont work. So how to package this navigation customization for deployment.
    – ozdogan
    Commented Oct 8, 2012 at 12:17
  • Please follow this thread, and you will get the idea of some workarounds if they fit your needs! Commented Oct 8, 2012 at 12:32

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