Do you want anarchy? Because if you don’t have a system in place to manage your company’s website, that’s how you get anarchy. That’s how you end up in a world where adding content feels like the Wild West: 404 pages and typos greet your users, and brand inconsistencies abound. That’s not a digital world I want to live in.
If you’d rather manage your website with peace, harmony, and order, then you need a web governance strategy.
Simply put, web governance is the umbrella term for everything that goes into managing your company’s website. It helps you develop your organization’s standards for user experience and web accessibility, implement streamlined processes for creating and publishing content, and identify staffing and software needs to help keep everything running smoothly.
The digital world is always evolving, and we simple humans can’t keep up in the long-term. That doesn’t mean web governance can or will replace people—artificial intelligence may do that, but let’s save that topic for another blog and a smarter writer. In the digital playground, we’re only as effective as our tools allow us to be.
In the digital playground, we’re only as effective as our tools allow us to be.
A web governance strategy gives your team more control and flexibility in how they manage your website. Instead of taking a reactive approach to bugs, broken links, and clunky UX, they’ll be able to identify website issues and fix them before users suffer through negative experience with your brand. A solid web governance strategy also helps to tackle things “under the hood” of your website like optimizing page content for search and making sure you’re up to date with accessibility standards.
Every effective web governance strategy needs four things: people, tools, processes, policies.
Your web governance strategy should clearly define the roles and responsibilities of everyone working on your website. This will eliminate confusion, minimize chaos, and empower your people to do their jobs without being micromanaged. In the digital playground, we’re only as effective as our tools allow us to be.
For a small web team, the roles and responsibilities might break down like this:
In the digital playground, we’re only as effective as our tools allow us to be. Be sure to evaluate your website’s current and future needs to determine which tools your team can use to create, publish, and monitor the content on your website.
Common digital marketing tools include:
Think about the last time you added a new piece of content to your website. Can you identify all the steps you and your team had to take to publish it? Can everyone else on your team? If not, a web governance strategy will help you get everyone pulling in the same direction.
Who is creating the new content? Who is responsible for publishing it on the website? Is it a video or a blog? When does it need to go through the editing/QA process? Who gives the final approval to publish it? And who is responsible for monitoring the content’s analytics? Once you answer these questions, you’ll have a clearer process for managing your web content.
For example, adding an infographic to your website might look something like this:
This is where you’ll set the standards for things like branding, messaging, UX, and accessibility on your website and establish the rules for enforcing them. Your policies can be broad or specific:
Don’t feel like you need to have everything in place all at once. You can build slowly and assemble the pieces as your company grows, or as you identify places where you need help. Start small and work your up to a solid web governance strategy that fits your needs.
No two web governance strategies are the same. Your company has its own unique needs and goals, employees and resources, and ways of getting things done. There aren’t any shortcuts to creating a web governance strategy but here are a few tips to get your journey started:
What is the purpose of your website? Is it to increase sales leads, drive brand awareness, share information, or act as a digital storefront? Maybe it serves more than one purpose.
Whatever your goal, your web governance strategy should be focused on helping you connect with your audience and provide them with the content or experience they’re looking for.
If anyone on your team is asking questions that start with, “Who’s supposed to…?” it’s time to hit the reset button.
If you’re a one-person team, this won’t apply to you. Just know we’re all tipping our collective caps in your general direction and wishing you luck in your endeavors.
For the rest of us, it’s time to get organized. Assign specific areas of responsibility to everyone on your team. Don’t be afraid to build in a little overlap or deputize people who can step in when needed.
It’s time to make a literal list and check it twice. Leave no stone unturned. Cover all your bases. Use as many clichés as you need to get the point across.
Having a clearly defined process for creating and publishing content, coupled with some basic guidelines and strict rules, will take the guesswork out of managing your website. Be sure to document your process so that new team members can get up to speed faster, knowledge isn’t lost if people leave, and to make it easier for your process to evolve along with your company.
Just like your company and your website, your web governance strategy will always be evolving. You can add new policies, modify your process, or shift resources as needed. So whether your company has 10 employees or 10,000, it’s never a bad time to get started.
For more tips on managing your website, make sure to learn why you should have a continuous website improvement strategy on our blog.
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