Explained in 60 Seconds: Website Governance

January 06, 2015

The list of to-do’s during a website redesign project is miles long. Launching a new site is a huge undertaking, but it’s really only the beginning. To stay as fresh and relevant as it was the day of launch, a website needs lots of love and attention. And rules. That’s where governance comes in.

Lisa Welchman, the authority on digital governance, defines governance as “a framework which effectively distributes decision-making authority for strategy, policy, and standards through your digital team.”

Not only will a governance plan help you manage your website day-to-day post-launch, but the process of defining the plan will push you to ask some really important questions that directly play into how successful your website will be. When Paul Boag talks about web governance, he asks these questions:

  • Do you have enough people running your website?
  • What are you going to do in-house and what will you outsource?
  • Who owns the website and are they the right people?
  • What is your policy on accessibility, content removal, and more?

Getting down to brass tacks, a good governance plan covers various topics, tasks, and details including:

  • Empowerment and restriction of content producers and publishers by defining roles and permissions
  • Establishment of a content workflow
  • Outlining of process and protocol for approvals, posting, editing, and removing stale or irrelevant content
  • Allowing for building a content management system to enforce web standards
  • Helping to maintain and build SEO
  • Providing guidelines on social media usage
  • Definition of training procedures

Creating a website governance plan is a part of the redesign process that is often put off as long as possible, or worse, overlooked. It’s not as fun as choosing cool photography or figuring out where to add interactive features – it can be arduous and full of complicated decisions. But it is one of the most important parts of a redesign project as it has significant influence over other parts of the process. Mapping a governance plan before you start thinking about creative design or development will help for a smoother project, launch, and life of the site.

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