What is Web Governance and Why It Matters

Image to represent all of the factors of web governance including accessibility, web analytics, policy, quality assurance, response, PDF checker, and more.

If you are familiar with Siteimprove, you have probably seen or heard “web governance” quite a few times. But what is web governance, and why does web governance matter?

Web governance, sometimes referred to as digital governance, is defined as the process of maintaining and managing an online presence in an organized way. The idea is to uphold your website to certain standards, whether that’s your own organization’s standards or following regulations or compliance standards, such as web accessibility standards. It all relates to providing the best user experience possible for your website visitors by ensuring quality, consistency, accessibility, searchability, and more.

So What Does Web Governance All Entail?

Web governance includes processes, policies, and procedures. We go into more detail about the specifics in our web governance policies and procedures blog post, but the important part of having a web governance process in place is to establish guidelines specific to your website and organization.

Chances are, web governance is already a part of your digital strategy or digital marketing efforts. Perhaps you don’t call it web governance, but in some form or another, you are already governing the content, files, and media on your website.

Maintaining a Physical Storefront is like Web Governance for Your Digital Presence

Let’s imagine you are opening a retail store. Opening a retail store requires a lot of work upfront before you can launch your business and open your doors to the public.

Your space has to be accessible so everyone can access your store and shop, you need to organize your store in a way that makes sense so it is easy for customers to find the products they are looking for, you need to be ready and available to answer questions, it needs to be clean and tidy, and you need to have an ongoing maintenance process in place. Everything from keeping your inventory up to date and staffing your store to the general upkeep of your physical space are all things to consider in owning and operating a retail store.

If something breaks down in your store, you don’t just leave it, you fix it. You maintain a high standard of quality so that those visiting you have a good impression of your store and want to return.

Maintain Your Digital Presence in the Same Way

Everything that goes into maintaining the presence of a physical retail location is the same type of maintenance that goes into having a website. Imagine you decide to launch a website for your retail store. What’s most important to you? Perhaps it’s ensuring people can easily find your store’s address. Maybe it’s driving more online sales to aid in your overall sales goals. Whatever it is, there should be similar processes in place.

All visitors should be able to access the site, it should be easy for customers to find what they are looking for, the information should be organized in a way that makes sense, there should be a way for customers to easily contact you with questions, and it should be “clean and tidy” without website errors. It means someone who is blind doesn’t run into a product image without an alt tag description. It means not running into inconsistencies and misspellings. It means the shopping cart link isn’t broken. It means web visitors can easily find the contact information.

Web Governance is for Every Website, No Matter the End Goal

Maybe you don’t have distinct goals for your website and the sole purpose is to ensure you have an established online presence with company information, kind of like having a business card. Web governance is just as important for a “business card website” because wouldn’t you want your business cards to be error-free? No matter what your website’s goal or purpose is, having an established web governance process will help ensure a quality online presence.

Why Web Governance Matters: It’s Like Having Insurance for Your Website

Web governance is not just for retail shops or B2C businesses, it’s for all types of organizations with all types of website goals. And it matters because your website represents your organization, and you need to protect your organization’s reputation.

Web governance is like having insurance for your website. Often, web teams spend months, even years redesigning their website, but don’t have a post-launch strategy in place to maintain it or protect all of their hard work. Having a web governance strategy in place can help preserve the integrity of a newly launched site or ensure the quality and usability of your current website.

No matter who manages your web presence, even if it is an agency or third-party organization, you still need to know if your website is adhering to certain standards. That’s why at Siteimprove, we urge web teams to have processes in place, whether it’s through an automated web governance tool or not.

While web governance may not be a term your team uses, it’s vital to the success of your online presence. And it’s never too late to implement a web governance strategy suited to your organization’s website.


So do you want to get started on your web governance journey? To ensure your organization’s website aligns with your overall digital strategy, watch our On-Demand webinar “Strategy, Policies, and Standards” and learn how to implement it at your organization.





Watch On-Demand Webinar: Strategy, Policies and Standards.


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by Torben Rytt
September 15th
2016

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