Every organization has different goals for their online presence, a unique team managing that presence, and a distinct process for achieving their goals. What I’m trying to say, is that there’s no golden ticket, silver bullet, or metaphor in the world that will solve every organization’s web governance needs. However, there are plenty of ways to get your web governance endeavors started off on the right foot.
Whether you’re just getting your organization’s web governance strategy in place, or need to get yours back to basics, here are a few areas to focus on.
Does your website know what it wants to be when it grows up? In other words, what do you want to accomplish with your online presence? Is it to drive sales, boost brand awareness, share information, or act as a digital portal for customers to pay bills and enroll in classes?
Your content should be focused on reaching a specific audience for a specific reason, so be sure to identify the “who” and the “why” before you begin creating content. When you know where you’re going, it makes it easier to plan out how you’ll get there.
Roles & Responsibilities
“I thought you were doing that.” When you hear those words, it’s already too late. Answering the question of “Who does what?” is vital to helping your team avoid confusion, streamline workflows, and maximize their efficiency.
If you’re a one person team, this doesn’t apply to you, but know that we’re all tipping our collective caps in your general direction for your courage.
For the rest of you, identifying the team members who are responsible for addressing issues like broken links, outdated content, or web accessibility errors will ensure that tasks can be completed quickly and without confusion or debate.
It’s important to keep your lines of communication open. Just because a particular team or team member is or isn’t responsible for something, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be communicating their efforts to the rest of the web management team. This way, everyone will know when an issue is has been addressed, and if the issue manages to spill over into other areas.
Policies, Standards, and Processes
Establishing clearly defined policies for how and when content is, created/updated/removed standards for content quality, and the process for doing so will make your job less of a guessing game.
Web governance policies are meant to be high level guidelines which impact the entire organization and every online channel, from your website and blog, to your social media and emails. Policies should be few in number and only change when absolutely necessary or to reflect a seismic shift in organizational goals.
Web standards are more specific rules and qualifications which determine things like the voice and tone of content, the look and feel of design elements, or the specific channels and tools used to communicate your message.
Processes dictate the order and steps that need to be taken in order to add, update, or remove content from your online channels.
Developing an editorial calendar will help you plan out these updates and provide you with ample time to monitor their success in order to determine what changes need to be made and when.