The Importance of Website Governance
It’s an all-too-common picture: an organization has an out-of-date website that doesn’t do what they need it to do. People try all kinds of work arounds to get the site to look and perform as they need it to, but ultimately, the band-aid approach causes problems and frustrations start to mount. If you find yourself in this situation, here are a few hints that have helped my clients avoid these frustrations and keep things moving forward in a good direction:
- Designate a point person for your website – all too often, I’ve seen sites with either no one in charge or too many people taking the lead and all going in different directions. I’ve found that it works best to have one point person for the site. Of course websites are usually a team project, but a designated point person can help move the site forward in a clear direction.
- Have a clear plan for how you will handle CMS updates and upgrades – it’s easy for these updates to fall off of the radar, but they’re very important for keeping your site safe from hackers, as well as ensuring that all features of the site are working properly. Having a plan for how you will handle updates will help keep your site up to date and problem free.
- Be clear on which parts of the website you can make changes to and which you can’t – once you’ve gotten your feet wet in the CMS and have learned the ropes of making content updates, you may be excited to tinker and make other changes that improve the design or functionality of your site. Beware though, some parts of a website aren’t meant to be tinkered with and making changes to them may cause them to break and will create bigger problems down the road.
- Be clear on who will make bigger changes to the website – whether it’s a complete website redesign or that News channel that you’ve been wanting to add to the site for a while, you’ll want to think through who is going to make those changes for you. Is there someone within your organization with the know-how and the time to do it? Or will you contract this work out?
- Establish a regular protocol to ensure that the website stays current and has a clear editorial calendar – it’s best to make a plan as to who’s doing what on the site, how often the site’s content will be updated, who’s responsible for adding the new content, etc. Everyone’s plate is always overfull, but creating a clear protocol on who is doing what and sticking by the editorial calendar that you create will go a long way in ensuring that the site is updated and that its content stays relevant for your users.
By thinking smart and having a clear plan, you’ll help to ensure the long-term success of your website.