When the short, intensive work of a portalization project goes away, the longer and more important work of the web governance team begins. Web governance is the structure of people, positions, authorities, roles, responsibilities, relationships and rules involved in maintaining a Secretariat or Agency's website.

A good governance structure will define:

  • Effective day-to-day management of the website - who is empowered to make decisions
  • Organizational ownership of web content - who is accountable for which efforts on the site
  • Development and enforcement of relevant web standards and policies - how all team members must work together to create and maintain an effective website
  • Audit trails for web decisions
  • Alignment with agency strategic objectives and customer needs
  • Measurable improvements in user satisfaction

At minimum, your governance team should meet on a monthly basis to coordinate the work necessary to keep the website fresh and relevant to customers. These monthly meetings may include discussions of such topics as:

  • conduct regular content reviews
  • plan a feature story schedule; encourage agencies and departments to submit content for the home page
  • review the web metrics
  • review the monthly broken link report for errors
  • review customer feedback from email and/or website forms
  • monitor accessibility issues
  • establish and enforce content editorial standards
  • establish commonly used terms and accepted acronyms
  • come to agreement about information architecture issues such as maximum page length, new or revised category names, feature story guidelines and other issues.

In addition, you should assign one (or more) governance team members to the Portal User Group and Portal Advisory Board. Then have those members report back on activities from these meetings to the entire group.

What happens if we do not have a Web Governance plan for our Secretariat or Agency website?

Informal governance leads to:

  • A site that can appear disorganized and scattered to users
  • Low customer satisfaction
  • Lack of site and content ownership
  • Lack of a strategic vision and plan that is coordinated with every agency's mission and priorities
  • Lack of efficient and effective content management practices
  • Inadequate usability and findability

Sample Governance Models

Federal Example: EPA Web Governance


Information provided by the Information Technology Division, Mass.Gov Office. Last reviewed: January 12, 2012.