What Is Web Governance and Why It Matters

What Is Web Governance and Why It Matters

Last Edited September 11, 2023 by Garenne Bigby in Blog

For any website to thrive, it is essential that those associated with it know what web governance is and why it is so important. Web governance is not in the least bit exciting, but it can determine whether your website sinks or sails. Web governance includes the policies and procedures that are put in place to help with managing and maintaining your website. Many individuals don’t even realize that all websites have web governance. The problem lies in the fact that many websites do not have precise systems in place to govern their website. Web governance helps maintain a high level of organization for your website. This organization will greatly benefit you, but your visitors will be thanking you for enhancing their experience and interaction with your website.

Web Governance and Website Management

It comes as little surprise that people tend to use website governance and website management interchangeably. They are actually very different from one another. People may use the terms interchangeably because they may not even realize that they are two separate things. Tasks are associated with website management. This includes posting new articles or updating available products.

Web governance details how your website management should be done. The policies and procedures associated with web governance are basically in place as a type of supervision. An easy way to remember this is to associate government with policies and procedures, much like the American government. Website management will focus on completing a task at hand, while website governance will figure out all of the possibilities that the task at hand can be used for.

Another example is to think of a principal and a teacher. The principal has a set of expectations and guidelines for learning, or criteria that need to be met. The principal would be representative of web governance. He is supervising the work that a teacher would do. The teacher is then web management. The teacher creates lesson plans that fulfill the principal’s criteria and goals. A student can’t thrive without the principal’s direction. Your website can’t thrive without web governance.

Three Main Areas That Can Increase Your Success

Supervision is another key aspect of web governance. It is more of a hands-off approach. They are just making sure that things are being completed smoothly and efficiently. The supervisor (web governance) will dictate how everything is supposed to be done, but website management will be getting things done. When you have the following areas collaboratively working together, you will have an extremely powerful and efficient web governance plan in place.


Apply to each individual channel whether it has to do with blogging or social media. There should be minimal policies in place, and they should remain consistent and unchanged unless 100 percent necessary. You want your policies to be very clear so that they aren’t confusing or misleading. An example of a policy would be requiring a call of action to be present on each website page.


Are in place to ensure that there is consistency in the quality, voice, and design of your website. There are many working hands in place on your website, and they may have different ideas or ways of doing things. With these in place, it pushes copywriters and designers to all push towards a common goal, or standard. It can be difficult to maintain standards if there are many people associated with your website. The combination of standards and policies helps your website thrive.


Are steps put into place to make sure that the website runs according to the standards and policies? You can make a checklist associated with any part of your website to help explain the process that needs to happen to successfully complete a task. You could make processes for each blog post to specifically outline URL optimization, descriptions, and titles. Another big process of web governance has to do with scheduling. You may have many processes in place to accurately schedule content.

If you spend time figuring out the three areas above, then you are partaking in web governance. You may not have even realized that these three areas were associated with web governance. That is why many individuals are so unaware of what exactly web governance is. These three areas are so typical and often just overlooked as being extremely important to a websites sustainability.

Many websites tend to struggle because they focus all of their time and attention on two out of the three areas above. You may still see success, but you would see a lot more by implementing all three. If you run a website and don’t focus on these three areas, that could be something that is hindering your website’s performance and success.

How to Begin Incorporating Web Governance

If you have just become familiar with web governance, chances are you have been conducting aspects of it, but maybe not as successfully as you would like. There are actually different areas or types of web governance that you can choose from. It is important that you find a method that works best for your website and your goals. You can ultimately create your own plan; you just have to have an end goal in mind.

To begin incorporating it into your website you need to figure out what type of model you want your website to be reflective of. This again goes back to the goals you are hoping your website will attain. A web governance model is a necessity because it lays the foundation for your website and its productivity.

There are numerous factors that contribute which type of web governance model you should choose, but once you have this figured out, you will be one step closer to successfully beginning and controlling your website governance initiatives. 

Why a Web Governance Model is a Necessity

A web governance model can help you create a more structured process and plan for your site. There are many different models, but the most common are, Advisory, Management Team, Policy, and Cooperative. If you are unsure of which model to choose, there are specific factors to help you narrow down your decision. There are also many resources available online that can explain the benefits of each model in more detail. You should choose a model based off of your websites type, size, organizational methods, and the culture of your business endeavors. Putting these factors aside, most models are broken down into two main components.

Resources – These are important so you are capable of conducting activities for your website. These include: 

  • People

  • Tools

  • Budget

  • Processes

Note: It is not necessary for you to be able to accommodate all of the items listed above. You are able to eliminate one and focus on another. For example, if your budget doesn’t allow you to hire many people, you can focus your attention on tools to assist with the web governance process.

Activities – These focus on the tasks that need to be completed in order to control a website. They are defined as follows:

  • Development

  • Maintenance

  • Leadership

  • Infrastructure


Web Governance Keeps You Organized

Remember that there is a difference between web governance and web management. Web governance is not responsible for management, but it is responsible for implementing a clear management system. If you clearly lay out the roles for individuals associated with your site, you will have fewer inconsistencies. Your website is your brand, and you need it to represent one voice. You don’t want it to be misleading and questionable; it is important that your goals and opinions are clearly noted. 

If you have a clear web governance system in place, it is likely that you have policies, standards, and procedures established. You will be cutting down on inconsistencies and making sure that all people involved in your website are working towards the same voice/brand. Many departments rely on one another to create successful content. You don’t want one department creating something, and then the other creating something that doesn’t mesh.

Helps Keep Your Goals the Main Focus

If you find yourself having to contract out for work, then you may be putting your website in danger. This is—if you don’t have a web governance plan in place. You see, if you don’t have web governance, then when you contract out you are getting whatever material that your worker wants to create. In doing this, you are getting their voice, not yours.

This can make it very difficult for your brand to achieve its goals because you aren’t being reflected in your work, someone else is. Now if you use multiple contractors, now you are further complicating things. The more contractors you have, the more likely you are to get numerous conflicting ideas and voices that don’t align with your goals for your website.

Now, if you have a web governance plan in place, then you likely have well-established policies and procedures in place. If your procedures and policies are very clear-cut, then your contractors will all be on the same page. The quality and voice that you want created in your work can be replicated by all of your contractors. It will be much easier to maintain consistency and achieve your goals.

Can Benefit Any Website

If you are just beginning your website journey, or if you feel like yours isn’t worthy enough, you can still benefit from web governance. You aren’t required to have a list of goals upfront to begin the web governance journey, all you need is your website. You shouldn’t hold back from something that has the potential to improve your success and presence on the web.

Even if your website literally only has an “about me” section, web governance can still benefit you. It doesn’t matter how much or how little information you have on your website, you are going to want it to be error free. Web governance can ensure that you have quality material on display for others to see. Your website is a reflection of you, and you want to maintain your reputation. Don’t let tiny mistakes reflect negatively back onto you.

Lets You Safely Distribute Workflow

It is difficult to create and maintain a website with just one individual, so it is probably no surprise that you have other individuals helping with all aspects of the website. Even if there are only two individuals, it is easy for those two people to have conflicting interests and ideas. Often this doesn’t even happen on purpose.

Web governance creates clear and precise expectations that need to be met. There is no confusion over what is expected, what needs to be done, or who is going to do it. It is kind of like an insurance policy in that it guarantees you that your vision and voice will be well protected.

Can Save You Money

It is not uncommon for individuals to immediately seek the money route as a way to improve their website. This may work, but its effects may also just be temporary. Why would you want to throw away those precious dollars for something that isn’t going to provide lasting effects? Web governance can be the missing element to your success, and you don’t need to throw away money to help you figure it out.

You may have paid for a fancy content management system, but it is supported by a web governance model. So, if you don’t have a strong web governance model in place, you aren’t going to have strong results from your content management system. You can implement web governance without an expensive content management system, and still probably generate better results and more success.


Web governance will lay the foundation for your website, and it will evolve with your website over time. It isn’t something that comes and goes; it needs to be implemented for the long run. You should view web governance as the DNA for your website. It needs web governance to thrive and prosper. Without it, you just have a website longing for an identity and purpose. This can be extremely detrimental to your success and future endeavors. Well-defined key principles and procedures will help you mold your website into a well-crafted corner of the internet. 

There is an extreme amount of competition on the web, and you need something to set your website apart from your competitors. A solid web governance model could be all that is inhibiting your endeavors from taking off. It effectively molds your website into an incredible operational unit. You may have many moving pieces, but they are all focused on achieving the same goal in a well-outlined manner. Organization is key, and web governance can give you just that. 

Web governance ensures that you have the right people in the right place. Individuals are completing tasks equipped for their skill level, so their efficiency will be much higher. It affects your website as a whole, from the smallest moving piece to the largest. You can ensure that each step and process associated with your website is being completed as an intricate measure. Every detail has been carefully formulated to make your website prosper in the most efficient way as possible.


It is safe to say that implementing a web governance plan for your website will definitely do more good than harm. Why would you hesitate to implement something that can help the success of your website? Web governance doesn’t only help you, but it also helps your workers and your website visitors.

A well-structured and maintained website will encourage your visitors to return, thus increasing traffic. Your workers will also have clear and precise guidelines on what is expected of them. This can also help decrease the amount of time particular projects take because the end goal is blatantly obvious.

It is likely that you already have some sort of web governance system in place, and you didn’t even know it. Now that you know what it is and why it matters, you shouldn’t waste any time narrowing down your options for which type of model you want to use for your website.  

Final Words

Web governance can only provide you with benefits; there aren’t any negative aspects associated with it. You possess all the freedom, so you can choose which model you want to use, and you can choose a different one if your first choice doesn’t seem like a good fit. There is a web governance model out there that will help your website tremendously. Remember, if you find a model that you like stick to it! Your brand needs to be clear and representative of one voice. You don’t want to lose consistency when you alternate between your options. Web governance matters because it will help keep your website organized and keep it on the path to success.

Garenne Bigby
Author: Garenne BigbyWebsite:
Founder of DYNO Mapper and Former Advisory Committee Representative at the W3C.

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