Web Governance


A website redesign is a natural opportunity to introduce practices, procedures, systems, and new working relationships between colleagues. Unlike the light-switch moment when our redesigned website launches, introducing and implementing a web governance system is a process, and can be a significant cultural shift.

A thoughtful web governance process will guide how to mitigate chronic website issues through cultural change and improved processes.

However, dedicating the time and resources into web governance at the outset of a new website launch is well worth it to protect the effort and financial investment our team and institution made to get to this point. Governance protects that investment and helps our institution maintain a quality site for years to come.

At its core, the Seattle University website is a primary engine for marketing, communications, and recruitment, as well as supporting multiple other business functions. As stewards of the website–the public-facing, global, online presence of the University–the Seattle U MarCom WebTeam is responsible for protecting the brand. The team will lead with an educative stance, adhering to best practices in web content and thinking strategically when difficult questions arise. The formalization and evolution of our web governance will not happen overnight, but what follows is a plan that brings together small adaptations and bigger shifts in processes and procedures. 

Implementing Web Governance

Implementing a web governance plan involves leadership, willpower, and a culture of accountability. As with any other core business function of a university, such as financial systems or academic affairs, there must be accountability around the management of the website. It is a critical business function, and it is incumbent upon institutional leadership to view it as such.

The requirements for governance to succeed are:

  • Reflection - Taking a close look at your organization and being honest and realistic about what is necessary and what is possible.
  • Sponsorship - One or more stakeholders within the organization must be charged with creating, implementing, and overseeing the governance policy.
  • Authority - The policy must be enforced, with buy-in at the highest levels of the organization, and there must be consequences for failure to comply.
  • Accountability and Managership - Individuals must have defined roles and responsibilities, and they must be empowered to fulfill them with appropriate training and documentation. In addition, no portion of the website should lack an owner—all sections must be accounted for and actively maintained.
  • Standards - Publishing processes, guidelines, and workflows must be clearly defined and communicated, with the goal of maintaining consistent quality of content and user
  • Support - One or more stakeholders within the organization must be charged with providing the support and access necessary for people to fulfill the responsibilities accorded to them by the governance policy. This includes communication, training, documentation, advocacy, and other guidance as needed.