NEW | Web governance videos & downloadable tutorials

Build a successful website by creating agile web processes and an adaptable web team. Fully editable document samples and 'how-to' guide included.

'If you work on a web team, you need this masterclass. Clarifying, affirming, practical!' Susanna Guzman, Web Director CFA

Web Governance is a system for managing an online presence in a controlled & orderly way. The principal benefit of good Web Governance is that it delivers operational certainty and stability.

That is, when you get governance right you can take it for granted that operations will (or should) always work, ie that the right people will follow the right processes to complete the right tasks in a timely manner.

For example, this might include scanning the website at regular intervals to find and fix broken links, mis-spellings, out-of-date content, etc.

Good governance allows you to stop worrying about administrative issues (eg who does what) and instead focus attention on pursuing online goals.

Web Governance 101

Any system of Web Governance is composed of 4 categories of Activity (each of which can be broken down into many distinct subtasks). These categories are:

  • Leadership
  • Development
  • Maintenance
  • Infrastructure

These Activities (& their component subtasks) are non-negotiable. They must happen if you are to maintain a high quality website.

(Read a complete description of the elements of Web Governance.)

However, these Activities can only happen when the right Resources are in place to support them. Again there are 4 main categories of Resource. These are:

  • People (incl. skills, staffing, roles & team structures)
  • Processes
  • Tools
  • Budget

Balancing Resource vs. Activity

The key question is how to strike the right balance between Resources & Activity.

That is, how much do you need to invest in Resource to ensure necessary Activities can be carried out?

How website scale can be used to plan Web Governance

Admittedly, it is hard to create a precise estimate.

For example, a highly-skilled team with a small budget can often deliver the same operational quality as a low-skilled team with a large budget.

Nevertheless, a useful way to approximate the level of investment is to measure the Scale of your online presence.


Scale is a concept that helps determine how much to invest (& where to invest it) based on a measure of the Size, Complexity and levels of Engagement of an online presence:

  • Size: How much effort does it take to manage all the content & services you have online?
  • Engagement: How much interaction do you get, eg do you attract a lot of traffic on your site, or a lot of commentary and feedback?
  • Complexity: How intricate is the technology you use to deliver your online services, eg does it include eCommerce, etc?

The reason these 3 measures are chosen is because of the direct effect they have on your operational burden.

That is, as an online presence gets bigger (in size), busier (in engagement) and more intricate (in complexity), each of the 4 Activities of Web Governance becomes more detailed & occurs more frequently.

To cope with this burden, essential Resources like manpower, tools, budgeting & more must expand and be professionally organised.

Thus, you see there is a direct link between the parameters of Scale and how to invest in & organise Activities & Resources.



A photo of Shane Diffily

About Shane Diffily

I am an experienced commentator on web operations. In 2015, I released the web's first online training course in website management and governance. Back in 2006 I published the Website Manager's Handbook, the original guide to online operations.

Find out more about me or download slides from my recent conference talks.