Publications & Products
Volume 2, Issue 9


Bringing Order to a College Website

To ensure their websites stay fresh and focused, community colleges should adopt a governance policy for those who manage and publish content, says a marketing professional.

"Website governance is an institution's structure of people, processes and policies to maintain its website over time," says Anthony Poillucci, vice president of strategy and creative at VisionPoint Marketing, a web development firm whose clients include Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, N.C. "Basically, it's making sure that a website doesn't fall apart. People still think of projects as being done at some point, but a website is never done. It lives on and on."

Poillucci says that a majority of his firm's clients, many of whom are in higher education, don't have a web governance policy. However, he notes that this policy is gaining currency as institutions redesign their websites.

"People are starting to acknowledge the reality of the living beast that is a website," he says. "A [content management system] just opens up the door for publishing whatever you want, but you need to have a plan behind it. In other words, a CMS is just a tool. It needs instructions."

Poillucci says institutions should remember the "five R's" of governance when implementing such a plan:

  • Roles. Know who on campus is doing what with regard to website maintenance—from executive leadership to content creation.
  • Responsibilities. Define the job of each person who works on the website. For example, what tasks must a content creator handle? 
  • Relationships. Ensure there are checks and balances for those who create web content. Do they need to check in with someone before publishing content? What happens when someone doesn't follow the rules? How do content creators get trained?
  • Rules. Create documentation outlining style guidelines, branding criteria and the workflow process.
  • Review. Determine if the plan in place is working effectively and efficiently to fulfill the needs of the institution via its web presence.

Laurie Clowers, associate vice president of communications at Wake Tech, is working with Poillucci to implement a governance plan at her institution—which recently introduced a CMS for employees to update its website.

"We need to protect our investment," she says. "We put a lot of time and money into our website... People can be trained to update the website with a CMS, but I'm more concerned about the quality of what is posted. I think people will appreciate having rules."

Clowers and Poillucci say it is important for institutional leaders to get "buy-in" from employees before introducing a web governance policy—to understand their concerns and make the case as to its value. They will further discuss this topic in a March 19 CASE webinar.


Please share your questions and comments with Marc Westenburg via email at mwestenburg@case.org or +1 202 478 5570.

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This article is from the March 2013 issue of the Community College Advancement News.

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