Kim Howard, CAE
Kim Howard, CAE, is director of communications and marketing for the EMDR International Association.
In many ways your website is your organization’s calling card, so it needs your care and attention. Though it can be a challenge for organizations, having an effective web strategy can help. The EMDR International Association shares how it redesigned its website by taking an intentional approach to its web governance policy.
Ah, the website. It’s the first stop for potential members and the one place where everyone on staff wants a piece of real estate. What does a good communications professional do? How do you manage all the departmental requests to ensure they align with the organization’s mission while providing the information you all need to share is there?
At the EMDR International Association, we redesigned our Gold Circle award-winning website in spring 2020 with the help of our outside partner, Yoko Co. After the redesign, we wanted to ensure the new website did not become a mishmash of colors, fonts, text sizes, and random information. We wanted a website strategy, but more critically, we wanted a website governance policy.
Thanks to Yoko Co.’s recommendation, we instituted the RACI Matrix for governing our website content. Our website is decentralized, so our 14 staff members have backend access. This approach currently works for our team.
RACI stands for:
These are the roles that stakeholders might play in your project. And your website is an ongoing project.
Even though all our staff have backend access to the website, a smaller core team manages the website pages regularly.
Yoko Co. manages our complex website issues, such as our Find an EMDR Therapist Directory not functioning correctly, designing our custom posts for our magazine or resource library, or reinstalling our blog when I accidentally deleted it (yes, the entire blog).
If your team doesn’t outsource your website work, hire a web expert who can do the backend developer work but also knows about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Educate staff about how to use your website platform to do basic web maintenance: updating content, adding a page, removing a page, etc.
Our director of information systems and support manages all our platforms and lends a hand when the non-tech-savvy staff members bungle something on the website. So, the website pages and their content are the responsibility of the rest of the core team.
Deciding who gets assigned what in your RACI matrix can be daunting, but not impossible. The team must cull down who needs to be involved and the stakeholder’s role. I recommend performing this task with the team to ensure buy-in and accurate assignments. This approach also helps manage expectations.
Here are some parameters to keep in mind:
Define policies and procedures for adding new web pages, new content, and proofreading. Your standards should include your association style guide with everything from which fonts to use, to color schemes, the style guides for copy, how your logo should be used, the writing style approach, and more.
Who on staff is considered the owner of the website content and backend performance? Your core team should consist of someone on the communications team, your backend web technical expert, and the subject matter expert(s) who will create or review any technical information related to your members’ areas of expertise.
Ultimately, creating a governance plan for your website will avoid miscommunication, internal turf wars, and less headaches for staff.