The New Analytics of Web Governance.

In April this year, I published my first thoughts on the emerging Analytics of Web Governance. A useful way to think of such analytics is an an early warning system regarding the health of your online management.

Since April, I have been giving this topic more thought and making updates & amendments to my initial ideas.

As chance would have it, this week in London I was given an opportunity to present my first slidedeck on this topic at an event organised by Siteimprove.

Although I was somewhat nervous at presenting on such a nascent discipline, it proved a useful exercise and helped clarify my thinking on many areas.

The slidedeck is below. Expect more over the coming months.

New Web Governance partnership with Siteimprove.

About ten years ago I first came across a company called Siteimprove. As explained in a recent interview with Torben Rytt (CEO of Siteimprove USA), I was in a bit of a shemozzle at the time and his colleagues in Copenhagen had exactly the solution I needed.

Roll on to 2013 and Siteimprove is a now a leading vendor of the most essential tools of online management, such as QA checking, accessibility, analytics & more.

As such, I am proud (& a bit excited) to announce a new collaboration with Siteimprove for the provision of Web Governance services, including training, commentary and more.

Web Governance - it's so hot right now!

A screenshot of SiteimproveAs many of us know, the discipline of Web Governance is getting a LOT of interest right now. It seems as if its moment has finally arrived and the era of inattention is at an end.

By working in partnership, this new collaboration will deliver the insight and expertise that organisations need to cope with the challenges of digital governance. This includes:

  • Organising the many diverse activities of online management.
  • Creating robust & scalable systems needed for effective governance.
  • Using new analytics & data to get ever more from limited budgets. 

To kick things off, this week I spoke at the excellent HighEdWeb 2013 in Buffalo at Siteimprove's invitation to present my updated Web Governance Framework - of which more details below.

Some more speaking appearances are scheduled for the near future (London on October 15th/16th and Dublin on November 21st) as well as other initiatives.

About Siteimprove

Repeatedly named one of the 100 best companies to work for, Siteimprove provides organizations of all shapes and sizes with tools that make website management and maintenance easier and more affordable. Founded in Denmark in 2003, Siteimprove has a global presence with offices in the UK, US and Germany. Read more about Siteimprove.

Keep in touch

To find out more and keep in touch, look us up on Twitter.
This is me - @diffily - and this is Siteimprove - @siteimprove.

HighEdWeb 2013

This week I presented "A New Framework of Web Governance" for Siteimprove at HighEdWeb 2013. (Slideshare below.)

This framework encompasses everything you need to know about managing your website, intranet or other digital presence.

It shows that the basic elements of Web Governance are the same for every organisation (the same activities & the same resources), all that changes is the granularity & sophistication by which they are implemented.

Understanding this framework can give you the confidence you need to design a new configuration that suits your needs. Ultimately, this will lead to better decisions, better quality & better ROI in such critical areas as staffing, technology, budgeting & more.

Online in a time of shutdown.

You know what? There is a silver lining to this whole government shutdown kerfuffle.

Notwithstanding all the bother & inconvenience (& loss of PandaCam), it provides perfect insight into the inter-relatedness of the key elements of Web Governance.


As we know, Web Governance is composed of 4 primary activities supported by 4 pillar resources.
  • The 4 activities are Leadership, Development, Maintenance & Infrastructure. The aim of these activities is to deliver a minimum standard of online experience.
  • The 4 resources are People, Processes, Tools & Budget. These resources are needed to ensure the above activities can happen.
The bigger the 'scale' of your site, the more granular & sophisticated these two elements become.

For example, as online activity grows so too do the number of people needed on your team, the complexity of supporting technology, the complexity of procedures - and the budget needed to fund it all.

However, the curious thing is that even as such investment grows, the less resilient your operations can become overall.

Proof of pudding

For example, take the small-scale website of a local college or business. 

Such a site may be looked after by a single person with a broad-set of skills using freeware tools & informal processes.

This web-gal/guy is typically very inventive about how they do things. Their budget is so vanishingly small, they have to be! In many ways, their greatest strength is how easily they can operate on a shoe-string.

When things go awry (i.e. when money is tight), they are often able to find a way to keep the show on the road.

At the other end of the spectrum, we have the very large-scale operations of a federal agency.

Such a site is so complex that lots of people with highly specialist skills are needed to look after it. Everyone uses sophisticated tools and follows documented processes. In addition, everything - from salaries, to technology to ongoing development - has a formal budget allocation.

In this case, when things go wrong (i.e. when the money dries up) the complexity of the operation is such that nothing can continue.

There is simply no way that such a sophisticated site can remain active - even for short periods - without the backing of essential resources, particularly budget!

Which is why the government shutdown is such a lesson in Web Governance.

Managing a large-scale site requires confidence that essential resources will always be in place. Take any of them away and you'll find out just how quickly things can grind to a halt!


An interesting consideration is what to do when things do go wrong. Has NASA, the USDA & others taken the right approach by completely removing their websites?

Could they have copied the Smithsonian, by leaving most content online but posting a message that some operations will not be attended to, e.g. feedback, etc?

In a way, I admire the 'purist' approach. It sends a stark message ... "Get real. You can't expect me to manage this incredibly complex operation with no cash! I am shutting it down. It's either all or nothing. No shortcuts." 

I like it.

Of course, it depends on the complexity of the operation, but I would probably be more inclined to the Smithsonian approach. Leave a core of essential information online (that requires little management) and pull everything else.

Maybe this governmental mess suggests we should all have such a core-site in our backpockets for future deployment 'just in case'?