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Close Menu's Guide to Digital Governance: Personal Websites

This is the tenth installment of’s Guide to Digital Governance, a comprehensive guide intended to help get you started when developing a governance plan for your institution’s digital communications.

Depending on the type of organization for which you are writing a governance plan, you may need to address the issue of personal websites within the context of your institution’s web properties and server environment. For colleges and universities, the questions you need to answer will likely be in relation to faculty, students, and alumni. For businesses, the questions will relate to employees. For non-profits, it may be employees, trustees, and/or volunteers.

Regardless of who the people are, or what function they serve in the organization, if they have a website affiliated with your organization that they control, you probably want to have some guidance for how those properties relate to your organization. Here are some questions to consider for all types of institutions.

  • Are there services available for individuals in your organization to have a personal or independent web property (i.e. website, blog, social networking account, etc.)?
  • Who provides the service(s)?
  • How does an individual acquire the web property?
  • Who owns and maintains the web property?
  • Where is the web property hosted (i.e. whose servers)?
  • Who provides technical support for the web property?
  • What levels of support are provided (hosting, domain, programming, training, etc.)?
  • Who designs and produces the property?
  • Are there guidelines related to visual appearance?
  • What happens to the web property if the owner leaves the organization?
  • Are there subject matter limitations or guidelines for personal sites?
  • Is there any form of review process for content on personal websites?
  • What happens if a personal website owner violates subject matter guidelines?
  • Who is responsible for costs related to personal web properties?
  • Are outside or 3rd-party vendors permitted to work on personal web properties?
  • How do 3rd-party vendors access the site and deliver changes?

This list is not an exhaustive checklist for personal website governance planning, but it is a good start that should unearth further questions and circumstances to consider for your plan.


This post is part of a larger series of posts, which make up a Guide to Digital Governance Planning. The sections follow a specific order intended to help you start at a high-level of thinking and then focus on greater and greater levels of detail. The sections of the guide are as follows:

  1. Starting at the 10,000ft View – Define the digital ecosystem your governance planning will encompass.
  2. Properties and Platforms – Define all the sites, applications and tools that live in your digital ecosystem.
  3. Ownership – Consider who ultimately owns and is responsible for each site, application and tool.
  4. Intended Use – Establish the fundamental purpose for the use of each site, application and tool.
  5. Roles and Permissions – Define who should be able to do what in each system.
  6. Content – Understand how ownership and permissions should apply to content.
  7. Organization – Establish how the content in your digital properties should be organized and structured.
  8. URL Naming Conventions – Define how URL patterns should be structured in your websites.
  9. Design – Determine who owns and is responsible for the many aspects design plays in digital communications and properties.
  10. Personal Websites – Consider the relationship your organization should have with personal websites of members of your organization.
  11. Private Websites, Intranets and Portals – Determine the policies that should govern site which are not available to the public.
  12. Web-Based Applications – Consider use and ownership of web-based tools and applications.
  13. E-Commerce – Determine the role of e-commerce in your website.
  14. Broadcast Email – Establish guidelines for the use of broadcast email to constituents and customers.
  15. Social Media – Set standards for the establishment and use of social media tools within the organization.
  16. Digital Communications Governance – Keep the guidelines you create updated and relevant.

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