Latest News

Over the years we have expanded the range of tests Sitemorse offers, highlighted important news and ranked top websites according to their Sitemorse result.

  • 2014 Q3/UK Consumer Finance : web benchmark : Skipton Building Society rises 123 - 28 Aug 2014

    Top site this quarter with an Index of 7.76 is Welcome Finance http://www.wfs.co.uk/

    Screenshot of Welcome Finance

    The next top five sites are listed below:
    2nd Nemo Personal Finance
    3rd Intelligent Finance
    4th Monmouthshire Building Society
    5th Dudley Building Society
    6th John Charcol

    The site that demonstrated the greatest improvement was Skipton Building Society rising 123 places to rank 44 (Index of 5.16).

    The next five most improved sites are listed below:
    Rising 110, Travelex UK
    Rising 102, Cambridge Building Society
    Rising 64, SVS Securities
    Rising 63, M&G Investments
    Rising 59, Vanquis Bank

    The reviewing and subsequent benchmarking of the sites was completed on 28th August, in all we carried out 86,269,157 checks - testing function, checking compliance and measuring performance - reviewing the page content, code and delivery infrastructure. Functionally Smith & Williamson was top, One Account had the fastest response time with Dudley Building Society reporting the best HTML 'code quality'.

    The top sites for accessibility were:
    1st Julian Hodge Bank
    2nd Intelligent Finance
    3rd Liffe Investor
    4th Westpac Banking Corporation UK
    5th JPMorgan Chase

    The full results and access to the Sitemorse INDEX, 2014 Q3/UK Consumer Finance is available at: http://www.sitemorse.com/rt/1064.

    Sitemorse INDEX

    HOW? Using our software we look at each site individually, mapping out every combination of every one of the top 125 pages and complete around 1,200 tests, checks and measures across User Experience (UX), Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) and Search Capability (SEO). Against the results, our benchmarking methodology is applied to provided a ranked table - the results are then published as the "UK Consumer Finance" INDEX.

    WHY? The quarterly Index Website Review, is across each of the sectors as the independent benchmark identifying how websites are performing, meeting compliance levels and satisfying their users. It's also a key indicator for website managers who, while always wanting to be at the top of their game, could be hampered by poor-performing suppliers, non-compliant legacy content or content management systems that often fail to spot errors affecting user experience.

    Client services such as Venobia, Governisation and the Web Management Toolkit immediately find the issues that affect web users the most on any website, help demonstrate real improvement and ensure you have control and confidence in your web presence. They will help you minimise unnecessary risk, issues covering everything from compliance with web standards to helping you deal with malware, protect your brand across even a large web presence, and enhance search engine optimisation to help more potential customers find you. They can help spotlight content that may need updating, issues with staff training and support, and focus supplier management. We offer a confidential internal 'company wide' website testing and benchmarking service - allowing you to review the position of all the sites in your organisation.

  • Symantecs latest report Malware no.1 threat to websites - Sitemorse protects clients - 27 Aug 2014

    Sitemorse continually reviews your digital landscape (web, social and mobile properties) and the assets within to check for and alert you to any instances of Malware - this also includes social media posts, reading every link and sending SMS or email to you highlighting you to Malware or Spyware.

    We offer continual content assessment across your web, social and mobile pages, along with reviewing the detail within PDFs, Word / Excel or PowerPoint files - saving you time and removing the tedium and efficiency of manual checking.

    (EXTRACT from Symantec white paper - Six things that can kill your website)

    Malware protection - threat to websites

    Your website is your shop front, your brand on display and an essential sales and marketing tool. You spent a lot of money building it and attracting visitors. It is business critical: it would be a disaster if that shop front were smashed, your reputation was tarnished and visitors stopped coming. This is why website security is so important.

    1. Website malware
    Website servers can be attacked by malware just like desktop PCs. Compromising legitimate websites and using them to infect visitors is an increasingly popular tactic for online criminals: in 2012, Symantec saw a three-fold increase in this type of web attack(1).

    What’s worse is that site owners often don’t know that their site has been compromised until it is
    blacklisted by search engines or customers start complaining about infections they picked up on
    the site. The damage to your traffic and your customers’ trust can be huge.

    Criminals can buy ready-made malware, such as the popular Sakura toolkit, which they install on someone else’s website. It scans visitors’ computers for known vulnerabilities and picks the most effective exploit to infect them(2).

    1 Symantec ISTR 18
    2 Symantec Attack Signatures: Sakura Exploit Toolkit
    http://www.symantec.com/security_response/attacksignatures/detail.jsp?asid=25761

  • UK Central Government Index updated ready for Q3 2014. - 26 Aug 2014

    We like to keep our indexes as up to date as possible, always welcoming feedback and updates for the websites in the sectors that we test every quarter.

    The Central Government Index has recently been updated in readiness for the next benchmark test in Quarter 3. This sector in particular, is continually changing especially as departments are gradually moving over to the .gov domain.
    Changes made this time include:-
    • Correction of the name for the Department of Education Northern Ireland’s website.
    • Removal of the Learning Skills Improvement Service, this department closed last year and the website is no longer live.
    • Removal of Northern Ireland Legal Services Commission which now forms part of the Department for Justice Northern Ireland website.
    • 3 more departments have moved over to the .gov domain and we have amended their urls accordingly i.e. Civil Service; UK Trade and Investments; Monitor Independent Regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts.

    The Central Arbitration Commission will be moving to .gov shortly and we will include this change in future indexes.
    We welcome feedback from Central Government web managers should we need to update any web addresses or department names in this continually changing sector.

    For further information or to advise of a change please contact Sara Tory story@sitemorse.com

    Access to the full INDEX is at; http://www.sitemorse.com/rt/1058/d08f83b1

  • 2014 Q3/UK Retail 500 Websites : web benchmark : Charles Clinkard rises 208 - 21 Aug 2014

    Top site this quarter with an Index of 8.12 is Pownall Carpets http://www.pownallcarpets.com/

    Screenshot of Pownall Carpets

    The next top five sites are listed below:
    2nd Mexx
    3rd KD Beds
    4th Bargain Booze
    5th Hammonds Furniture
    6th W Boyes & Co

    The site that demonstrated the greatest improvement was Charles Clinkard rising 208 places to rank 59 (Index of 5.12).

    The next five most improved sites are listed below:
    Rising 190, Superdrug
    Rising 180, Magnet
    Rising 173, Baker Ross
    Rising 162, Evans
    Rising 161, Graham & Green

    The reviewing and subsequent benchmarking of the sites was completed on 21st August, in all we carried out 876,695,456 checks - testing function, checking compliance and measuring performance - reviewing the page content, code and delivery infrastructure. Functionally Pumpkin Patch was top, H&M had the fastest response time with The Bear Factory reporting the best HTML 'code quality'.

    The top sites for accessibility were:
    1st Williams & Griffin
    2nd Acotis
    3rd Divertimenti
    4th Space NK
    5th The Works Holdings

    The full results and access to the Sitemorse INDEX, 2014 Q3/UK 500 Retail is available at: http://www.sitemorse.com/rt/1062.

    Sitemorse INDEX

    HOW? Using our software we look at each site individually, mapping out every combination of every one of the top 125 pages and complete around 1,200 tests, checks and measures across User Experience (UX), Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) and Search Capability (SEO). Against the results, our benchmarking methodology is applied to provided a ranked table - the results are then published as the "UK Retail 500 Websites" INDEX.

    WHY? The quarterly Index Website Review, is across each of the sectors as the independent benchmark identifying how websites are performing, meeting compliance levels and satisfying their users. It's also a key indicator for website managers who, while always wanting to be at the top of their game, could be hampered by poor-performing suppliers, non-compliant legacy content or content management systems that often fail to spot errors affecting user experience.

    Client services such as Venobia, Governisation and the Web Management Toolkit immediately find the issues that affect web users the most on any website, help demonstrate real improvement and ensure you have control and confidence in your web presence. They will help you minimise unnecessary risk, issues covering everything from compliance with web standards to helping you deal with malware, protect your brand across even a large web presence, and enhance search engine optimisation to help more potential customers find you. They can help spotlight content that may need updating, issues with staff training and support, and focus supplier management. We offer a confidential internal 'company wide' website testing and benchmarking service - allowing you to review the position of all the sites in your organisation.

  • 2014 Q3/Swiss Banks : web benchmark : Caisse d'Epargne Riviera rises 161 - 19 Aug 2014

    Top site this quarter with an Index of 8.38 is ZLB Zürcher Landbank http://www.zuercherlandbank.ch/

    Screenshot of ZLB Zürcher Landbank

    The next top five sites are listed below:
    2nd LB (Swiss) Privatbank AG
    3rd Pictet et Cie
    4th Alpha RHEINTAL Bank AG
    5th Bank J. Safra Sarasin Ltd
    6th Banca del Sempione

    The site that demonstrated the greatest improvement was Caisse d'Epargne Riviera rising 161 places to rank 7 (Index of 7.13).

    The next five most improved sites are listed below:
    Rising 135, Bantleon Bank AG
    Rising 113, BERENBERG BANK (SCHWEIZ) AG
    Rising 45, Bank von Roll AG
    Rising 38, SIX SIS AG
    Rising 36, Zuger Kantonalbank

    The reviewing and subsequent benchmarking of the sites was completed on 19th August, in all we carried out 63,058,645 checks - testing function, checking compliance and measuring performance - reviewing the page content, code and delivery infrastructure. Functionally ZLB Zürcher Landbank was top, Coutts & Co. Limited had the fastest response time with Ersparniskasse Affoltern i.E. AG reporting the best HTML 'code quality'.

    The top sites for accessibility were:
    1st Gonet & Cie
    2nd E. Gutzwiller & Cie. Banquiers
    3rd NPB Neue Privat Bank AG
    4th Bank-now AG
    5th Banca del Sempione

    The full results and access to the Sitemorse INDEX, 2014 Q3/Swiss Banks is available at: http://www.sitemorse.com/rt/1063.

    Sitemorse INDEX

    HOW? Using our software we look at each site individually, mapping out every combination of every one of the top 125 pages and complete around 1,200 tests, checks and measures across User Experience (UX), Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) and Search Capability (SEO). Against the results, our benchmarking methodology is applied to provided a ranked table - the results are then published as the "Swiss Banks" INDEX.

    WHY? The quarterly Index Website Review, is across each of the sectors as the independent benchmark identifying how websites are performing, meeting compliance levels and satisfying their users. It's also a key indicator for website managers who, while always wanting to be at the top of their game, could be hampered by poor-performing suppliers, non-compliant legacy content or content management systems that often fail to spot errors affecting user experience.

    Client services such as Venobia, Governisation and the Web Management Toolkit immediately find the issues that affect web users the most on any website, help demonstrate real improvement and ensure you have control and confidence in your web presence. They will help you minimise unnecessary risk, issues covering everything from compliance with web standards to helping you deal with malware, protect your brand across even a large web presence, and enhance search engine optimisation to help more potential customers find you. They can help spotlight content that may need updating, issues with staff training and support, and focus supplier management. We offer a confidential internal 'company wide' website testing and benchmarking service - allowing you to review the position of all the sites in your organisation.

  • 2014 Q3 Universities INDEX benchmark: Futurelearn races up the chart - 11 Aug 2014

    With four out of ten would-be university students choosing their seat of learning by researching via university websites, the Daily Telegraph recently reported that some universities spend well over a quarter of a million pounds each year on maintaining their sites.

    So it’s great news that the Sitemorse quarterly INDEX of universities and higher education sites shows a number of establishments moving significantly up the table covering more than 330 university and college sites.

    The Sitemorse Q3 2014 Universities web benchmark is an important indicator of the educational establishments currently leading the field with the best-working sites in the higher education sector.

    Highest marks this Index have been awarded to Warwickshire College once again. Not only has the college kept its top spot in our benchmark for the third quarter on the run, it has improved its overall score to 8.6 out of a possible 10 marks for criteria including code quality, accessibility, function and performance.

    Warwickshire College is one of the largest general further and higher education colleges in the UK, providing high quality education and training for more than 18,000 students each year. The college has six centres in Leamington, Warwick, Rugby, Moreton Morrell, Henley-in-Arden and Pershore in Worcestershire.

    Close behind Warwickshire College, however is Futurelearn, a new organisation offering online-only courses which has powered up the Sitemorse table in only twelve months, moving from 202nd place to 2nd in three jumps. Amazingly, the Futurelearn site is still in beta mode, but still managed to score 8.1/10 in our testing.

    FutureLearn, which describes itself as the new UK-based social learning platform, is the first UK-led MOOC (massive open online course) provider and is a private company wholly owned by The Open University, with the benefit of over 40 years of their experience in distance learning and online education.

    Futurelearn’s partners include over 20 of the best UK and international universities, as well as institutions with a huge archive of cultural and educational material, including the British Council, the British Library, and the British Museum, and it plans to partner with two Chinese universities – Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Fudan University - shortly.

    Making up the remainder of the top five best performers are the websites of Easton and Otley College, Norwich Henley College, Coventry and the Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education in the North-East of England.
    Highest climbers this time are the City of Bristol College (+157), Carshalton College (+160), The Manchester College (+162), University of Wolverhampton (+166) and London's Rose Bruford College (+313), which specialises in the performing arts. Full index data can be seen on our website, www.sitemorse.com.
    University College, Birmingham maintains the highest score for accessibility (9/10), with good scores also in this area for De Montfort Uni, Leicester and Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education. Fastest sites to respond were St.Mary’s University College, Twickenham and the College of West Anglia.

  • A focus on saving time and reducing risk for Sitemorse clients - 05 Aug 2014

    Our most recent service update for our clients is focused on saving time and reducing risk – and it’s especially relevant with the latest regulatory changes around the use of 08XX telephone numbers.

    Our extensive E-Discovery capability examines not just your Digital Landscape (web, social and mobile) but also content within PDFs and office- related documents (Word, Excel and PowerPoint).

    Because of the latest Ofcom regulation around the use of premium telephone numbers, it’s more than ever important to know what you have exactly online and where updates to your online content should be made and in what order.

    The change in regulation from OFCOM means the use of certain phone numbers is no longer permitted. Phone lines that can be used by customers to make inquiries / complaints after a sale must be charged at no more than the ‘basic rate’. The government’s guidance says this means not only no 09 numbers but also no 0845 or 0870 numbers even though these are commonly used by businesses as “local rate” numbers. This rule will apply even to general inquiry lines if these may also be used by consumers for post-contract queries. This means businesses will need to review what numbers they publish on all their communications, including online.

    The unique Sitemorse ‘engine’ is an enormous help in what could in other circumstances be a difficult job. We understand and continually, comprehensively catalogue every element of every asset, on every page on every one of your digital properties (web, social and mobile) owned by or operated for you.

    Let us review your digital landscape and with INSIGHT from Sitemorse appropriate decisions can be made.INSIGHT also includes the review of each and every asset, numbers contained within PDFs, Word documents and PowerPoint presentations can also be reported.For your complementary INSIGHT please contact Sara Tory at Sitemorse, by telephone on +44 20 7183 1943 or via email: story@sitemorse.com.

  • It’s a fair cop – Cleveland Police are back on top of the Index. - 28 Jul 2014

    Cleveland Police is back at the top of the latest Sitemorse INDEX covering the UK’s top police forces.

    Cleveland Top Police Website

    The North-East force climbed 13 places since Q2 to get back into top place, with Merseyside Police, who have topped the table for the last two quarters, down to fourth position. Cleveland are in the unique position of having consistently topping the Sitemorse Police INDEX for a number of years, always placed in the top three.

    The web is increasingly important for the UK’s Police forces, where a successful site needs to be fully functional, meet legal requirements such as accessibility, perform well and – if the force really wants to engage the public who live and work in its area - the site needs to ensure users have a positive experience to encourage them to come back.

    That’s why the Sitemorse Q3 2014 INDEX ranking just under 50 UK police force websites is an important benchmark, spotlighting the authorities that are currently leading the field with the best-working websites in the sector.

    The Cleveland Police website was top of the Sitemorse table before dropping to 8th and then 14th position in recent quarters. Its score of 7.1 out of a possible ten marks in our testing brings it back to the top of the table, slightly ahead of the City of London Police, which continues an upward trend to second place. At the end of last year the City of London website stood at 20th position, but a consistent improvement over the last few months has taken it almost to the top.

    Nottinghamshire Police, with a score of 6/10 are third-placed and have again improved their performance since the last Police benchmark in Q2, rising four places. The Merseyside and Lincolnshire forces make up the remainder of the top five.

  • Empowering procurement-could this be a route to improving Customer Experience - 22 Jul 2014

    Lawrence Shaw, CEO of digital insight provider Sitemorse, gives a personal view on what could be done to make things better.

    How about clearer, more specific purchasing standards - and while we are at it, let’s make suppliers accountable?


    Having been watching the arguments and counter-arguments over web accessibility for a decade now, I’d like to give a personal view on what’s gone wrong and how I think we could make things better.

    This may be seen as a bit like lobbing a hand grenade into the debate, so I have to declare an interest at the outset.

    As a supplier of automated web testing (aside from any arguments about the pros or cons – automatic testing is not the be-all and end-all of accessibility, but rather a key part of the compliance mix) I’d like to give my view on why so many websites are just not accessible.

    For a considerable time my Sitemorse colleagues and I have been looking at key reasons so many sites often lack even the basics of accessibility – even though they often claim 'we are accessible to xxxx' on an accessibility page.

    I'm certain the majority of site managers want to or do not deliberately go out to miss some of the basics and then make claims which are clearly not true.

    In canvassing opinion on the issue, it seems the cause could be across a number of areas;
    - CMS vendors (some are far better than others ;-) often make lots of promises about 'compliance to such-and-such standard’ and say content cannot be published if there are any issues or non-compliance.

    - Digital Agencies also invariably say they build to certain standards. But who's checking them? We were recently advised by a major retailer completing a re-launch that “Our agency has advised us we do not need to run automated tools prior to sign off “ What a great position to be in, build a site, deliver and then audit it yourself. But if you think about it, that does not make good business sense.

    - Launch deadlines - so many site owners seem to complete their nice marketing checks and tick the boxes they like before going live. Accessibility (along with good page code etc) can seem to them to be either uninteresting – or important.

    - Procurement - are site owners really aware exactly what standards are being contracted to, and how will they be checked? Taking the word of a supplier is all well and good, but not best practice in any other area of business.

    Despite the best efforts from the likes of Sitemorse, and our competitors such as SiteImprove, Magus (Active Standards), Hi Software who produce detailed reports and bang on about how we 'must have accessible this, you are failing this” when the most recent web standard, WCAG2.0 produces so many issues that are not easy to see or understand, it’s frankly a great excuse for senior executives to cop out of the whole issue and say 'too difficult'.

    The statistics point to good reasons to have an accessible web presence - but the reality points, perhaps, to too many promises not delivered.
    Any banging of a legal drum can fall somewhat on deaf ears. A while ago, for example, we advised the DRC (UK Disability Rights Commission) that their site had basic accessibility failings such as missing “alt text” on images.

    The commission’s response was, in brief “Oh, it’s a new site, with new content”.

    Their agency (Reading Room) tried many ways to dismiss our findings, and even after we demonstrated the failings had been on the site for months (we record the exact page and can 'prove' exactly what was online) nothing much happened - bar the ‘fixing’ of the alt text.

    In my view, what’s needed in dealing with this matter from all sides, pretty much every day is a more practical set of guidelines / standards, ones that are understandable, encompass all and can be managed and acted on when a site doesn't conform.

    If the argument is 'the devil is in the detail' when the requirements have to be as detailed as WCAG2.0 etc then unfortunately there seems to be little chance of moving forward.

    Those responsible for purchasing web services could perhaps be the key to a successful change.

    How about clearer, more specific purchasing standards - and while we are at it, let’s make suppliers accountable.

    When commissioning a new site or re-launching an old one, don't get wowed by the 'doesn't it look great' factor, and - most importantly - have all the ‘deliverables' independently audited.

    After all, you wouldn’t expect the builder of your new home to sign off their own work. Why do it for your web property?

    Over the last 15 years, Sitemorse has developed a unique level of automation that views every single element of every page as a visitor would, checking infrastructure and software, assessing any 3rd-party technology, and noting anything that needs attention. Sitemorse automatically reviews its findings and prioritises them to ensure anything affecting user experience, search or exposing you to risk can be swiftly corrected, down to the line of code that needs fixing.
    The Sitemorse INDEX, published quarterly by sector, is a powerful report that rates an organisation’s online presence, comparing it to peers from the same sector. The INDEX is the longest established and independent authoritative website survey and ranking across a number of sectors - looking at the online capability of the main website available for each organization in the sector, covering sectors such as London-listed “Blue Chip” companies, Global 250 and UK top 500 retailers, UK Universities and higher education establishments, Consumer Finance providers, Local and Central Government, Global Life Sciences, UK Police forces, and more.

  • E-discovery across DOC/XLS/PPT & PDF contents supporting regulatory changes - 10 Jul 2014

    The recent service update is focused on saving time and reducing risk – it’s especially relevant with the latest regulatory changes around the use of 08XX telephone numbers. Our extensive E-Discovery capability examines not just your Digital Landscape (web, social and mobile) but also content within PDFs and office related documents (Word, Excel and PowerPoint).

    example tel numbers - e discovery

    Delivering against the Ofcom regulation relating the use of premium telephone numbers, it’s ever more important to know what’s exactly online and where updates should be made and in what order. Details of the services offered and regulatory changes are available at:
    - www.sitemorse.com/news/2014/6/17/insight-supports-new-eu-regulation-phone-numbers/
    - www.sitemorse.com/news/2014/4/1/new-08xx-number-regulations-understanding-whats-across-digital-landscape/

    Regulation can be found at;
    - https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/266525/bis-13-1368-consumer-contracts-information-cancellation-and-additional-payments-regulations-guidance.pdf

  • 2014 Q2/UK Central Government : web benchmark : Northern Ireland Legal Services Commission rises 252 - 25 Jun 2014

    Top site this quarter with an Index of 7.42 is The Pensions Regulator http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/

    Screenshot of The Pensions Regulator

    The next top five sites are listed below:
    2nd Department of Education
    3rd HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
    4th Money Advice Service
    5th Youth Justice Agency
    6th House of Lords Appointments Commission

    The site that demonstrated the greatest improvement was Northern Ireland Legal Services Commission rising 252 places to rank 19 (Index of 5.47).

    The next five most improved sites are listed below:
    Rising 139, Transport for London
    Rising 129, Monitor - Independent Regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts
    Rising 126, UK Trade & Investment
    Rising 115, Civil Service
    Rising 113, Royal Parks Agency

    The reviewing and subsequent benchmarking of the sites was completed on 25th June, in all we carried out 207,029,355 checks - testing function, checking compliance and measuring performance - reviewing the page content, code and delivery infrastructure. Functionally Liberal Democrat Party was top, Government Art Collection had the fastest response time with House of Lords Appointments Commission reporting the best HTML 'code quality'.

    The top sites for accessibility were:
    1st HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
    2nd Higher Education Funding Council for England
    3rd Natural Resources Wales
    4th The Northern Ireland Executive
    5th Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister

    The full results and access to the Sitemorse INDEX, 2014 Q2/UK Central Gov. is available at: http://www.sitemorse.com/rt/1058.

    Sitemorse INDEX

    HOW? Using our software we look at each site individually, mapping out every combination of every one of the top 125 pages and complete around 1,200 tests, checks and measures across User Experience (UX), Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) and Search Capability (SEO). Against the results, our benchmarking methodology is applied to provided a ranked table - the results are then published as the "UK Central Government" INDEX.

    WHY? The quarterly Index Website Review, is across each of the sectors as the independent benchmark identifying how websites are performing, meeting compliance levels and satisfying their users. It's also a key indicator for website managers who, while always wanting to be at the top of their game, could be hampered by poor-performing suppliers, non-compliant legacy content or content management systems that often fail to spot errors affecting user experience.

    Client services such as Venobia, Governisation and the Web Management Toolkit immediately find the issues that affect web users the most on any website, help demonstrate real improvement and ensure you have control and confidence in your web presence. They will help you minimise unnecessary risk, issues covering everything from compliance with web standards to helping you deal with malware, protect your brand across even a large web presence, and enhance search engine optimisation to help more potential customers find you. They can help spotlight content that may need updating, issues with staff training and support, and focus supplier management. We offer a confidential internal 'company wide' website testing and benchmarking service - allowing you to review the position of all the sites in your organisation.

  • Pensions Regulator team "Delighted" with Sitemorse rating of best UK government website - 25 Jun 2014

    The UK government is spending significant time and energy in creating a new communications strategy embracing the online world - Digital by Default is its credo - and expects all its vast array of websites to meet the standard.

    The Government Digital Strategy announced two years ago set out how government will redesign its digital services to make them so straightforward and convenient that all those who can use them will prefer to do so.

    Sitemorse has been using its unique powerful software engine to benchmark the quality of sites in the government sector for a number of years, and there are some surprises in our second-quarter report.

    The UK taxman HMRC and the Northern Ireland Department of Education retain places among the top three rated sites, but the website run by The Pensions Regulator has risen eleven places to take top spot with an overall score of 7.4 out of a possible 10 marks.

    The Pensions Regulator , a non-departmental public body, is the regulator of work-based pension schemes in the UK. Three years ago the organisation's website rated 176th in our Index, with a score of 4.3/10, but the site has shown constant visible improvement in our benchmarks ever since.

    The Pensions Regulator-website

    We spoke to the Regulator's web team to find out what has been done to improve the site.

    Lisa Sevell, Online Services Manager at The Pensions Regulator, told us: “I am delighted at this fantastic result. It’s a great testament to the hard work and effort our small team of specialists has put in to secure the top position in what is a competitive sector. We have an ambitious programme of site development work ahead of us and are looking forward to the challenge.”

    Last year (FY 2013-14) Lisa says the regulator met the demands of delivering a quality service in the midst of extraordinary traffic growth and changing audiences, a trend the organisation has been experiencing for the past three years. Largely driven by employers and their agents seeking information and support with automatic enrolment, the regulator is delivering "a rolling programme of website improvements to ensure it remains optimised and relevant", she added.

    Improving the customer experience by tailoring what online users need, and focusing on website accessibility improvements to achieve AA WCAG2.0 for the first time, has been central to the regulator’s strategy.

    The team has also optimised organic search results to be highly findable online while delivering mobile responsive website design for customers. Specialist writers are used to ensure content is readable and easy to understand.

    Online best practice can no longer include just websites but also mobile and social channels too - and social media channels including LinkedIn and Twitter are helping the regulator to build presence and engagement.

    Big climbers in the latest central government benchmark include the Civil Service website (up 115 places to 31st overall), UK Trade & Investment (+126), Monitor - Independent Regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts ( rising 129 places to 33rd overall), Transport for London (up 139 to 69th overall) and the Northern Ireland Legal Services Commission (rising 252 to enter the top 20 sites in 19th place this time).

    About the Index
    The scores for the Central Government table are created by Sitemorse (www.sitemorse.com) using its automated software that reads and reviews the first 125 pages of each site and places them in a ranked table based on User Experience (UX), Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) and Search Capability (SEO).

    The quarterly Index Website Review, powered by the Sitemorse software platform, is an important independent benchmark that clearly shows how websites are performing, meeting compliance levels and satisfying their users. It’s also a key indicator for website managers who, while always wanting to be at the top of their game, could be hampered by poor-performing suppliers, non-compliant legacy content or content management systems that often fail to spot errors affecting user experience.
    Sitemorse services immediately find the issues that affect web users the most on any website, help demonstrate real improvement and ensure you have control and confidence in your web presence.

    They will help you minimise unnecessary risk, issues covering everything from compliance with web standards to helping you deal with malware, protect your brand across even a large web presence, and enhance search engine optimisation to help more potential customers find you. They can help spotlight content that may need updating, issues with staff training and support, and focus supplier management. We offer a confidential internal 'company wide' website testing and benchmarking service - allowing you to review the position of all the sites in your organisation. Contact us to request further details and / or an example.

    More information

    • More information about our surveys and what they test can be found on our website http://www.sitemorse.com/survey/

    • For further Information: Geoff Paddock, Head of Communications on +44 207 183 5588 gpaddock@Sitemorse.com

  • 2014 Q2/Global Life Sciences : web benchmark : Medivation rises 122 - 19 Jun 2014

    Top site this quarter with an Index of 8.20 is Cytogen http://www.cytogen.net/

    Screenshot of Cytogen

    The next top five sites are listed below:
    2nd Biogen Idec
    3rd Taisho Pharmaceutical
    4th Kyowa Hakko Kirin UK
    5th Biotecnol
    6th Vectura

    The site that demonstrated the greatest improvement was Medivation rising 122 places to rank 61 (Index of 4.67).

    The next five most improved sites are listed below:
    Rising 110, Forest
    Rising 104, Acorda Therapeutics
    Rising 102, Intermune UK
    Rising 96, Therabel
    Rising 81, Alfa Wassermann

    The reviewing and subsequent benchmarking of the sites was completed on 28th May, in all we carried out 87,632,259 checks - testing function, checking compliance and measuring performance - reviewing the page content, code and delivery infrastructure. Functionally Cytogen was top, Merz UK had the fastest response time with Kyorin Holdings reporting the best HTML 'code quality'.

    The top sites for accessibility were:
    1st Apotex
    2nd EISAI
    3rd Otsuka Pharmaceuticals Europe
    4th Roche UK
    5th Maxygen

    The full results and access to the Sitemorse INDEX, 2014 Q2/Global Life Sci. is available at: http://www.sitemorse.com/rt/1050.

    Sitemorse INDEX

    HOW? Using our software we look at each site individually, mapping out every combination of every one of the top 125 pages and complete around 1,200 tests, checks and measures across User Experience (UX), Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) and Search Capability (SEO). Against the results, our benchmarking methodology is applied to provided a ranked table - the results are then published as the "Global Life Sciences" INDEX.

    WHY? The quarterly Index Website Review, is across each of the sectors as the independent benchmark identifying how websites are performing, meeting compliance levels and satisfying their users. It's also a key indicator for website managers who, while always wanting to be at the top of their game, could be hampered by poor-performing suppliers, non-compliant legacy content or content management systems that often fail to spot errors affecting user experience.

    Client services such as Venobia, Governisation and the Web Management Toolkit immediately find the issues that affect web users the most on any website, help demonstrate real improvement and ensure you have control and confidence in your web presence. They will help you minimise unnecessary risk, issues covering everything from compliance with web standards to helping you deal with malware, protect your brand across even a large web presence, and enhance search engine optimisation to help more potential customers find you. They can help spotlight content that may need updating, issues with staff training and support, and focus supplier management. We offer a confidential internal 'company wide' website testing and benchmarking service - allowing you to review the position of all the sites in your organisation.

  • INSIGHT supports new EU regulation - phone numbers - 17 Jun 2014

    From today the use of certain phone numbers is no longer permitted. Phone lines that can be used by customers to make inquiries / complaints after a sale must be charged at no more than the ‘basic rate’. The government’s guidance says this means not only no 09 numbers but also no 0845 or 0870 numbers even though these are commonly used by businesses as “local rate” numbers. This rule will apply even to general inquiry lines if these may also be used by consumers for post-contract queries.

    Example of reporting 0845 telephone numbers

    With our unique engine we understand and continually, comprehensively catalogue every element of every asset, on every page on every one of your digital properties (web, social and mobile) those owned by or operated for you. Let us review your digital landscape and with INSIGHT from Sitemorse appropriate decisions can be made.

    INSIGHT also includes the review of each and every asset, numbers contained within PDFs, Word documents and PowerPoint presentations can also be reported, example attached.

    For your complementary INSIGHT please contact me.

    Sara Tory
    Sales and Marketing Executive
    tel: +44 20 7183 1943
    email: story@sitemorse.com

  • 2014 Q2/UK London-listed PLCs : web benchmark : Grainger PLC rises 327 - 17 Jun 2014

    Top site this quarter with an Index of 9.44 is Marstons PLC http://www.marstons.co.uk/

    Screenshot of Marstons PLC

    The next top five sites are listed below:
    2nd Pace PLC
    3rd WH Smith PLC
    4th Land Securities Group PLC
    5th Personal Assets Trust PLC
    6th International Ferro Metals LD

    The site that demonstrated the greatest improvement was Grainger PLC rising 327 places to rank 73 (Index of 5.84).

    The next five most improved sites are listed below:
    Rising 265, Pennon Group PLC
    Rising 262, JKX Oil & Gas PLC
    Rising 260, Close Bros Group PLC
    Rising 251, IP Group PLC
    Rising 246, Tyman PLC

    The reviewing and subsequent benchmarking of the sites was completed on 20th May, in all we carried out 268,645,000 checks - testing function, checking compliance and measuring performance - reviewing the page content, code and delivery infrastructure. Functionally Personal Assets Trust PLC was top, Whitbread PLC had the fastest response time with Marstons PLC reporting the best HTML 'code quality'.

    The top sites for accessibility were:
    1st Wpp PLC
    2nd Marstons PLC
    3rd British American Tobacco PLC
    4th Berkeley Group Holdings
    5th Bellway PLC

    The full results and access to the Sitemorse INDEX, 2014 Q2/London-listed PLCs is available at: http://www.sitemorse.com/rt/1049.

    Sitemorse INDEX

    HOW? Using our software we look at each site individually, mapping out every combination of every one of the top 125 pages and complete around 1,200 tests, checks and measures across User Experience (UX), Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) and Search Capability (SEO). Against the results, our benchmarking methodology is applied to provided a ranked table - the results are then published as the "UK London-listed PLCs" INDEX.

    WHY? The quarterly Index Website Review, is across each of the sectors as the independent benchmark identifying how websites are performing, meeting compliance levels and satisfying their users. It's also a key indicator for website managers who, while always wanting to be at the top of their game, could be hampered by poor-performing suppliers, non-compliant legacy content or content management systems that often fail to spot errors affecting user experience.

    Client services such as Venobia, Governisation and the Web Management Toolkit immediately find the issues that affect web users the most on any website, help demonstrate real improvement and ensure you have control and confidence in your web presence. They will help you minimise unnecessary risk, issues covering everything from compliance with web standards to helping you deal with malware, protect your brand across even a large web presence, and enhance search engine optimisation to help more potential customers find you. They can help spotlight content that may need updating, issues with staff training and support, and focus supplier management. We offer a confidential internal 'company wide' website testing and benchmarking service - allowing you to review the position of all the sites in your organisation.

  • Example - mapping social as part of the landscape - 10 Jun 2014

    With the social explosion, awareness of what's really out there is the starting point to managing your brand. Improved knowledge of the social position can offer a fuller understanding of the conversations.

    Example of mapping social as part of the landscape


    For your complementary INSIGHT please contact me.

    Sara Tory
    Sales and Marketing Executive
    tel: +44 20 7183 1943 / email: story@sitemorse.com

  • 2014 Q2/UK Local Government : web benchmark : Westminster rises 388 - 04 Jun 2014

    Top site this quarter with an Index of 8.68 is Rhondda Cynon Taff http://www.rctcbc.gov.uk/

    Screenshot of Rhondda Cynon Taff

    The next top five sites are listed below:
    2nd Slough
    3rd Scottish Borders
    4th Knowsley
    5th Enfield
    6th Broxtowe

    The site that demonstrated the greatest improvement was Westminster rising 388 places to rank 19 (Index of 6.95).

    The next five most improved sites are listed below:
    Rising 317, Somerset
    Rising 254, Newcastle upon Tyne
    Rising 194, Windsor and Maidenhead
    Rising 191, Ryedale
    Rising 187, Sandwell

    The reviewing and subsequent benchmarking of the sites was completed on 14th May, in all we carried out 334,826,414 checks - testing function, checking compliance and measuring performance - reviewing the page content, code and delivery infrastructure. Functionally Knowsley was top, Knowsley had the fastest response time with Rhondda Cynon Taff reporting the best HTML 'code quality'.

    The top sites for accessibility were:
    1st Basildon
    2nd Wolverhampton
    3rd Woking
    4th North Norfolk
    5th Derbyshire

    The full results and access to the Sitemorse INDEX, 2014 Q2/UK Local Gov. is available at: http://www.sitemorse.com/rt/1048.

    Sitemorse INDEX

    HOW? Using our software we look at each site individually, mapping out every combination of every one of the top 125 pages and complete around 1,200 tests, checks and measures across User Experience (UX), Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) and Search Capability (SEO). Against the results, our benchmarking methodology is applied to provided a ranked table - the results are then published as the "UK Local Government" INDEX.

    WHY? The quarterly Index Website Review, is across each of the sectors as the independent benchmark identifying how websites are performing, meeting compliance levels and satisfying their users. It's also a key indicator for website managers who, while always wanting to be at the top of their game, could be hampered by poor-performing suppliers, non-compliant legacy content or content management systems that often fail to spot errors affecting user experience.

    Client services such as Venobia, Governisation and the Web Management Toolkit immediately find the issues that affect web users the most on any website, help demonstrate real improvement and ensure you have control and confidence in your web presence. They will help you minimise unnecessary risk, issues covering everything from compliance with web standards to helping you deal with malware, protect your brand across even a large web presence, and enhance search engine optimisation to help more potential customers find you. They can help spotlight content that may need updating, issues with staff training and support, and focus supplier management. We offer a confidential internal 'company wide' website testing and benchmarking service - allowing you to review the position of all the sites in your organisation.

  • We are very quiet at the moment - it's going to be worth the wait.... - 01 Jun 2014

    Our Sitemorse'eons have been busy designing and coding away over the last year to bring what I hope will be a very different way to ensure your digital properties (web, social and mobile) deliver the best possible visitor experience, are optimised for Google and delivered within corporate, regulatory and web standards.

    This is a continuous work in progress, however if you see something that is not as beautiful as it should be or extras you would like to see I'd welcome your feedback.

    mapping digital landscape

  • Merseyside Police still on top, with Avon and Somerset most improved - 27 Apr 2014

    A handful of years ago ago the Merseyside Police site was hovering near to the bottom of the Sitemorse Police Force Index rankings, with a very poor score. Things could not be more different now, with the force website topping our ranking for the second quarter running.

    A successful police site needs to be fully functional, with nothing broken or missing on the page, meet legal requirements such as accessibility, perform well and – if the force really wants to engage the public who live and work in its area -, the site needs to ensure users have a positive experience to encourage them to return.

    That’s why the Sitemorse Q1 2014 Index ranking just under 50 UK police force websites is an important benchmark, spotlighting the forces that are currently leading the field with the best-working websites in the sector.

    North Wales Police move up to second place in the Index, with City of London Police now in third place, having moved seven places up since our last review in the first quarter of 2014.

    Police Scotland and the high-rising Avon and Somerset force site (@ASPolice) up 34 places since Q1 - make up the rest of the top five in our Index, while big improvements were recorded for the Durham, Warwickshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire forces.

    Avon and Somerset most improved

    Fastest-responding pages were recorded on the Cleveland, Essex and Gloucestershire force sites.

  • INDEX 2014 Q2/UK - Big improvements for the Open University see site rise 220 places - 18 Apr 2014

    The Open University is one of the biggest risers in the latest Sitemorse Universities Index – a key indicator of which UK University and college websites are the best in their field.

    Unlimited access is at; http://www.sitemorse.com/rt/1043/d1115a44

    A big fall in the OU score in our previous Index published in January led to comment from Times Higher Education, which in turn prompted the Milton Keynes-based university , world’s leading provider of online degrees and distance learning, with 240,000 students and more than 1100 staff, to issue a statement promising a planned new site would perform better.

    Open University see site rise 220 places

    “The new site will not only continue to be centred around the user experience, but also have greater focus on the sort of technical web standards monitored by Sitemorse, so we look forward to future survey results with great interest.” An OU spokesman was quoted on the Times Higher Education website in February.

    Universities and HE colleges have always been keen to attract the best quality students, but with rising fees, there’s more competition than ever in the sector, and as many potential students use online resources as a key part of their decision making process, the importance of a strong, well-performing website cannot be overestimated.
    The latest Universities Index, just published, shows the OU site has risen 220 places in the rankings with an overall score of nearly 4.5 out of a possible ten marks.

    The strongest performers in the Uni/HE college sector this time are Warwickshire College, Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education, and Lincoln’s Bishop Grosseteste University College. Warwickshire, a clear point ahead of its nearest rival, has topped the Index for the fourth quarter in succession.

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