Website benchmark - Good standard of website management from 20 top local councils
04 Jun 2012
Many local councils in the UK are getting it right with their websites, latest research from Sitemorse reveals, with a generally high standard across the 20 top placed councils in our Q2 local government survey.
Overall winner Blaby Council, Leicestershire scored 9.25 out of a possible ten marks against our testing criteria, significantly beating their score of three months ago. Just behind them are the Wycombe and Mole Valley council websites, Northern Ireland’s North Down Borough Council, and Cornwall.
Strong Welsh performers this time are the websites of Wrexham (6th overall, 8.53 out of 10 and a riser of 92 places in the table), Rhondda Cynon Taff (8th, 8.42) and the Vale of Glamorgan (10th, 8.12 but a fall of nine places since Q1).
We should mention in dispatches strong performances from Hounslow, Hillingdon, Thurrock, Greenwich and Surrey Heath in the South, Rossendale, Wolverhampton, Rossendale and Hyndburn in the North, and Fife and Highland in Scotland.
Sitemorse surveys the websites of businesses and organisations in a number of sectors, and has been benchmarking and publishing the detailed results for a decade. The full results from this and other recent surveys can be seen on our website.
Our testing software has favoured the Blaby website, up one place from second, for some time now, and the website has outdone itself on this survey, with almost perfect scores for function, code quality and accessibility.
Apart from the winners, a number of councils have greatly improved their sites, leading to much higher scores than previously. Examples of this are the Croydon, Colchester and Barnet Councils which have all risen by well over 200 places, and Redbridge and Wolverhampton, both up more than 300 places.
Of the 431 websites tested, however, results were not all good. At the other end of the scale, local authorities in Halton, Nottingham and Coleraine struggled to get two out of ten against our criteria. And Slough, Warrington, Wealden, West Lindsey and Havering all registered large falls. Only eight of the top councils had sites we classed as ‘error-free’ but a further seven councils failed basic accessibility tests on every page of their websites.
Sitemorse concluded: Local authorities need to try harder than most websites for compliance and the rules and regulations are changing fast. Privacy has taken over from accessibility as a key criteria which most central government sites fail, so it’s encouraging to see a good number here with decent scores. Many council websites still need to be dragged kicking and screaming into the modern age, however, and we would like to see improvements across the board.
It is not a big-cost item to knock websites into shape, and once the main functional problems are addressed it is surprising how many websites have risen well up our league tables, in other sectors as well as local government.
About our surveys, and how they work
For more than a decade, Sitemorse has been the world's only single solution for web content governance, monitoring, recording and benchmarking.
Our unique surveys, published several times a year, provide an up to the minute snapshot of the best and brightest business websites, with insight into which are passing – and failing - vital tests in performance, compliance, and accessibility.
Our software is used to test the sites of major organisations in a variety of sectors, (for example, FTSE All Share companies, and the UK Top 500 retail companies) to compile an index of who ‘does the web’ best.
Sitemorse is now the suite of choice for organisations wishing to ensure their sites provide total, holistic web governance and a great user experience. Our hundreds of clients across major corporates, local and national government, utilities, financials and the health sector rely on us to help them improve the performance, compliance and quality of their websites, delivering control and web confidence.
Web content management systems alone cannot hope to cover major issues such as performance, compliance, brand, accessibility and quality without help. Our products integrate (including pre-live checking - within your CMS) to ensure these vital areas are constantly under control.
We offer three levels of products, from our enterprise platform 'Governisation', a blend of governance and optimisation, to a suite of tools to help web editors and managers, as well as free in-browser tools that can be used by any web user to quickly ensure pages are error-free (our web managers toolkit). All our services are SaaS based, with no set-up or management and are designed to ensure that our hundreds of clients in major corporations, the financial sector, and central and local government have total confidence in their websites.
This survey took place on April 18, 2012 and involved benchmarking more than a million separate URLs. Poorest code quality was recorded for Conwy local authority site in North Wales, with more than 83,000 failures. Fastest overall response time from any site tested was the Knowsley Council site on Merseyside.
• More information about our surveys and what they test can be seen on our website at www.sitemorse.com
• For further Information: Geoff Paddock, Head of Communications on +44 1525 375057, gpaddock@Sitemorse.com
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