2013-03-07 13:58:24 - That’s the finding of our first local government website Index of 2013, spotlighting excellent achievements from councils all over the UK.
This time the top honours stay with the Vale of Glamorgan, Cornwall and Hounslow Borough Council, with the Welsh local authority just edging the lead this time, scoring an outstanding 9.5 out of a possible ten marks and moving from second place in our table into the lead.
Down one place, Truro-based Cornwall Council scores a very creditable 9.3 and also has full marks for accessibility, while Hounslow, on 9.0 overall, comfortably retains the third highest spot in the table.
Sitemorse surveys the websites of businesses and organisations in a number of sectors using our automated software, comparing sites across a variety of key criteria of user experience, and has been benchmarking and publishing the detailed “Index” results for a decade. The
full results from this and other recent benchmarks can be seen on our website.
Among the very best performers, Mole Valley and previous winners North-East Lincolnshire maintain their top positions, but Inverness-based Highland Council has jumped to fourth place, rising 16 places since the last survey in Q4 2012 with an overall score of 8.7.
Inside the ten best performing sites, Wycombe, Lewes and Wellingborough fly the flag with scores all nudging 8/10, and Enfield, Tameside, Salford and Coventry have all improved enough to be rated in the top 20 performing council websites this time.
There’s no one area of the UK that corners the market when it comes to the best-performing websites, and the highest climbers this time come from all over.
We’re used to seeing some volatility in our benchmarks involving large numbers of sites, as organisations score differently for a variety of reasons, for example a new or facelifted website can increases the potential score or a site can drop down the rankings when others improve.
But even so, some websites have seen serious improvement this survey, with one local authority having risen half way up the table from last year’s performance. Top climbers include Lambeth, up 63 to 16th position, St.Helens, rising 170 places to 90th, Ashford, up 179 places to 112th, Torbay, up 216 to 70th, and top climber Swansea, up 244 places to 168th position in the table.
Sadly, websites can fall as well as rise, and council sites dropping down the table this time include East Dunbartonshire, down 270 to 279th, Erewash, down 297 to 382nd place, South Cambridgeshire, dropping from 64th to 379th,Dundee, down from 56th to 404th,and biggest faller Harlow, dropping from 49th last time to 412st.
The local government sector scores higher than most on accessibility, with site managers accepting that ensuring that the disabled can access council services is a vital aim for their sites. Full marks – a ten out of ten score – goes this time to Cornwall and Salford council’s sites, but there are significant numbers of eights and nines among the 428 councils surveyed this time.
Sitemorse commented: even a casual look at the performances of the 400-plus councils surveyed here shows that more websites performances are rising than falling, some with modest improvements but some truly supersonic in performance. We always talk to the winning web teams and one fact comes through; it’s those who realise a well-run website needs constant care and attention who rise up the table.
About our surveys
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.
Using Sitemorse’s products such as Governisation and the Web Manager’s Toolkit, which immediately find the issues that affect web users the most on any website, will help demonstrate real improvement and ensure control, and ultimately confidence, in your web presence. They can help spotlight content that may need updating, issues with staff training and support, and focus supplier management.
• For further Information: Geoff Paddock, Head of Communications on +44 1525 375057, gpaddock@Sitemorse.com