2013-03-14 15:05:40 - With three major property and land management companies in the top six and one developer jumping up our table by a massive 290 places, it’s a fair bet that property companies are the big news in our first survey of the FTSE All Share company websites of 2013.
The FTSE All share index features some of the best-known companies traded on the London Stock Exchange, and many of the 500 or so compared in our new Index are household names. As we so often find, however, the best-known names don’t always have the best-working websites, despite usually having more staff and budget.
Birmingham-based St. Modwen Properties, the UK’s leading regeneration specialist, scored 9.14 out of a possible 10 in our automated testing and moved up two places to the top of our index this time. St. Modwen , who focus on developing commercial property and residential land, are no strangers to the lofty pinnacle of our index despite not being a household name, but have not been winners
for twelve months.
The UK’s largest commercial property company, Land Securities is our second rated site this time, with a score of 8.9/10 and a move of three places up the table. Land Securities, established in 1944, owns and manages 29m square foot of property in its large portfolio.
Water and sewage company United Utilities takes third place, with a score of 8.3/10 and a rise of 42 places since Q4 2012. The Warrington-based company supplies water to seven million people in the North West of England and uses more than 42,000 kilometres of water pipes from Cumbria to Cheshire.
Other well-performing top-ten sites include Artemis Alphas Trust PLC, up 85 places to fourth place with a score of 8.1,Premier Oil PLC, up 63 places to 7th position with a score of 7.6, and tenth-placed Novae PLC, up 18 with a score of 7.5/10. Artemis is a leading UK-based active investment management house, Premier Oil is a growing oil and gas exploration and production company, and Novae a wholesale insurance underwriter.
High performers in the top twenty sites tested include Bilfinger Berger Global Infrastructure, up 51 places to 13th, funeral directors Dignity PLC rising 29 to 15th, respiratory disease specialists Vectura Group up 83 places to 18th position, and specialist investment and asset management firm Intermediate Capital Group PLC up 20 places to 19th spot.
The testing of just over 500 sites – the all-share index has more but a number were excluded from the survey - is undertaken by Sitemorse using automated software that, page-by-page, reads the first 125 pages of each site to generate a ranked table based on checks to Quality, User Experience, Accessibility, Performance and SEO capability of each of the websites.
We don’t judge a site on the way it looks, or content, but purely on how well its users will find it works. The full results of the benchmark can be seen in the surveys section of our website.
Its’s interesting how comparatively few FTSE All Share websites score well on accessibility, even though it’s an area backed up by UK law. Other sectors such as local government seem to have tackled accessibility more seriously - only a handful of websites in this survey score towards the top, but congratulations to brewer and restaurateur Marston’s for having the only website tested to score 10/10 for accessibility. Land Securities scored 9/10 – for scores for other companies see the full survey.
The success of the companies with the most efficient sites once again counterpoints the comparatively mediocre performance of some of the FTSE top names. More than 300 companies scored less than five out of ten on our criteria this time. Although the very best sites in this survey scored between eight and ten, only ten websites out of more than 500 tested could be classed as error-free, a small rise on the ten we recorded last time.
Major names such as Rolls Royce, Aggreko, Mothercare and Debenhams are near the bottom of the table, all with scores of less than three out of a possible ten. There’s good news, however, for pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, rising 64 places in the middle of the table, Next PLC, up 136, and BT Group PLC, up 132 to 221st position.
The really big climbers in this survey are headed by leading property company Development Securities PLC, who specialise in commercial real estate. Responsible for the iconic Paddington Central development, one of London’s largest urban renewal projects, Development Securities PLC rose 290 places in our survey to end up in 111th place. Other big risers included Capita Group PLC (up 287) and Hochschild Mining PLC (up 285).
Spectacular fallers this time include packaging firm D S Smith PLC (down 221) AMEC PLC (down 249) and Inmarsat PLC (down 282). Inmarsat and Amec also have the dubious privilege of being among the three slowest sites we tested.
Sitemorse concluded: Congratulations to St.Modwen, Land Securities and United Utilities for outstanding website performance – to beat competition from the cream of the UK’s companies is not easy, and shows that smaller-focused web teams dedicated to making their sites work as efficiently as possible can win the day.
About our surveys, and how they work
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.
• 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