Web Estate Registry

Autonomous content editing and website development creates sprawling web estates
Web estates make higher education digital marketing less effective because they dilute branding, messaging and content quality
A web estate registry finds, logs and monitors websites boosting marketing and communications effectiveness and supporting digital governance

Higher education institutions typically let websites develop organically. A policy leading to web estates with hundreds or thousands of autonomous sites. Estates in which the number of sites may be unknown, individual site ownership can be unclear and for which there may be no effective digital oversight.

Digital marketing and communications can be blunted by easily-fixed website set-up, configuration and technical issues. And, poor website knowledge unnecessarily exposes institutions to compliance, security and user experience concerns.

Our web estate registry service finds every website. It captures key site data and monitors site changes on a user-defined schedule.

Data to help streamline digital marketing and communications. Data to enable digital governance and infrastructure oversight. And, data to let higher education institutions answer wider questions such as:

GDPR

With the EU's General Data Protection Regulation coming into force, how many of our websites will be affected? How many of our sites and on which pages do we use forms to gather personal data?

Internal Audit

Our internal audit group needs a list of all our websites for a value-for-money study of hosting service usage. Do we have such a list? In fact, how many websites do we have? How many are hosted internally versus externally?

Accessibility

Our websites must be accessible. In implementing institution-wide accessibility, how many sites would be involved? How many content management systems would be affected? How many pages?

Security & Privacy

We want all of our institution's websites to offer secure HTTPS connections. How many of our sites does this apply to? What web servers do we currently use? Are our HTTPS sites using certificates from our preferred supplier?

Web Estate Registry and Registers

Sample Screen Shot: Web Estate Registry with Multiple Registers

eQAfy web estate registry screenshot of registry data

A registry of all the sites within a web estate can be arranged as a set of sub-registers: reflecting a university or college’s reporting needs.  The system reports the total number of sub-registers and the number of websites in each sub-register.

eQAfy Web Estate Registry Screen Shot: Sample Register and Websites

eQAfy web estate registry screenshot of register with multiple websites
Each website entry records a site’s owner and contact details along with technical, social media, content, security and privacy data.

Registry and sub-register data can be filtered, search and queried to answer institution-wide, or site-specific, questions. For example, which content management systems do our sites use? Which sites still need to upgrade to HTTPS? What Facebook or Twitter accounts do our sites use?

eQAfy Web Estate Registry Screen Shot: Website Summary - More Detail Accessed via Top Right HTML/PDF Icons

eQAfy web estate registry screenshot showing website data summary
Click on a website records to view summary website data. Click on the HTML/PDF icons for full technical, social media, content, security and privacy details.

Size Up Your Web Estate – Cut Risk, Boost Content

Following our three-step process lets higher education institutions discover web estate websites, collect critical data and report and identify key issues and opportunities for improvement.

Discovery

Discovery itemizes all the websites in an institution’s web estate.

Our automated audits find the full scope and scale of institutional websites by scanning servers and links to extract every website.

Data Collection

Systematic scanning of the discovery exercise’s detailed site breakdown yields data about:

  • technologies - security measures implemented, web server configuration and set-up, content management system(s)
  • site configuration - cookies, policy and privacy links and page counts
  • content – content types in use and metadata

Meticulous data collection delivers site-level data for subsequent analysis and reporting.

Data Consolidation

The populated Web Estate Registry produces:

  • a central, single-source-of-the-truth database of all of an institution's websites, their ‘business owners’ and critical site-specific data
  • the key information to explore, identify and evaluate website enhancement and risk minimization opportunities

And, regular, automated data updates ensure that the Registry delivers current and reliable results.

Discovery

Discovery exercises identify all of a higher education institution's websites.
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Where to Start?

Higher education institutions often have website lists or can poll to add candidate sites. The results can seed a comprehensive automated discovery exercise.

As well as needing somewhere to start, discovery exercises need intelligent boundaries to avoid page or link scanning that will not yield useful data.  

Discovery planning needs to answer:

  • What IP address ranges are relevant?
  • Which domains should be examined?
  • Should the exercise apply to public-facing as well as internal websites?
  • Do we need to discriminate 'services' sharing a web server from a website?
  • Can some 'well-known' domains be ignored as not relevant?

When to Stop?

Discovery means systematically checking a seed list's URLs and every other page link to identify other relevant sites.

In practice, limiting scans to multi-thousand pages and selectively inspecting server time stamps for recent material can shorten the discovery time.

A scanning exercise delivers a candidate list of URLs for intelligent winnowing to produce a list ready to load a Web Estate Registry.

Scanning and site identification is iterative, continuing until no new servers or sites are identified.

Data Collection

Data collection from each web estate website begins when the discovery process is complete.
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Data Collection

Data collection acquires data about each website's underlying technology infrastructure, the website implementation and relevant page content. 

With the current and accurate data collected for each website you'll know:

And, be able to change, modify and update systems and servers as appropriate.


Up-to-date site configuration and page content information lets you understand: 

  • Web page metadata – titles, descriptions and other elements
  • JavaScript used to provide analytics, advertising and other on-page functions
  • Cookies being used
  • Whether privacy, accessibility and other policy statementsare present
  • Accessibility as compared with the WCAG 2.0
  • Total counts of scanned pages for each (recorded during the survey)

Allowing marketing staff, content editors and developers to identify and respond to user experience and related concerns, as needed.

Data Consolidation

All collected data is held in a web estate registry for analysis and reporting.
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Analysis

A web estate registry holds data about individual websites within an institution's set of websites. Sites can be grouped for reporting purposes and specific site 'owners' identified in the event of performance or content issues of outages.

Each sites data is automatically updated on a user-defined schedule.

Analysis can be carried out across sites or within groups of sites to identify and resolve systemic issues, to identify common risk exposures and to support web governance initiatives.

Reporting

The web estate registry database can be queried to:

  • generate status reports, for example all sites using a specific version of WordPress
  • produce risk exposure reports covering financial, legal and regulatory and security risks
  • highlight page configuration and content issues affecting digital marketing and communications campaigns.

Contacts

North America
+1 416 464 9771
 
Europe
+44 203 290 3575
 
Information
 

Locations

North America
Toronto | Canada
 
Europe
Edinburgh | UK