Higher education website risk matrix

Our matrix sets out a number of the risks university and college websites present. We've identified the quantitative data needed to assess the risks posed and suggested three risk categories.

We've linked to relevant posts published on our blog that provide further information or report our research results.

Website Risk
Data Needed to
Assess Exposure
Blog Posts
Addressing Topic

Financial Risk Exposures

Usability compliance status

Test and record compliance with institutional usability guidelines and policies

Higher Education's Website Content Epidemic

User experience

Test and record degree of mobile friendliness using Google mobile friendliness test

Are Higher Education Websites Mobile Friendly?

User experience

Test and record page loading speeds using Google PageSpeed Insights for desktop and mobile site access

3 Ways to Make Higher Education Web Pages Load Faster

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Test SEO set-up to determine if content is optimised for search engines

Let HigherEd Website Visitors Find the Good Stuff: Use robots.txt

How XML Sitemaps Improve Higher Education Websites

Site effectiveness

Test and record Google Tag Manager (GTM) and Google Analytics set-up

Why Higher Education Websites Need Google Analytics

Branding compliance status

Test and record compliance with institutional branding, logo use and similar policies and guidelines


Content access / maintenance

Test and record broken link incidence or links with error messages / warnings

How Many Broken Links Did We Find on 54,000 University Web Pages?

Content quality status

Test and record spelling, grammar and content formatting for compliance with website editorial policies

What Sports Team Websites Show Us About University Website Quality

Editorial guideline compliance

Test and record compliance with website editorial policies and guidelines


Legal and Regulatory Risk Exposures

Accessibility compliance

Test and analyse results for WCAG 2.0 accessibility compliance

Keeping Higher Education Websites Accessible is Hard to Do …

6 Accessibility Fixes for University and College Websites

Cookie data

Test and record cookies the CMS and third-party JavaScript load

Taming the Cookie Monster on Higher Education Websites

Disclosure notices

Test and record links to privacy, other information disclosure statements as well as the presence of the relevant statements

Does Your Higher Education Website Have a Privacy Statement?

Tag data

Test and record third-party JavaScript add-ins used

How to Stop Tags Choking University Website Performance

Website ownership data

Record relevant email address/telephone numbers/physical location details


Social media

Test and record site-wide social media links and establish ownership and update responsibilities

How Well Controlled is Social Media on Higher Education Websites?

Security Risk Exposures

CMS configuration data

Capture and record content management system details, version levels and software patch status


Server configuration data

Capture and record web server details, revision levels and software patch status

Are You Masking Your Higher Education Web Server?

Website configuration data

Capture and record website data back-up details/hosting arrangements


Connection status

Verify HTTPS implementation details and test SSL configuration

Enhancing Trust in Higher Education Websites

What's Stopping You Moving to HTTPS?


To learn more about bringing higher education web estates back under control, please get in touch.

Run a sample QA audit and identify an existing website's potential content or configuration risks.


We welcome feedback, observations or comments about website risk exposures: contact us via social media or at the email address or telephone numbers below.