5 Website Trends for Illinois Colleges & Universities

Posted in by

We recently reviewed the websites of 107 Colleges and Universities based in Illinois to find out to find out what these higher ed institutions were using to power their online experiences for their student audience.

We looked at their:

  1. CMS Selection
  2. Hosting Provider
  3. Google Analytics
  4. Mobile Responsiveness
  5. Site Load Time

Overview of the Surveyed Institutions

  • 107 Colleges and Universities across Illinois
  • 27% of Institutions identified as religious
  • School program options ranged from 20-60+
  • Undergraduate enrollment sizes ranged from: 1,500 - 30,000+


Here are some of the high level insights we have saw based on the criteria our clients are often asking us questions about.

CMS Selection

  • 18% use Drupal
  • 18% use Wordpress
  • 9% use Joomla,
  • 7% use Ektron and remaining
  • 48% are made up of sites running one of a variety of different custom or proprietary CMS software

We're often asked what the popular Content Management Systems are in the higher ed space.

The fact that Drupal and Wordpress have equal market share is certainly note worthy. Wordpress gets a lot of praise for being the most widely used CMS, but it appears as though that trend may be changing for Colleges and Universities (at least in Illinois).

Find out what your website is BuiltWith.

Hosting Provider

  • 35% Self Host
  • 13% use Rackspace
  • 9% use Amazon
  • 4% use Media Temple
  • 3% use Acquia
  • 36% are comprised of an assortment of hosting companies (nothing over 2%)

This is another common question we get from our prospective higher ed clients. "Who are Colleges and Universities using to host their website?"

This data doesn't say a whole lot necessarily, but it does make sense that since many Universities have robust IT departments that many would choose to host internally.

Many of the other hosting providers do have managed services, but Acquia is the only company on the list that actually has web developers on call to provide development support for your website CMS. Services like CMS upgrades, module and security updates and other support with the CMS.

See who is hosting your website.

Google Analytics

  • 94% have Google Analytics installed
  • 6% did not have Google Analytics installed

Unfortunately, we can't tell the percentage of Universities that are engaging with their data in a meaningful way only that they have Google Analytics installed.

So, this isn't super helpful, but if we looked a little deeper - of those Universities 40% use at least one other quantitative or qualitative website tracking software. Which does suggest that they have a team member that is focused on how users are engaging with their website.

Find out what Analytic software is on a website using BuiltWith.

Mobile Responsiveness

  • 53% were not mobile responsive
  • 47% were mobile responsive

Mobile responsiveness is officially a criteria that Google will use to determine if it should serve up your site in search results. Sites that are not mobile responsive will begin to be de-listed.

Not sure if your site is mobile friendly? Use Google's Mobile Friendly Test.

Site Load Times

  • 7% of sites load in less than 1 second
  • 29% of sites load in less than 2 seconds
  • 28% of sites load in less than 3 seconds
  • 33% of sites load between 3-10 seconds
  • 3% of sites took over 20 seconds to load

Anything under 6 seconds is acceptable, but it is nice to see that 36% of Universities are optimizing their site to load in less than 2 seconds. This could have something to do with the fact that at least 35% self host their website and if they're managing their own server its probable that they've had experience tuning in it.

Check your site's load time with WebPageTest.org

About the Author

Marty Vernon

Marty is Co-founder/Strategic Director at EDUCO. Connect with Marty on , LinkedIn or