Here are a few simple items you MUST avoid on your bank or credit union website.
1. Avoid Using the Same Content for Every User
When designing a new website one of the coolest things a good Content Management System (CMS) can offer is SMART content. One method to utilize this feature is by using behavioral triggers.
For example, if a known user visits your website and then dives deeper by checking out your auto loan rates you can adjust what they see the next time the same user visits your homepage. Perhaps you might decide that it makes more sense to show them an auto loan promotion on your homepage, instead of something that might be less relevant.
You might also find that if your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is well integrated into your CMS you can even email the known user with more details about auto loans, say 20-30 minutes after they visit your page. This can be a great way to show people more about what they were looking for, at the exact time they are actually looking.
2. Avoid Hiding Your Contact Us Details
This one sounds like a total no-brainer. But you'd be surprised how many financial institutions out there make this simple mistake.
One of the main reasons people visit your website is to get in touch with you. So your contact details need to be front and center. I like to see phone numbers in the header and footer as well as a contact us link. On this contact us page, you should have any relevant phone numbers in addition to a contact us form.
And I'll give you added bonus points if you put your routing number front a center as well. This is another main reason people visit your website, so please make this information easier to find.
3. Avoid Using Only Professionally Written Copy
Now professionally written copy can be great. But without a knowledgeable and experienced writer, it can also become stale, over-used, dry, and just plain boring. Consider supplementing any professionally created content with content from some of your in-house subject matter experts.
For example, ask your lending staff for their list of FAQs and include those on your website. Or interview your mortgage team and turn the discussion into a blog or other content on the website. Get creative with content and let your company culture shine through a little more.
4. Avoid Using or Highlighting Only Stock Photos
Again, like professional copy, stock images can be great, but they can also be overused and boring. So consider using some real-life images from branches and your back-office operations. And creative promotions like staff feature photos highlighted on social media really show off your most valuable asset... your employees.
If you are going to use some stock images make sure they aren't too posed or fake. Avoid the "holding up a key and smiling" kinds of images and try to find a little less obvious examples of stock images to put on your website. There are some great resources for stock images online so get creative!
5. Don't Forget to Check Your On-Page SEO
On-page Search Engine Optimization (SEO) includes any of the main elements on a website page that Google looks at for guidance as to what the page is about. So, things like meta descriptions, titles, alt-tags for images, header tags for main ideas, and high-quality body content are all important parts of a well-functioning website page.
It's also common for SEO to slip to the side when people get busy. This is why having someone come behind you and check on-page SEO elements is so crucial.
SEO is an ongoing battle that is kind of like laundry, you are truly never 100% done. Checking and re-checking pages for SEO improvements is just part of the process of keeping a website up to date. Think of this as a maintenance cost of one of your busiest branches, your digital branch!
6. Avoid Using Images That are Too Large
Images are a tricky part of any website because they can directly impact how fast your website will load for a user. This is known as load time. Having too many images on a page or having files that are way too large will slow down how quickly your pages will open. Slower load times can also negatively impact search results.
So when you are sizing images for digital use or placement on your website it's important to use sizes that are as small as possible, without compromising quality. You don't want images to pixelate, but you do want images that are smaller than you would typically use for print purposes.
You can also set up your website to cache and compress images and even run something called a lazy load that only loads images as you scroll. All of this will help with website functionality and performance on search.
7. Avoid Too Many Different CTAs on Product and Service Pages
Often we see product and service pages that are peppered with various calls-to-action (CTA). This can become confusing to a user. Consider including only two kinds of next steps on these pages.
The first should be an apply now button. This should always be your main CTA and should appear multiple times as you scroll down the page. However, for users who are not yet ready to apply online, you should also offer a secondary option. Perhaps a link to rates would be appropriate.
Otherwise, we also suggest a CTA for a downloadable piece of content can work well on product and service pages. Perhaps an ebook on buying the right car for a family or a checklist for first-time home-buyers would make sense. Whatever you choose, make sure you have some sales follow-up process in place to continue to nurture these leads back to your online application, once they are ready.