Six Essential Steps to Improve Your Website
In the movie “Field of Dreams,” we see Kevin Costner’s character walking through his cornfield when he hears someone whisper “If you build it, he will come.“ The next thing we see is a determined Costner clearing his field to build a baseball diamond.
It’s possible that a similar incident could have taken place in the early 1990s somewhere on the West Coast as a banker was sitting at his desk staring at the screen of his new desktop computer.
I think we can all agree that the Internet has done more to change how consumers interact with their bank or credit union than any other innovation in history. Among its many contributions to the field of retail banking, the website is having the most profound effect on both customers and the financial institutions providing the products and services.
By now it’s difficult to remember banking before the Internet.
Yet, the first website for online banking was launched a mere 16 years ago in 1994 by the Stanford Federal Credit Union in Palo Alto, California. Where else?
Since then, not only has every bank and credit union in the country rushed to build its own proprietary website, a number of online-only banks have emerged.
Now that all these competing websites are up and running, the next major step that many financial institutions need to take is a complete overhaul or site redesign.
If you’ve visited as many bank and credit union websites as I have, you quickly discover that many of them simply overwhelm you with too much copy, color, varying type faces and sizes, disclosure copy, flash-graphics, charts, graphs, slow-loading video, and animation. Just a few short seconds on some of these sites and your head begins to hurt.
And this is just the homepage. Navigating many of these sites is tedious at best while finding the information you seek is like being on a scavenger hunt.
Early on in the development stage, simplicity was cast aside in an effort to maximize every square inch of space on every page.
It’s one thing to spend the money, effort, and hours building a website. The tough part is the ongoing maintenance effort. This is where so many banks and credit unions have stumbled.
Today’s online consumer has quickly become accustom to being very picky about which sites she chooses to do business with. She’s very impatient with slow-loading pages and having to hunt for information. A growing number of very simple, user-friendly sites have spoiled our consumer.
Like every business, ACTON Marketing has its own website – a site which we strive to keep updated frequently while remaining easy to navigate. We believe it to be a model of simplicity. As a result, we’ve learned a lot about building and maintaining websites over the past several years.
We are passing along some of what we’ve learned in the December 2010 issue of our newsletter. In it we present the six essential steps to improve your website.
1. Simplify your website
2. Keep your website current by providing ongoing maintenance
3. Make it quick and easy to contact your bank or credit union
4. Provide separate landing pages for promotional offers
5. Minimize disclosure copy
6. Ensure your website pages load quickly
In addition, near the bottom of this informative issue we provide our readers with the name and website link of the credit union awarded the title of best credit union website in 2005, and again in 2009, by the Web Marketing Association’s WebAward Competition.
You can read the December issue of the newsletter here.
After reading the issue, you might want to take a quick tour of the website. And don’t forget to sign-up for your free monthly issue of the ACTON Marketing newsletter if you aren’t already a subscriber.