7 Bank Website Musts

IF YOUR WEBSITE is more than a few seconds old, chances are you’re already thinking about rebuilding it. And, at the rate technology evolves, you’re probably already way past due. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you proceed. If you accuse me of serving up basic “duh” type information in this post, I don’t disagree. The more I travel, consult, speak and take questions, the more I become convinced that it’s the basics that are most important and most often overlooked.

Bank Website Must 1: Make the site SEO friendly. Write your content so that, besides being readable, it cries out for organic search success, over and above taking other SEO measures. Take this post as an example. I have worked in the phrase “bank website must” ten times, and not by accident. You can bet that, not long from now, anyone searching that term will find me. Nor will any search engine penalize me for it, because the way I have handled the repetition is reader-friendly and legit.

Bank Website Must 2: Have relevant content. Don’t settle for lifting content directly from a brochure or ad. That’s more than lazy. It’s a wasted opportunity and it fails to connect. Web content must instantly engage and hold your clients in an environment full of people vying to steal their attention. You have to fend off not just other banks, but email, instant messages, alerts, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more. There is no better fender-offer than relevance. Note: relevance is a moving target (see Bank Website Must 5).

Bank Website Must 3: Don’t make your clients work. They should be able to execute a buying decision with no more than 1 or 2 clicks. In many cases, regulations and other complications may not let you do something quite so nifty as Amazon’s one-click purchase option, but it’s not a bad model to emulate.

Bank Website Must 4: Strive for accessible and clear design. Menus should be easy to find, succinct, and helpful. Links and buttons should be where eyes naturally gravitate. They should perform the way intuition expects. On the other hand, you don’t want your website to be pedestrian or boring, or to give your brand that fresh-from-the-stone-age look. You’ll need to master the fine art of balancing functional design with creative flair and technical wizardry.

Bank Website Must 5: Update, update, update. Trust me on this: no matter how many people proofed it how many times, hidden throughout your site are sundry typos, bad links, and incorrect or outdated information. Combing through your site on a regular basis provides an opportunity to hunt down and fix these little nuisances. But it’s more than a good quality control measure. Crawlers favor frequently updated sites, so you’ll help yourself organic-search-wise. And, because public tastes are fickle, frequent reviewing and revising also increases your odds of staying relevant (see Bank Website Must 2).

Bank Website Must 6: Never stop testing and optimizing. Once you have a killer site that’s up and working, congratulations, and do not even think about resting on your virtual laurels. Now begins the task of finding ways to make it work better and smarter in an ever-changing environment.

Bank Website Must 7: Use outside resources. Face it. You’re busy. And you’re hunkered down inside the walls, virtual and literal, of your bank. No matter how informed you strive to be, you cannot stay up on all that’s happening in your own vertical, much less in others. And don’t make the mistake of consulting only technical folks. There are technological dunces out there who nonetheless offer expertise in mass behavior, strategy, creative copy and design, data crunching, and more. With apologies to the egos of your doubtless extremely capable in-house people, don’t limit yourself to just them. Surround yourself with experts of every ilk.

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