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5 ROI Boosters for Your Banking Website Build

Building a new website is a major undertaking for a community bank or credit union: One that can strike fear in the hearts of many a financial marketer, and with good reason. In this competitive environment, the stakes (and user expectations) are higher than ever.

As digitally savvy financial consumers give more of their wallet to nonbanking behemoths such as Apple or Google and to digital-only banks like Chime, the online banking playing field is anything but level for brick-and-mortar institutions. To stay in the game, your site must deliver the user experience and functionality today’s digital natives demand.

And that takes time – and money. On average, a community bank or credit union should be prepared to invest at least $100,000 and about five to six months to design, build, and launch a website that’s robust enough to stand up to (and stand out from) the increased competition and meet users’ high expectations.

While the investment is significant, there are proven strategies to help ensure it’s time and money well spent. Read on for the five ROI boosters we recommend to all our financial clients.

How to optimize your banking website’s ROI

Make it functional yet personal (not just personalized)

Research shows that most banking consumers use digital channels for quick functional tasks. In fact, nearly 63% of those surveyed said they use mobile banking solely to check their account balance. But while they want this digital convenience in the day-to-day, it’s devoid of the personal connection these same consumers say they need when making major financial decisions, such as applying for a loan or saving for a major event.

Building your site with functionality that helps you understand and respond to a user’s intent and motivations during those times – how, when, and where they want that response – takes personalization to a whole new level, helping to create the personal connection financial consumers crave, and that community banks and credit unions were meant to provide.

With the right tracking protocols, you can gain insights that enable you to deliver a customized browsing experience to every visitor and drive conversions – both online and off. For example, a prospect visits your small business lending page but leaves without taking the desired action. The next time they return, their experience can automatically include a business loan promotional or informational message, regardless of what page they view. But you don’t have to wait for their return to your site. By integrating with certain third-party outbound marketing software, that same visitor can immediately receive an email (or direct mail postcard) with a special offer – or a call from your small business development team – even if they never filled out a form.

Another, even more personal, option: Include an AI Chat Agent, like Austin AI, in your site that integrates with your existing systems. AI Chat Agents are built to outperform standard chatbots and provide more human-like experiences without the additional costs of hiring dedicated live chat representatives. Available 24/7, they can provide users with real-time updates and recommendations through the most appropriate medium, whether that be text, audio, or video.

Learn more about Austin AI and request a free demo to see how it can help you create more personal, human-like interactions online.

Know who’s got your back(link)

Building more personal connections with customers and members is one thing; making that initial connection with prospects in the first place is another – the key: a solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.

While technical aspects form the foundation for any successful SEO program (and should be part of any website build), high-quality backlinks often drive the best results. External links that point to your website from highly authoritative sources, backlinks (also known as inbound links), are one of the most essential elements in the Google ranking algorithm. The right mix of high-quality backlinks can increase your ranking on search engines and improve visibility, translating to more traffic coming to your website.

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That’s why it’s critical that you audit your external links before beginning your site build. Pay particular attention to the backlinks pointing to your website from any highly authoritative sources. Sometimes, you may want to keep that URL structure on your new website to maintain SEO value. Sure, a redirect is a good option to ensure users can find the new page, but Google doesn’t always assign it the same value, which could effectively send your prospects to the competition.

Also, look for, fix, or remove any broken links to avoid the dreaded 404-page redirect, which results in a poor user experience.

Start your audit with a free backlink checker to keep your backlinks – and search ranking – strong with your new website. We like this one.

Test performance early and often

Once a visitor finds your site, you’ve got seconds (literally) to convince them to stay. It’s the 15-second rule of web design: The amount of time an average visitor will spend on a site; if they don’t find what they’re looking for, they’re gone.

A slow-to-load webpage is the biggest reason consumers bounce from your site.

While it’s well known that optimizing site speed and performance is critical for user satisfaction (and conversions), developers often don’t test websites for speed until after they go live. Too late. By that point, making changes to improve site performance and speed – reworking code and reformatting images – can be costly (in both hours and dollars).

The better (and more ROI-friendly) approach: Test consistently throughout the build to identify potential performance issues so you can resolve them in real time and avoid a post-launch crunch.

Now, we realize a test-as-you-build approach isn’t perfect: A web development environment differs from the final hosting environment. But with today’s free testing platforms (such as this one), you can get a pretty good idea of what you’re dealing with and where problems may lie before launch.

Simplify compliance complexities

Keeping up with ever-changing and increasingly complex regulations isn’t just a challenge when developing or managing your website; it’s a top concern across the financial industry.

From the FDIC and NCUA to various state and federal agencies, ensuring that your banking website complies with these regulations is a must. And so is making sure your compliance team has a seat at the website development table.

But what about after the launch? How do you ensure your site remains in compliance when industry regulations seem to be constantly changing?

We build custom plugins to help community banks and credit unions quickly and seamlessly manage industry-specific content. Our rates manager plugin enables your team to update and schedule rate changes across all products – on all pages – in minutes from one easy-to-use interface. Other plugins facilitate changes to product terms, updates, and compliance notifications. Don’t have the bandwidth to assign someone to this task? We can integrate your site with core systems so you’re entirely hands-off.

Such automated content production can help teams make quick updates at scale to their written compliance and regulations and easily keep up with changing industry regulations.

Future proof your website

Change is a constant in the financial services industry: regulations (see above), the competitive environment (also above), and what your targets are looking for in their banking partner (again above). And then there’s the ever-evolving technological landscape (AI, anyone?).

Staying up to date with it all can be a full-time job (and a costly one at that).

By future-proofing your site now, you can ensure it can quickly adapt to just about anything – increased traffic, new features, products and competitors, and enhanced functionality – to facilitate growth and satisfy changing customer or member needs.

In short, you want to ensure your site adheres to technical and design practices that will stand the test of time. That its basic functionality is always adaptable, flexible, and easy to maintain. Avoid building your website using a proprietary content management system (CMS) that may lose support before your site’s useful life ends – leaving you with a platform that requires a custom developer to make even a simple rate change.

Treat your website as that dynamic environment it was meant to be. Beyond required compliance and product updates, stay in touch with your targets and competitive environment and be on top of site maintenance, design updates, and new feature development.

The bottom line is that future-proofing your site is the best ROI booster of all.

Need a web design and development team that can help your team do just that? Contact us.


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