Any business in the modern era needs a website. People turn to the internet to find the products and services they need and those who don’t have a website lose out on significant opportunities. However, just having a website isn’t enough. Outdated sites not supported on mobile devices, or those that load slowly will deter members, not to mention lower your credit union's rank in the all-important eyes of Google. Studies have shown that if a user’s attention isn’t captured within 7 seconds, they will leave the website. Thus, the first impression is critical. For credit unions, there are some specific considerations when building or redesigning a website and must-have features to include:
Slow and steady might have won the race for the tortoise… but it won't win you anything when it comes to websites. Credit union websites that load slowly are difficult to use, frustrating, and can deter both new and existing members. Websites are a great resource for members to learn more about their credit unions products, services and offerings, but not if they can’t access them quickly. When building or redesigning a website, speed should be top of mind. While still keeping the specifics of their algorithm under wraps, Google has indicated site speed (and as a result, page speed) is one of the signals used to rank pages. Google's PageSpeed Insights is a great tool to evaluate your site's speed.
This one should (hopefully) not come as a surprise. Online banking is a key component for a credit union’s website. Online baking is coveted by more than the younger generations. It's a feature that anyone from Gen Z to Baby Boomers use on a daily basis. Online banking should not only be available on the website but located above the scroll on the home page. If available, use a Single Sign On (SSO). This provides direct login access on the homepage of your website which means members will bookmark your homepage rather than your designated login page - think marketing and member communication.
This is more for you than the members, but still helpful nonetheless. Having a good help desk from your website provider or hosting platform will turn out to be extremely beneficial. Even the best websites can malfunction or experience downtime, and when it happens, having a competent and reliable support team to call upon will prevent a lot of headaches. However, on the member side, there is a support feature to consider as well: chat windows. Whether it be a chatbot or a live interaction with credit union staff, chat windows are often members preferred contact method for support.
For those who are not familiar with the inner workings of Google, search engine optimization (SEO) is the efforts made for your website to be found in search engine result. Sites with good SEO are on the first page of results, while those who don’t utilize focus on SEO could be hard pressed to be found, even when members type in keywords for their credit union. SEO is one of the most important practices within a website because it works to optimize content so your site is ranked higher on Google’s many pages of search results. SEO is a complicated beast and there are companies devoted to helping you achieve higher rankings. Avoid scams where someone fills out your contact us form on your page promising first page rankings. As with all vendor relationships, work with someone you trust and can demonstrate proven and realistic results.
Especially within the financial industry, website security is of the utmost importance. Members will be using the site for online banking where they have access to their full account details. Members using this feature expect that their information is protected and secure, so it’s essential that your credit union takes the necessary cyber security measures. Security shouldn’t be an afterthought. A security breach will certainly lose the trust of members, which is why it should be one of the first things your credit union considers when building a website.
This is pretty standard among all websites now that smartphones are a ubiquitous part of our lives. Responsive design refers to a website’s ability to load on devices such as mobile phones and tablets. While most developers assume that any website they build will need to be mobile responsive, it’s still important to ask and test.
Building a new website or redesigning an existing site can be a stressful process. Websites are often the first step in a member's journey to finding their credit union, and if the site doesn’t make a good impression they might not be inclined to take the next steps. Utilizing a web designer that has worked with credit unions before can make the process go a lot more smoothly as they will understand the different aspects that a credit union needs on their site.