By Scott StellwagonRefreshing your website is often seen as a necessity, something that must be done to remain competitive and comply with industry trends. However, the redesign process can present an incredible opportunity to revitalize your digital footprint and implement digital marketing strategies to drive traffic, improve audience engagement and increase conversions. Here are three essential considerations to help you formulate redesign strategies to support your long-term goals, including links to examples from effective bank websites:
1. Consider the goals of your redesign
On average, commercial websites are redesigned every two to four years to align with ever-changing aesthetics and best practices. Often, this is done perfunctorily to keep up with competitors and follow industry trends. However, an effective website redesign should be more than just a fresh coat of paint. It is important to critically consider the specific goals of your redesign and how it can support your greater digital marketing initiatives.
Ask yourself: What do you hope to achieve? What would you like to change about your existing website? Make a list of these objectives and discuss them with your developer so that they have a shared understanding of your goals. Your developer will have some ideas, but you may want to consult with a digital marketing agency if you feel that you need additional support. If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are a few actionable ways that a new website can contribute to your marketing goals:
- Improve landing pages to create a more engaging experience that decreases bounce rate.
- Integrate a variety of powerful calls-to-action to drive visitors through the sales funnel.
- Create a logical, organized sitemap that provides an easier browsing experience.
- Set up dedicated landing pages for your digital advertising campaigns .
- Build unique content that supports your SEO efforts.
2. Create webpages that convert
Once you have taken time to consider the long-term goals of your website, it is time to implement conversion points across your website that will turn visitors into potential new customers. Here are a few examples of conversion actions that you can integrate into your website that can drive user engagement:
- Online account opening
- Online applications for mortgages, refinancing, HELOC, personal loans, etc.
- Pre-approval or pre-qualification
- Contact information for your mortgage lending team
- Contact information for your business lending team
- Contact forms for customer service
- Clickable links for directions on Google Maps
- Clickable phone numbers
- Online appointment request tools
- Live chat support tools
Any tool that provides convenience for your digital audience is an excellent way to improve conversions across your bank website. You should also aim to provide more than one conversion point on your product pages to accommodate consumers who may be in different phases of the buyer’s journey. For example, someone who has just started the home-buying process may not be prepared to apply for a loan immediately, but may be a good candidate pre-qualification, pre-approval. Or they may wish to speak with a lender to determine which type of mortgage loan will best suit their needs.
Here are a few examples of high-converting product pages:
- Lincoln Savings Ban—conventional mortgage Loans
- American National Bank and Trust Company—personal checking accounts
- Horicon Bank—custom loans
3. Write content that drives traffic
Having a beautiful new website is great. But it is all for nothing if you are not driving visitors and improving traffic. You will want to use search engine optimization strategies when building your website to create content that will help potential customers find you in the Google search results. Once you have taken the initial steps in the SEO process—keyword research, geographic targeting, creating an effective sitemap and writing metadata—you’ll want to begin writing engaging content for every page on your new site. Here are three tips to help you through the content creation process:
Build unique, individual product page content. While it may be tempting to take the easy route of grouping many products on a single page, this can have a detrimental impact on your SEO efforts. If you use a single page to promote multiple products, your keywords will end up competing against each other for Google’s attention, making it difficult for any of them to stand out. This process is known as ‘keyword cannibalization.’ By producing individual product pages with clear themes, strong keyword-rich content, unique metadata and engaging calls-to-action, your new website will be far more likely to rank organically in the search results pages for relevant queries, yielding a greater number of qualified visitors arriving on your new website. Build these pages into a logical sitemap that will make it easier for Google’s search engine bots to crawl and index.
Create pages for each of your branch locations. Rather than simply grouping all of your location data on a single page, creating pages for each of your locations is an easy way to rank for local geographic keywords. Ask your branch managers to write a few paragraphs of content about how their branch, the services they offer and any other information that might be appealing to your customers. Load these pages up with CTAs that will drive users to visit your locations: clickable phone numbers, links to get directions on Google Maps, a form that users can fill out to request an appointment, etc. You can also use these pages to solicit reviews for your Google My Business listings for each location.
Here are a few examples of stand-out location pages:
Produce content on an ongoing basis. If your bank website does not already have a blog, then the redesign process is a perfect opportunity to add one. A blog allows your bank to produce content that can be used as part of your SEO strategy to grow organic traffic long-term. Creating evergreen articles containing financial tips alongside timely pieces about products and promotions will allow you to build a robust library of engaging content. These articles also provide an ongoing source of content to share on your social media platforms.
With so many moving pieces, the website redesign process can be daunting for many bank marketers. The key to a successful redesign is preparation and organization, so be sure to work closely with your development team so that you can all be on the same page throughout the process. If you need additional support, you may want to consider reaching out to a digital agency that can work in tandem with you and your development team to assist with each portion of redesign—rom content creation to SEO strategy and beyond.
Scott Stellwagon is a digital analyst at BankBound, a marketing agency focused exclusively on growing local financial institutions. He is a regulator contributor to ABA Bank Marketing.