Have you ever looked at your credit union’s website from a member’s perspective? Think of it as a digital branch office that is open 24/7. If it’s not clean, organized and easy to get around, prospective members will move on. If your website has not been updated to reflect changes in visitor behavior, design standards and web technology that have occurred over the past few years, you could be turning away new members.
A professional website audit that may cost thousands of dollars is not necessary to see what your site may be lacking. Here are four simple things you can check for yourself that will let you know it’s time for a new website.
Is your home page littered with banners and old announcements? Is there more than one primary navigation menu on the site? Is there page content squeezed into a narrow column? Any of these create unnecessary clutter on a site that makes it difficult, if not annoying, for a visitor to view your website.
Modern sites make it easy for visitors to obtain the information for which they came to your site. A clean site design with a well-organized, hierarchical navigation scheme can make all the difference.
2. Not mobile friendly
Having a mobile website means more than just being able to view it on a smartphone or tablet device. Sure, if you have a website, technically, it can be viewed on any mobile device, but does the viewer have to scroll and pinch to be able to read it? A truly mobile-friendly website is one that adjusts to the device on which it is being viewed, or in the technical jargon, uses responsive design.
With user traffic from a mobile device steadily rising over desktop usage, not having a responsive website may end up costing you members. If you are not sure if your website is responsive, Google has a page at https://search.google.com/search-console/mobile-friendly where you can see if your credit union’s website passes for mobile-friendly. Since Google is now using mobile optimization as a ranking signal, you don’t want to get left behind.
3. More than one home page
What? How can I have more than one home page to my credit union’s website? Believe it or not, you can. Your business cards, signage and letterhead all may give your website URL as www.mycreditunion.org but there actually may be multiple URLs that get you there and they could be affecting your search engine ranking by falling into the duplicate content realm.
To see if you really only have one home page, try getting to your website using the following URLs (substituting your actual credit union’s URL):
http://www.mycreditunion.org/index.html (php, aspx, etc.)
http://mycreditunion.org/index.html (php, aspx, etc.)
If your site’s home page resolves at more than one of these URLs, you have at multiple home pages. This is what is known as a canonicalization error. A 301 redirect should be used to point all traffic to the site’s home page to one primary URL: www.mycreditunion.org OR mycreditunion.org. Not only does this consolidate things in terms of internal linking structure, it prevents the search engines from thinking you have multiple pages with the same content that can adversely affect your ranking.
4. ADA Compliance
Beginning April 2018, websites will have to comply with Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires that sites be accessible to those with visual and physical disabilities. How can you tell if your site will be compliant? A few simple checks will give you an idea if you’re on the correct path:
- Do your images have ALT tags that describe what they are?
- Is the text on your site large enough to read and if not, can it be adjusted?
- Is there a sufficient contrast between the text and the background on which it lies?
- Can you navigate the links or forms on your site with your keyboard?
- Do your forms utilize matching “for” and “id” values to associate the label with the appropriate form element?
Not falling into compliance with even one of these could open your credit union to lawsuits in the near future, so it’s best to make sure your website is in compliance with the ADA now.
If even one of these signs are present with your credit union’s website, you should definitely be making plans to have it updated. A new website that satisfies these four beacons will serve your current members well and help make it easier for potential members to find your credit union in web searches.