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    If your credit union website merely exists and nothing more, you’re already turning away potential customers. Considering 51 percent of adults in America use online banking, your website should be a functional marketing tool that engages your ideal customers and converts them into valued members. Your website doesn’t do this? Well then it’s time to reconsider your marketing strategy for the web.

    Essential Best Practices

    The most effective credit union websites are not static online databases; they’re dynamic systems that continually evolve and adapt to your most loyal customers’ needs. Specifically, these sites do the following:

    • Offer original content and valuable resources.
    • Use language that speaks directly to a target audience.
    • Provide logical information architecture that intuitively guides targeted users throughout the site and, ultimately, to a call-to-action.
    • Strive for a simplistic, client-focused design.
    • Don’t use stock images, phony reviews, or confusing industry terms.
    • Show their contact information on every page.

    Successful website owners adopt a tactical content strategy and ensure every page is relevant, engaging, and accurate. These site administrators:

    • Focus more on educating web visitors than on selling to them.
    • Utilize social media to grow the website’s online presence.
    • Regularly track, test, and redesign content and calls to action.
    • Participate in continuing SEO campaigns to increase the website’s organic search rankings.
    • Meticulously check online messaging for accuracy and clarity.

    Protecting Sensitive Information

    From telephone numbers and addresses to usernames and passwords, data encryption is the safest way to protect information sent through a web form. But once this data is collected and stored, it’s imperative for websites to have an additional layer of protection to ensure the information remains secured.

    Gravitate Encryption, a custom WordPress plugin developed with credit unions in mind, offers a safe and comprehensive solution to protecting your customers’ most sensitive information. With remote database storage and secret passphrases to encrypt and decrypt the data, Gravitate Encryption can safeguard web forms that require users to submit their social security numbers, dates of birth, or any other confidential banking information.

    Implementing Responsive Design

    Thirty-two percent of Americans, or roughly 35 percent of cell phone users, prefer to bank with their smartphones. This means credit union websites must be mobile-friendly to serve the needs of these customers. A responsive design allows visitors to read and navigate your website on any device, as the optimal viewing area automatically adjusts to the user’s screen size, platform, and orientation. Consequently, whether your visitors are using an 8-inch tablet or a 4-inch smartphone, a responsive website eliminates the need to swipe, pinch, and reverse pinch to see the content.

    Aside from providing a better user experience (UX) for your mobile customers, responsive sites can also be used to reprioritize elements on a page. Buttons, calls to action, and even blocks of text may be removed, repositioned, or resized to make your content more effective on smaller devices.

    Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

    Developing and hosting credit union websites requires agencies to be familiar with web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG). These rules, which broadly fall under Title II and Title III of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), govern how state and local government websites should be accessible to users with disabilities, such as an auditory or visual impairment. Developed and maintained by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), a subgroup of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C®), WCAG ensures people with disabilities have an equally accessible way to access online services and website information as other members of the public have. Websites that present barriers to people with disabilities must provide an alternative ways to access web content without additional cost, inconvenience, or delay.

    The degree to which a website adheres to WCAG is categorized into three levels: A, AA, and AAA. At Gravitate, we take extra precautions to ensure your website is compliant with AA or higher.

    Adhering to WCAG

    Our developers meticulously follow WebAIM’s WCAG checklist for implementing technical standards. For instance, we triple-check all photos to make sure they contain detailed ALT tags, which are short text descriptions in the HTML that explain what an image displays. Computer devices, such as screen readers, read this simple code and speak the ALT description for visually impaired users. For larger websites with extensive navigation menus, we also provide specific anchor links for WCAG that allow users to skip around until they find the information they need.

    Font sizes and colors must also adhere to specific guidelines to accommodate people with disabilities. While our website process already includes implementing text sizes that meet WCAG, we maintain a strict policy to audit website colors for noncompliance. Using a color contrast checker, our designers can restructure your website’s colors for WCAG without taking away from the look and feel of your credit union’s brand.

    How We Build Credit Union Websites

    1. Strategy: The process begins by conducting market research, competitive analysis, and data tracking so we fully understand your target audience and their buying behaviors. This data allows us to develop detailed persona archetypes, user flows, and intuitive information architecture based on content strategy.
    2. Design: After creating a solid strategy, our designers work diligently to build a beautiful, conversion-focused design that truly upholds the power of your brand. Our designers reflect on weeks of research and strategy as they meticulously adjust layouts, calls to action, and visual hierarchy for an experience that makes a lasting impression.
    3. Development: Through designer and developer collaboration, we draft technical specifications that detail exactly how the site will function in preparation for development. And because our sites are built on a WordPress platform, we can engineer a custom back-end solution that allows you to easily add, update, and edit content without knowing code or HTML markup.
    4. SEO/Digital Marketing: By using extensive keyword research, on-page optimization, and technical SEO, our digital marketers and content strategists provide long-term solutions that increase your organic search rankings and enhance your bottom line. We also set up advanced conversion tracking so we can monitor the success of your website goals.
    5. Ongoing Content Creation: Launching your website isn’t the final straw in the digital marketing process; it’s merely the start of a ongoing effort to create compelling content that keeps users engaged with your products and services. This includes identifying underperforming pages and updating content as well as restructuring page elements and calls to action to improve conversion rates.

     

    This article is not intended to constitute legal advice. Neither Gravitate, nor our partners, make any representations or warranties that our services will guarantee compliance with applicable laws.

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