It’s time to scrub that scruffy, crusty oldwebsite content

Cruft check: fast, easy credit union website cleanup

Hey, I get it; housekeeping is hard. But it’s still an important part of keeping your credit union’s website running smoothly. Every so often, it’s worth taking a few minutes to clean up link rot, scrub that scruffy, crusty old content, and throw out last year’s leftover rates.

Here’s our easy, fun checklist to get your site running smoothly, make updates easier, and eliminate possible misunderstandings. We build credit union websites with WordPress, but the basic ideas should apply no matter what CMS (Content Management System) you’re using.

Toss your test pages

This one’s easy-peasy; go to your list of pages and trash all those old drafts to nowhere and any pages created for testing. If you’re still using them, or might need them next year, make double-sure they’re in “draft” mode, and also make sure they’re not visible to your site’s internal search engine so that members can’t stumble across them.

Protip: if you’re using WordPress, remember that pages only stay in trash for 30 days, so please don’t use the trash for cold storage. 

Check your home page for big, slow images

This is one of the more common errors; HUGE unoptimized or improperly sized images on the home page. They slow down your page and annoy mobile users. 

There are many, many ways to check; the fastest is probably to use the Inspector built into your browser:

  • Right-click anywhere in the page and choose “Inspect”. 
  • Click “Network”
  • Hit control-R (or command-R on Macs) to refresh the page
  • Click the Size column to sort by size. 
  • Scroll up or down to see the largest files.

If you see any images around 400-500KB or larger, make sure they’re cropped and resized correctly and try optimizing them. If you don’t have access to Photoshop, an online photo editor like Pixlr or Photopea will do the trick. If your images are already sized correctly, TinyJPG can do a great job of optimizing without losing visible quality. 

If you’re using WordPress, we sometimes install plugins that can handle part of this automatically. However, it’s always best to size and optimize images correctly in the first place.

Wrangle those rascally rate sheets

Rates have been moving around a lot lately, so it’s worth a quick double-check of all the rates tables on your site to make sure they’re up to date. You don’t want a leftover promo rate or forgotten disclosure to create any misunderstandings.

Find and fix broken links

Hey, mistakes happen, and sometimes links go dead, promotions change, and sometimes you just make a plain old typo. Whatever the cause, scrub your site for broken internal and external links every so often.

There are many different ways to do this; the fastest I’ve found is a site scanning tool called Screaming Frog SEO Spider (yes, really…) It’s software you install on your computer, and the free version lets you scan up to 500 URLs, plenty for most credit unions, and spits out a wealth of site information. And part of that is a list of internal and external URLs that generate errors.

Ponder your internal search data

We’ve found very consistently that more and more users, especially on mobile, are ignoring the navigation and just using the site’s built-in search engine to find what they need.

We build our sites with a very robust natural-language search engine, and it keeps a tally of the search terms that were successful and unsuccessful. This information is pure gold, so make sure you review it regularly for fascinating, direct insights into what real people are really looking for. You’ll see what they’re finding, or not finding, and get some important clues for fine-tuning your content strategy.

For example, one of the most common searches on CU websites right now is for “Zelle” — even on the sites of CUs that don’t offer Zelle. That displaced the former champion “routing number”. Searches involving certificates and auto loans are big, as well as things like scholarships and careers. 

Get professional help if you need it

One last bonus item: hey, get in touch with your friendly website developers if you find problems or you’re not sure about the best way to handle something. 

Brian Wringer

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