Get all those crufty corners squeaky-clean

Five fast free fabulous fixes for your credit union website – The Overwhelmed Marketer’s Guide (OMG!)

OMG - The Overwhelmed Marketer's Guide

Spare time? What’s that? But even the busiest credit union marketer can (and should) make a little space to improve their credit union website’s usefulness and SEO, and head off future trouble.

After all, your website leads the way for your brand – it’s your 24/7/365 shining outpost, and it’s well worth making sure it’s up to date, everything works, and all those crufty corners are squeaky-clean.

Check up on your domains

Do you know where your dot coms and dot orgs are? Quick, exactly who at your credit union is in charge of keeping your domain names registered, renewed, and pointing to the right places? If you don’t know… find out, pronto, and make sure there’s a robust plan in place to keep these valuable assets renewed and wrangled on schedule.

You can check domain name expiration dates by looking up the WHOIS info. Here are a couple of good places to get WHOIS data:

For many domain names, you might not see the “real” info about who owns the domain because it’s hiding behind a privacy service. But you will see the expiration date, and you’ll see where the domain is registered. 

It’s also important to review your inventory of domain names on a regular basis, and make sure they are all forwarded correctly. We’ve found that even 10 – 12 years and more after a merger or name change, credit union members (and their bookmarks) are remarkably persistent about using old domain names, and you’ll still see significant forwarded traffic in your Analytics. 

Check and fix your links

Like cobwebs, link rot builds up over time. Whether it’s typos, tech issues, or just internal and external resources that moved or disappeared, you need to stay on top of this sort of debris so your website doesn’t start looking rundown.

Dr. Link Check is a website that does a great job of sniffing out this sort of thing:

We also use software called “Screaming Frog” to scan sites in detail. It’s a silly name, but it’s seriously useful, and the free version is plenty for most credit union websites. And of course, finding broken links is just one of its powers; it’s primarily an SEO tool, and it provides an impressive amount of data on your website’s general health.

One caveat, though: these tools are a bit technical, and you may see reports that fonts and other external resources are missing. Often this is because scanners like this are blocked and giving false alarms. Check with your website developers if you’re not sure.

Out with the old

Do you REALLY need that blog post about 2019 holiday closings? And wow, the rate in that car loan landing page from 2021 could cause trouble. Eek, look at all these test pages and drafts.

List all your pages and blog posts, and remove the stuff that isn’t completely 100% relevant and correct. If it’s content you might need later, a modern CMS like WordPress should let you place a page into draft mode so you can save it for later but your members won’t stumble across it.

Speaking of old stuff… review the list of users who can edit your site, and make sure everyone still belongs and has the appropriate access level.

Crop, size and optimize

This is one of the more common problems we see on CU websites; 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 larger than about 400-500K, 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. 

Consolidate for cleanliness

One of the strongest trends we’ve seen in credit union website design recently is the move toward simplicity and speed. The average CU website used to contain 120 – 150 pages (not counting blog posts). The last one we launched contained less than 50 pages and the one before that about 70. Members and potential members expect mobile-friendly sites with the answers they need without a lot of clicking and tapping.

If your website is more on the “sprawling” side, it will take a significant effort to pare down all the chitchat and extra pages. But you can get started quickly by focusing on a just a few specific “keystone” pages.

For example, get your checking accounts on one page, reduce or even remove the descriptions, and boil it down to a handy chart that makes the decision easy (and ask why you have so many checking accounts anyway?) The same goes for credit cards or car loans; boil them down to the bare essentials, and group them for easy comparison.

Your members and new members will thank you

Your members are on your site to get something done. Think slippery, not sticky, and help them find what they need right away.

And much the same goes for potential members. They’re doing their due diligence, checking you out, and deciding if they want to hang around and get to know you better. The more you get out of their way, the more value you’ll see in your website.

If you’re a little beyond a few fast free fixes, you might need a little professional help with your credit union’s website. We build great CU websites, and we’d appreciate it if you’d get in touch!

Brian Wringer

Email this article to a friend or coworker.