5 Tips For Optimizing Your Financial Brand Website

For financial institutions, such as banks, credit unions, and the like, the pressure to keep up with website trends and compliance is often greater than the average website — as they need to cater to both B2B and B2C website traffic. The reality is that everyone needs to interact with a bank at some point or another. Yet for many, it remains a challenge to easily access, find and navigate the mega menus that financial websites often have in order to serve the needs of both consumer- and business clients. 

This widespread use of financial websites creates an increased sense of urgency in the financial industry to continuously improve their websites, and meet website compliance requirements, particularly for areas such as accessibility, due to a greater demand to cater to the needs of the public. So what should financial institutions be prioritizing on their brand websites in 2022? 

Earlier this year, Monsido released the 2022 State of Websites report which surveyed digital professionals from across the globe. The survey’s questions were designed to uncover the main web optimization priorities for 2022. From this raw data we were able to gather keen insights into what communication leaders, specialists, marketers, and digital professionals are focusing on when it comes to the health of their websites. Based on this data, we've pulled together five tips that are particularly relevant for better digital delivery- and optimization of financial websites in 2022:

1. Create a Good User Experience (UX)

It’s no surprise that “Improving the UX” was the #1 trend amongst those surveyed regarding where their focus will be this year. First impressions can say a lot about your financial brand and can greatly impact your reputation. Indeed, whether your website provides a good or a bad initial user experience will ultimately also affect the success or failure of its digital presence.

In recent years, with so many consumers flooding from being offline to being online, pressure has increased on financial institutions to ensure that their digital delivery is up to par and can be relied upon for more immediate information and services. For example, consumers expect to be able to, for example, find information about a type of credit card on your website, instantly live chat about it, or send an inquiry via contact form - rather than go to a branch office to ask about it.

And it doesn't need to be big design changes that impact your user experience. The content matters too. Imagine browsing a bank's website to see the interest rates of their loans, and finding differing rates for the same type of loan on different pages. How do you know which one is the right one? Your journey on the site will instantly become needlessly confusing and tricky. This type of experience is detrimental to your business and illustrates why the user experience will always be a top priority for financial websites, who benefit across the board from investing in good user experiences.

2. Design your Website with Accessibility in Mind

Consumers continue to get more internet savvy, and as a website is most likely your financial organization's only 24/7 delivery channel, making sure it is accessible to everyone will be vital for all online businesses in 2022. Web (or digital!) accessibility essentially boils down to providing a diverse and inclusive experience for anyone accessing your website regardless of their digital skill level.

And beyond catering to people with disabilities who use assistive technology, such as screen readers or electronic braille displays, to access your website — there is (post-pandemic) now also a significant portion of the aging population utilizing the internet to access, interact and engage with their financial institutions. 

And thinking about the aging population and people with temporary disabilities is very important when designing your website. This is especially vital as financial tasks that were traditionally taken care of in-person, have shifted online in recent years. This shift in behavior is also what has brought focus to the fact that many websites were not accessible to individuals who rely on screen readers or other forms of assistive technology.  

Now imagine trying to get to your bank's home page and needing to use a screen reader but Alt tags are missing on the images of the different credit card types. Or even worse, your website does not have a "Skip to content" feature to surpass the giant mega menu. And these technical aspects of accessibility can seem intimidating to get started with, but many financial organizations that we've worked with have found that ongoing training and support for your staff can be a great way to get everyone on board with accessibility guidelines.

3. Considering a Redesign? Don’t Migrate Those Errors…

For many organizations, going through a redesign is on the radar for 2022. Going through a redesign often means changing the core look-and-feel of the website while still keeping a significant chunk of the existing content as well. However, many organizations fail to take a granular look at things like links that may be broken, misspellings on the site, and SEO errors before moving content over to the new version of your website. 

Fixing these things prior or during a redesign can ultimately save your team time and create a better user experience for your site visitors. Got an outdated loan application process listed on your website? What about the contact information and addresses of your many branches?

The best thing to do is to get a website audit and take a look at what needs to be remediated at the beginning stages of a redesign. There are many website audit tools out there that will scan your site and give you the analytics. Most people think to do this audit after the redesign, but it’s always better to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to migrating content errors when possible.

4. Continue to Analyze SEO

Search engine optimization will continue to be a growing focus for websites as it is ultimately what drives traffic and sets you apart from your competitors. Growing traffic, whether tactfully or through content, was also the third highest priority in our 2022 State of Websites report. And with Google’s update to their Core Web Vitals, it will be important to keep a close eye on SEO and make strategic content decisions. 

When speaking to clients in the financial industry, many struggle with SEO simply because there are so many banks and other financial firms competing to capture the attention of the same potential clients. By having unique content that targets long-tail keywords on your webpages, your site will perform better and naturally boost SEO. And thus, leveraging tools that can help you manage your SEO while updating content will be something to consider as a top priority this year for financial entities looking to achieve top rankings.

5. Thinking Beyond 2022

Lastly, putting the mobile first experience into the design thinking process will certainly continue to be an upward trend for the financial sector going into the future. Since more and more people are accessing banking and other financial platforms directly from their mobile devices nowadays, it will become increasingly vital to make sure that websites are designed to accommodate this shift. 

But digital apps and platforms can’t house all the information on your website. In fact, many banking apps link out to their website for more long-form content. And that means that a mobile-first approach will not only continue to matter for your website, but will in fact increase in importance. If you're a financial entity it is therefore highly recommended that you think about incorporating the mobile first experience into your future website optimization plans in addition to the other tips that will help you deliver a better digital experience for your site visitors.

Curious to see how your website stacks up in 2022?

Get a free scan of your website to see if we can find any content issues or errors. The Monsido Platform looks at a wide variety of website aspects, including content quality assurance, web accessibility, performance, SEO, data privacy and more.