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Designing the Best Bank & Financial Websites: Top 10 Tips

Optimal website design for banks and financial institutions prioritizes ease of use, allowing users to swiftly access services and information. Mobile experiences should be streamlined and intuitive, minimizing barriers to user actions. The goal is to mirror the personalized service provided in-branch, online.

Dan Bowen

Dan Bowen

Founder + CEO
Published: February 16, 2021
Last Updated: May 01, 2024
(Web Design/Web Development)
Designing the Best Bank & Financial Websites: Top 10 Tips

1. Financial Websites Should be Custom Builds

That’s why custom builds are the standard for this type of business. Searching for financial landing page templates will net results, however they are often clunky and nearly impossible to customize. This means your competitors will surpass you with their own unique web experience, or always be one step away from matching your efforts.

When we work on web design for financial services, we create a first impression that feels genuine to the essence of your company and communication style. Make sure your website is aligned with not only the organization you are today, but where you’re headed.

While financial companies do often have a marketing budget on reserve, they often lack time and resources to reach their full potential. Ensuring your custom site would take significant time to reproduce (even if they were to hire a well-established team) is a useful strategy in protecting your unique edge in the market. The more time-heavy the cost is to pursue similar features, the more likely these features will remain an exclusive proposition to your users.

2. The Right Bank Website Hosting Makes a Difference

An often underlooked element of the web design process is where your website, CMS, assets, and data are hosted. In particular, banks often house a significant amount of data on their users – and they want to protect that data from getting into the wrong hands at any cost. A standard hosting solution is simply not acceptable for a bank or serious company that must consider privacy and security for their audience. Standard hosting setups will inevitably leave you vulnerable to issues, slowing your site to a crawl as it stretches to handle mountains of data. This can be a death nail to your website, as 40% of all users will abandon a page that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

Working with an agency with the accountability and experience to integrate the best hosting solution for your organization and IT team will equip you for redundancy and scalability as your organization (and audience) continue to grow. Otherwise, if there is a fire or service issue, your website and files can be lost beyond recovery.

3. Enstore Trust and Confidence on Service Pages

One of your key page experiences is going to be your services page layout. It’s important to make them as legible and simple to use as possible, while conveying the personality and diversifying touch as an organization.

Some features we have integrated include real-time CD Rate updates, Mortgage Rate Calculators, and Chat Widgets connected to a live branch representative. These offer a tailored experience to the user and serve to answer a great deal of their questions in the research phase of decision-making.

While many financial products are similar in nature, the service page experience is an opportunity to set their experience working with your company apart. By positioning your brand as the authority and providing appropriate data for the user’s specific needs, can earn credibility, good-will, and inspire loyalty with your base.

4. Web Design for Credit Unions

One thing we’ve experienced with credit unions is that they often have restricted eligibility, and want to create member-only access portals for customer education, loan rates, and other useful features. This means that unless you are a member of several credit unions, you will not be privy to the different approaches your competition has taken within their portals.

This is exactly why working with an agency with strong financial website design experience is so beneficial. We have the luxury of having designed multiple member portals, and can draw from this knowledge to create the highest quality experience for the unique specifications of your member base. 

5. Generate Traffic with Optimized Blog Posts

We know, you’ve heard it before – but it’s so important to have a blog component in the modern digital market. Whether it’s renamed a news spotlight, financial resource center, or something else entirely, your organization needs a space dedicated to regular updates. Financial services keywords are highly competitive, and creating regular content for relevant keywords will propel you to higher placement on search results.

This is especially true for bank and financial services websites, but it still matters for credit unions. We often find credit unions put off their inbound marketing efforts, citing a restricted base of potential members. They don’t want just anyone online, they want those who are eligible to enroll. This takes a different approach as far as topic selection is concerned, whereby you are able to pre-qualify your key audience segmentations and prospects for your most valuable financial products.

Aside from this change in strategy, regularly updated content is favorable in the eyes of google, and improves your overall site rating. This can be a tie-breaking factor in your race to the top of search results on those few terms that are exactly right.

6. Promote and Modernize Your Webinar Experience

This is an under-utilized and overlooked aspect of modern bank websites. Webinars are an opportunity to add more human contact to your online brand interactions, as well as a key touchpoint to building trust by providing relevant information to a pre-qualified audience. After all, it’s not common to casually attend a mortgage webinar with no interest in the offering.

When the webinar section does exist, it often lacks features more internet-savvy demographics have come to expect. Webinar replays are highly important – in addition to being helpful to your users, it provides another email update to let them know the replay has been posted. With financial topics, the subject matter can take some time to cover appropriately. Modern internet users may pause or tune out of the webinar at a certain point, but be willing to revisit if a replay is available. This is a great opportunity to engage with those who did not initially convert. We hate to see financial services leave these interactions on the table, and can’t recommend it enough.

In addition, be sure to provide the standard video playback features (rewind, pause, fast-forward) on your webinar replays. Requiring a user to sit through the same material they heard last time is a surefire way to deter them from listening long enough to obtain new information.

7. ADA Compliance

This can be a tedious process without the right technology or agency partnership. Staying on top of website compliance is something banks spend a lot of time doing, and adding more to the mix often stretches departments thin. There are tools available to establish ADA compliance, some of which leverage artificial intelligence to make adaptations as the website is updated.

With the right tools and team monitoring your website for compliance, this should be a seamless update. It’s an important item to have on your list.

8. Custom Image Assets

Stock photography is a popular choice for DIY website design, but can be a significant hindrance for bank sites. Your organization is fighting an uphill battle with similar lending products and services, so the last thing you need is to be perceived as unoriginal on a visual level.

When people claim brand perception is determined in “a blink of an eye,” there is some merit to the sentiment. Neuroscientists believe we process entire images as fast as 13 milliseconds. It’s vital that your organization approaches it’s visual assets with care, and avoids the pitfalls of stock images.

9. Establish Clear & Impactful Calls to Action (CTA’s)

The best bank websites aren’t littered with miscellaneous CTA’s. They apply focus, and have minimal (yet impactful) offerings per page. This drives attention towards the CTA buttons.

A call to action button, or CTA for short, urges a user to take a high-value action, such as submitting a contact form or filling out a loan application. Using the primary brand color for these buttons will cause them to ‘blend’ into the rest of the site, which can reduce the number of times desired actions occur.

It’s important to carefully select colors and styles for your CTA buttons based on what will visually grab the attention of your audience, while matching the color palette of the brand. Interactive hover states are also important to stylize, as they add a mental confirmation of the visitor’s next step.

10. Secure a Solid Agency Partnership

Earlier we touched upon how credit unions are unlikely to be able to view the user portals of their competition, as these companies deal with restricted member eligibility and users will not likely qualify for multiple credit unions. While this is less true for banks and financial service institutions, it’s rare that you have a front-row seat to your competition’s user portal. You may have some insight into one or two competitors, but an agency with a proven track record of designing financial websites will be able to provide insight and research into quite a few more.

More importantly, they have experience modifying these platforms to elicit improved engagement and customer loyalty. Agencies can save you a lot of time testing features that ultimately do not move the needle, or do not truly drive results for competition.

If you’d like to discuss the needs of your bank or financial services website, click here to contact us.

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