A Portal Postulate

By Peterson, David | Independent Banker, March 2001 | Go to article overview

A Portal Postulate


Peterson, David, Independent Banker


Implementing a portal strategy increases a Web site's value to customers

Not long ago, I took a cruise to the Bahamas. In preparing for the trip, I discussed with my travel agent the different cabin options and accommodations available for the cruise. What I discovered was that while the room configurations were similar in each cabin on the ship, as the cabin location moved up to higher levels in the ship, so did the did the size of the room's portal (i.e., window), and consequently the price.

Assuming I wouldn't spend much time in the room anyway, I opted for a smaller cabin on a lower deck. After spending four days literally adjusting to various positions just to get a glimpse of the ocean, I came to a realization-portal size does matter.

Internet portals are valuable commodities in the virtual world. And while these portals are more akin to information repositories than sleeping accommodations, like my anecdote, it would behoove banks to carefully consider their options. Only with a full understanding of the types of portals available and the impact they may have on a bank's current and future customer base, can a bank determine how portals will fit into their longtime online banking service offerings.

If you're a typical community banker, you have two major market shares-personal and business customers. By effectively using the Web and banner advertisement to develop both a personal portal and a business portal you can re-assert your position as the center of focus of economic activity for your community.

The Two Shall Meet

The personal portal usually consists of a combination of national and bank specific content. Examples of national content are news and sports stories, weather, stock quotes and financial information, just to name a few. Bank specific content might be links to the home page, to product and service information or a sign-on to online banking.

Generally, a bank will work with a personal portal provider to customize this content into a community view of the portal and place this on its Web site. This can be a link from the home page, or it can be the start page with links to the home page from the portal.

From a service standpoint, any Internet user who accesses this page will see the content that is displayed. Users can create a user profile and customize the portal view to suit their personal requirements. For example, an individual might add specific stock symbols to a stock quote list, add links to other Web sites of interest or designate a particular city to display local weather, news and sports options. Some portals even let the user determine how to display and sort information.

Once this customization is completed, this personal view of the portal can be set as the default page for the user's browser. …

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