Magazine article Independent Banker

Think like a Publisher

Magazine article Independent Banker

Think like a Publisher

Article excerpt

Keep your Web site fresh and interesting to attract a loyal following

I f your community bank has developed, or is about to develop, an Internet Web site, you may look at what you've done as the equivalent of setting up an electronic billboard in cyberspace. The reality is that when you complete a Web site, you are, whether you like it or not, in the publishing business.

You need to think about how to supplement your online product and service information with credible, frequently changing and useful content. After all, how many of your customers are going to return to your Web site very often simply to read ads?

A growing number of businesses understand that Web sites are increasingly important elements of an overall marketing and sales program. The Web site recently constructed by New England Business Service, a national direct marketer of forms, checks and other supplies for small businesses, includes a Small Business Resource Center of several dozen articles and software tools, some of which lead users back to the company's products (http://www.nebs.com).

For most banks, developing content is a new and different challenge. To succeed in providing online information effectively, your bank must pay particular attention to the following areas:

* Make online information credible and of high quality. Information that is inordinately self-serving by being excessively promotional won't have much credibility with Web site visitors. Internet users in particular tend to be sophisticated and discriminating about content and will quickly tune out inappropriate sales pitches. Content can include articles, tools and even games and visitor discussions. Just make sure your content is interesting, engaging and useful. High-quality information imparts credibility. Use content to lead prospects to products or services. For many companies with Web sites, content consists of hot links to other Web sites in their industries. …

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