Veterans United Home Loans is a national company with about 25 branch locations across the United States. Local marketing and personal relationships are crucial at the branch level, so each location’s single page web presence was sufficient when they were built.
We saw an opportunity to help them use their websites as tools to not only supplement, but drive more business. I planned, redesigned, and developed a new system for the branch network. The results were awesome.
Other notable metrics
- 20% drop in bounce rate
- Doubled average pages visited per session
There were a few goals we wanted to achieve while giving this site an updated design. I was the point person on this project with a team of project managers, back-end developers, search and business analysts, and other marketing allies who helped identify and solve these problems.
- Problem: 43% of users were visiting the branch websites on mobile devices, while the old versions were built at a fixed-width and optimized for the desktop.
- Solution: Build a mobile-first responsive website to create a smoother experience for all devices.
- Problem: The branch websites and corporate websites were separate which makes business sense when it comes to leads. However, that meant there was loads of valuable researched content that wasn’t being leveraged at the branch level.
- Solution: Build a website that could incorporate the valuable information found on the main website, and do this without hitting a red flag for duplicate content.
- Problem: Every time a change had to be made to branch websites (including team member changes, contact information, event updates, etc.) the branch marketing team had to put in a request for developer time to make those changes.
- Solution: Build a custom content management system that would enable branch marketing to make changes quickly and easily.
I refactored thousands of lines of code from the corporate website and did a complete overhaul of our CSS to build the site mobile-first. This optimizes the experience by loading only what is necessary for mobile users, delivering a faster, smoother website, and loading a more bells-and-whistles experience for desktop users who can load larger resources faster.
IE8 and below get their own stylesheet that optimizes the desktop experience. SASS allowed me to do this without having to write a bunch of duplicate code.
I appropriated existing content to make sense for branches. We removed all mention of the national brand and decided where calls to action still made sense.
The content management system is simple and easy-to-use. It gives control over each branch website through a drop-down. Once you have selected a branch you can find all of its editable content on a single page. You can create new branches, temporarily disable a branch, add team members and events, and more.
Branch pages are templated, allowing us to create new ones and make changes quickly. This also keeps the site lightweight. Instead of duplicating a bunch of pages for all 25 branches, we have a few templates and some static content that are database dependent. We use URLs to pull in contact information, lead forms, and other branch-specific content based on which URL the user is hitting.