Creative Commons: Where Free is Not Actually Free

Copyright and the Creative Commons License

In today’s world it is not uncommon for photographers, graphic artists and folks in other fields to submit work to the community that can be freely used in other projects. I’m sure you’ve heard of sites like Wikimedia and Morguefile (just to name a couple) that have photos listed for use under the Creative Commons license.

A Creative Commons (CC) License is only one of the public copyright licenses that exist today. A CC license is one that enables free distribution of work submitted by an author who wants to give permission to the community to use the work they have created.

At first glance, a CC license seems to mean “free” as in, you can freely edit and distribute the work in any manner you wish. However, each author can set limits or stipulations on how their work can be used. For instance, some authors prohibit commercial use of their work. This means, people can not use the work to help them make money — by either including it in a product that will be sold or something that helps them sell their products. Other authors will give you mostly free domain to use their work. However, they want credit for it. So, if you do happen to use their photograph, graphic design element, etc. they want their name on it somewhere for credit.

Sometimes the stipulations that authors place on their work is very transparent and easy to follow. Sometimes, the stipulations are vague. In other instances, people can forget to look at the requirements or ignore them altogether. The lines can get blurred and that’s where the trouble can start. For instance, just recently Festival delle Resistenze 2016 in Italy was sued for using a photo found on Wikimedia of one of the people who presented at the festival. The photo was taken by a local photographer and shared on Wikimedia under the CC license with the stipulation that credit would need to be given to the photographer in exchange for use of the photo. The festival took the photo and used it in marketing materials to promote the presenter but did not credit the photographer. From that mistake a lawsuit was born.

Knowing how and when to use CC licensed work can be quite an ordeal!

Our clients have the ease-of-mind in knowing that when they ask us to create a banner ad or other graphic materials, we have access to a full stock photo library that we can use without stipulation. We are either the authors of the content we use or we pay a license fee for use. We take copyright very seriously for the safety of our clients.

Learn More About Copyright:

 

 

4 Essential Features for Your Credit Union Website

Your website is the digital front line that introduces your brand and your business to the world. Current members visit your site to get the latest information and current promotions as well as online banking. Non-members use your website as a platform to window shop while they are on the search for their financial home. What you display or don’t display on your website, can leave a lasting impression.

Listed below are some essential features that every credit union website should have:

Responsive Web Design with Intuitive Navigation

In 2016, a website that is not responsive (i.e. is able to be viewed and used with ease on any device) will suffer in search results and page ranking with Google and other search engines. With a fixed and unresponsive site, you are losing users as they will be more likely to leave your site in frustration.

A responsive website means that you are able to extend your reach to all users, regardless of the device they choose to view your website with.

In addition to a responsive site, your site’s navigation should be straight-forward and clean. You want to be sure that your website’s navigation is focused so that people can find what they are looking for fast and easy.

Is your website mobile responsive with intuitive navigation?

Learn more about our website services

Check out our Portfolio

Contact Information

Despite that we are in a digital age, people still want to deal with people directly.

Make sure that your contact information: physical address (and mailing address if applicable), phone number and email addresses are easy to find. Generally speaking, people will use your website to get some basic information and then will contact you when they are ready for more. Making these essential contact avenues readily available will give your users the impression that you are accessible and that you want their business.

Promotional Space & Focused Marketing

While it might seem like a good idea to put banners and other ad graphics in every pixel of whitespace on your website, this method also leads to user confusion.

Your visitors aren’t sure where to focus their attention, so they are focused on everything, which means they aren’t taking in the important calls to action and time-sensitive promotions.

By giving your website specific promotional spaces while using focused marketing with your content and graphics, you can lead your visitors exactly where you want them to go!

Got a great spring promotion that you think is too good to pass up? Make that a featured promotion on your website’s dedicated promotional spaces.

The Membership Application Process

The Membership Application Process (MAP) should be a fairly streamlined and easy process to walk through on your website. Ease of use and focused steps for your users to take to sign up means a higher conversion rate and more members!

Did you know that CU*Answers offers a great MOP / MAP program? We have created attractive, modern and user-friendly experiences for credit unions to use for new membership sign-up.

Learn more about MAP

Learn more about Custom Branding, MAP & MOP


Have you incorporated some of these features on your website? What do you find to be the most important feature on your current site?

Research on Rotating Banners on your Website

Carousels, or rotating banner ads on your website is a pretty common request from our clients. The general thought is its a way to create information density in a small piece of real estate, as well as, a way to show different content and appear freshly updated.

However, many usability experts call the rotating banner a no-no because of its usability problems, SEO (search engines don’t index image content), and lack of engagement from visitors (many web visitors are banner-blind and don’t even look at banner ads.)

Smashing Magazine did some pretty extensive research into carousels and their pros and cons. The end result? It’s not cut and dry whether they are beneficial or not. Like all things marketing, it depends on your audience and your goals. Smashing Magazine’s article focuses on mobile and ecommerce specifically.

Read the article on Smashing Magazine.

New Website for New Horizons Credit Union

CU*Answers Web Services is excited to announce the launch of a new website for New Horizons Credit Union in Ohio. This new website is built on our WordPress with SiteControl platform enabling consistent content and search engine optimization right out of the gate. In addition, New Horizon’s new website theme was built to use CU*Answers Web Services’ and CU*Answers’ Marketing standard banner sizes so that New Horizons can leverage collaborative pricing and electronic banners.

Please visit their New Horizons’ new website.

Onaway FCU Rebrands to Awakon FCU

awakonfcu.net

We are excited to announce the launch of the new awakonfcu.net! Onaway Federal Credit Union, based in northern Michigan, recently expanded beyond their Onaway footprint and needed to rebrand to reflect their expanded field of membership. As part of their name change to Awakon Federal Credit Union, they needed a new web site. Enter CU*Answers Web Services. Designed, built, tested, and launched to coordinate with the rest of the rebranding deployment, awakonfcu.net uses WordPress with SiteControl, 950×250 rotating banners, a lovely background photograph, search functionality, electronic contact forms, and simplified navigation.

CUSO Development Company Private Site

cuso development company best practices

A few weeks ago at the CUSO Development Company Board meeting, CU*Answers Web Services launched the new CUSO Development Company Best Practices website.

This private blog was created for clients and partners of CUSO Development Company may collaborate on opportunities and share ideas regarding best practices.  This site was built on WordPress and intentionally styled to keep the look and feel of the corporate site.