Website Wednesday – A Look at the Nation’s Largest SBA 504 Lender’s Website

Website Wednesday – A Look at the Nation’s Largest SBA 504 Lender’s Website


The purpose of Website Wednesday is to help educate you, the small business lender, to make sure you know you are capturing the information of the qualified borrowers who come to visit your website.

We do this by evaluating your competitors, pointing out the good and bad.

Website Wednesday is not geared to make you an expert in website design. Rather, it is provided so you can attain a management level of expertise in the shortest amount of time, e.g. you will be able to ask the “right” questions to those that create and maintain your site.

I’ve put together these five quick tests that the small business lender site should pass. You should be directing those that you hire or team with to pass these standards.

Today’s analysis is at the request of the nation’s largest CDC, CDC Small Business Finance in San Diego, CA.

Let’s see how they fare.

1)vCan the user tell you are a small business lender in two seconds?
Definite yes! I am immediately drawn to the large attractive picture of a florist that is accompanied with the eye pleasing tag, “We Help Small Businesses Grow.” Then right to the sub line, “CDC offers an array of loan programs to help small businesses expand and create jobs.” Passes the two second test.

2) Do you establish your small business lending expertise? (e.g. Do I trust you to stay on the page longer than two more seconds and explore further.)
I click on the logical link “Find the right loan for you.” I don’t like the fact that I am being asked to answer three questions. You are telling me upfront that this is going to take longer than two seconds. I would prefer they tout their amazing record of being the largest commercial real estate lender of SBA loans for the past 15 years. Perhaps a large picture, with a tag line of “Find out why we are the largest lender of SBA commercial real estate loans in the country?” Or, “Find out how 10,000 entrepreneurs bought their buildings with only 10% down last year.”

3) Is the site clean, or too complex and confusing?
Very clean. I do like the layout. I also love the customer video testimonials.

4) Do you motivate me to take the next step to get a loan? (e.g. Is the “call to action” process easy?”
After a couple of pages, I am taken to an online questionnaire. I feel as if we’re getting engaged before the first date. I’m telling you my life story, and I don’t even know your name. I also don’t like the fact that I am told someone will get back to me in 24 hours. I live in a world where I demand immediate feedback. At a minimum, tell me someone will get back to me shortly. I would also prefer a name and phone number, or how about this? Have a pop-up chat box that the visitor can ask a question? Have the chat box monitored by your BDOs, or an in-house loan officer? And there is nothing wrong with the, “Oops, sorry no one here right now. Give me your phone number or email address and we’ll get right back to you.”

5) Does it pass the Google search test? (e.g. Do you come up on the first page of search with key words?)
We tested the following search terms.

“cdcloans” tests well, coming in fifth.

Unfortunately with “SBA 504 loan” or “California commercial real estate loan” there are no search results that point to CDC Small Business. Some work needs to be done there. (We’ll talk about adwords later)

Overall, a good site. With little tweaks one can easily see getting many more qualified leads.

If you would like your website critiqued in Website Wednesday drop me a line at