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Choose your bank wisely, but don't ignore online banks
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Online banks cost less to operate than traditional brick-and-mortar banks, and most of them pass those expense savings along to the customer in the form of higher interest rates. This is usually true of online banks that are affiliated with larger retail banks as well as those that have no retailer branches at all.
The average household has $53k in savings and CDs according to the Federal Reserve. Getting an extra 0.5% interest on those savings is worth $265 per year!
Often times these accounts enjoy the same FDIC protection (they will tell you this) as your local retail branch, and may even have fewer restrictions to go along with their higher rates. Some banks offer a better rate just for establishing the account online, even if you still want to visit your local branch to manage it. You can also usually move money via a free bank transfer, making the process fairly easy.
Some well-known online banks affiliated with larger institutions include INGDirect.com, HSBCDirect.com, and Ally.com.
For more info, check out the following resources: