Written by: Marielle Demers
Is it time to upgrade your website? As discussed in Part 1 of this series, it is impossible to ignore the fact that most people “Google” almost everything. In fact, according to Nextopia, 86% of Baby Boomers and 90% of Millennials routinely research products online. For Financial Advisors, a professional and relevant website is becoming so critical to their business that it cannot be ignored. A website not only helps keep Investment Advisors in touch with their clients but will be necessary to gain and service new clients in the future.
So where do you start?
You might be feeling that this will take time and may even be a little painful. The best way to begin is to take the steps to have all the aspects of your website well thought out so that it tells a cohesive story about you and your business. Here are things you should consider before you begin in order to make the process more constructive and maybe even pain free.
1. Carve out some time to work on this. Book some uninterrupted time in your calendar to go plan out what your site will look like and what you want your visitors to “feel” when they come to your site.
2. Take a look at your competitors’ websites. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Take note of what you like and what grabs your attention. It is also important to note what you don’t like or what makes you lose interest. These negatives can be great in helping you avoid some of the pitfalls of a poor website design.
3. Create your BRAND. This is very important! Your website is a reflection of you, how you do business and what your strengths and values are. Start by asking yourself these questions:
- What makes you unique?
- What do you like most about your business?
- What do your clients like about you?
- What are your business values?
- How would you like to appear to others?
4. Create a tagline. Taglines are like slogans or mini mission statements that can succinctly describe who you are and what you stand for. Once you have determined your BRAND, you can work at developing a tagline which can be displayed prominently on your website. Just to be clear, this is not a value proposition but a short, catchy phrase which reflects you and your business.
5. Create your topics. Topics will be represented in different pages on your website or links found in the navigation bar at the top of your page. Take a look at other sites to get an idea of what you might want to include for example, “About Us” and “Products and Services”. It is important, however, that you make sure that you have at least one topic that reflects what makes you unique.
6. Create your text. Good text is the backbone of your website. This is also where many websites get it wrong. A long, rambling essay is not going to attract the attention of your website visitors. Define what you want to get across about your business, use clear and friendly language, be concise, and be direct. Let them know, in an obvious way, why they should do business with you. Calls-to-Action are important to encourage your visitors to interact with your website.
7. Use professional photos. Your visitors want to see a photo of you and your team. Much like house buyers looking at houses online will only consider those which have photos, most people will likely not show interest in your site if there are no pictures. Try to get several different poses of you and your team, including some that seem more spontaneous.
8. Add interest by using stock photos. One of the most important things to take into consideration when designing your website is how users think. Think about how you navigate websites when you are online. Most users want instant gratification and a website which gives them interesting and credible information fast. They scan, not read, a website which means you have to grab their attention immediately in order for them to remain interested. You can do this by adding pictures to complement your text. Stock photos are a good way of making your point in an instant.
9. Consider ways to keep your website fresh. Keeping your website fresh and updated has probably not been your number one priority and may seem like too much work. However, consider this, updating can result in more traffic to your site, allows you to deliver information in a timely fashion and to more individuals and lets you repeat your BRAND and uniqueness to visitors. On the other hand, not updating your website may create a negative opinion.
There are many ways to keep your site updated by blogging, creating newsletters, market updates, and demonstrating community involvement. How you do it will probably depend on your firm and what support they provide.
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