This guest post about financial planning websites comes from Samantha Russell of Twenty Over Ten.
There’s no denying that having a polished website is a critical asset to your financial planning firm’s digital marketing strategy. If your going into 2018 unsure if your current website is up to par then it’s likely it might be time for a redesign. At Twenty Over Ten, we believe your website should attract and engage customers. And in the highly digital world we live in today so many decisions are made online, which is why it’s so crucial your online presence remains current and relevant.
We get asked the question a lot – “Does my website need to be updated?” If you haven’t touched your website in a year or more then it’s likely likely your technology is lagging. But more importantly, you may be losing customers. Still unsure if your website is past it’s prime? Our team has put together a list of the top seven signs your website may be in need of a redesign.
1. UNRESPONSIVE DESIGN
If your website was built over two years ago it’s most likely far behind in terms of looks in functionality. We’re going to take a guess too that it has outdated code that may be slowing down its loading speed or they way it responds on different devices (if it’s mobile friendly at all). Additionally, it might also not be compatible with some of the latest popular browsers.
Search Engine Land reported last year that already 60% of searches were from mobile devices and the numbers just keep rising. Having website that is responsive is now a necessity. Just think about how often you pick up your phone to search for something. It’s more often then not, right? Developing a website that can be viewed and easily explored on any device is crucial to increase your conversion rate and improve your client experience. Not sure if your current site is responsive? Check out this handy tool. Simply pop in your URL, click go and see if your site is responsive.
2. CONTENT CLUTTER
Content is king when it comes to any successful online presence, as it not only engages your visitors but also directly impacts your SEO. One marketing goal for any financial advisor trying to build their business should always be to develop your own unique original content and post it directly to your website (in the form of blog posts, videos, podcasts, newsletters, etc.)
A website can really start to show its age with content clutter. Meaning, websites that have been around longer or have not been updated for years tend to have accumulated unnecessary content. And we’re not talking about those old blog posts you have laying around – those are actually good to keep! But rather, the long-winded, redundant pages of copy.
You want prospects to be able to easily find you online, right? This requires your site to have SEO optimized content. This not only applies to the main pages of your website but also includes publishing regular blog posts with trending industry keywords. Whether you take the DIY approach to sprucing up your website content or you seek outside help, content clutter is a clear sign of your site being outdated.
3. HARD TO NAVIGATE
Mistakes in the navigation of your website not only affect your user experience but they also have a direct impact on your rankings in popular search engines, like Google.
Your site navigation should be intuitive to visitors leading them to the information or pages they’re seeking. We also recommend using wording in your navigation that is deliberate and descriptive. Stay away from fancy wording or industry jargon. Rather, make it obvious to the visitor what they’ll get by clicking on the page. Consider using the Google Keyword Tool to determine what descriptive keywords to use in your navigation. Your website’s navigation can be an easy thing to overlook. However, it is one of the most important aspects of your website. Bottom line: if it’s not easy to use, you’re losing business.
4. OVERLY AGGRESSIVE CALLS-TO-ACTION
So maybe your site has CTAs but here are some reasons why your CTAs are not working. Just a few simple changes such as placing your CTAs mid-website to catch readers before they bounce or being clear in your CTA content (i.e. “Download Now – Free”) can lead to doubling your conversion rate. CTAs that appear to be overly aggressive typically tend to look outdated and not to mention a bit desperate! We consider CTAs “overly aggressive” if they possess the following:
- Neon colors
- All caps
- Multiple exclamation points
- Text that is bolded, underlined and italicized
5. NOT SECURE
If your website still uses HTTP your site is living in the Stone Age. When you are working with confidential information everyday, all of your online platforms must be secure. Especially in the financial services industry, the sensitive data you may capture from clients makes your website and business a target for third-parties who may be looking to steal sensitive information. Your clients are trusting your firm to carefully transfer their personal and financial information, whether it’s in-depth documentation or a simple form with their contact information. Clients will expect your website is secure and we don’t blame them!
Because of the lack of security HTTP websites have, it is essential that financial advisors have SSL certifications, or HTTPS websites. In fact, Google’s search algorithm will rank your website lower if it does not have an SSL certification. Google will now also warn visitors when they go to load your website that it is not secure and this will most likely scare off any prospective clients. So what is SSL? SSL or a Secure Sockets Layer encrypts data when transferring it between the server and browser.
6. OUTDATED DESIGN
You should always think of your website as a visual extension and representation of your brand. You wouldn’t want to poorly portray your brand now, would you? We didn’t think so. Web design trends change rapidly and if your website is just a few years old it can start to look real outdated real fast. Today’s look is all about clean design and easy navigation (see our point above).
It’s true, design trends come and go but there are some trends that we promise are likely to never return. Splash pages (that say “enter here”), flash animation, image carousel’s and anything that blinks on and off are long gone. So if your site includes any of those it’s time for a refresh.
7. NO SOCIAL INTEGRATION
Having a solid digital marketing strategy for your financial planning firm means integrating all of your online content – from your website, blog, social media, calendar and more. It’s now become second nature to find most places of business on social media and it’s not going anywhere. Your website should include links to various social media accounts to not only optimize your site traffic but also provide a better user experience to visitors who want to check you out on social media as well. It’s important that your website and social media work hand-in-hand to promote your online brand.
About Samantha Russell
As the Chief Marketing & Business Development Officer for Twenty Over Ten (an online marketing and website development company for financial advisors), I focus on helping advisors understand the value of their online presence and connecting them with the marketing tools and digital solutions they need to effectively manage their brand.