Three things which make a great website

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I firmly believe that every adviser looking for new clients need a website. I know some people will disagree with me, but it’s just common sense that a website improves the effectiveness of all other tactics.

Take referrals and recommendations (without doubt the best way to attract new clients) for example. A proportion of prospects passed your name by an existing client will want to do some additional research. They will check you out online before getting in touch. If what they see fails to convince, they are less likely to get in touch. The opposite is of course true.

So, that begs the question, what makes an effective website? In my view, you need to get three things right.

  1. Great user experience

When we land on a website we all want to feel safe, comfortable and that we are in the right place. If you don’t feel those things, you will quickly bounce off the page and look elsewhere.

As an aside, our research shows that the average bounce rate on adviser’s websites is 58.34%. That’s on the high side and advisers with an unacceptable bounce rate should take steps to bring it down; but that’s a blog for another day.

Once we feel safe, we then want to find the information we are looking for quickly, without distractions diverting our attention. That means, amongst other things, a simple navigation, reducing the numbers of clicks to get to the ‘good stuff’ and removing pop ups.

Of course, as the website owner you need to convert visitors (the right ones at least) into enquirers. You can only do that by making calls to action easy to take. Don’t hide your telephone number, make contact forms easy to find, and make sure they work!

  1. Great images

I’ve written before about this, but so many advisers overlook the importance of high quality images.

First and foremost, you need images of you and your team. I recommend including anyone who has contact with clients. Use a professional photographer, or consider illustrations as an alternative that’ll set you apart from other websites. Be careful not to alienate your audience though with wacky caricatures that you think are great but others will hate.

Pictures of your team are a must. But carefully chosen, other images can lift your site from a mundane sea of text.

I am of course talking about stock images. Not pictures of a happily retired couple (who in reality are probably only 35 and have many years of modelling employment ahead of them!) walking hand in hand down a sun-drenched beach. No, images that represent the type of work you do and the geographical areas you work in.

There’s no doubt that an eye-catching image will improve your website and set you apart from your peers.

  1. Great content

In my experience, many advisers place even less importance on high-quality content than they do images.

As Bill Gates said many years ago: “Content is King” and it’s true. While that generally means written content on websites, it should, ideally, include video too.

If you are going to the expense of building a new website, please don’t regurgitate the same tired old content you’ve been using for years. Instead, think carefully about the types of pages your target clients will want to read. I’ll give you a clue, it isn’t an explanation of what a pension or ISA is. Potential clients want to know about how you can help solve their financial problems and why they should choose to work with you.

Remember too that we consume contently differently online. We skim read far more than we do printed material. That means short sentences and paragraphs work well. Like this.

Or even this.

Other tools that can be used to break up large pieces of text include:

  • Sub-headings
  • Bullet points
  • Lists (see, how effective is that?)

I wrote last week about the five pages advisers should never include on their website; you can read that article by clicking here.

If content is King, variety is the Queen.

I’d therefore strongly recommend adding video to your website too. Many people prefer to consume information by watching content; by including video you will appeal to move visitors.

However, you choose to produce your content, it must appeal to your target audience whilst demonstrating you have the ability to solve their financial problems and challenges. Preferably backed up with practical examples, in the form of case studies, and client testimonials to show real life results.

Get cracking!

Get these three things right and you are well on your way to producing a great website, which will encourage your ideal clients to get in touch. And, ideally, dissuade those who aren’t right for your services from picking up the phone.

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