Creating a new website can be tricky and overwhelming. From choosing the design to perfecting the content, financial advisors face many difficulties when trying to create a new site for their business.
At Twenty Over Ten, we’ve noticed several common mistakes that people make when creating their own sites. So, our team has developed this list to aid in your website creating efforts. (For more from Twenty Over Ten, see: 3 Key Steps to Craft the Perfect Online Presence.)
1. A Lack of Content
While a simplistic site can be advantageous, too little content on your website can be detrimental. If working with a copywriter, you should come prepared and be able to articulate who you are, the services you provide, what those services cost, and why you are passionate about your work. These are basic content areas that prospective clients visiting your site will be looking for and if not easily found, may cause them to leave your site look elsewhere.
For example, the above demo site presents a clear description of the services provided and the mission are included on the homepage.
2. An Impersonal Feel
When a consumer chooses a financial advisor, they make the decision of who to work with based ultimately on how they feel about the person providing the service. It is for this reason that the “About” or “Bio” page of an advisor’s website is almost always the second most visited page (after the homepage). You don’t need to over share- in fact, getting too personal right away might scare away some prospective clients. However, in an industry that relies so heavily on trust, it is especially important to seem personable. Simply including a photo of yourself and basic personal information can go a long way in making people more likely to trust you with their finances.
Prospective clients want to know who you are, why you do what you do, what your philosophy/approach is, and hear your story. If you can take it one step further and include a quick video introduction of yourself, even better. At the very least, we recommend including two great photos - one headshot and one more “informal,” such as you with your family or enjoying a hobby.
The above example from Garrett Prom of Prominent Financial Planning includes his bio photo and a personal quote directly on his site’s homepage to engage visitors.
3. Calls to Action That Are Difficult to Identify
Why do you want a website for your business? What’s the point? Whatever your answer may be - whether it’s to have people contact you, sign up for your newsletter or blog, take a risk assessment, etc. - the point is for prospects and referrals to vet you and then take some sort of action step. If your call to action (CTA) is too difficult to find (or worse, you don’t have one at all), it is most likely that visitors to your site won’t take any action at all. For this reason, it’s critical to make it immediately clear what the next step that you want them to take is. (For more from Twenty Over Ten, see: How to Write a Strong Bio for Your Website.)
4. Too Many (or Competing) Calls to Action
We just explained why it’s a mistake to exclude a call to action from your website or to make it too difficult to find. On the flip side, it’s just as harmful to have too many calls to action. Too many calls to action compete for users attention and can be overwhelming. If you hit your site visitors with too many CTAs at once, they can end up leaving without taking any of your desired next steps.
Imagine visiting a site that immediately has a pop-up inviting you to “Get My Weekly Finance Tips Directly To Your Inbox.” Under the pop-up is a button encouraging you to “Download 5 Tips To Retire By 60” and this is located right next to another button that says “Schedule Your Free Initial Portfolio Review.” All of these calls to action are too much all at once, just cluttering a site and making it feel spammy. Having multiple calls to action is fine, but they should be placed throughout your website more naturally, on different subpages and allowing visitors to “find” them as they peruse your content.
The example above from Newport Harbor Wealth Management has their CTA located on the homepage. It’s easily noticeable, has no other CTAs to compete with, and uses unique, brand-reinforcing verbage instructing visitors to “Chart Your Course.”
5. Too Much Static Content
Some static content is a good thing. It ensures that your marketing team doesn’t have to be churning out new material 24/7 and it can be comfortably consistent for visitors. However, relying solely on calculators, stock trackers and pre-written articles or content won’t cut it. If static content is all or even the majority of the content on your website, chances are that is feels outdated and impersonal to visitors. Instead, try to find a nice split (we recommend at least 50/50) between static and dynamic content. Try writing content that focuses on the services that you provide and describes how you're different.
6. Difficult to Get in Touch With
One of the top reasons that financial advisors tell us they want a website is to gain new clients. Despite this, one of the biggest and most common mistakes that we see are websites that make it incredibly difficult for prospective clients to figure out how to reach them. This includes having super long contact forms that no one wants to take the time to fill out, not having your contact information (phone number or email address) easy to find, and having incorrect/outdated contact information or not contact information at all.
Stick to the basics. If you’re using a contact form, we recommend only asking prospective clients for the bare essentials (name, phone number, email). Include a distinct “Contact Us” page on your site to ensure site visitors will see it and make sure your contact information is obvious and up to date. You may even want to place your own phone number and email on a sidebar on each page so that visitors never have to “click” find it.
7. Non-Existent or Flimsy Deadlines
Developing a schedule for yourself is the best way to prevent succumbing to this seventh deadly sin. Lay out for yourself when that first website content draft is due, write down the date you need to send in designer feedback on layout and images, and estimate your site launch date in order to communicate this to your website designer. Not including deadlines for yourself or not abiding by the deadlines you’ve set only promotes procrastination. Developing a strong, realistic timeline for yourself helps ensure that your website design process goes as smoothly as possible. (For more, see: How a Website Can Grow Your Financial Advisory Firm.)
This article originally appeared on Twenty Over Ten.