I brought on two new clients this month with websites so bad I felt a flash of red-hot embarrassment when I first saw them. Marketing efforts are crippled by a bad website, so I encouraged them to do a website overhaul. One said they were going to do an update in 2019 and the other said they were going to have their brother-in-law look into building a new site.
This reminded me of an article I had been writing for one of my advisors encouraging his clients to stop putting off their estate planning. He had a set of clients with three children and no estate plan in place. He was alarmed that they had not documented a guardian for their children in the event of their death or designated assets toward that cost. They were stuck hemming and hawing over which child should get which fine china, putting off establishing a baseline plan.
Advisors with outdated websites sometimes behave in the same way. They view a website redesign as a soul-searching rebranding process that will dictate the operations of their firm into the future. In reality, website updates should happen every two to three years and should take less than 30 days, start to finish.
By outsourcing to a professional who is familiar with your industry, you can save time and help the process go more smoothly. Your website update will take as long as you let it, so here are some tips to get it done more efficiently.
Six Steps to a Quick and Easy Website Overhaul:
- Have someone look at your Google Analytics and tell you the 15-20 most visited pages on your site.
- Forget about all other pages and organize the top pages into 3-5 categories that will appear as your top navigation categories, at the very top of your site.
- Then, assemble each of the 15-20 pages under one of the main categories as a “Drop Down” item that will appear nested under that heading.
- Once you have the organization of your site laid out, choose your colors based on the two dominant colors of your logo. Don’t use three or four colors or your site will look cluttered.
- Then, select a “theme” for the photography on your site that is relevant to your firm, such as “Cleveland Skyline” or “Women in Retirement” or “Black and White Greek Architecture.” Have the designer choose all photos from this theme.
- Finally, hire a professional website designer to build your new site using your theme and layout. You can have them copy the content from your existing site, or hire a website copywriter to rewrite your site based on what you’d like to communicate.
Which Website Company Should You Use?
Independent Websites for Independent Financial Advisors
There are several options when it comes to building your new site. You’ll want to consider your compliance situation, budget, and technical expertise when deciding which platform to use. We now offer website services, you can take a look at what we offer here. We’ve worked with some of the leading website platforms for financial advisors for years. With increasing prices, lower service, and outdated technologies, we decided it was time to create a better solution. That’s why we developed a better website option at a lower price. How? By leveraging the most powerful independent website technology in the world: WordPress.
I have worked with hundreds of financial advisors using every major website provider and concluded that FMG Suite is great for functionality, site designs, pricing, and ease of use. If you are affiliated with one of the larger broker-dealers that has a compliance integration with FMG Suite, then using their platform is a no-brainer because it makes compliance so easy. If you regularly blog or host events, they have built in features for both that are simple to use. You can save $100 off the setup cost with FMG Suite by using this link.
There are other advantages to using a large website company for your site, such as FMG Suite, Advisor Websites, or Advisor Launchpad (formerly Smarsh Sites). They routinely make updates to their platform, so your site will be upgraded as technology changes. Their sites are mobile responsive and meet the latest technical requirements. By choosing a financial services-specific provider, you won’t have to worry about issues like adding the required BrokerCheck link to your site. Finally, a few years down the line when you’re ready for a facelift, you can choose one of their newer themes and update your site seamlessly.
Don’t Use Someone With Your Last Name
Please, do not employ your kids or another relative to create your site. This is akin to your biggest client calling you to rebalance her account based on an investment tip from her deadbeat brother. Website developers are talented, educated professionals who employ best practices and the latest technologies. They can create a better site much more quickly than someone who dabbles. They are widely available at a low cost, so do yourself and your relatives a favor and outsource to a pro.
Consolidate Your Websites and Blogs
I come across a lot of advisors who keep separate websites and blogs. This is not advisable from a search engine optimization (SEO) or marketing perspective. SEO is impacted by traffic to your site, as well as new content on your site, so adding your blog to your main website will help with SEO for both. Also, you will want clients and prospects who visit your website to peruse your blog, so featuring it on the main website’s navigation helps drive more traffic to your posts.
Remember, It’s Not Set in Stone
When you’re creating your site, remember the estate planning analogy. Who hasn’t had clients put off finalizing their plan because they can’t agree on that last decision? Websites and estate plans can and should be updated at least once a year to reflect any big changes. Don’t let perfectionism stop you from making an overdue update to your site.
If you need to update your site take a look at our websites designed specifically for Financial Advisors. For other questions on your redesign process, contact me or connect with me on LinkedIn. Best of luck in your website redesign process!
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