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Best Practices for Financial Advisor Websites

Best Practices for Financial Advisor Websites | USA Financial
May 14
2024

Whether you have a thriving financial practice or are just getting started, having a well-organized, accurate, and frequently updated website is important to the brand experience you are providing. Websites can be focused on a particular goal or audience, but most financial advisors want a website that can nurture existing clients, lower the barrier of entry for prospective clients, and add credibility for anyone checking them out. All of this will come together if you follow these best practices for your financial advisor website.

The information age of today relies on the internet for gathering information, researching options, and legitimizing businesses: It’s rare for people to visit a business without first visiting their website, and 98% of consumers looked for information about a local business online in 2022. This means that your website is often the first impression prospects will have of your financial practice. A financial advisor’s website acts as a digital headquarters for clients as well, allowing them to find important information and share with others if given the opportunity.

Visual Best Practices: How to visually display your business through your website.

Visual elements are important to your digital marketing efforts because humans are inherently visual beings. Design, imagery, and how information and concepts are displayed impact information processing and decision making. Your visual brand and design choices matter at their face-value and for the messages they convey subconsciously, so keep these things in mind as you plan your website:

Your header, footer, and navigation need to be intentionally planned.

While you want your website to focus on the people you’re serving, how you incorporate your branding is important. Logos, colors, disclosures, and resources are an important part of the service you provide and can be displayed quickly and strategically.

We read from left to right, top to bottom, and the same is true online. Building your brand is typically done around your company logo, so putting your logo inside your header is a common courtesy: Most websites feature the logo in the upper left, while some opt for centering it. Inside the navigation bar, you should order the pages of your site in a way that makes sense – including using clear labels for more universal items like contact information. If there is a site or account login link, it is customarily in the upper right sometimes accompanied by a contact phone number and links to your social media profiles.

Use relevant, unique, and consistent photography on your website.

Ideally, you will have put thought into your brand imagery and have guidelines to follow as you search for photos. Using similar scenery in all your collateral can be helpful for consistency across digital and physical marketing pieces. You also want to make your site recognizable to your audience, so using local photos and pictures of you or your office is a nice touch: Recognizing a landmark or skyline allows newcomers to feel at ease and know they are in the right place.

Keep team photos up to date.

Photos of you and your team should be no more than about three years old. No matter how perfect the sunshine or your smile was the day a picture was taken, your headshot should look like you do now. If someone has met you before seeing your outdated photo, they might recognize it as outdated. If a person doesn’t meet you until after they’ve seen your old headshots, they could see it (even subconsciously) as you misleading them or misrepresenting yourself, which won’t do you any favors as you work to build their trust in you.

Content Best Practices: What to include on your financial advisor website.

The content on your website must strike a balance of informing without overwhelming, educating without specifically advising, and proving value without making the experience a virtual sales pitch. There are a few key questions that your financial advisor website needs to address:

Share your professional differentiation.

Let your website tell your story: Not just in name, licensing, and educational background, though that’s important. Why you do what you do and how you do it are both areas where you can set yourself apart from others. In addition to listing your contact information and credentials, share any professional contrast you can to help prospects choose you over someone down the street.

Speak to your specific ideal client, niche market, or specialty service areas. If you have robust partnerships that helps you offer superior client care and/or can consistently offer a client experience through a proprietary process, showcasing that on your site is important! This helps provide professional contrast and lets your ideal clients know why they should work with you specifically.

Use testimonials to show what working with you is like.

In November 2022, the SEC shared a New Marketing Rule that allowed the use of testimonials on financial advisor websites. People look to others’ experiences for help when they are looking to purchase something – be it product or service – so this is something you don’t want to miss out on sharing! The hardest part about showcasing these is usually the collection of them – but you don’t have to overcomplicate it. A simple email asking your clients for a recommendation often merits new material you can use in your collateral and on your website. Once you’ve collected a few to showcase, you can work this request into your process, so collecting and updating your website with new testimonials isn’t a special project.

Give website visitors a reason to come back to your website.

Marketers call this creating “stickiness.” There are many ways to create a “sticky” website. A few examples:

  • Share a blog regularly with relevant updates and timely news.
  • Feature videos to share your perspective on financial topics.
  • Provide informative articles they can reference at milestone moments or annual events (e.g. tax season).
  • Provide web pages for items they may need, such as an explanation of your process.
  • Include appointment request forms or scheduling links.

Provide a client login.

Consumers have an expectation of 24/7 access to accounts, so having a client login on your website is a great way to provide transparency and create ease of use for your clients. Providing this means they don’t have to remember or search company login links, and helps you provide value because they know they can count on you to provide help, even if it’s via your website. Account information is available even when you are sleeping, meeting with another client, or on vacation. Whether they check their accounts regularly or just once a year to get their tax statements, knowing it is available is important to increasing the client experience.

Have your contact information readily available on your site and consider a scheduling link.

If someone can’t find your contact information quickly, you could lose their attention (and business) just as fast. To lower the barrier of entry, you can provide a direct scheduling link through tools like Calendly or GReminders. The more steps required to schedule an appointment, the more opportunity there is for someone to change his or her mind. Creating efficiencies like this inside your practice help client and prospective client experience and save you time.

Have a lead generation system in place.

Even if your goal isn’t for your website to be a lead generation machine, it should still make it easy for any interested parties to reach out to you. While consumers may reach out via your contact information or scheduling link, in an ideal world you’ll be able to capture their interest and information without these perceived high-pressure methods contacts. A simpler option may be something like a link to join a mailing list or information so they can download a guide. Once you have their information, you’ll be able to follow up with them immediately or utilize an automated marketing system to stay top of mind for when they are ready to work with a financial advisor.

Technical Best Practices: Strategic Planning and SEO Basics

Building an effective financial advisor website requires a strategic approach to content creation and optimization. Standing out in the crowded online landscape means consistently producing unique, authoritative content tailored to your ideal audience. By understanding best practices around content freshness, links, and traffic analytics, advisors can elevate their digital presence and better connect with their target audiences. While SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can be a long-game to see results, following these best practices will help to improve your rank in search results:

Write unique content on a consistent basis.

Financial information is plentiful on the internet. From advisors to broker dealers to the governing agencies, there’s bound to be a lot of overlapping content. But each advisor is a unique person, and each client has a unique situation, which means that new perspectives are unlimited. Regurgitating information from other platforms or sites won’t help your website win views – it can actually cause your website to rank lower on search result pages. This is because the algorithms can quickly spot copy and paste work, and deem it less valuable. Creating unique content will help you rank higher as the “crawlers” will find added content regularly and give your website a boost.

Build authority through detail and links.

When people look online for information, they count on the most authoritative sites to rank near the top of the page. That means search engines naturally want to optimize financial advisor websites that have high authority scores. Unique content helps build authority, as does content length and detail. Being detailed in your writing will also help you build up searchable keywords in a natural way, attracting the right audiences. Always write using the terms, phrases, and questions you want associated with your firm.

Aside from the content itself, links to and from your site help you “network” and look trustworthy. Linking to other sites to source facts or provide resources shows that you can back up what you’re saying and want to provide beneficial content. Being linked to from other sites (especially other high-authority sites) shows that they trust you and think you’re providing valuable content.

Keep track of visitors by utilizing Google Analytics.

Setting up a GA4 (Google Analytics) account for free may mean the difference between a strategic marketing plan and a guessing game. It can steer your marketing efforts and help you optimize your marketing plan and dollars. Analytics can show you how effective a traditional advertising campaign might be by watching for increases in traffic based on marketing activity. You can see just how many people look at it, what they looked at, how long they looked at it, and sometimes even where they came from before they got to your website. As you continue to add content according to the best practices above, you can track how many visitors you’re getting and how long they’re staying on your website.

Applying These Best Practices

Regardless of what stage your financial practice is with respect to website development and maintenance, keeping these best practices in mind can help improve your website and business long term. Your website is not about you – it’s about your clients and prospects. The goal of your website should be to get the people you want to work with to the helpful services you provide. Following these practices will keep nurturing existing clients top of mind, while lowering the barrier of entry for prospects, and providing credibility to your business and brand. At USA Financial, we offer website design and management support in addition to business coaching to help you grow your practice and continue making a difference in your client’s lives.

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