Creating and maintaining your financial advising firm’s website can be daunting- we know. Between selecting the images, choosing tool integrations, writing the content (and the list goes on and on), we understand the difficulty of developing a strong company site. That’s why we’re here to help.
At Twenty Over Ten, we’re website building experts. We’ve built hundreds of sites over the years and while working with clients, we’ve noticed several common mistakes that people make when building their own websites. So, our team has developed this list to aid in your website-creating efforts. Here they are – the 13 most common website mistakes we see from financial advisors:
13 Common Website Mistakes to Avoid:
1. Using Other People’s Content
Purchasing ongoing articles or other content to keep your website fresh may sound like a good idea, but it doesn’t help reinforce your message. Other people’s content typically doesn’t speak to your specific audience. By writing your own blog posts, articles, and insights, your potential clients will get to learn about you and your firm. You’ll also reap the benefit of improving your SEO, as you will naturally write about topics that are of interest to your target audience.
Twenty Over Ten client, C.L. Sheldon & Company provides financial planning and wealth management for active and retired military members and their families, so they serve an incredibly unique niche. This is evident in the blog posts that provide the type of information that this niche would be looking for, which shows that they are a thought-leader in the industry and will drive more traffic to their website.
And we know that creating content consistently can be difficult, especially as a financial advisor who has clients and also has to run their own business. In order to help with this, we have created Content Assist and Lead Pilot.
Lead Pilot is the industry’s first-ever AI-powered all-in-one solution for content creation and distribution. By using this tool, advisors are able to launch robust content campaigns from a streamlined, easy-to-use dashboard. Team members can collaborate and share content pieces, upload original content, and customize content from the media library. It not only includes blogs but also video and infographic content. Once it is added, the content can be easily scheduled to be sent out via email or social media with branded landing pages.
We offer useful tools, such as Content Assist to all Twenty Over Ten users so that if you are struggling to come up with content ideas for your blog, you can use our pre-made content and edit it to make it your own. With Content Assist, you can choose from different categories, such as retirement, home-buying, young adults, business and much more. Once you have chosen which blog that you want to use, advisors can easily customize and edit the content to add your unique voice, keywords to fit your niche or you can use it as-is.
2. No Real or Clear Point of Differentiation
Our team has seen countless advisor homepages that look exactly like this. They say the exact same thing- no real message, no value-add, and nothing unique at all about what you as an advisor will do for your clients.
When someone visits your site it has to immediately resonate with them. It needs a clearly articulated difference that sounds better and more relevant to your ideal visitor. If they aren’t intrigued, they’ll leave your site fast. This is the greatest foe of getting quality referrals too- it doesn’t just push away potential prospects, it underwhelms clients and COIs who you need to refer to grow and sustain your practice.
Make good use of headlines to get your value proposition across. What types of clients are you trying to attract? What services can you provide to them? Make it clear, concise, and attention-grabbing.
Twenty Over Ten client, Aegis Wealth Partners, LLC not only has a beautiful hero image that showcases the beauty of Phoenix, Arizona, but you can easily find out what the next step is that you should either as an individual or a business, depending on the type of financial guidance that you need.
Unless you have a very specific financial calculator for a very specific audience and reason, calculators are completely useless. Website manufacturers used to sell these as “cool” add-ons. Advisors typically bought in, but they’ve added no value. Shouldn’t you be their financial calculator?
Most likely, calculators are not increasing your website traffic or your conversion rate. And if anything, they may be hurting your business. Instead of housing financial calculators, provide useful information to your clients and prospects in the forms of videos, blogs, infographics and more.
Twenty Over Ten client, Triadvise has a robust resources section that not only contains a blog section but webinars and a YouTube channel for housing information videos, as well.
4. Drop-Down Menus
You are not Crate & Barrel or Target, who need to convey all of their various product choices online because consumers are making their purchase decisions right then and there. Rather, you and your service are the product. Therefore, your entire website should be about conveying your story, your philosophy, and your value, as clearly as possible. Keep it short and simple.
Most people don’t want to feel like they have to read a book to understand who you are, why you are different and what that means to them. Less is almost always more when it comes to website copy. Say something compelling and then stop talking.
5. Using Other People’s Videos
Going back to point number one – using content provided to you by others can have its place. For instance, you might send a video to a new client to explain how you use (and how they can use) a tool like eMoney in their financial planning journey. However, that eMoney video is not going to sell your services for you. The most effective videos will consist of you talking to your site visitors.
As you can see below, Plectrum Advisers provides their audience with a multitude of videos, based on the type of information that they want to learn more about. One of the videos includes Tom Rizzo, founder and managing director of the business, as he is the person who can really speak for the company and their offerings.
6. Keeping Great Ideas on Inside Pages
You should put your best and most compelling ideas on your home page. Longer home pages are effective because a visitor gets a good summary or snapshot of whether you’re worth investing the next 5-15 minutes of their time. If you hide your ideas, you may not gain their interest.
7. Many Services, but No Focus
It’s good to let visitors know how deep your expertise is, but doing so at the expense of a core offering or focus is not good marketing. The best businesses find a simple way to promote their best features and services. Focus on that ONE core area and a niche and the rest will fall in place. Claim a focus, then build value and confidence in that.
WealthKeel, LLC focuses on financial planning for Gen X and Gen Y Physicians which is made evident on their website by the videos and blogs that cater to the specific needs of this particular group.
8. Cliché Stock Photos
Using eye-catching imagery is a great way to draw in your visitors, as they are one of the most engaging and important components of marketing. So, when you are creating your website, make sure that you are including “real” photos of your company along with pictures of the employees that work there in order to “humanize” your brand. This is much more productive than stock photos that don’t really capture your firm. You can be original and still use stock photos.
In addition to using strong images throughout your website, a strong hero image is a great way to capture your audience as soon as they land on your website. We love the imagery below, as it’s actually a video hero image from Twenty Over Ten client, Lago Wealth Management. Lago means lake in Italian, which is the basis for the name of the firm, as the founder, Paul Dunnicliffe wanted to show his Italian heritage, while showcasing a place that is very important to his family.
Another thing to keep in mind is that is you can’t take your own photos, try to look for more meaningful stock-photos. Don’t go with simple and generic ones – find ones that convey meaning about your firm. There are plenty of free resources and sites for great stock photos, like Unsplash or a list of our favorite stock photos right here.
9. Having More Than Five Main Pages
Most advisory firm’s websites have an average visit duration of just over 1 minute. Keep it simple and easy to navigate. Large navigation menus take away whitespace, aren’t mobile-friendly, and scare away website visitors. There’s no reason you need to tell your message with more pages than this.
Try this formula for your website navigation- answer these questions and you’re site is complete:
- What We Do (What’s your core expertise and what are the benefits?)
- How We Help (Your approach or process – a diagram works well here)
- Who We Help (A simple description of who you help most and why)
- Why We Do It (Your passion and purpose count)
The Hendrickson Advisory Group has a unique homepage with their video hero image and additionally, they only have five main pages on their homepage, which includes:
- Our Firm
- Working Together
- Client Login
- Contact Us
Once you click on each section, it drops down to lead visitors to additional pages.
10. Using Confusing Fonts
You have a very limited amount of time to get your point across to site visitors. Don’t make them work hard. AT ALL. People will abandon a website very quickly if they are frustrated by any part of it, including difficulty reading or seeing the writing.
We know a lot of advisors have little to no experience in design elements. It can be hard to choose the right fonts, colors, and look of your site. We put together a design guide for non-designers that can help.
5 Website Design Tips for Non-Designers
11. Not Mobile-Friendly
Mobile accounts for approximately half of the web traffic worldwide. Not being mobile-friendly is no longer an option, your website MUST be mobile-friendly. In fact, Google will penalize you in the search engine rankings if it’s not. Many website providers get this, but it’s always a good idea to test your site on multiple devices. Google even has a tool to help you determine if a web page is mobile-friendly– just enter the page URL and run the test.
Twenty Over Ten client, Werth Weil Wealth Management has a beautiful homepage and website that looks great across all devices as is evident in the image above.
12. Too Few or Too Many Colors
Again, don’t make it difficult for people to decipher your message. This example shows how distracting it can be when you have too much going on. Once you’ve created your brand, you should stick with the color scheme developed by your branding expert or logo designer. A website palette should consist of three primary colors and one or two background colors. Our design guide can help you with this, too!
13. No Social Integration
Make it as easy as possible for site visitors to check out your social media pages. After all, we inherently understand that social media is where brands and companies are more “relaxed,” so we can get an even better feel for who they really are and what they stand for. Even further, make it as easy as possible for readers to share your blog posts with direct “share” buttons.
We encourage all of our clients to be active on “The Big Three” which includes Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Storybook Financial is active not only on those but also Instagram. Visitors can easily see the icons with the invitation to “Connect With Us” at the bottom, making it incredibly simple to go to each social page.
Wrapping It Up
A website that isn’t generating leads for your business is no longer an option, especially in 2022 as the world went almost completely virtual in 2020 and continued into 2021. And we get it, building a website is no easy feat. So mistakes are bound to happen, but it’s what you do to fix them that matters. Make sure that you avoid the 13 mistakes above and your website will generate the leads that you want.
Editing note: This article was originally published February 23rd, 2021 and has been updated to ensure consistency
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About the author
Blair is a digital marketing assistant at Twenty Over Ten and has a passion for uncovering what drives online traffic and the highest engagement. She follows more animals on Instagram than humans and her greatest achievement is her daughter, Grey.