Maybe it’s time for a redesign of your advisor website, or perhaps your a new independent RIA and need to build a new site from the ground up. Wherever your website design journey is starting you likely already have a general idea of how you want your new site to look and function and what messages you want to convey. That’s great! However, an important first step in the web design process is focusing on your end-user.
This honed in focus on the end-user’s overall experience is what we call user experience, or UX for short. According to Hubspot, UX is an umbrella of sorts that covers a variety of work on your business website including ease of use, accessibility, and convenience. If your website visitors don’t find the information they’re seeking quickly they will write you off in a matter of minutes.
79% of people who don’t like what they find on one site will go back and search for another site.
– Vikram Verma, Adobe
When advisors work with the Twenty Over Ten team we go through a thorough UX design process. This process involves conversations to better understand your target audience and company goals. We then work to combine those two and generate forward-thinking ideas to create an enjoyable, satisfying and informative experience for your audience. However, if you’re embarking on this website journey alone through our self builder pathway — never fear. Read on to get our six top tips on how to absolutely nail your new website’s UX.
1. Mobile Friendly
We’ve listed this first because it’s likely the number one most important aspect of UX design. We cannot stress this enough. Your website must be mobile-friendly and responsive. No matter what screen size your users are accessing your site through — desktop, smartphone, tablet, etc. — it should be easy to navigate. Not only is this important to the user experience, but Google is now penalizing sites that are not mobile optimized.
At Twenty Over Ten, we are dedicated to creating websites for advisors that are beautiful, compliant and created with a mobile-first approach. You will find that all of our frameworks are mobile responsive and offer your site visitors a seamless experience regardless of the device a user views your website on.
2. Keep It Consistent
They say consistency is key, and it’s true! Consistency in UX means that your headers, fonts, colors, buttons, spacing and overall style match. From page to page of your website everything should follow an overall theme. From a user experience standpoint this is crucial to ensure your visitors recognize that they are still on your site to provide them with a seamless and visually appealing experience. Without consistency drastic changes can make your visitors feel lost and they will immediately lose trust, which is a huge no-no in the financial services industry.
Whether you’re building a site on your own or working with the Twenty Over Ten design team we’ve made consistency easy to achieve on your advisor website. Within the Twenty Over Ten wizywig users have the ability to easily adjust base, navigation, overlay and dividers, and footer colors and apply these changes throughout all pages of their website.
3. Eliminate 404s
Have you ever clicked on a link only to discover that it takes you nowhere? Frustrating isn’t it? When visitors get 404 errors there’s no doubt that they will be annoyed, which means they’ll go elsewhere to find what it is they’re looking for. These errors completely disrupt the user experience and their overall journey with your brand.
Thankfully, 404 errors are easy to catch and create a solution for. First, verify your site with Google and check your crawl errors. Google Webmaster tools will alert you if there are any soft or hard 404 errors found associated with your domain. If Google uncovers any 404 errors don’t panic, there is an easy solution. 301 redirects to the rescue!
Within Twenty Over Ten setting up 301 redirects is simple. Redirects can be setup for all pages, blog posts and landing pages within your website. Within your Twenty Over Ten dashboard users can navigate Site Settings -> Advanced -> 301 Redirects. Yes, it really is that simple! Once you’re there you’ll have the ability to add two URLs. The URL placed in the first box should be the the old URL, where you’re directing traffic from, and the URL in the second box should be the new URL, where you’re directing traffic to.
4. Use Images Wisely
First impressions are everything, especially in the financial services industry. All to often we see advisor websites plagued with cliche stock photos. Your website visitors are smart, they’ll be able to spot a generic stock photo immediately and will quickly assume that your firm has a non-personal touch or style. It is possible to still be original and create a connection with your audience through use of the right stock photos. When choosing which photos to use to improve your website’s user experience here are a few tips:
- Choose photos or take your own photos that convey your firm’s brand and services
- Strategically place your images throughout so that they support your content
- Place your images to give visitors a visual break from your text
- Ensure your images are relevant
- Use only high-quality images
5. CTAs & Hyperlinking
If your not familiar with CTAs or calls-to-action, they are clearly marked buttons that entice your site visitors to take a proactive step in further engaging with your business. When including CTAs on your website it’s important to think about both the color of your buttons as well as the verbiage your using on them. Colors evoke feeling so think about what you want to convey. Is it a sense of trust, intelligence or urgency maybe? Secondly, the words on your CTAs should include a verb or something that will excite and entice someone to actually click to learn more.
A great example of a good CTA comes from Hurlow Wealth management. The CTA content, “Schedule an appointment,” is actionable and straight-forward and their blue button is inline with the overall color scheme but also draws visitors attention.
Hyperlinks on the other hand are different from CTAs. Rather than using a button or graphic in the background, hyperlinks are plain text that when linked properly will take visitors to another page or destination. It’s important to remember to use visual cues when hyperlinking text so that your visitors can easily identify them. Studies show that web users can immediately identify that blue and underlined text are links and can be clicked. It’s in our blood. Also consider the amount of text your hyperlinking. As a user, something that has a longer link title is typically easier to identify quickly.
6. Strategic Content
Your website headings and content throughout your website is another key important factor to UX. Both should be driven by what your target audience is looking for. Including keywords is also helpful for SEO purposes. However, having the right kind of content will also help better guide your visitors through your site in a meaningful way and assist them in finding the information that speaks to their unique needs.
At Twenty Over Ten our copywriters like to say “less is more,” especially in this digital age when everyone is on the go and short on time. Maybe you’ve heard the acronym KISS — keep it short and simple. When writing copy for your website it’s absolutely possible to communicate a lot with fewer words. Studies show that 80% of internet users scan web content — they don’t read word for word.
Bullets are a really great solution to make your website content more user-friendly. Using bullets will help visitors get all the information they seek in one quick glance and give you the opportunity to share your firm’s services, benefits/key differentiators, and more. You can say 👋 to those boring black dot bullets too. When working with Twenty Over Ten designers we’ll work to create icons and other creative ways to represent your points like in the example below from Twenty Over Ten client, Schlafer Wealth Management.
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