What makes a good website for a financial adviser? Which criteria do you use to “score” one? Some will argue that everything comes down to the user experience (UX), whilst others might say that the crucial matter is the website’s use of imagery.
The fact is, website design is not an exact science – so it cannot be “graded” using scientific methods which everyone can agree with. It is a creative endeavour, built upon design principles which have been tried and tested across millions of websites.
Here at CreativeAdviser, as a design agency specialising in websites for financial advisers, we recognise that this means many factors can define a “great” website. Yet we believe that certain factors are more important than others. Below, we list 5 which are relevant in 2021.
This list is not exhaustive. However, we hope it inspires you to ask questions about your own financial advisers website – i.e. whether it is performing as well as it could, or whether it is meeting the needs of your clients and prospects effectively.
To speak with us about your own website design project, get in touch via our contact page to book a free, online consultation with one of our specialists here at CreativeAdviser.
Why should a financial adviser have a website at all? It is often striking to us how few directors ask themselves this question. For many, the assumption seems to be that a financial advice/planning business needs a website simply because their competitors do, and stakeholders expect it (e.g. business partners and current clients).
These reasons are fair enough. Yet firms resting on these reasons often do not get the best results out of their website design project – because they do not see its full potential.
When a financial firm has a clear idea of what it wants its website to achieve – i.e. clear, measurable goals – then this typically shines through the design. It is usually immediately apparent to anyone who visits it, which results in higher engagement and better results.
If people in financial services are honest with themselves, their industry is not naturally “exciting” or even “interesting” like fashion, music and sports. Rather, you need to work hard to make the content on your financial adviser website interesting, compelling and attractive.
The best websites in this sphere, therefore, are those which achieve at least two things with their content. First of all, they meet the audience at their level. They do not alienate them with impenetrable jargon, for instance. Secondly, they engage their reader’s emotions through stories, client testimonials and articulation of a clear company vision.
#3 Speed / load time
In today’s digital age, people are impatient for services. We can watch a movie instantly via Netflix – without taking a walk down to the local shop (HMV!). Clothes, electronics and gifts can be delivered within 24 hours to our front door from Amazon. The expectation now is that, if a costumer or prospect wants something from a business, they should not need to wait long for it.
This expectation translates into website design, too – particularly as internet speeds keep improving with 4G (and 5G in the near future). Any financial firm with a slow-loading website, therefore, is standing on shaky ground. Those which load quickly are likely to fare better. We would even say that it is better to have a simple, high-speed website than a beautiful, “high-tech” one which loads slowly.
#4 Cross-device compatibility
Many financial advisers’ websites are very out of date. This not only concerns those firms with websites that are 10+ years old, however. Given the increasing pace of technological development, it can also be a consideration for businesses with a website less than 3 years old.
A good example of where this applies is devices. In 2021, there are multiple types of smartphone, tablets, laptops and desktop devices which people use to view websites. These involve a wide range of interfaces and screen sizes which your website needs to be able to accommodate. As such, the best financial adviser websites are not only those which suit current devices on the marketplace – but which are also designed to be flexible to accommodate new devices in the coming years.
#5 User experience (UX)
This term – UX – encompasses many things, including some of the factors we have already identified above (e.g. mobile responsiveness and load speed). However, it refers more broadly to the nature of a customer’s interaction with your website. Is it a broadly enjoyable experience? Do visitors find everything easy to use and find, or is the website generally very frustrating?
The design financial adviser websites, of course, are those which include a great UX. For instance, they have taken care to make sure the navigation is well designed. Users can easily find the page or content they are looking for, making their way there.
Another hallmark of good UX is website layout. For instance, do the sections and grids flow nicely into one another – or is everything squashed together (e.g. when viewed on mobile device)? In 2021, many websites benefit from making good use of “white space” to try and minimise clutter. There are other good approaches too.
One final example of good UX concerns interactivity. Look at your own financial adviser website and ask yourself: “Is it just a big wall of text?” If there is little for the visitor to engage with, then they are more likely to leave. Some good ways to drive interaction include calls to action (CTAs), explainer videos, downloadable PDF guides and sign-up forms (e.g. for a webinar).