Looking to wrap your head around how domains work for financial websites?
Here’s your easy guide!
There are lots of different types of domains, and it’s important to select the right one for your IFA brand, business needs and goals.
It partly depends, for instance, on what kind of financial website you’re dealing with. For instance, are you creating a micro-site? Are you looking to consolidate lots of existing financial websites in to one bigger, more comprehensive one?
To answer these questions, it helps if you first know a bit of terminology:
Definitions of Domain Types For Financial Advisers
This is sometimes also called your “root domain”. It’s the part of your financial website which comes before the “.co.uk” or “.com”. For instance:
The root domain is “exampleifawebsite”.
You might regard this as the “cellar” of your financial website. It’s on a different “floor” to your primary domain, and usually precedes it. For example:
Here, the sub-domain is the “blog” part of the website address (URL).
These are sections of your primary domain, which often follow a “/”. Sometimes these are called “sub directories” on financial websites:
In the above, the sub-folder is “/services”, which might be a page where a financial adviser lists all of their value propositions.
This isn’t an easy type of website to define, but it generally refers to a smaller website, separate from your primary website. A micro-site might have a slightly narrower focus, for instance:
Primary domain: www.exampleifawebsite.com
So here, the first domain (primary domain) is the financial adviser’ main website, perhaps offering financial planning and wealth management services to general clients. The latter is their website offering tailored financial advice specifically for expats.
Goals Which Affect Financial Website Domains
So, now you know broadly which types of domains are available to you. The other big consideration you need to make, is how your business goals might affect your choice of domain:
#1 Business Facets
Sometimes, financial advisers have different facets to their business which will affect their domain(s).
For instance, perhaps you are an IFA which also has a mortgage function. Or perhaps you offer probate services, or mortgage brokering.
You might want to house this all under one financial website. However, upon careful planning it might actually make more sense to create a distinct URL for each of these facets.
For instance, perhaps you could use a sub-domain structure:
And so on, for each facet you own.
Or, perhaps each facet needs its own distinct primary domain. For instance, Duncan & Toplis have a main financial website for their broad spectrum of services, yet also have a distinct website for their probate and power of attorney functions.
You will need to consider your own distinct budget, goals, business needs and timetable to decide which route to pursue.
#2 Expansion Plans
Perhaps you are an IFA currently based in Lincoln, and that’s where you plan to stay.
Or, it might be that in the future you plan to conquer new regions and locations.
Given that you will then likely have multiple office locations, do you really want to build your website on a domain such as: “www.ifalincoln.com”?
If you do choose a domain like this, then you will likely have to build new a financial website, each on a domain, for each location down the line. That could rapidly become
Remember, it takes time to maintain each financial website you own. Even if they are small sites.
Do yourself a favour and aim for the most effective solution, which is as simple as possible.
Some Mistakes To Avoid With Domain Names
So, with some of the essentials now covered with domains and financial websites, what are some of the most common, costly mistakes people make in this area which you should avoid?
#1 Exact-Match Domains
It can be really tempting to think, if you are an IFA based in Bristol, that your domain name should mention Bristol and financial advice in some way. E.g.
There’ nothing really wrong with choosing a domain like this, in itself. However, just be aware that having a domain like this will not, on its own, propel you to the top of local search.
You will actually need to continually add, and offer value on your financial website after it has launched. Great content and backlinks, in particular, are key drivers for improving your search engine rankings. Don’t just site back and rest on your domain name to get you there!
#2 Lack of Cohesion
Would you rather have one financial website with 10 great articles on financial planning, or 4 financial websites each with one article on the subject?
It’s an important question to consider. The fact is, each financial website you own is a lot of work.
Each one needs updating, maintaining, and catering to if something goes wrong. You need to be adding content regularly to improve your search rankings, build domain and brand authority, and generate website traffic and engagement.
This isn’t to say you cannot have more than one financial website. Just be realistic about how much effort, time and resources you can reasonable dedicate to each one.
#3 Intent Overlap
Do you really need one financial website for your financial planning service, and another one on a separate primary domain for your wealth management service?
Although these are distinct services, the fact is most people looking for these services are, broadly speaking, looking for the same thing. They want someone to help review, optimise and improve their financial situation.
Sure, they are different offerings, but they’re closely related, and it would be confusing to the user if they saw both websites in the search engines. Especially if they have the same branding.