Most IFAs have a website, but how would you rate yours on a scale out of 10?

Do you know how your IFA website stacks up against those of other financial advisers, and how might you improve your score?

Broadly speaking, there are four areas where you can assess your IFA website: security, speed, responsiveness and SEO.

Below, our website design team at CreativeAdviser has outlined how you can rate your website against there criteria. The aim here is to identify strengths and “weak spots” in your website which may need addressing in a redesign.

We hope this is helpful to our financial adviser readers and welcome you contact us, if you’d like to your discuss¬†website design project.

 

Security

How vulnerable is your IFA website to hackers or malicious software? Is any client data on your website at risk of leakage?

Do not make the mistake of assuming that, because your website is “small” (e.g. if you are a local IFA business), your website is not at risk. In fact, some studies suggest that 150,000 U.S-based small business websites are infected with malware at a given time. If this situation is also reflected in the UK, then tens of thousands are likely to be at least “at risk” of security breach.

A simple step to improve the security of your IFA website is to make sure it has an SSL certificate. This provides your domain with an “https” prefix and enabled an encrypted connection between the visitor’s browser and your pages, during the former’s visit.

You should also make sure that your content management system (CMS) – e.g. WordPress – has a secure username and password. Many IFA website owners do not check this, and it can allow hackers to “break in” and ruin a website from the inside-out.

Consider having a backup of your website at all times, in case you ever lose it and need to access a copy in the worst-case scenario.

Finally, consider using a reputable CDN provider (content delivery network). These provide useful security services such as remote browser isolation, DDoS protection and bot management – for that extra layer of protection.

 

Speed

How quickly does your website load compared to other IFA businesses?

In 2022, website speed is a crucial factor in determining your search engine performance. Google, for instance, will almost always place a faster website above a slower one in its search engine results – all else being equal.

Slow websites are also a frustrating experience for users. No one wants to be waiting around even for 10 seconds for content to load.

A number of things can slow an IFA website right down. One is your hosting provider. If you have only invested in a cheap hosting service – one which possibly shares your server with other websites – then you shouldn’t be surprised if your website is slow.

Sometimes, upgrading your hosting is enough to speed up your website by several seconds. However, it may also be that you have “clunky” plugins operating in your CMS. Often, website owners believe these help with performance, but can have the opposite effect.

Also, overly-large images (e.g. high-quality photographs) can be culprits. Here, you can compress many images to reduce the file size without compromising too much on the image resolution.

Finally, some IFA website are simply poorly designed for 2022. The code requires too much “heavy lifting” from devices and browsers, leading to a poor user experience. If so, then the only way forwards is a redesign of your IFA website.

 

Responsiveness

Does your website format nicely on different devices and screen sizes – such as tablets and smartphones?

Fortunately, it is now rare to find IFA websites which are not at all responsive (i.e. websites where you need to “pinch your screen” to zoom in and be able to read the text!). However, plenty of websites are not coded properly, leading to responsiveness issues.

For instance, perhaps the font size on your pages is legible on a desktop screen, but not on an iPhone or Android device.

Another common issue is having buttons too close together on your website. This can make it difficult for users to “tap” the right button, leading to navigation issues that can be deeply frustrating.

Perhaps your “pop up” and/or “live chat” feature looks nice on a PC screen, but is incredibly invasive and difficult to get rid off when looking at your website on a smartphone. This one is a huge turn-off for visitors!

Finally, something website “tools” like pension calculators are coding in HTML and do not work well on a mobile screen. There can also sometimes be issues with animations and video sliders on these devices, which may be fine on a desktop.

This can be a complex area to fix – often requiring a web developer to help.

 

SEO

Does your IFA website appear in relevant search engine results, or is it relatively obscure?

It is a shame to put a lot of effort into crafting a beautiful website only to have few people see it. To ensure maximum exposure in Google, therefore, it is crucial to make sure you have great “on-site SEO” on your website.

Here, there is quite a long checklist to go through and it may be best to enlist the help of a financial SEO agency. However, you should check important components such as:

  • The quality of your scheme markup
  • H1 and H2 tags
  • Duplicate content
  • Meta descriptions and titles on pages and posts.
  • Alt tags on images
  • Internal and external links
  • Backlinks to your website
  • The configuration of key files such as robots.txt

 

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