5 Common Finance Web Design Mistakes
If you have a website, it needs to do your firm justice. An effective website can be a 24/7 ambassador for your firm and serve as a top-notch marketing tool.
Even if the majority of your business comes from word of mouth, it’s very common for a potential client to follow up on a referral by viewing your website.
But far too many financial advisors and investment firms fall prey to these common website mistakes from cheap templates to security problems.
5 Common Finance Web Design Mistakes
- Ignoring Website Visitors
- Settling for a Template Design
- Using Non-Compliant Web Content
- Failing to Offer Educational Resources
- Skipping Web Security Protocols
1. Ignoring Your Web Visitors
When a web visitor lands on your website, they have a specific need and they are trying to determine quickly whether your website & business can help them.
In today’s competitive market, if your website isn’t relevant to web visitors, then they will be more likely to leave the site. Many business owners and CEOs make the mistake of ignoring web visitors and only considering what they want on the website.
The best way to avoid this is to identify the different visitor classes to the website. Prospective clients, prospective employees, partners/affiliates and current clients may all be visiting your site. Then, make sure that the pages, images & messaging on the website are relevant to those visitors and their goals on the site.
Finally, keep the top navigation on the website simple and have as few pages as possible. Having tons of drop-down menus and pages in the navigation will create a poor experience for web visitors and make it difficult to navigate the site, especially on smaller devices.
2. Settling for a Template Design
There are lots of pre-designed finance site templates out there. The problem with a template finance site is that your website ends up looking like every competitor’s.
A custom financial website design can create a very professional image of your business. If you are limited on funds, consider working with a smaller web agency or starting with a strong 1-page website until your business is more established. An advantage of working with a web team instead of using a template is that you’ll have help with the website content.
On your home page, you’ll want to add messaging that clearly communicates your web value proposition. This value proposition states who you are, what you offer and how you are different from competitors. You’ll want to work with a web designer and web strategist to create this messaging & make sure the design elements support it.
When searching for a website designer, make sure the agency or design follows best practices for security, web accessibility, and mobile design. Web accessibility is especially important if your target market is an older demographic. For example, color contrast ratios need to be considered, so that all visitors can easily read the content.
3. Using Non-Compliant Web Content
When working on your website content, keep in mind the different types of visitors and strive to make the content relevant to them. If your audience doesn’t know the difference between APR and APY, or between a mutual fund and an EFT, use less industry terms and make your content easy to understand and follow.
The most important content on the website is your home page, as the majority of web visitors enter the site through your home page. Remember that the web visitor will be scanning and scrolling the content, so avoid dense paragraphs of text.
Writing content for the website can be a challenge for most clients. If you are struggling with content, consider hiring a content writer. It’s helpful to find a writer that is familiar with the financial industry, as this can reduce the research and discovery required for writing assignments.
4. Not Offering Educational Resources
Sadly, it’s common for firms & advisors to launch a new website and then never touch it, letting the site serve as just an online brochure.
In the finance & investment industry, the majority of web visitors coming to your site may not be ready to call you right away, so turning your website into an educational resource is an effective way to engage visitors and set the stage for future interactions.
A blog showcases your team’s expertise in financial areas and can also serve as a resource to your existing clients.
The majority of websites are built on WordPress, which is the most popular content management system in the world. A content management system allows you to easily update the content, add images and change any text on the site without needing any coding skills or being extremely tech savvy.
When looking at content for your blog, you’ll need to consider compliance and make sure to review the FINRA Notice 12-29 on social media guidelines for sharing content on social media platforms.
5. Skipping Web Security Protocols
Unfortunately, security is a concern for every website owner. If your website isn’t secure, getting hacked is highly likely - it’s just a matter of time. Google recently announced that the number of hacked sites has increased by 32%. Even if you aren’t storing confidential information on the site, it can still be targeted.
For finance sites, any security issues on a site can create a bad impression of your firm. For instance, an SSL certificate is now required on all sites. You have an SSL if your website address starts with HTTPS. Web visitors now look for an SSL as a trust symbol: it shows them that it’s safe to navigate and be on your site.
To protect your website, you’ll also want to install 24/7 security monitoring and set up a daily backup system. For WordPress websites, you’ll need to have a development team performance regular WordPress maintenance, updating the plugins and theme on a regular basis.
These updates, which are similar to software updates on a computer, often contain critical security patches. If you fail to update the site in a timely manner, it can be vulnerable to security breaches.