8 April 2013
In an age where search engines like Google are often people's first point of contact with your business, how do you ensure your website makes the right impression?
Clearly explain what services your business offers, and translate these into how you can help. Remember to use layman's terms and write it from the potential client's perspective. It's not enough to tell them you provide ‘retirement planning' - tell them how they could benefit from this service.
Think about what information visitors are likely to be seeking - your site's ‘top tasks' - and ensure these are easily accessible... preferably only a click away from the homepage.
From a design perspective, remember it's not just about making your site look good, visitors need to be able to find what they're looking for with ease. Cater for the skim readers and make your navigation simple and intuitive.
Consider reducing the number of webpages; it will make the navigation menu simpler. A clever use of whitespace is another design tool to ensure your site remains easy to navigate, as it can encourage visitors to focus on the main content.
Your website may look fantastic on your computer, but have you tested it using different web browsers (e.g. Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer) and a variety of mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets?If your existing site isn't accommodating mobile devices well, you may wish to consider creating a pared down mobile version. You can test how mobile-friendly your site is here: www.howtogomo.com/au/d/test-your-site/
You can increase your site's performance by tracking the movements of visitors, and changing your content as required. There are many online tools available, but you may wish to start with Google Analytics which is free of charge. Its reports include statistics on the number of visitors, most popular web pages and keywords used to locate your site. The key words intelligence can help you with your search engine optimisation (SEO) and increase traffic to your site. By restructuring the way your website is built, you could elevate its position in top searches when people look for your services, and therefore guide more visitors to your site.
Storytelling is another trick to get your visitors to feel personally engaged. As a rule, people aren't interested in figures; it's the human stories that will resonate. Consider including case studies or client testimonials. As quoted on The Financial Brand's website, "Storytelling is at the very heart of how we humans share and connect with what we value about our heritage, our families, our communities and ourselves".Think about showing the human side of your business. Introducing your staff online is a way to connect with customers; add photos to put a face to the name.
And finally, consider how you can invite website visitors to interact with your business. For example, you could offer a subscription to an e-newsletter (don't forget to briefly point out what benefits they will get from hearing from you regularly), or provide another reason for repeat visits to your site such as regular investor tips, a blog or editorials. Your website can and should be so much more than a static, online corporate profile.
If you found this article of interest, you may also enjoy these Bennelong articles:
• Getting your marketing emails read
• It's a brave e-world: e-marketing tips for financial advisers
• Social media for financial advisers
• SEO for financial planners
For further reading on website tips for financial services businesses, please review the below links:
Forbes: Five common website mistakes that are driving your customers away
WebDesignLedger: Web design trends in 2013
The Financial Brand: 13 point financial marketing checklist for 2013
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