While no longer the sole place your business resides online, your financial advisor website is still one of the most important digital assets that you own. It is often one of the first opportunities you have to make an impression on prospective clients online, whether they found you organically or through a paid digital strategy. And, more importantly, it has the critical role of converting visitors into qualified leads for your financial advice and services.
And, while all financial advisors have websites, it may be time to consider an upgrade to a custom-designed website that is built to produce leads and contacts. Read on to learn why it’s beneficial for financial advisors to have custom-designed websites.
Custom vs. Template
Before diving into the details of why you need a custom-designed financial advisor website, it’s important to understand the different ways to build and update your website.
From start to finish a custom-built website is unique to you from the ground-up. This is usually done by a web designer or a digital marketing firm that specializes in web design. This step in the process usually starts with onboarding that identifies key markets for your services and the unique features and benefits that will be presented on your website. It is critical that you stand-out when investors visit multiple websites looking for the right advisors. Part of the onboarding process should include an audit of your current website to determine what is working and what needs a makeover to develop a more productive site.
From there, you will interact with designers, copywriters, and digital marketing professionals to build the design and SEO elements that optimize your custom website for Google and visitors. UX or User Experience is one of the most important aspects of your website. Simply put, is your site easy to navigate, can visitors find the information they are seeking, are you competitive with other financial advisor websites? This is no easy task because it can be the difference between winning and losing.
Optimizing your financial advisor website for the Internet and investors are the twin pillars of a custom website that is truly unique. It is not enough to deliver the basic information: About Us, What We Do, Who We Serve. You must deliver reasons why investors should give-up their anonymity and contact you. If not, you will need to make improvements in order to maximize visitors to your site via major search engines such as Google.
The Alternative: Template-Based
Many websites are built using templates that can be slightly modified with colors and logos, stock photos, etc. This is the most basic and inexpensive way to build a website and often tends to look generic and pedestrian. That’s because there is very little customization available, and you often don’t have the ability to remove elements that don’t fit your firm, resulting in poor UX and reduced SEO.
That’s because while the average website visitor may not see it, templates often have code written into the template that tells Google it’s a template. Google has seen it before. This gives custom websites an advantage just for not using a template. Of course, for some businesses just starting out, templates are an alternative to not having a web presence at all – unless you know how to build your own website from scratch. However, for financial advisor firms, a completely template-based website won’t serve your online purposes for long. At some point you will start questioning why your template-based financial advisor website is not producing leads for your firm.
As a hybrid of the two options above, a partially custom/partially template-based website is another route financial advisors can take to build their online presence. As a mix, this type of website allows financial advisors to pick and choose the elements of their website that they would like to be customized and use templates for the more standard areas.
While this is cheaper than a fully customized website, and better for UX and SEO than a fully template-based website, it may not achieve your goals for a website that converts visitors into qualified leads. At the end of the day, this is the metric that matters - the website pays for itself.
Benefits of a Custom Website for Financial Advisor
When deciding on what type of website is best for you, it’s important to look beyond the short-term. You have to look at longer term goals and how you plan to grow your business. That can be difficult to do at times, especially since no one can predict the future. However, one guarantee is that when it comes to technology, nothing stays the same for long. Think about it: If you had a website built 5 years ago, would it look the same as if you had it built today? Definitely not.
Just in the last few years, developments in online and mobile technology have radically changed the way just about everything is done online. For example, could anyone have imagined what can all be done on a smartwatch or tablet even years ago? Probably not and now we have all of the more recent innovations, for example voice search.
This means it’s likely you will have to make revisions to your current website and digital marketing strategy just to stay current. If you have a custom website, it is easy to make the necessary changes and enhancements..
However, if you’re using an all-template-based website, you may find yourself unable to make the necessary updates to optimize your website for current and future upgrades. That means the more budget-friendly option at the beginning could limit your competitiveness in the future. Your worst case scenario is the template limits your ability to compete with the more innovative and current custom websites.
What about the day-to-day upkeep of your website? Because the internet is constantly changing, websites are not meant to be static. You need to be able to quickly add information, remove information, edit information on your website, add new functions, delete current functions, and add or update free offers . Again, this is much easier with a custom website that is managed by a digital marketing agency that specializes in your industry.
The best part? If you work with a professional digital partner, you will be able to make small changes yourself! That’s because while building a custom website can be complicated, it can be developed with a user-friendly interface, often known as a CMS or Content Management System. That means when you need to add an event to your calendar or want to add a blog post, you can easily do so (even on a custom website) without having to call for help.
While this is often touted as one of the benefits of a template-based website, it can be easily done on a custom-built website as long as you have the right digital team working for you.
If you want to upgrade your current financial advisor website, consider partnering with a digital marketing agency at the start. Having the right team that can help you design, build, and maintain your own custom website will go a long way toward enhancing your overall online presence and improving your digital marketing results.