Financial Advisor Websites: Should You Own or Lease?
In today’s digital marketing era, a financial advisor website is not a “nice-to-have-service” but a core requirement. Where investors used to use the Yellow Pages to find potential advisors, they now go online to start their search. Think of your website as your 24/7 greeter, which introduces you and your firm and provides information about how your firm can help them pursue their financial goals.
But here's a question that many financial advisors grapple with: Should you own or lease your advisor website? That’s what our article will look at.
We’ll explore the pros and cons of owning and leasing your financial advisor website. From long-term costs to flexibility in design and content, we'll break down what each alternative means for your firm.
Whether you’re just starting or looking to update your online strategy, understanding these options will help you make an informed choice that aligns with your business goals and marketing budget.
Make 2024 the best year for your online marketing results! Connect with Paladin Digital Marketing today!
Lease or Own Your Financial Advisor Website…That’s the Question
There are many considerations when deciding to own or lease an advisor website for your financial advisory firm. Here are some questions to ask yourself when considering this decision:
- What are the initial and ongoing costs associated with owning versus leasing a website, and how do these fit within my firm's budget?
- How much customization and control can I have over the website's design, functionality, and content in both scenarios?
- What technical support and maintenance services are provided in each option, and how will they address my firm's specific needs?
- As my firm grows, how scalable and flexible are the options for owning versus leasing a website?
- How do these options ensure compliance with regulatory standards and provide robust security measures to protect sensitive client data?"
Leasing an Advisor Website
A leased financial advisor website is a web solution where the website and its associated features are rented rather than owned. This offers you a convenient, often cost-effective way to establish an online presence without the need for extensive technical knowledge or resources.
- You typically pay a monthly “subscription-based” fee to use the website. The fee includes hosting and maintenance fees provided by the third party.
- These websites often have various pre-designed templates, so you don’t have to hire a graphic designer. You can choose a template that aligns with your branding and design aesthetics.
- While the basic structure is pre-designed, you should have some customization available, including colors, fonts, and layout to some degree, as well as adding your logo and specific content.
- Many of these advisor websites offer integrated features such as client portals, appointment scheduling, and content like financial calculators or educational resources.
- Because compliance is so important, leased websites often include features that assist with compliance, such as pre-approved content and automated compliance checks.
- The provider typically handles technical support, security updates, and other backend maintenance, reducing the burden on the advisor.
- Since the website is leased, you likely have less control over the site compared to a fully owned website. For instance, significant structural changes or specific custom features may not be possible.
Other Considerations Relating to Leasing an Advisor Website
Some leased websites have limitations in search engine optimization (SEO) capabilities, affecting your site's visibility and ranking on search engines. You may be responsible for creating your on-page SEO.
Remember that you don’t own your website or its content outright. If you switch providers, you might have to start from scratch.
Most leased site providers require you to produce your content for the website, which can be time-consuming. You don’t want your website to read like an online brochure, so you must consider including marketing messages on your site. You can pay additional fees to the site providers for custom content, which can be costly.
Bottom line: you need content that resonates with your target audience and reflects your unique expertise and approach.
Owning Your Advisor Website
When you own your website, you have complete control over your brand identity, including design, graphics, functionality, content, and hosting/maintenance. With that said, here are considerations to factor into your decision-making process:
- The design of your website can be fully customized to reflect your brand and messaging. Your website should visually communicate professionalism and trustworthiness. A clean, modern design with easy-to-read fonts and a cohesive color scheme will attract and retain clients. Your site should also be user-friendly, including an intuitive menu that allows users to find the information they need without confusion or frustration.
This will require the assistance of a graphic designer and developer to bring your vision to life.
- Your website should clearly articulate your services, qualifications, and how you can assist clients with their financial planning and investment management needs. Avoid industry jargon to make the content accessible to a wider audience.
This will require the assistance of a website copywriter who is familiar with not only your firm but also the industry. You need your site to convey your firm’s personality, expertise, knowledge, and experience.
- Your advisor website should have custom on-page SEO to help ensure your site can rank easily with the major search engines, making it easier for potential clients to find you.
Other Considerations for Owning an Advisor Website
- Ensure your website adheres to all relevant financial industry regulations to maintain professionalism and avoid legal issues. Your website design, copywriters, and development team must work with your compliance to ensure the site meets all requirements.
- You may need to pay an IT resource to ensure your site is operating properly if you don’t have the skill set. This can include regular software updates, security patches for vulnerabilities, and any interruptions at the server level. You will also need to pay for hosting services, typically a separate fee, but you may find a provider who will bundle both services into one fee.
- The one-time cost of creating a custom site can be significantly higher than if you were to lease a website.
- The development time to create a custom site can be significantly longer than if you were to lease a website.
What matters most is a financial advisor website that:
- It is an affordable marketing investment
- Creates a first impression that increases investors’ engagement
- Delivers the information investors are seeking
- Is competitive versus other financial advisor websites
It takes specialized expertise to build websites that meet the expectations of financial advisors who prefer to lease or own their websites. It’s also important that the website's source is familiar with the rules that regulate the financial service industry.
It is a major bonus if the website provider specializes in working with financial advisors. This knowledge will benefit financial advisors who are new to digital marketing.
Leasing can be a good way to start. When the time is right, the firm leasing you the website can provide a seamless transition to your own custom website.
Paladin was founded in 2003 to provide marketing services to firms and professionals in the financial service industry. Our unique team of professionals has more than 185 years of collective financial industry and digital marketing experience. We are a full service digital marketing agency that uses proprietary software and systems to provide an array of website, SEO, SEM, Video, and Fractional CMO services. Our financial advisory clients range from start-ups to firms with billions of dollars of AUM. For more information about our digital marketing services for financial advisors email: Info@PaladinDigitalMarketing.com to schedule an introductory call.