In this modern era, and especially since the pandemic, financial advisors’ websites have become a crucial part of developing new leads. However, while many advisors do not build or join a practice because of their experience in web design (justifiably!), their ignorance can prove dangerous on at least two fronts. First, while a financial advisor’s website design technically tells a prospective client nothing about that advisor’s ability to provide valuable advice, visitors often use their website experience (perhaps subconsciously) to assess a financial advisor’s work quality and professionalism. Second, SEO signals, important criteria for websites to get found in the first place, are increasingly based on quantitative User eXperience (UX) metrics as determined by search engines such as Google. Which means that websites with higher UX standards will fare much better in search engine rankings, making them more visible to prospective clients!
Fortunately, advisors looking to evaluate their site’s UX have several key indicators they can use. Some easy measurables such as dwell time (the amount of time someone spends on a page) and bounce rate (the percentage of people who visit only one page before leaving the site altogether) are just two indicators that can help determine if potential clients are finding value on a landing page. Additionally, many of a website’s key UX metrics can easily be tested through various assessment tools, such as Google Analytics and PageSpeed Insights. For advisors who find their website UX stats raise some alarms, thankfully there are often easy solutions to make correcting adjustments that become obvious once the problem is viewed from the perspective of how the user experience can be faster, easier, more convenient, and more useful.
When a website is translated through the lens of the user, advisors need to make two assumptions: first, that prospective clients are visiting the website with no prior knowledge of the advisor or firm; and second, that they are not here to spend a lot of time to do a deep read (unlike our Nerd’s Eye View blog readers!). In essence, when reviewing their website’s UX metrics, an advisor has to ask themselves, “If someone only took one glance at the first part of my front page, would they understand what I do?” In that first glance, all an advisor has to affirm is relevance and competence.
Once the user is convinced they’re where they belong, a well-structured, user-focused website invites clients to dig deeper into the website, where further UX features affirm trust and competence, and also help improve the visibility of the website in search engine results. For example, a page’s loading speed not only makes a difference to the user, but also to search engines like Google, which use a website’s loading speed as an important SEO ranking criteria. Other features, such as non-intrusive (but still noticeable) pop-ups that come after a client has shown interest in content, can help genuinely interested people find their way onto an advisor’s email list.
Ultimately, the key point is that good UX strategies can create trust, which encourages inquiry and helps to convert visitors into clients. Ironically, a website made for users (rather than for search engines) is often a website that performs well in search engine rankings. And when websites cater to users and showcase what makes an advisor unique, valuable, and engaging, UX can have a tremendous impact on people looking for an advisor – not just by helping them find the right advisor, but also by encouraging long-term engagement with their advisor!