The primary purpose of financial advisor websites is to engage potential clients and allow them to validate your experience and services. But you don’t have much time. It takes viewers less than two-tenths of a second to form a first impression.1

Typically, viewers will then read the home page, click on a few links and then make the decision to contact you…or not.

This means that your website should quickly and compellingly explain what you do — and who and how you help — with clear messaging and eye-catching visuals. Anything that distracts the viewer — like links to irrelevant videos and calculators, lengthy explanations, confusing navigation — increases the chances that the person will never contact you.

Your website should highlight your personality, avoid jargon, and clearly explain the potential benefits of working with you. This means your menu doesn’t need much more than these four links — About Your Firm, Who You Help, Services, and Contact — as well as a link for clients to log in to their accounts.

Keep it simple. Keep it personal. And above all, keep it focused on the people you can best help.

Below are websites of five financial advisors who work with Loring Ward that exemplify several current online best practices.

Mesa Financial
What this site does well:

  • Clearly articulates Value Proposition. This is important, since as one study found, financial advisors with a value proposition experienced 40% higher asset growth, 30% lower client turnover, and had 29% more clients2
  • Uses a regularly updated blog to share perspectives and help with Search Engine Optimization. (Scalable since he regularly uses Loring Ward and DFA content)
  • Good use of personal story to explain his “why”
  • Uses case studies to detail who he works with and how he has helped them

Terwedo Financial Services
What this site does well:

  • Very clean and modern look and feel with interesting use of video in the background
  • Good positioning of the firm’s value proposition on the home page: Serious About Your Money. Excited About Your Life
  • Helps people understand who and how the firm can help with dedicated pages for specific types of clients from Widows to Boeing Employees
  • Has information on fees, a question on many people’s minds, but one they are often reluctant to bring up
  • Simple and clear explanation (with visuals) of their process

Kemp Financial Management
What this site does well:

  • Instead of bios, uses intriguing questions and answers to help people get to know the team at a more personal level. Also has links to LinkedIn profiles for anyone who wants to read a full bio
  • Details the firm’s community and charitable involvement, an important differentiator and a great way to demonstrate that the firm is committed to giving back
  • Has copies of the firm’s client newsletter (which does a good job of balancing financial and personal content). This makes the site a more valuable resource for existing clients
  • A log in page is also a convenient way for clients to access their various accounts. Encourage clients to bookmark your log in page, and log in via your site

Practice Financial Group
What this site does well:

  • Engaging use of high-end imagery, smart infographics, and animations
  • Great, clear focus on a particular niche (dentists)
  • Most site content can be accessed simply by scrolling down the home page
  • Clear and differentiated detailing of the services available to clients — goes beyond investing and planning to include other services that dentists will value
  • Use of an offer on the homepage (New Dentist Tool Kit) to help drive engagement and provide value

Modernist Financial
What this site does well:

  • Extremely modern and stylish look and feel (check out how colors change on the home page) designed to resonate with the creative professionals the firm focuses on
  • B Corp certification (see logo at bottom of the page) helps establish the firm as one that that balances purpose and profit. B Corp companies are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, clients, suppliers, community, and the environment. This also will resonate with the firm’s target clients
  • Details the firm’s philanthropic commitment and actively seeks input and ideas from website visitors
  • Excellent use of photography throughout, especially the headshots, which are warm and engaging and personal — and very different from typical advisor headshots
  • Good adaptation and personalization of Loring Ward content (scroll down to Planning-Driven Investment Management section to see how the firm uses Quarterly Perspectives)
  • Great use of an offer to engage and educate — the Modernist Toolkit

For more website and digital best practices, read my blog: Building Stronger Relationships via Your Digital Ecosystem.

1 Andrew Careaga, “Eye-tracking studies: first impressions form quickly on the web,” Missouri University of Science and Technology, 2/14/12

2 Dimensional Fund Advisor’s 2014 Benchmarking study