Getting tired of your under performing website? 5 things to fix today
Your website, done well, should be your biggest marketing asset as a Financial Planner.
It needs to be more than an online brochure, more than a digital storefront. Your Financial Planner website should be actively engaging with your target audience, adding prospective clients to your engagement funnel on a daily basis, and working hard as your biggest referrer, 24/7, 365 days a year.
But what if your website is under performing? Do you even know why it’s not delivering the results it should?
In this episode, 5 parts of your Financial Planner website that need to be working perfectly, and how to fix them if they’re broken.
I love reviewing Financial Planner websites! We use this fantastic tool that scores sites across five core areas, assigning each a score from A to F, and then an overall performance score for the website.
It’s exceptionally rare for a website to score an A. But it’s so important that your website scores well in these five areas.
I’m going to cover each one in this video, explaining why they matter and the things you should consider to fix them.
In covering these five elements, there’s going to be some jargon, sorry. It’s unavoidable when talking about some of the more technical aspects of website development and design.
But stick with me; I’ll explain each bit of jargon as it crops up, and by the end of this video, you’ll know everything you need to know to get better results from your underperforming website.
Being found on Google
First core area then, is Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO for short.
Now SEO is sometimes considered a bit of a dark art, but the essence of SEO is to present your website in a favourable way to the various search engines, including the big one, Google. SEO is important because you need your site to rank highly for chosen keywords, as this is what will drive prospective clients to your site.
The good news is, most modern website platforms, including our favoured platform WordPress, do a fairly good job of SEO straight out of the box. WordPress also offers some brilliant SEO plugins – my favourite is called Yoast SEO – which you can use to take your site’s SEO to the next level.
The biggest issues we see with site SEO when we review websites are around the tags being used. These are the keywords behind the website pages visitors see, for example showing the title of the site and its meta description. The reviews we carry out show these tags are either missing, too long or too short. So it’s a really easy fix and makes a significant difference to your website is found by search engines.
Another important SEO factor is the body content, where more SEO tags can be added in the form of headers, and keywords can be woven into the page content.
When writing for a Financial Planner website, we need to consider two distinct audiences, both important; the search engine audience, which is where the more technical factors come in, and the human audience; so the content you write has to be readable and not simply a list stuffed with keywords. There’s a balance to be struck here.
A common problem we see during our site reviews is the images used on Financial Planner websites haven’t been tagged for search engines. So there’s usually missing a title, alt tag and description tag. These are simple fixes and can take your website from invisible on Google to high up the rankings.
And another SEO issue that could be causing your website to underperform is a lack of backlink activity to your website. Search engines rely on backlinks as a strong indicator of your site’s authority, relevance and ranking potential. So if other influential websites don’t link to your website, Google and others are far less likely to rank it.
There are loads more SEO issues that our free website review report captures.
Looking good on multiple devices
Second area then is usability. The way we browse websites has changed a great deal in recent years. Before, people would typically view your website via a desktop PC. But the rise of the smartphone and proliferation of tablets like the iPad mean it’s now just as likely your website visitors will come to you via their phone or another mobile device.
When was the last time you took a look at how your website is displayed across a range of devices? As a simple rule, every website needs to be fully responsive, recognising whether the visitor is using a nice big PC monitor or a tiny mobile phone screen, and then adjusting how it looks accordingly.
So check device rendering across multiple devices, make sure you’re not using outdated technology like Flash (which doesn’t usually work on mobile devices), check the website is using modern styles which are responsive, and make sure your visitors can tap on links and buttons easily from their touchscreens.
Again, we check for these usability factors, and more, in our free website review report. Website visitors will increasingly using mobile phones and tablets to visit your site. To avoid them leaving the second they arrive, your site needs to look great, regardless of the device being used.
Fast as lightening
Number three is website performance. So many of the Financial Planner websites we review are painfully slow.
Performance is important to ensure a good user experience and to reduce incidences of users leaving before the page even loads. Website visitors are an impatient bunch! Site speed is also a factor considered by Google when they rank websites, so your slow website is likely being penalised in search engine results.
There’s an exponential rise in visitors abandoning websites that take too long to load. The longer your site takes to load, the more likely you are to lose that prospective client foreever. What’s slow? Anything longer than 2 or 3 seconds is slow in website terms. Google apparently aims for 0.5 seconds.
For a fast website, you need fast hosting. When we develop sites, we use a specialist WordPress hosting platform which is partnered with Google Cloud. This platform uses a very clever bit of technology called a Content Delivery Network, which automatically detects the nearest server to the website visitor and then delivers your website in the fastest possible time.
Aside from hosting, some of the factors that might be slowing down your Financial Planner website include files, images and scripts which are too large. These can be compressed without loss of quality, and dramatically speed up your website performance. Within our free website review report, we look at 9 different factors which influence the performance of your website, making recommendations to deal with each one.
Let’s get social
Area number four is social results. Social activity is important for customer communication, brand awareness and as a marketing channel to bring visitors to your website. Integrating your social media accounts into your website, and having a presence on those social media platforms which are relevant to your target audience, is an important part of a high performing website.
There’s a fine balance to strike here; we see far too many websites lead with brightly coloured icons enticing website visitors off their site and onto the likes of Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, never to return. So think carefully about how the links to your social channels are displayed, and also what your visitor will find when they land on your Facebook page. If it was last updated a year ago, then you need to bring it bang up to date to avoid giving a bad impression.
Keeping visitors safe
Last but not least then, number five is all about website security. Security is critical to the success of your Financial Planner website, because you must ensure your site protects user data, doesn’t become compromised, and doesn’t experience downtime.
Simplest thing here, which so many Financial Planners are still missing, is to enable an SSL certificate for your site.
An SSL certificate is a type of digital certificate that provides authentication for a website and enables an encrypted connection. And they are free, so there’s really no excuse not to have one. If you don’t have one in place, then the search engines will penalise your site in their rankings, and website visitors are less likely to trust the site.
Even for the Financial Planner websites that have an SSL certificate in place, we’re frequently coming across sites that haven’t configured them properly, so visitors are still being directed to an insecure version of the site.
Five areas to review and fix
So that’s five areas that could explain your underperforming website; SEO, usability, performance, social results, and security.
How does your Financial Planner website measure up in each of these five areas? You can access of our free website review report at bamfordmedia.co.uk/free-website-report. I’ll carry out a more qualitative review of your website at the same time, and make suggestions around design, functionality and audience messages, which I hope will help take your website to the next level.