01 Oct 2018

5 Hacks in Building Your Personal/Agency Website

As a financial sales professional, it’s often told you only need 2 things to succeed, people to meet, and skills to close. In the past, contact always starts off with a face-to-face introduction, but is this the only way today?

The easiest solution EVER

You should know by now that expanding your reach to the Internet is important enough to sustain, and many people will advocate having a website. However, how many of you have this talent for design, a penchant for writing, or even the expertise to build one? If you haven’t already downloaded our financial advisor website primer, here are some quick tips to help you with that.

1. List out the objectives of your site

Before you find out how to get to a place, it’s so, so important to know where you want to go. If you don’t have clear KPIs on what you want to achieve with your website, perhaps you won’t be in the best position to start building it. Worse still, you are building your website for the sake of building one without a clear goal. Objectives of a website may vary for every individual or agency, but common ones include:

  • Positioning yourself/team members as experts of your trade
  • Providing an offer for your services
  • Recruitment drives for team expansion
  • Educating or updating clients

Of course, many of you will be saying, “I want to achieve all that at once”, which brings us to the next point

2. Focused vs Diverse – make a decision first

If you have a website that only does one thing, you’ll be likely to be better at that thing. Think of a website like www.google.com and with all honesty tell me you’re going there to read your email. (I know of people who actually do that, but that’s a separate, unrelated discussion). Now take a look at www.yahoo.co.jp/ and you’ll realise that with all that going on, it’s very unlikely you’ll have that mental focus to do just one specific thing.

This is a real website I swear – arngren.net

The same goes for your website. If you want a deep and wide website, with tons of links all over the homepage, you can’t lead people to do just one thing – and you can’t expect readers to navigate around to find something that suits them.

Not to say there’s a right or wrong way, the key is in expectations. If you have the right expectations, you’ll have a clearer goal and do more specific things to achieve them.

3. Schedule for maintenance activities

If you think building a website is a one-time effort and you don’t have to care about it anymore, think again. At the time of writing this article (Nov 2017) people are so well informed, that sharing 3 -day old news relegates you to the level of 2-week old stale moldy bread. Furthermore, our search engine(s) (if you use other search engines I’ll be very very surprised) optimise for displaying the latest content first, and websites without any updates almost never turn up on searches. That’s just content on your page.

You might think you’re safe because design, on the other hand, doesn’t get outdated that quickly. However, trends change in as soon as just 1 year. So even when you think a website is looking spanking beautiful right now, take a look at it in 1 year and identify elements that you’re bored of looking at already.

Outdated Website Homepage
This was considered cool – in 1997.

I recently met a manager who told me he spends 2 hours a week maintaining his agency’s website. How does a busy manager do that? He does it when he sends his son for his weekly enrichment class. Consider slotting in such activities like he has. For agencies, you may want to have a team of agents just spending 1 hour a week writing a blog post each. Clearly, this will ensure you have a steady flow of content on your website.

4. Never neglect security

You may think I’m just a small agency, why would anyone hack my site? Sure, it may not be as serious as hacking, but here’s what many small company websites experience.

Image result for websites attacked
If Anonymous comes for you, you know you’ve had it made (maybe?)

Look at the comments sections of some unmaintained blogs. You can find ads (some very offensive), links that unsuspecting visitors may click, and even code that attempts to gain access to the site.  The point is, there are people who will just aim to treasure hunt. Here’s an example: I have had experience with so-called leads keying in code into a form. Seems innocent? They are attempting to get to my customer data. You can avoid such problems by:

  • Moderate comments on every page
  • Have administrators manage comments and interactions
  • Use reputable integration platforms for forms
  • Use a reputable web hosting provider

Obviously, if you’re building a website on your own, (and you don’t have the expertise) it’s hard to manage these. Therefore, make sure you find out which platforms offer security features before you sign up for any one of them.

5. Lastly, consider outsourcing

You are a busy professional. In between prospecting, face-to-face appointments, and paperwork, how much time do you have left?

There are other considerations in a website, including, but not limited to:

  • Photos and video
  • Content creation
  • Marketing and optimizations
  • Data management

Firstly, media consumption is more robust than ever before. A reader judges a website based on the quality of their media. For example, stock photos will always be seen as inferior to genuine (well taken) photos of real people in your team. Videos shot by a pro will convey credibility better than just writing about how amazing you are or your agency is. A well thought out website will only be limited by the ability of its designer too. Therefore, if you have an experienced and competent vendor you trust for these elements, I strongly encourage outsourcing this gargantuan task to them.

Consequently, this will also save you plenty of time and effort in building it yourself. All you need to do is plan a budget and speak with someone on the requirements.

For more on building your website, download our website primer for financial advisors (and agencies) for more tips and guidelines. If you thought this article already helped you, that guide will run you through even more considerations. It just takes 15 minutes to read and you can save hours of headaches.

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