A good website is an essential marketing tool for any financial services business. It’s going to be the foundation for your online presence and all your digital marketing.
It’s the first thing most people will see and associate with your brand, so you have to invest enough time, money and effort into its development to make sure your brand stands out. Otherwise, people might get the wrong impression and not give your business the chance it deserves.
Here are 10 things you need to consider first before you start developing your website.
Having a Step by Step Plan is Important
You’ll need to have a solid plan in place before anything else. Setting up a successful website requires a lot of experience. If you’re new at this, you can’t expect to get everything up and running over a weekend.
Start with the basics first. Think about what you want to accomplish with your site and what features it should have. Pick out the most important ones first and make sure they’re executed properly. If you try to do everything at once, some aspects of your website will end up lacking in refinement.
For example, if you want to add a blog, make sure you have enough available resources and time to create content for it. It’s better to not have a blog section at all if all you can come up with is poorly written content, or even worse, placeholder content that’s full of gibberish.
Come up With a Branding Strategy
Your website’s main purpose is to showcase your company and your brand. But if you don’t have a solid branding strategy that can define your visual identity and messaging, your website is just not going to be as effective at driving traffic and converting visitors into clients.
A financial website needs to convince people that they can trust the business and the people who are behind it. In order to do this effectively, your branding has to be on point and convey the right message that will evoke the right emotions. Without proper branding, your website will just end up being a random collection of images and text.
Great Web Design is Crucial
Hiring a professional designer to create a custom website helps you stay on brand. It also ensures that the look of your website is truly unique which will make it stand out.
A web designer will be able to add custom features and ensure that your website’s user interface is extremely intuitive to use. Aside from making your website look professional, they’ll also make sure your visitors will have a great user experience.
Don’t Rely on Free Hosting
Free web hosting comes with a lot of compromises that business websites can’t afford to have. They’re typically going to be slower and have more downtime than even the cheapest hosting providers. If anything goes wrong, you can’t expect much assistance or customer support from a free web host.
Many free web hosts will also require you to place ads everywhere and you’ll have limited control over their placement. Having even just one ad on a website that offers professional services or goods looks very unprofessional.
Prioritize Website Security
Security is extremely important, especially for a financial website. At the very least, your site should use an SSL certificate to make sure all website transactions are encrypted and secure. Without an SSL certificate, your visitors will first get a warning that your site is not using the HTTPS protocol and is not secure, which looks very suspicious to a potential client.
Have your web developer double check your website configurations and make sure back-end systems are updated regularly so that hackers cannot exploit vulnerabilities and steal your customer data.
Research Your Competitors
Find out what similar businesses in your space are doing when it comes to their online presence. This information will help you gauge how much work you need to put into your own website.
You can also take notes from other successful websites outside of your space to get even more design and marketing ideas. Find out what makes them effective and how you can incorporate their ideas into your own website.
Website Copy and a Proper Content Strategy is Essential
Your website copy is probably the most important part of your website. Web design just provides a nice backdrop and UI for navigation, but what will really draw customers in is your copy.
A professional copywriter who has lots of experience in sales and marketing will be able to convey the right message and convince people to trust in your business. Great web copy doesn’t need a lot of words to fully explain your unique value proposition. Proper word choice is more important and impactful.
You’ll also need to plan out a solid content strategy for your blogs and digital marketing content. Whatever content you publish should be well thought out and provide valuable information to your audience. Your content is a key part of your SEO and inbound marketing efforts, and is going to be responsible for drawing in new people to your site.
Set Up Your Social Media
Before you launch your website, make sure you’ve already got all your social media pages up and running. Create business pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn so that you can add social media buttons to your site upon launch. This will allow people to follow your brand on social media and get regular updates through their feeds. You can also use social media to grow your reach and increase brand awareness, and also drive more traffic to your site.
Half of Your Site Traffic Will be on Mobile
During the design phase, you should put a high priority on the mobile user experience. It’s much easier to adapt a mobile layout to desktop through responsive design than the other way around. A lot of your traffic will come from mobile users, so make sure your site caters to all their needs, as much as it does for people on desktops and laptops.
Set Money Aside For Quality Photos and Images
While your web designer will take care of all of your website’s graphic design, they’ll still need high quality pictures from a stock photo service to fill up the pages of your site. Powerful images are inspiring and will help bring your message across. You’ll want to give your designers and marketing team the best choices possible and not limit them to generic royalty photos.
You’ll also want to get professional headshots made, as well as get a professional photographer to capture your team at work. People are more willing to trust you if they can actually see your face, and you won’t end up just being another faceless company.
To make sure you can hit the ground running as soon as you launch your website, you’ll need a seasoned team of professionals by your side. Here at AltaStreet, we can make your dreams come to life. We can help you at every step starting from branding, web design, copywriting to marketing.