Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.Kristen Luke

The time will come to create your first website or redesign your existing site. You will have several options for development: hire a web designer, purchase a template website, or create your own. Whichever option you choose, spending some time in the planning stages will make the process quicker, easier and perhaps even cheaper.

Before you develop your website, follow these three steps:

  1. Research other websites
  2. Choose images
  3. Determine functionally

Step 1: Research other websites

Step one begins with researching other websites that appeal to you. The quickest way to find websites of other financial advisory firms is to visit a registry like NAFPA’s Find an Advisor site or Brightscope’s Advisor Pages. These sites have links to hundreds and even thousands of other advisor’s websites and will give you a good perspective of the range of designs.

If you would like inspiration from outside of the financial services industry, you can visit a site like Elance and peruse the portfolios of the web designers for ideas. Another option is to visit a website template site like TemplateMonster to view hundreds of different website variations.

Choose a handful of designs that you like and make note of the similarities. This will help you identify and communicate the elements you prefer. For example, you may notice all the websites are a tone of blue. Or they may all have a minimalist design. Or they may all feature pictures of families. By comparing the sites and noting similarities, you should be able to develop a clear understanding of the type of website you want and communicate those elements to whoever will develop your site.

Read more articles by Kristen Luke