What Makes a Website Compelling
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The concept of a website is simple. Understanding its function, crafting a compelling design and implementing your plan is challenging.
The most basic function of a website is to act as the display window of your retail “store.” It provides information to visitors so they can decide whether to pursue a relationship with you.
Visitors come to your website in two ways:
- Referrals; or
- From an Internet search.
In either case, the goal of your website is to make a positive impression and encourage further inquiry.
Most websites ignore the research that would help reach this goal.
If you want your website to turn visitors into prospects and clients, this article (and accompanying checklist) by Michael Kitces does an excellent job of distilling what makes an advisor’s website compelling.
Initially, it involves “humanizing” the advisors and their staff through images and videos. Clearly describe the services being offered, be transparent with costs and fees, offer useful resources like Riskalyze, and target a niche market. Have a call to action, a lead magnet and other ways to capture e-mail addresses.
Implementing these suggestions can be difficult.
A key component of your webpage is content. Few web site designers understand investing. The content they create can be stilted, formulaic and well … boring.
Images and videos need to be done professionally.
When I work with photographers to design a web site, I provide a brief that includes details about lighting, background, amount of space above and on both sides of the images, the type of images we want, tips on aperture and related items to insure the images look professional and will show up well on all devices.
For videos, I only hire cinematographers (also called a director of photography or DP). Cinematographers understand camera placement, camera movement, shot composition, aspect ratio, focus and lighting. Since I can’t be on site when they’re shooting the video, I spend a lot of time conveying what I hope to achieve. With this preparation, they’re fully capable of being on-site “directors.”
While cinematographers are more expensive, the difference in the quality of the finished product more than justifies the cost.
Picking a platform
The success of your design depends on the skill of your designer. Your choice of platform can impact your design options.
You can find a helpful comparison of these two platforms (done by Twenty Over Ten) here.
For smaller advisors who want to invest the time writing their own content (or coordinating with the copywriters at Twenty Over Ten) and dealing directly with its designers, Twenty Over Ten is very cost effective and an excellent choice.
The added benefits of Twenty Over Ten include built-in security, access to a content library, automatic archiving and easier maintenance than WordPress sites.
WordPress is the dominant player in the website market, with 35% of the web using it.
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Unlike Twenty Over Ten, design options are almost limitless (albeit at an increased cost) with WordPress. You can select who will write your content, who will design your website and who will produce your videos, without being confined to limited templates or required to deal with designated writers and designers. Twenty Over Ten has addressed this limitation by providing resources that permit developers to customize their websites. However, there are a limited number of developers who have experience with its platform.
Twenty Over Ten does not source photographers or deal with any aspect of video production. You will also have to manage these functions with a WordPress site.
You can replicate the security, maintenance and compliance features of Twenty Over Ten in a WordPress site with plug-ins, and by hiring a third-party vendor at additional cost.
You can find many examples of WordPress and Twenty Over Ten websites. Reviewing them will help you decide which platform is the right one for you.
Next week, I’ll discuss how savvy developers can “seed” your website to maximize the potential for digital marketing.