Your financial website isn’t merely a place where your prospects and clients can find you on the net, it’s an extension of your brand.
Especially in the investment business, your web presence is an extension of you.
People who first encounter you and your business online form a very quick — and strong — view of who you are.
How your clients think about you (and how your website influences them)
Many advisors I meet get a simple, basic (ugly?) website up just to have something online. Something simple, plain, with some contact info.
…because you just gotta be there…
I’d challenge that assumption.
If a person’s eyes are the windows to his soul, those same eyes are his window to the world.
Our perception — even our very 1st visual understanding of a new product or service– immediately informs our beliefs. In a big way.
Research by neuroscientists shows that
- People identify with (or avoid) certain personalities.
- Trust is related to personality.
- Perception and expectations are linked with personality.
- Consumers “choose” products that are an extension of themselves.
- We treat sufficiently advanced technology as though it were human.
Throwing a sub-par website at them that wasn’t designed with you (or them) in mind will not only not help you land these new clients but can actively push them away.
Right, your website’s design is that important in growing your business.
Designing your website professionally…yourself
I’m not saying design is everything, more that it’s something powerful.
Hiring a fancy-pants expensive designer to design your firm’s website isn’t always the right move either. I’m not talking about design for the sake of design — I’m talking about designing something that informs new prospects exactly what you’re all about.
Whether you outsource the design or get more involved with it yourself, there are some core tools and concepts you’ll need to learn.
From Bootstrapping Design, a great resource to learn the basics of DIY design:
To evaluate design, you must be impartial. You have to check your personal taste and predispositions at the door and consider whether the work succeeds in solving the problem at hand.
We all believe we can recognize good design when we see it, but creating it is a different story. Evaluating your own design work is difficult, and it takes practice. There are a few tricks that can help you look at your work with a different perspective. Beyond these tricks, a second opinion can work wonders.
8 design resources to help you get started fast
- Jakob Nielsen’s blog: Nielsen’s old UseIt blog was the first resource I found (like in 1998) that addressed design from a usability standpoint by calculating its business impact
- Bootstrapping Design (ebook): great ebook that addresses high-level design principles and color, typography, etc for non-designers
- Smashing Magazine: Lot of examples of winning design and tools to help
- 40+ web design resources for beginners (Mashable)
- I Love Typography: blog @ typography and its role in effective website design
- UsabilityPost: good blog focusing on designing websites with good usability
- Color Matters: Great place to start for color theory
- Gestalt Principles of Web Design: A series of blogs that codify laws and principles governing good web design