shutterstock_414397303Website trends, technology, and best practices come and go. In a matter of years, your website can go from the top-of-the-line model to a clunker you can’t give away. In an ideal world, you make updates to your website every six months to a year and give it a complete makeover every three to five years. For a lot of financial advisors, this may not be possible, budget or time-wise.

If you don’t have the time to make frequent updates to your site or the budget for a complete overhaul, why not carve out an hour of your time to buff out the scratches on your website and make it shine again? Here are five updates financial advisors can make right here, right now to improve their website.

1. Move the Most Important Details Above the Fold of Your Homepage

When you first navigate to your website, what portion of your website do you see before you have to scroll down? That first portion is known as “above the fold.” Research shows that a significant number of website visitors will only glance at a website above the fold before deciding if they’ll spend anymore time on it. This is why it’s so important to have your most important details about your business front and center on your homepage.

Somewhere in an unobtrusive spot (typically at the very top or top right), include your contact information, including phone number and email address. If you only work with clients locally, you may want to include your address.

Now, look at your logo or DBA. Is it easy to spot? Ideally, it’s one of the first things someone sees when they visit your site (other than full-width imagery). If it’s hidden, move front and center, or shift the text around so it’s clearer and easier to see.

2. Use Buttons for Calls to Action

There’s nothing enticing about reading text that says “click here.” And if it doesn’t stand out from the rest of your text, you’ll likely never see many results. Wherever you use calls to action on your pages, consider using a button instead of text with a strong and enticing action verb. For example, instead of “Learn More,” you may use “Schedule a Consultation,” or “Start Planning for Tomorrow.” Ideally, every website page will have a call to action in some shape or form, even if it’s just directing readers to another page on your site.

If you aren’t a web designer, buttons aren’t the easiest elements to add on a site. You can’t use an image of a button (as it’s not mobile-responsive), so you would need to know how to code a button, as well as its size, shape, and color. If you’re using FMG Suite for your website, you’re in luck because we have buttons in our text editor. Choose the button option, write your text, paste your link, and voila! You have a button.

3. De-Clutter

The biggest sign of an outdated website is clutter on the homepage. In the past, we all wanted to cram as much information as possible on the homepage, either because we didn’t have many interior pages or we feared no one would click to another page. But this loud, megaphone approach is a turnoff to most website visitors. It’s obnoxious and makes it difficult for a visitor to quickly determine what is most important for them to read or view.

To keep people on your website longer, cut down on all the visual and text elements. Today, the best looking websites use larger and fewer images, such as one full-width image paired with a simple tagline or phrase. Keep your text paragraphs short and limit the number of buttons and calls to action you have. Stick to a maximum of three colors, avoiding neon colors, browns, and metallics (which are shown to be the least popular among website visitors).

4. Update Your Photography

Photos (especially of people) are a reflection of current culture. There’s no faster way to age your website than photography clearly from years or decades ago. In an ideal world, you could hire a photographer to take pictures of your local area, your office, and your team. We always recommend personalized photography to establish your community presence and create a strong connection.

However, for many financial advisors, that just may not be possible. Stock photography is a great second option. Use a site like iStock or Shutterstock to purchase a few new photos for your website. Swapping out your pictures can instantly make your site look new again.

5. Reconsider Your Fonts

In the past, it was assumed to be okay to use cursive and overly stylized fonts to appear fancy or sophisticated. Today, simpler is better. Particularly for financial advisors, your audience will likely include retirees and elderly with less than perfect eyesight. Don’t let your font be the one to turn them away.

Consider fonts that will look good very large on a website monitor and small on a smartphone. Stick to a maximum of two different fonts (one for headers and one for the body text) and make it at least 11pt in size. This article is a great resource for reviewing the best web fonts. Check it out and see if any fonts speak to you.

An easier option than finding a font is to swap it with another option already on your website. If you’re using FMG Suite, our websites offer several font choices. Switch back and forth and choose one that you like.

Maintaining a website isn’t easy, but it’s critical that yours reflects your business model and professionalism. By using a website platform like FMG Suite, you can cut down on the time needed to update and keep your website looking as modern as possible.