Ask a Designer: How Can I Create the Best Looking Website Possible?
We don’t expect you to be a website guru or a design expert. You’re an expert in your industry and we’re in an expert in ours. It’s why you and thousands of other financial advisors and insurance agents rely on us to help with their marketing.
One of the biggest and most overwhelming marketing tasks is creating and launching a website. Whether it’s your first or tenth, there are countless decisions to make.
We gathered a few commonly asked website design questions from you and sat down with one of our Exclusive website professionals, Amy Le Blanc, to get answers. Whether you have a Basic, Concierge, or Exclusive website setup with us, these tips will help your site look as clean and professional as possible.
What should financial advisors and insurance agents think about when designing a logo?
A logo is one of the most important aspects of a website because it includes your business name, and is a key part of your branding strategy. It’s usually the first thing someone sees when they visit your website and, ultimately, it defines your entire business in one image. Because you’ll use your logo on your website and all throughout your marketing, invest in a good one.
I love working with a clean simple logo that has minimal text and no more than three different colors. Also consider the file type and background color and how they will affect the design. For example, if a logo has a static white background, it won’t look good on a dark background. Extra kudos to those who provide their website developer and designer a high resolution file with a transparent background. If you aren’t sure what this is, ask the designer of your logo and he or she can provide this to you.
What about website colors?
The best way to create a cohesive design aesthetic is to keep your website colors consistent with your logo. If an advisor or agent has black, burgundy, and yellow in their logo, we’ll find images and text that echo those colors and similar shades. Just as with the logo, it’s best to stick to a maximum of three different colors throughout your website. This includes background colors, font colors, box colors…any website element. Once you use more than three, your website can begin to look cluttered and disjointed.
When you’re choosing colors, consider colors you’ve seen on websites that look good. Colors like brown can be difficult, and gold and silver can look different on every monitor.
Speaking of images, any pointers?
Images can make or break a site. For starters, use professional photos of your team. No selfies or poorly lit images. It looks unprofessional, which is the last vibe you want to give off. Hire a professional photographer to take individual photos of your team and to take a couple of team photos. Team photos are great both on your team page and social media. Along with team photos, have some photos of your local area and office taken. It helps personalize your business and helps prospects feel like they know you a little better before meeting with you.
When we work with Exclusive website clients, we spend time choosing optimal images, be it from their own collection or stock photos. Remember, using stock imagery is perfectly fine, but avoid any that look too posed and that you’ve seen on countless other websites.
What about videos?
We always encourage advisors and agents to incorporate video within their website. In a perfect world, these videos are of you and your business, but other good options are ones that illustrate financial topics or highlight a tool or process you use. Best practice is to avoid the Auto Play function. One guaranteed way to annoy a website visitor is for sound to start playing out of nowhere.
Any good tips regarding text?
First, a website should only have one or two fonts. There are few things that look less professional than when you go to a website and the company has ten different fonts on the same page. Use two at the very maximum, such as one for your main body of text and another for headlines.
Also, make sure your fonts are readable! A lot of websites feature cursive or script font. These may look fancy, but if your client or prospect can’t read what’s written, the design becomes counterproductive. Particularly if you cater to clients of an older age, make sure you use easily legible fonts. We like clean fonts like Calibri, Arial, and Cambria, and all of our Exclusive themes have professional fonts already in the coding. The same goes for color. We recommend dark grey in most of our designs for paragraph text, and suggesting avoid bright or neon colors like the plague.
Keep in mind that most people visiting your website are just skimming your content. For web reading, use short paragraphs and subheads with a lot of white space in between. For longer amounts of text, break it up with bullets or numbered lists, or bold and italicize key concepts.
Amy is one of our many website professionals that helps advisors and agents create a beautiful, polished website. For more information on website design, check out our recent article published in Insurance Journal.