News article

9 website mistakes that immediately damage a potential client’s confidence in you

Your website is your shop window. It’s where potential clients decide whether you’re the right adviser/planner for them, or whether they’ll look elsewhere.

That means you need to get it right.

Unfortunately, many adviser/planner websites make simple errors that immediately begin to erode a prospective client’s confidence that they’ve found the right person or firm for them.

Individually, these errors and mistakes might seem inconsequential but, as Steven Bartlett says in The 33 Laws Of Business and Life, business owners must sweat the small stuff. His view is that “your success is defined by your attitude to the small stuff, the things most people overlook, ignore or don’t care about”.

And you know what? He’s right.

So here are nine mistakes, errors, and missteps that we regularly see advisers/planners making on their website.

1. No regulatory statement

It amazes me that so many adviser/planner websites don’t include the appropriate regulatory disclosures on the site. That amazement escalates to incredulity when I hear the offending sites have been reviewed by the firm’s network or external compliance consultant.

In our experience, prospects will often consider more than one adviser/planner before deciding which to choose. If one firm has the regulatory text and the other doesn’t, the prospect may (and rightly so) think the firm without the disclosure has something to hide, isn’t regulated, or has been sloppy.

None of those options are good.

The solution: Make sure the correct regulatory text is on every page of your website. And don’t hide it away in a smaller font size or colour that’s hard to read.

2. No statutory statement

If you trade as a limited company, it’s a legal requirement to disclose the following on your website:

  • Where the company is registered
  • The full name of the registered company
  • Your company number and registered office address.

Many websites we see don’t include this important information.

Again, if a prospect is comparing two different advisers/planners, the site including this information will stand out as more transparent.

The solution: As a minimum, make sure the correct statutory statement, including your registered office address, is on your website’s homepage.

And talking of addresses…

3. Not including your office address

Earlier this month, in preparation for an initial meeting with an adviser who was interested in working with Yardstick, I visited their website. Keen to find out where they were located, I scrolled to the footer, but couldn’t find an address (as an aside there was no regulatory or statutory disclosure , but that’s a different story).

So, I visited the contact page, but the address wasn’t there either.

Confused, I headed to the firm’s privacy statement (which usually includes an address) only to find the link was broken.

Now put yourself in a prospective client’s shoes. It’s no secret that many, perhaps even most, consumers want to work with a local adviser/planner:

  • How will they feel if they can’t find your address?
  • Will they think you have something to hide?
  • Why are you making their life harder?

The solution: Include your office address on your website’s contact page. And for extra points, consider:

  • Including a downloadable PDF of directions to your office
  • Adding a photo of your office to make it easier for visitors to find you
  • Noting any unusual quirks, for example, explaining where to park or the postcode they need to use when programming their sat nav if it’s different to the postcode used in your address.

4. Only including a mobile number

Many websites, especially those firms with a single adviser/planner, only include a mobile telephone number and no landline option.

For existing clients, where trust has been developed over many years, that’s fine. However, prospective clients (especially those from older generations) might feel anxious that a firm doesn’t have a landline. To put it another way; the existence of a landline might be reassuring to them, even if they never call it!

I accept this is subjective although many advisers/planners agree with me. Polls on LinkedIn and Twitter/X show that 57% of people believe displaying only a mobile number could reduce a firm’s credibility in the eyes of prospective clients.

The solution: Buy a virtual landline service, using a local dialling code, and redirect it to your mobile phone. It’ll probably cost you less than a tenner each month, and who knows how sweating this example of the “small stuff” will help your business?

5. No privacy policy

The introduction of GDPR in 2018 certainly lifted the public’s consciousness (if not understanding) of data protection issues. That means your privacy policy page will get a surprisingly high number of visitors.

Unfortunately, though, many adviser/planner websites don’t include a privacy policy or, in the case of the site I visited earlier in the month, the link was broken.

Aside from being a breach of data protection regulations, a missing privacy policy or a broken link, will not impress a potential client who wants to read it.

The solution: Simple, make sure your website includes your privacy policy. For a bonus point, make sure it’s up to date and includes the correct legal basis under which you will process someone’s personal data.

6. Dormant blog pages

Your blogs are an opportunity to add value to website visitors, showcase your expertise and position you as a go-to expert.

But if your blog was last updated in 2021, the opposite is going to happen. You’ll lose credibility and look unreliable. Neither will convince your website visitors that you’re the right adviser/planner for them.

The solution: Keep your blog up to date by writing regularly or outsourcing the job to someone else (click here if you’d like to learn more about Yardstick’s “done for you” newsletter packages). If you can’t, or don’t want, to do either of those things, then remove the blog section from your website.

7. Links to defunct, or unused, social media platforms

We’re always nervous about prominently including links to your social media platforms on your website. Our view is simple; you should use social media to direct traffic to your website, not the other way around.

However, if you do include social media links, make sure you’re updating these channels regularly. There’s no point sending someone to a Twitter/X account that was last updated in 2019, or a Facebook page where there have been no new posts for three years.

The solution: Remove any links to social media platforms that no longer exist (we still see websites with the Google+ logo) or you don’t regularly post on. To go one step further, update the Twitter logo to the new “X” logo.

8. Broken links

Broken links are frustrating and could leave potential clients worrying about your attention to detail.

The solution: It’s easy for links to break, especially if the target page that you’re linking to is taken down or changes its URL. So set aside time every few months to review every page on your website and check all links.

9. Not including links to the FCA register

I know, I know. The FCA Register is not, in any way, shape or form, user-friendly. In fact, using it makes my eyes bleed. However, it is useful for confirming to potential clients that you are authorised and regulated by the FCA.

Unfortunately, many adviser/planner websites, don’t include a link to their page on the Register. Others link to the Register’s homepage, forcing the consumer to do the hard work by inputting the firm’s name or reference number.

The solution: Place a link to your page on the Register (not the Register’s homepage) in the footer of your website and explain what it is.

Get the small stuff right

How you do the small stuff is how people will think you do the big stuff. So, you must get the small details right.

Set time aside to review your website and check if you’re making any of these credibility-reducing mistakes.

Then, if you need our help fixing them, or now’s the time to build a new website, we’re here to help. Get in touch by emailing or calling 0115 8965 300.

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