News article

What do prospective clients want to see on your website?

This year’s Professional Adviser Awards took place last week and we’re delighted that (for the second year running) a site we designed and developed won the “Best Website” category.

This year’s winner was Smith & Wardle’s website with Darren Cooke’s picking up the title last year.

Naturally, we’re delighted to have one of our websites win again. It’s confirmation that our designers, developers and writers produce outstanding work.

Since we started in 2017, we’ve tried to share as much of our knowledge as possible. So this week we thought we’d share the things consumers want to see when they visit your website and what the two award-winning sites have in common.

Show prospects that you can help them

A prospective client will visit your website when they have a trigger; a problem they need to solve or an aspiration they want to achieve. There are two ways they might find your site:

1. A brand search: After the consumer has become aware of your firm – perhaps after being recommended by an existing client, seeing your social posts, or driving past your office – they will usually search for you or your business online before getting in touch.

2. A service-based search: A trigger the consumer has become aware of prompts them to use a search engine to find a financial adviser or planner (they probably don’t know the difference at this stage).

Whichever route they take to your website, when they arrive they simply want to know one thing; can you help them?

To answer that question, you need to do two things:

1. Explain who you work with: Both the Red Circle and the Smith & Wardle websites explain the types of clients they specialise in working with, and have a dedicated page for each.

2. Show clients, you’ve worked with: Again, both sites showcase genuine clients using stories and images (no stock photos of couples walking down a beach here!) while the Smith & Wardle site has a comprehensive video library of their clients.

Both sites demonstrate empathy for the visitor and their problems/aspirations; it’s clear that both firms understand what keeps their clients awake at night and what gets them up in the morning.

Of course, it takes more than that to create a truly effective website. So, what else can we learn from these two websites?

The five most popular pages on two award-winning websites

We’ve taken a deep dive into the Google Analytics of the Smith & Wardle and Red Circle websites to look at the most popular pages.


It’ll come as no surprise that the homepage is the most popular page on both websites.

Google Analytics tells us that both the Smith & Wardle and Red Circle homepages are engaging consumers. They have plenty in common too:

  • The navigations of both websites are traditional (no need for funky burger menus) which clearly lay out the options available to the visitor.
  • Each site has an effective opening statement to put the visitor at ease and position the firm.
  • The sites introduce the planners and, where relevant, their team, on the homepage. This is vital; it’s these people who will be developing a relationship with the prospective client.
  • Both sites showcase their clients and use genuine images.
  • Other forms of social proof are included, for example, the Chartered logo and VouchedFor reviews.
  • Each has a welcoming call to action (we particularly like Darren’s invitation for a ‘cuppa’).

About us/Our story

Unsurprisingly, the second most popular page on each of the sites is about the firm themselves. After all, it’s the firm and their team which the prospective client will be putting their trust in.

Both pages rightly introduce the team the prospective client will work with on this page using high-quality images.

The Smith & Wardle website then has a page for each team member, allowing potential clients to get to know who they might be working with a little more before getting in touch.

This approach contrasts with some websites we see which only include individual pages for advisers/planners. Unfortunately, this approach tends to look elitist and also means the site misses out on a valuable SEO opportunity.


Both websites disclose fees, and these pages are the third most popular on each of the sites.

We’ve talked extensively in the past about online fee disclosure. Now’s not the time to restart that debate, except to say that both firms took the decision, at least in part, to demonstrate transparency.

Both websites include the fees page in the main navigation, which makes it easy to find. Furthermore, they follow the golden rules of fees pages by:

  • Demonstrating the value of financial planning
  • Explaining fees clearly and specifically; there are no broad ranges here, the visitor can calculate exactly what they will pay
  • Showing the service that will be delivered; too often advisers and planner disclose fees online but forget to explain the service that will be given in return.

Each year, the Professional Adviser Awards judges have commented positively about the fees pages of both sites. It’s clearly something they are looking for when making their decision.

Client stories/case studies

The effort both firms have made to showcase their clients is rewarded.

As we said earlier, both showcase genuine clients, telling their stories and including real images, rather than the stock photos used by many.

Why choose us?

Perhaps surprisingly (because it’s bound to be a pitch) the “why choose us?” page on the Smith & Wardle website is very popular, coming in at position four.

As you’d expect, it explains the key reasons why clients choose to work with Smith & Wardle clearly and concisely.

Your journey

The ”journey” page completes the set of the top five pages for the Red Circle website.

It’s a simple page that interactively explains the financial planning journey and helps clients to understand what they might expect when working with Darren.

Here to help you

Prospective clients will first meet you on a Google search results page. It’s your website where they start to get to know you and make decisions about whether you’re the right adviser/planner for them.

That means your website is your shop window and it has to be right.

We’re here to help. If now’s the time to treat your business to a new website, email or call 0115 8965 300, we’d be delighted to have a chat.

Stay in touch


Sign up to receive our hints, tips & ideas to improve your marketing.
As you’d expect, we’ll never pass your details to anyone else and if you don’t like what we have to say, you can unsubscribe at any time.