Your website is your shop window. It’s where potential clients begin getting to get to know you. And, where they start to decide whether you’re the right adviser or planner for them.
That means you’ve got to get it right.
Here’s the thing though. We’ve noticed that too many advisers and planners put their new website into the hands of one person. Frankly, that’s nuts. To build an impressive and effective website you need at least five (and possibly eight) people on the job.
Hear me out as I explain why:
Person #1: Designer
Your website designer uses their skills, experience and inspiration to design (development is different, we’ll get to that in a moment) each page on your site. Their work influences the:
- Look and feel of the website
- Style of navigation (traditional, burger menu etc)
- User experience
- Calls to action
- Imagery, icons and other graphics used.
To put it another way, your designer performs a similar role to an architect if you’re building a new house or having an extension.
Designers often use applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe XD, Zeplin & InVision to assist the developer and produce the design, however, many more alternative tools and programmes can also be used.
Person #2: Developer
Your developer is the person who uses their coding skills (unless they take short cuts and use existing themes to save time) to turn the designs into a fully functioning website. To continue with the housebuilding/extending analogy, they are the equivalent of your builder, digging the foundations and laying the bricks.
Developers require very different skills, knowledge and experience to a designer.
Person #3: Content writer
Too often your website’s content is an afterthought. Coming a distant third to design and development on the priority list.
Engaging, beautifully written copy, is an essential component of a great website. The words will bring your business to life. They’ll show off your team and your clients, telling your story and convincing prospects that you’re the firm for them. That’s why it amazes me that so many agencies charge thousands of pounds for a new website but still ask advisers/planners to provide their own content.
That means you need a professional on the job. Not someone who is turning their hand to it because they’ve been forced to or to save a few quid.
Person #4: Proofreader
Grammatical and spelling errors undermine trust and erode confidence. That means it’s essential your website is carefully proofread before it goes live.
It’s almost impossible to proofread your own work effectively. So, your copywriter should be supported by a proofreader.
Person #5: Quality control
Once your website is developed it needs to be thoroughly checked. Forms and links need to work, images need to appear correctly, and the site needs to look great on different browsers and devices.
Just as your content writer shouldn’t proof their own work, your developer shouldn’t review theirs. Your website should be reviewed by at least one different pair of eyes (our websites are reviewed by the copywriter, our Head of Digital and myself before going to the client).
One person can’t do it all
If there’s someone out there equally brilliant at design, development, copywriting, proofing and quality control, I want to hire them!
They don’t exist though, because the skills required for each task are so different. That means you probably need five people to develop a great website. And, they should be under the same roof:
- The content writer needs to work closely with the designer, so the copy fits perfectly into the site
- The developer needs to communicate effectively with the designer, so their vision is brought to life as intended
- The proof-reader and quality control need to work closely together too
- Ideally, a project manager should oversee everyone.
Three more people you might need
Depending on your requirements there might be other people you need. These could include:
- A photographer: The images you use on your website are just as important as the words. Professionally taken images of you and your team lift a website and help engage visitors. Pictures taken by an amateur on an iPhone won’t cut it!
- A videographer: If you’ve not noticed, we’re huge advocates of adding videos to your website of your clients telling their stories. These could be recorded on a face-to-face shoot or remotely. Either way, you need a professional videographer on the case.
- People who collect your social proof: Aside from client videos, we also recommend including further social proof in the form of client survey results and online ratings and reviews. The work involved with collecting social proof needs to be carried out by yet another member of the team.
Building the right team
To develop and maintain a financial plan takes a team of people; the planner, paraplanner, admin support, investment manager, compliance and so on. Hopefully, you can now see why building a great website also requires a team of people.
If now’s the time to review your existing website or build a new site, we’re here to help. Drop an email to [email protected] or call 0115 8965 300, we’d love to chat.