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Phil Bray: Does your website pass the split-second test?

It is vital an adviser’s website tells visitors quickly what it is they do and who they do it for

Bray-PhilHead over to your website for a moment. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential client. Can you immediately tell what you do? And who you do it for? No? I am afraid you have failed the split-second test.

It is no secret we are increasingly impatient; especially online. We skim-read, scan and filter out the content we do not need. That means you need to tell visitors quickly what it is you do and who you do it for.

Why is it so important?

The point was brought home to me recently when we were contacted by a potential client. I spent a few minutes on their website and could not work out what they do. A prospective client would have given up long before I did and headed elsewhere.

When someone lands on your homepage, they need to understand quickly that they are in the right place. Signposts are a life saver and it is no different online.

So look at your homepage. Does it explain clearly what you do and who you do it for? Be honest. Look at it from the perspective of somebody who may be hopping from site to site, and will not necessarily look any further than the very top of your homepage.

Next, head over to Google Analytics. A website that fails the split-second test will have less engagement from visitors. This will be evidenced by:

  • Higher bounce rates (average: 58.34 per cent)
  • Lower than average time on page (average: 97 seconds)
  • Fewer than average pages viewed per visit (average: 2.42)

These averages are specific to financial advisers following our own research.

Choosing your words carefully is important. I am completely sold on the benefits of financial planning and I have no doubt thousands of people each year benefit from working with a financial planner. But that does not mean you should be focusing exclusively on financial planning on the homepage of your website.

We do not wake up on a Monday morning thinking we need a financial plan. We wake up with a bad back following a weekend in the garden, staring down the barrel of the next five days at work when we would rather be out in the sunshine with the grandkids.

We want to know if we can afford to retire. If we have built up enough money so we can do what we want, when we want. That is why advisers and planners need to talk about who they work with on their website, alongside the problems and challenges they solve.

Pass the test

If you pass the split-second test, great. If you are not sure, get a few borrowed eyes to have a peek. If they cannot tell you what you do and who you do it for, it is time to make some changes.

The online world is unforgiving. If you fail to capture the attention and interest of your visitors, they will not think twice about trying the next firm in the results page. It only takes a split second.

Phil Bray is founder and director at The Yardstick Agency

Money Marketing is hosting panels on technology and the future of advice at the Money Marketing Interactive conference to be held at the Majestic Hotel in Harrogate on 14 September. To join over 100 advisers and register to secure your free place, click here.

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