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6 Ways to Make the Most of your Web Site

February 9, 2010

by Nancy Opiela

Whether your web site is an online brochure to attract prospects or tool to enhance client communication, small changes can generate big returns. Even if your site already has the right look and feel, it can still be improved.  When you re-evaluate your site – as you should at least once a year – consider these six goals:

1. Make your site a virtual representation of your practice

“Think of your home page as your virtual lobby, a prospect’s first introduction to you, before they ever set foot in your office,” says Marie Swift, president and CEO of Impact Communications. “You want to present your company as it is today, not as it was three years ago.”

Karen Lee, CFP, founder of  Karen Lee and Associates and a client of Impact, decided it was time for a web site makeover when she decided to cultivate a speaking career. “We created more pizzazz by changing the colors, adding new photos, and highlighting my speaking topics and media appearances,” says Lee. “The new focus has already paid off by landing me spot as a financial planning expert for parenting.com.”

Another Impact client, John Barton, CFP, of Centerpointe Wealth Management in Wichita, Kansas, has always marketed himself as an educational resource as well as a financial advisor. “I wanted to give consumers a good reason to visit my site, but I had posted so much educational information that people looking to hire an advisor were distracted,” he says.

Impact’s solution?  A splash page (an introductory page meant to capture the user’s attention) with two entry portals – one for Barton’s wealth management firm and one for his retirement resource center. “I now promote my primary site whether I am marketing my firm or offering free tools for do-it-yourselfers,” says Barton.

William Neubauer, CFP, of Coral Gables, Florida-based Comprehensive Money Management Services, used Advisor Products to build his web site.  Initially, his goal was to build business, but as his practice grew, he retooled his site to diplomatically discourage people who were not ideal clients from calling. “I cover what I do and what it costs, because I’d rather not have the awkward ‘Can I afford you?’ conversation,” he says. He also gave his site a sleeker feel. ”All the bells and whistles weren’t effective,” he says. “Limiting the number of pages and eliminating calculators and my blog has made it easier for qualified prospects to learn about my firm.”

George Guerin, CFP, founder of Denver’s Guerin Financial Services, is redesigning his site with Advisor Products to share more about himself. "I’ve always struggled with the one-sided bearing of the souls that happens in the financial planning process. My clients share their dreams, yet I offer relatively little," he comments. "I’m hoping that adding my own photography to the site will share my passion for photography and travel and appeal to type of clients I want to work with."