All advisors need an online presence. Your website should be a basic component of a digital strategy that works for you. Most firms offer templates for advisors to use, with varying amounts of add-ons available; independent advisors may have more design freedom while starting from scratch. Here are some elements to consider.
Start with the essentials: a good headshot (see advisor.ca/headshot for tips), your designations, a short bio with educational and professional highlights, and contact information. Provide the same for your team members, and include a description of your firm’s philosophy and history. Your page is also an opportunity to talk about your practice. Let clients know about your process and services.
This may be all you need if you generate new leads through old-fashioned networking and word of mouth. Include links to your social profiles only if you use them professionally and regularly post valuable content.
Additional features can make your website more comprehensive. For example, you could include a sample client questionnaire to prepare people for your first meeting, an appointment-booking tool and a client log-in portal.
Your website can be used as a platform to leverage your social media presence and broader industry profile. This can include a blog, podcasts, webinars and information about speaking engagements. Creating content is hard work, however, and it’s important to weigh the time commitment against the potential reward. You want to avoid a digital footprint so expansive that you have to scramble to keep it from looking abandoned.
Choose a responsive website theme with a clean look and make sure it performs on different devices before committing to it, such as on Android and Apple phones, as well as desktop, tablet and laptop. Avoid trendy styles, which tend to look dated as soon as they appear. Only use add-ons such as video or slideshows if you have a professional team to make them look polished.
Design for a basic website starts at around $5,000; expect to pay upwards of $20,000 for a more robust solution. These estimates include setup and assume the advisor provides the content. Help with writing and editing are extra, and you may also incur hosting and maintenance fees.