Online Marketing Tips from one Financial Advisor to Another

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By Russell D. Francis, CPA/PFS, CFP®

Learn more about Russell on NerdWallet’s Ask an Advisor

As with everything electronic, if your website is over over a year old, it’s probably obsolete. Just like your cell phone or desktop, you need to upgrade it often to keep up with the technology your prospects are using.

I would venture to say that most financial advisors design their webpage to use a brochure for prospects to peruse rather than as a marketing tool. This is wrong in so many ways. If you’re seriously looking for new business, you need to update your thinking and your technology.

Here’s what your website needs to look like today.

Your website must be “responsive”

Mobile search is set to surpass desktop search by 2014 with more people accessing information from smartphones or tablets. Your website must be responsive to all screen sizes and resolutions. Fortunately, most websites being designed today have this capability.

Use WordPress

Unless your website is built using WordPress or a similar content management system (CMS), you’re website is probably nothing more than an expensive brochure.

Websites today need to be dynamic, with changing content that is interactive and meaningful to the readers. Just take a look at the comment section below any story on the web. People want to respond, including your clients and prospects, so give them the chance to do so.

WordPress allows you to easily change and update content on a regular basis and gives readers the opportunity to interact.

It’s all about content

Sure, you may have invested time and money to apply Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques to your website. SEO still has some impact, but nothing like it did a couple of years ago.

Today it’s content that rules. Content that is fresh, original, informative, relevant and trustworthy. Google recognizes fresh and original content and is ranking sites accordingly.

Search engines can track how many visitors your site has, how long they stay on your site, and how often they return. If the search engines determine that your site has been deemed useful by others, it will perform well in search results.

Become an “authority” in your niche

Present yourself as a helpful expert in your field and gain the respect of other authority figures within your niche. Write a whitepaper, an e-book, or a compelling infographic and link to it on your website. One of the best ways to demonstrate your expertise is by giving away advice, and freely sharing resources that will educate and inform your peers, clients and prospects.

People will begin to pay more attention to what you say when they perceive you as an expert who provides good information that helps them. So how do you get the word out that you’re an expert in your field?

Generate fresh, informative content by blogging

Set up a blog on your website and blog frequently. Blogging on a regular basis, preferably weekly, but at a minimum monthly, can make a huge difference in how you’re perceived as an expert in your filed and how you rank in the search engines.

Sure it’s additional work, but with a little practice, you can easily write a 300-400 word blog post in an hour. Here are some suggestions for writing blog posts:

  • Write a “Mistakes to avoid” article.
  • Write a “How to” article.
  • Write a “10 steps to…” article.
  • Write about a “Little known secret for saving money”

Your content should provide timeless value.  For instance, you’re better off writing about how pre-retirees need to prepare for retirement rather than blog about 2014 tax law changes. The key is to create meaningful and valuable content that provides a great user experience.

If you still can’t get yourself to do it, hire someone to do it for you. Above all, make sure your content is original.

Only post “original” content

Search engines have become quite proficient in detecting duplicate content. If your site is found to contain duplicate or spun content, it will lessen your credibility and the site’s value in the search engines. You should never post the same content on your own site that you have posted on someone else’s blog.

You can learn more about how Google treats duplicate content and syndicated content at https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66359?hl=en.

There are many bloggers that don’t receive any attention because people don’t know where and how to find their content. That’s where social networking comes in.

Develop your social networks

Search engines are continuously improving the way they determine the ranking of web content and are now putting more weight on social media. It’s imperative that you put social media buttons on your website to make it easy for people to log on through their social networking accounts.

At a minimum, set up your own Facebook page, Twitter account, Google+ page, and a LinkedIn account. And when you publish a blog post, have them automatically pushed out to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It’s easy to do this using WordPress Plugins.

If you’re still in doubt about how affective social media is in your marketing strategy read Forbes’ 10½ Ways to Take Advantage of “Social SEO”.

Use “Authorship” to identify yourself as an expert

Every so often, you’ll notice someone’s face comes up next to their post in a Google search. At first, you may think, “Wow, they must be an authority, but in reality they have just linked their post to their Google+ account. This not only makes you look like an expert by putting a face to content, but it seems to be increasingly important in Google’s search algorithm.

Google Authorship is fairly easy to set up: you must have a Google+ profile first, then your byline content containing your Google+ name on your website or post. Then verify your authorship using your email address. More information on authorship can be found at https://plus.google.com/authorship.

Google authorship can also help protect your website from duplicate syndicated content since you will be identified as the original owner.

Originally published on http://financialprofessionalwebsites.com/