How Is Your Advisor Website Like a Toothbrush?

Website toothbrushes
© Can Stock Photo Inc.

How is your advisor website like a toothbrush? Both are basic essentials, and come in a huge range of sizes and options to reflect your individual tastes. Most important, just as you should regularly replace your toothbrush well before it’s snapped in two, you should treat your website to a regular refresh to keep it relevant in the face of ever-advancing technology.

Why Update or Replace Your Site Regularly?

An obsolete website exposes you and your firm to:

  • Sending the wrong message – If your website has one overarching mission, it’s to communicate how your firm is different from the rest – in a good way. Left unattended, it will eventually mutate into delivering exactly the opposite message – delivering a perception that your firm may be outdated, inattentive to quality, or uncaring about your guest’s optimal experience.
  • Diminishing functionality – Older code eventually breaks. For example, in the good old days, many sites used techniques such as frame design, Flash plug-ins and html coding that simply did not keep up with current design protocol. If your site is built with now-obsolete coding, portions of it could stop working or even expose you to potential breaches from phishers who are on the prowl for holes in your security.
  • Missing out on new benefits – Of course you can go overboard and over-budget trying to keep up with the Jones’ site. As a seasoned advisor, you are probably inherently averse to chasing every band wagon rolling by. But to all things, balance. Especially if you’re continuing to pay monthly service fees on an aging site, you may no longer be getting your money’s worth if you’re missing out on important new possibilities. For example, how does your old site display on new mobile devices? If you’re using social media, are you making best use of it by tightly integrating it with your site for overall benefit? Hey, even the relatively trend-cautious Dimensional Fund Advisors now has its own app!
  • Decreasing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Just as the rest of technology marches on, search engines like Google are forever on the look-out for new and improved ways to deliver meaningful results. Even if your SEO has been okay so far, your rankings will probably eventually begin to drop in step with the perceived obsolescence of your site.

How Often?

Fortunately, similarities between your website and your toothbrush begin to diverge here. You certainly don’t need to overhaul your website quarterly, as your hygienist would recommend for your dental device. I’ve found that a good rule of thumb is to plan (i.e., budget) for a significant overhaul about every three years.

You may be even better off heeding the far more tech-savvy advice offered by Bill Winterberg, CFP®,  founder of FPPad, a technology consulting firm to financial advisors. I asked him what he thought was the proper timeframe and he felt three years may be too long to wait before tending to major upgrades.

“Web technology moves so fast today, which we have already witnessed with the rise and demise of Flash animation,” says Bill. “Flash is now all but gone, and HTML5 is its current replacement, despite only being used in mainstream websites for about two years. Today, website visitors [also] anticipate seeing more video and graphic content in addition to the written descriptions of an advisor’s products and services. Make the investment in good video production and update content with good imagery as much as possible.”

For general housekeeping versus significant overhaul, Bill advises performing template updates and general layout enhancements annually. To translate that tech-talk, just as you would periodically update your system software on your PC and mobile devices regularly, you want to do the same for your website, for all the reasons described above.

Taking My Own Advice

While we’re on the subject of website upgrades, I’m thrilled to announce the September release of my own all-new website! To guests who are familiar with my old site, it actually won’t look significantly different. That’s intentional, because many components were already working well. But to support my new Content-Sharing Library, I ported the entire affair from a WordPress platform to one specifically designed for enhanced searching, purchasing and downloading of my library materials.

I do hope you’ll visit soon. Take off your coat and enjoy browsing the Content-Sharing Library, where passively minded advisors can purchase content individually, or subscribe for a year’s worth of all the content available for a flat rate of $299.  You’ll find some free samples there as well.