So you have a website. Great! Most advisors websites are merely corporate brochures that never change. Others are mere templates and look like hundreds of other websites with a different logo and a different picture. Your website is your new business card. There are three musts to a website:
- Make your home page appealing and interesting. You have seconds to make a first impression
- Spend time on your ABOUT page because it is the second most important page on your site. Your ABOUT page is your BRAND and it better be good, unique and interesting.
- Make your site dynamic with content. If you want to get noticed on the web, you have to have content that can be searched for.
I‘m not going to fool you, the toughest part of the Internet is getting found. It’s truly like finding a needle in a haystack sometimes. If you think about the billion and billions of pages out there, how are people going to find you?
The first thing I have to disclose is I am not expert but I have built a presence on the Internet. Even though I am not an expert, I offer you a few ideas that I have used to get noticed when you are the needle in the haystack:
Find a great URL – A great URL is one that is relevant, catchy and easy to spell without mistakes. Some people say all the good URLs are taken but there are still ones out there. You just have to be creative. The best URL I ever got was RetireHappy.ca. I think it is great because it is short, memorable, it is descriptive, it shows my expertise and people always want to talk about it.
Promote your URL – Once you have a website, it is important to incorporate the URL into all of your marketing material. One tip is to incorporate the URL right into your company logo. For example, my logo for this site incorporates the url AdvisorThinkBox.com. My logo could easily be just “Advisor Think Box” but simply adding the dot com to the logo promotes the URL too. I did the same thing with JimYih.com. On my business cards, I simply added the dot com to the logo. If you have a catchy tag line, see if you can get that URL and build it into your logo. A really easy example of this is www.Justdoit.com. They didn’t just brand nike.com but also their tag line.
Write an article for a prominent site – I have over 1000 articles on my website www.WealthWebGurus.com because I’ve been writing for almost 15 years. Some of my articles rank very high on google. For example if you search “Self-Directed RRSPs” I am right at the top. A lot of my articles are not ranked that high but there is merit in writing for sites that have high traffic. For example, I now write for one of Canada’s biggest Personal Finance Blogs, www.CanadianFinanceBlog.com. If you google “CPP” one of my articles shows up on page 5 but the article I wrote for CanadianFinanceBlog is on page 1. There are sites like About.com, Ezinearticles.com, ehow.com, etc that have built a business publishing content for other people. These sites are usually ranked high because of the amount of content and traffic they have. In the financial industry, offer to write for site that want content to increase your visibility. You could even write a guest post for my WealthWebgurus site.
Write comments on other blogs – Most blogs want comments on their articles. When people like the article, they will often read the comments too. When you post a comment, you are creating some exposure. Be considerate and make sure you do not SPAM when making comments. I found a blog that I really enjoy www.BalanceJunkie.com. She is an excellent writer and writes about topics that interest me. I started posting comments regularly and now she makes an effort to help promote my sites. Getting the exposure from her was not my original intent but it has taught me to develop relationships with other people that have content that you enjoy.
Dynamic content – I’ve written about this before in my post “Websites are the new business card”. There are static sites and dynamic sites and it is way better to have a dynamic site. Some people say that they do not have the time to keep their site with new content but it’s easier than you think. Chances are you read the news or articles. There is content you like and don’t like. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel everytime by writing a new article or posting a blog. Create a place on your website for links to this content. Even get your assistant to post it up. Another way to create dynamic content is to have account access on your site. If you do this, you need to make it easy for your clients to find your content. For example, right beside the login box for clients, put a BEST ARTICLES heading with a list of some of your own articles.
Twitter – Twitter is the new craze. In a very short period of time, Twitter has become the 12 most visited website. As an advisor how can you take advantage of this exposure? It’s really simple. Get and account and start following people that you like. It’s kind of like a news service but customized to your interests. Then when you find great articles, re-tweet those articles out and you will become a filter of great information and people will start to follow you.
Search Engine optimization – Google is the largest search engine in the world. Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world. There are businesses out there that claim they can get you ranked higher on prominent search engines. Personally, I am not a fan of paying for SEO. I’ve done it in the past but I do not think the results justified the cost. Remember, I’m not the expert but for what it is worth, I’ve learned that relevance, quality and promotion will be the best forms of SEO.
Social Media – I was looking for a friend of mine from the financial industry. When I googled his name, I found him through Linked in and Facebook before his company website. Utilizing social media helps you get found. Google your own name and see if it comes up and where it comes up. Google my name and you will see that my sites come up but so do the social media sites.
My two cents
This is far form an exhaustive list of ideas to enhance your visibility on the web, but you can’t do everything so hopefully you can start somewhere. It’s all about taking one or two ideas and running with it. It’s all about action and commitment. If you want more online presence, you can’t just site back and wait for it to happen. Just do it!