Unlocking Real Value Blog

What Makes For a Good Financial Services Website?

A recent report by Dalbar (a well-respected research firm in the financial services industry), which ranked the websites of top mutual fund companies, has some interesting implications for the entire industry. (I believe that the findings are germane to all segments of the industry – sponsor firms, investment managers, RIAs, etc. So take notice!)

Let’s start with the overall conclusion – it’s critical that websites are easy to navigate and that content is easy to find. In addition, continuity among the different features being offered is important; for example, the use of social media should complement the functionality of the website and fit naturally.

Poor functionality will lead to frustration on the part of the user and any value-added contained in additional content will be lost. An effective website must have good design (which includes the look as well as the functionality) as well as good content. One without the other is not enough. To quote an executive at a large fund family, “It’s all about getting the right content to the right person at the right time.”

In designing your website, make sure that you dedicate the necessary resources to both design and content!

There were a few other interesting findings in the report as well. The use of mobile, social media and interactive features is increasing. Again, while this is not surprising, it’s important to reiterate that the most effective sites allow clients as well as prospects to utilize the information and access the resources of the company the way that they want to – it’s all about the user! Make it user-friendly!

Finally, the “viral” component – the ability for readers to share the information with others – is growing significantly (the phenomenon is called social sharing.) People want to share content that they find useful, especially when it comes to their finances, and making it easy for them to do so helps spread your brand further – and faster!

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