How to Make Your Advisor Site Not Suck.

Posted on March 5, 2011

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Yesterday I shared why I think our industry needs a reboot on the advisor websites… Ponies and White People aren’t going to cut it.

The best site with the proper elements today is Wealthfront.  Note: no cheesy stock photos of white people on boats lounging. Not sitting in convertibles smiling.

Today I thought I’d share some more details about the elements we should all be using to make us relevant to the 21st century investor.

First and foremost- no Flash. If I’m a client (or potential client)I want to read all of your information on my super awesome iPad or iPhone. I’m rich– I’ll have one of these. If not today, soon. Also, I’ll just assume your site doesn’t play music when I enter.  Please. Tell me it’s not that bad.

So here you go… the proper {and only} elements you’ll need.

Our Story:

This should be the area where you get all lofty and inspirational. Anywhere else in the site, no thanks. And keep it 500 (ok 1000) words or less.

Contact us:

Think like a client, put it on the front page. I don’t want to have to click thru three links to get your address or fax number, or worse some lame email submit form. Put your primary custodian information on the site too.

About Us:

This is where I’ve struggled.  I hate the idea that my photo on a website is a good thing, but indeed everyone I talk to says they like seeing the people who manage the money. So show us your mug and give us your bio.

What we do:

This should be a practical guide of how the money is managed. Specific. What is in my portfolio?  Why? What’s the criteria to make it in the portfolio? And out? How often is the portfolio rebalanced? How often are you reviewing the portfolio with me? If you offer financial planning, show me a sample of what your financial plan looks like. If there are any pictures like this one… I might have to slap you. Get specific.

Our Portfolio:

Show me a list of all of the buys and sells in the portfolio or of the model for the last twelve months. If you can’t because you personalize each account, tell me. I will be skeptical as a result. If you use private money managers or mutual funds, show the risk/return data for the top 5 you own of each.

Performance Numbers:

If you can’t provide me performance numbers, I am not interested– and neither is an investor with half a brain. This information should be on every site starting right now. For advisors who customize each and every client, an aggregate number for all of your client accounts will have to do– we understand.  But remember advisors, the more you customize advice the less scale there is to your operation, which as a professional makes me skeptical of your ability to pay proper attention to my account. Show me a sample performance report.  How often will I get a report like this? These can be gross or net– just disclose.  See? Easy Peasy.

Fees:

List your Fee Schedule. If you use mutual funds or private money managers, it would be nice for you to show me the average expense ratio. Otherwise I’ll be telling people to ask.

Your Practice:

Tell me how many clients you have and how much you manage.

SEC Documents:

Show them.

Blog:

If you do it, do it.  Every day, Every week, Every month, Every Quarter (is probably too little). Just be consistent.  But the key to a blog on your company site to show people what’s going on at your place.  A blog is not necessary if you hit all of the other areas of design. For proper design elements of a blog see The Reformed Broker’s definitive guide.

Everything Else:

Anything else is fluff and a futile waster of time & resources. So, please take down the generic market news & quotes.  The calculators. The “useful links.” This pretty much applies to every LPL advisor in the world, btw. I’m not going your site to see these things. There is this new thing called Google Finance that pretty much covers my needs.

Ok?

Thanks. Buh-bye. Oh, and #Winning.

Posted in: abnormal returns