As an advisor, you understand that establishing trust is paramount for success. Today the vast majority of information flows through the Internet,which is where your prospects are seeking to learn about financial services. If your website’s information is communicated poorly, you may arouse suspicion before you’ve even made contact.

Your website is your calling card. You need it to make a good first (and second and third) impression.The aesthetic of a site—the way it looks—is important, but we’ve all learned not to judge a book by its cover. Content, however, it fair game. We are more likely to forgive an unattractive website than a poorly written one. A poorly written website makes it difficult for prospects to understand the services you provide and to put their trust in you.

Say you’re booking a flight online with an airline whose website is full of grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and confusing sentences. You might begin by asking yourself why they don’t care enough to write well and end by wondering what else they don’t care about. You may know on an intellectual level that the quality of their website has no bearing on how well their pilots fly planes, but it could make you uneasy nonetheless. Don’t give prospects any reason to fear putting their financial lives in your hands.

Your prospects may not be reading your site with an editor’s eye, but they may react negatively to a poorly written website and not even know why. And this goes beyond poor grammar. A lack of clarity can put prospects on guard as well. Well-researched, thoughtful, engaging content, which seeks to inform rather than obfuscate, creates a positive feedback loop. Trustworthy content builds trust. It shows that you’re an expert in your field and understand the need to demonstrate that expertise.

Your website is not the only factor that will determine how well you do as an advisor. But it can prevent people from discovering just how good you are. Because your first interaction with prospects can occur outside your presence (on your prospect’s computer screen), it’s essential to reflect online the level of trust you engender in person. So much of running a successful website focuses on keywords, algorithms and optimization. It can be easy to forget that the purpose of your website is really quite simple: to clearly communicate the value to have to offer.

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