If there’s one common problem with financial websites today, it’s the user experience (UX).
Many financial marketers get obsessed with the technical aspects of making their website rank higher in the search engines. Meta tags, alt tags and so on. Yet many neglect the crucial task of making their website amazing, clear and enjoyable for their visitors.
This is what Google’s recent “Rank Brain” update was all about. As a result, Google now pays much more attention to how a user interacts with a financial adviser’s website when determining its search engine ranking position.
If, for instance, people click on your financial website from the search results and then bounce straight off, that’s a negative engagement signal to Google. As a result, Google is likely to rank your website down in the search results.
The opposite effect applies, however, if people click on your website and stay for a while – clicking through to different links and pages. This is because Google interprets this as people being interested in your content. People seem to be finding what they are looking for on your financial website, so Google pushes it up in its search results.
This is especially important when you bring mobile devices into the picture. Nowadays, mobile devices are the main platform used to make internet searches – exceeding searches made on desktops.
Although it would probably be fair to say that the financial advisory industry is somewhat behind compared to this global trend, this is certainly the direction of travel. Many of our IFA client’s websites, for instance, show substantial numbers of mobile visitors when we scrutinise their Analytics.
So, what are some of the ways you – as someone who cares about your financial marketing online – can do to improve your visitors’ mobile user experience?
#1 Website Speed & Financial Marketing
Does Google care how fast your website loads? Absolutely!
In fact, this is one of the most important factors Google considers when deciding where to place your financial website in its search engine.
The bar they have set is quite a high one – recommending that your financial website should load in under 1 second for mobile users. This is not easy to achieve, but there are some free tools you can use to get your website moving in the right direction.
Probably the first important tool you’ll want to try is Google PageSpeed Insights. It does what it says on the tin, essentially. Type your URL into the search bar, and Google will return a free report diagnosing your website’s speed on desktop and mobile, whilst highlighting some key ways to improve it.
Another tool you might want to try is WebPageTest.org, which does a similar thing.
#2 Make Content Easy To Read On Mobiles
If your financial website visitors need to pinch the screen, zoom in or make squinty faces to read your blog and landing pages, then that’s a bad sign.
In all likelihood, these users are going to get frustrated very quickly and leave your site. To counter this, make sure your writing is easy to make out, and uses a legible font.
Do not make your writing too small, or use long and imposing paragraphs. Break it up a bit with images, sub-headings and bullet points.
Here are some practical guidelines when you are writing your website content:
- Make sure your font is no smaller than 14 pixels.
- Keep your paragraphs under 3 lines, at the most.
- Try and keep your character length for each line under 60 characters. (Not easy, as we don’t even do it here. But aim towards it).
- Make sure the colours between the background and text constrast well. They need to be easy to distinguish, and not strain the user’s eye.
#3 Video & HTML5
This is a quick point, but an important one when it comes to SEO, mobile devices, and financial marketing. Make sure if you embed videos on your website that it is coded in HTML5, not in Flash or anything like that.
#4 Header images – Keep Them Small
Users want to get to the content they want very quickly. So make sure that, after they have clicked on your link, that they don’t arrive at a giant image on their mobile screen.
Rather, keep your headline short enough that it gets the message across quickly, and the users can already begin reading the content underneath.
#5 Use Negative Space
Negative space refers to the empty space between the design elements on your page. The various sections, the text, the images and buttons.
The balance you have with negative space is vitally important for the mobile user experience. With a desktop page, you can sometimes get away with a fairly cluttered layout. On a mobile screen, however, you just can’t hope to clutter your page without detriment.
Use negative space to give your mobile users “room to breath” and take in your content. If you don’t use white space effectively, then they will feel bombarded and frustrated – causing them to bounce off.