Many financial advisors focus their time on web design and copywriting, but fail to pay attention to one critical thing: website navigation. Without properly designed navigation, your website may not generate leads for you. In fact, it may chase potential clients away.
What Exactly is “Website Navigation”?
Website navigation is simply the menu and labels you use on your website so people can find their way around. It can seem relatively unimportant…do those menu options on your website really matter? The answer is….yes! This often-ignored feature plays a major role in the usability of your website.
Think about it from a consumer’s point of view: let’s say you arrive home from vacation on the weekend to find a giant water puddle in your house. You need a plumber, fast. So you start looking online.
As you find local plumbers you want to know a few things: first, are they open on weekends? Then you’d like to know how much they charge and also get a feel for their experience. Then, you need to find their phone number or other contact information.
How do you find those things out? You rely on navigation…you look for menu options to answer your questions as fast as possible.
Website Navigation is The Roadmap
Without website navigation, visitors wouldn’t know where to go to get the information they need whether it’s to contact you or learn more about your services.
And if they can’t find what they are looking for, they’ll usually leave. And it is unlikely they will ever return.
That’s why your website navigation needs to be two things: simple and straightforward.
Generally, users should be able to find what they need within 3 clicks. If they can’t, they will get frustrated and move on.
Remember, your viewers likely look at many other websites when searching for a service or product provider. In today’s online world, many other options are just a simple google search away. That’s why we can’t afford to ignore this critical component.
Navigation Can Make or Break Your Website
In the wealth management industry, I would argue that website navigation is even more critical than in other industries. Most of us understand what a plumber does and there’s not too much need to differentiate. But with wealth management, differentiation is everything.
If someone is looking for a new financial advisor, your website has to help them quickly find the answers they need:
- How can your firm help them?
- What specialties do you offer?
- What’s your experience and credentials?
- How do you charge for your services?
The menu options on your website should help answer those questions. If they don’t, it’s time to revisit that aspect of your website design.
Avoid the Temptation to Get Creative
Occasionally, I’ll see financial firms try to get clever with their navigation labels on their website, but this can backfire. A financial services website isn’t a place to express too much creativity. When someone is considering investing their life savings with you, they are looking for safety and security, not edginess.
So keep things simple and straightforward. Yes, that means that your navigation may look like every other financial advisor’s website in your region. That’s okay. You can differentiate with your website copy.
Ideally, your navigation design should be a part of your financial copywriting strategy and not left to technical developers. If it’s not done right, it could drive prospects away rather than prompting them to dig deeper into your website and services.
Eliminate Distractions; Don’t Add Them
Not only should your navigation be simple and straightforward, but it should only include the essentials. Cluttering your website with nonessentials, such as a financial calculator or market information confuses your website. Are you trying to help do-it-yourselfers, or are you looking for those who want a professional to help manage their money?
Your navigation should primarily relate to your company and how your work benefits your clients.
Don’t use calculators as fillers. Those can turn off the best prospects out there, who are looking for things to be done for them. Here’s other content ideas to use instead:
- Sample financial plans
- Case studies and client stories
- Ebooks, guides and whitepapers
- Other offers to help your clients get acquainted with your services
Navigation is Part of the User Experience
You may have heard the term “user experience”, which is an important part of modern website design. Well, your website navigation is part of the user experience. Good website navigation usually makes for good user experience, but not always. User experience has some other components too, such as:
- How long your pages take to load – If they take too long (even a few seconds is too long), users will move onto a faster loading websites
- The page aesthetics – The colors, fonts, and images you use will either attract users or turn them off
- Readability of your pages – If your pages are overloaded with content that’s not properly organized so it’s easy to read, users won’t stick around
- Accessibility of information – Your information should be easy to navigate and it should be readily apparent how to contact you to get more information
Part of the User Experience
Think of it this way. If your website isn’t easy to navigate, it doesn’t matter how pretty it is or how accessible the information is.
If users can’t find what they need, you’ve wasted time creating the pages you published. You want users to flow from page to page, immediately finding the information they need. Proper use of headlines, colors, and images will help move users along, pointing them in the right direction.
The less confusing your website is and the easier it is to read, the faster users will get what they need and decide to work with you. Each page should entice viewers to keep browsing or to take a specific action. Include a call to action that isn’t too pushy, but is enticing enough to make users act.
Tips for Better Navigation and User Experience
Yes, that was a lot of information about a somewhat technical topic. So let’s summarize it. Here are two practical tips to help improve your navigation and your user experience.
1. Keep your Navigation Simple
The navigation bar is like a roadmap. Stick to words that are straightforward, such as Our Services or What We Do. For your contact information, we’re all used to “Contact Us”, so while it’s not exciting, it works. Avoid anything that can have more than one meaning or that is not easily discernable.
2. Position your Navigation Bar Properly
Research shows that putting your navigation bar in unusual places often simply results in those parts of your website not getting noticed. So don’t get creative with your navigation bar. Remember your end goal – you want users to contact you. This isn’t a scavenger hunt. Keep the navigation bar at the top of the website for the most consistent results. If users have to hunt for your menu, you’ll likely find them hunting for another website and potential provider.
Your website’s navigation is an important aspect of your website. If your website navigation isn’t clear enough, users won’t ever get to the content.
So spend a little time ensuring your navigation is clear and simple, and you’ll position your website for maximum success.
Looking for help with your financial website copywriting? Wavelength, we’ve developed engaging content for many clients, including over 85 Registered Investment Advisory firms. Contact us for a free consultation.