Financial industry web design and key considerations.

Financial web design

Thursday, 12 March 2020

Financial web design has been a strong focus for ID Studio, in part due to our close proximity to London's financial heart. We have a lot of experience designing custom-made websites for a multitude of divisions within the financial industry. Being based in Central London, ID Studio understands the importance and contribution of the financial services industry, accounting for over 20% of the UK GDP.

The financial industry covers a vast array of sectors, we can and have provided web design services for many of the following areas:

  • Insurance industry
  • Commercial and investment banking
  • Foreign exchange services including transfers
  • Venture capitalists
  • Internet-based financial services
  • Financial experts and advisory boards
  • Brokerage services
  • Bitcoin 
  • Personal and commercial loans

Due to the diverse nature of the finance industry, we have found there are numerous reasons why a website is crucial to business development. We have listed below some of the most common website objectives, some industries will integrate all three platforms.

Marketing platform – To act as an online brochure for your financial services business, allowing visitors to find out more about your business and the services you offer. Depending upon your requirements, the site can be in the form of parallax design, or from an extensive site map encompassing hundreds of pages.
Ecommerce platform – A good ecommerce website example for the financial industry would be insurance, where site visitors are allowed to purchase your services online through a secure platform (you would hope, more about this in the next section). Allowing visitors to purchase your services online can have many benefits, such as increased sales, especially with renewals as well as helping to reduce costs by minimising staff usage.
Document portal – The website can act as an information and document portal, allowing visitors to download documents relevant to their needs and policies. 

Security

Due to the nature of the financial industry, it is paramount that visitors feel secure whilst accessing your site. In addition, depending upon the financial industry you operate in, there may be laws and regulations that need to be adhered to with regard to online security. Some of the areas you may need to consider include:

  • Sounds obvious, however, make sure you use a secure password
  • Use a mixture of capitals, punctuations, hashtags, numbers or a decent password generator
  • Use the services of a professional web hosting company with a proven track record
  • Look at their reviews and service agreements
  • Ensure you have a comprehensive and reliable backup procedure in place
  • SSL certificate – They are used to protect sensitive information such as credit card details
  • Constantly check and update all necessary software and scripts, keeping all certificates UpToDate
  • Use CSP (content security policy) and parameterized queries to stop SQL attacks and cross-site scripting (XSS)
  • Make sure that directories and file permissions are locked down
  • Run regular security checks

Financial website optional features for potential inclusion

Online chat – There are countless positives associated with having live chat functionality integrated into your website, and this is especially relevant for the finance industry. Due to the nature of this sector, site visitors are more likely to have questions and want assurances. With the option of live chat, this can be done before potential customers leave your site. Live chat also allows your potential customers to ask about your services without the concern of a ‘pushy’ salesperson making them feel uncomfortable. Live chat is an excellent addition to any website, however, if you are going to offer this service make sure you have the resources to run it properly.

Online applications – Not a necessary feature for all finance-related businesses, however, if your budget allows, this can be a great feature not only helping to generate sales, but to gain customer information. UX and UI are critical components whilst designing a successful online application, allowing users to change their information with ease is vital. This logic can be applied to insurance companies, customers may want to alter their excess to see what cost difference this makes to their premiums.

Online calculators – This functionality can be great for the banking industry, allowing your visitors to calculate their repayments costs for a mortgage or a loan. Elements that are crucial to the project’s success include simplicity to use, multiple field options, good support and as always, excellent UI and UE. Some of the advantages a price calculator can provide the financial industry include:

  • Convenience for the user:
  • Instant access
  • No need to wait on the phone
  • Immediate results
  • Save business resources as customers don’t need to call
  • Opportunity to gain customer information for marketing
  • Competitive advantage over rivals without this functionality

Reviews, ratings and testimonials – Building confidence in your business and the services you offer is key to converting site visitors into customers. By displaying positive customer reviews, you will boost trust and confidence in your brand. There are numerous tools to help you achieve this.

  • Google reviews
  • Include testimonials in your website
  • Trust pilot
  • KiyOH
  • Feefo
  • ReeVoo
  • Bazaavoice

Our Team – By providing a team page you can help humanise your business, making site visitors feel more at ease. The team page doesn’t have to be boring, make it interesting by adding entertaining facts or caricatures. It also provides you with an opportunity to showcase talent, for example, Joe Bloggs is great at forensic accounting with over ten years’ experience working for the world’s largest mining company…

CTA (Call to action) – Being in the financial industry, your website is likely to require call to action triggers. One of the main reasons many websites do not generate sales is due to poorly constructed call to actions. There are numerous tactics to create irresistible CTA:

  • Use powerful text with action words
  • Offer something to entice them such as a trial or discount
  • Add a sense of urgency, ‘take out an insurance policy TODAY and save 5%’
  • Showcase the benefits or amplify the problem
  • Do not overcomplicate the CTA with numerous conflicting options

Helpful tools – Provide online calculators (this is covered above), maps, search function etc.

Home page image carousel – Images are a great way to help emphasise a point, it also helps to reduce text and the need for people to read additional information. The financial industry is awash with the use of images, search on google for ‘health insurance’, ‘accountants London’ – they all use large emotive images often scrolling on the home page.

Video – Inclusion of video marketing will not be necessary for everyone, however, there are many ways that video marketing can help improve the effectiveness of your website. We have listed some reasons below tailored for the financial industry.

  • Video can be used to help deliver a core message quickly
  • Some visitors may find reading financial information tiresome, by providing a video option they just need to click a button and listen
  • You can show them several benefits all at once. For example, for home insurance, you could have an animation of a house being rebuilt after an ‘incident’, whilst further enforcing this with audio at the same time
  • If used correctly, it can help increase your conversion rate
  • It can benefit your SEO by creating social shares, links back to your site 

Infographics – The financial industry tends to be associated as a serious, boring industry and this can sometimes be reflected with their websites. By using appropriate infographics, you can make your website become visually more compelling and gain attention. In addition, infographics can help your audience better understand the financial services you are offering without the need for reading an abundance of information. Make sure that the infographic uses an eye-catching design, that promotes your brand and is easy to understand. 

Charts – Charts need to work in the same way as infographics, allowing for the easy digestion of information that would otherwise be tiresome to read whilst highlighting your key USPs.

Site search – Quite often, finance-related websites can contain a lot of information, such as forms, documents, terms and conditions, policies etc. By adding search functionality, you can help improve usability and ultimately website conversions. Some of the related benefits include:

  • Improve user journey
  • Creates a customer-centric feel
  • Advantage over competition
  • Increase sales due to information retrieval
  • You can record searches for analytical research

Newsletter signup – There are a number of excellent newsletter platforms that are relatively inexpensive to use. Newsletters if used properly, can be a brilliant medium to communicate with existing and potential customers, promoting your business whilst encouraging sales.

FAQS page – If your site visitor can’t find the answer to the question they are looking for, they are likely to leave to a competitor’s site. Usability is the key, and this is especially important for the financial industry. Quite often you will be providing a service such as insurance, financial transactions, consultancy and people want to know immediately if it is right for them. By adding a FAQ page, you can help put their mind at rest. Other benefits include:

  • Allows you to address concerns immediately
  • Saves your business time and money by not having customers contact you
  • You can use the FAQs page to help boost your SEO, tailor them towards your financial services using keywords - Use the question that people will search for such as, ‘Will my home insurance policy cover me from accidental damage…’
  • It will help you establish trust and build a rapport with potential customers
  • FAQs can be used as another form of navigation

Social media promotion – Even if your business does not embrace social media, being in the financial industry it may well embrace you! Customers may comment on a service you business offers, and unfortunately, people only usually comment when they are not impressed. So even if your website does not use social media, it is a good idea to respond to these mentions before they damage your brand. Social media can also be used to further your reach, promote financial services or your brand. The challenge with the finance industry is trying to make this content ‘fun’, that is where you need to be inventive!

Blog area – Blogs can be an excellent medium to promote your business and to gain search engine rankings. Financial industries can use blogs to their advantage on their websites by:

  • Promoting your business and brand as an expert in your field, showcasing your financial knowledge and expertise.
  • Promote search engine keywords, the blog can be tailored around longtail keywords that are easier to rank highly for.
  • Promote your financial services offerings, link directly to product pages and enforce their core benefits - This also helps SEO and navigation
  • Help to engage your website visitors by providing useful content

UX (User Experience)

  • Directed at your industry or service –Your website must speak directly to your target audience, targeting their motivations and selling your USPs.
  • Personalised advice – We all enjoy the personal touch, and this is no different when it comes to your website visitors. Make sure your information is relevant, answering any doubts or queries users might have. Put yourself in their position, being finance-related you need to make them feel secure and at ease. Personalisation does not only help retain visitors, but it also helps with new conversions.
  • Quick comparisons – This is especially important in the financial industry, the website needs to immediately showcase your USPs, benefits over rivals and why people should use you. By showcasing quick comparisons, you can effectively highlight your advantages and encourage impulse sales. Quick comparisons should also be used for similar policies that your business offers, for instance, basic health insurance as opposed to a premium package.
  • Tailored icons – By tailoring your icons to appeal to your target audience, you can help initiate interest in your business. Used effectively, icons can be a fantastic form of communication supporting important information.
  • Image and text together – Using image captions can be a powerful way to further enforce the meaning behind the image.
  • Clean and quick navigation – Creating intuitive navigation is key to the success of any website, during the initial wireframing process all elements of navigational usability need to be addressed. Other benefits include: Increased time spent on your website and encourages users to look around, reduced bounce rates, creates a positive impression for your business, saves time for the end-user, improves your overall website design.

SEO Strategy

It is all well having a great looking website, however, if no one can find it and you are ranked behind your rivals it will serve you little purpose in gaining new customers. SEO is often overlooked and left to the later stages, whether you have an existing website or building a new one, below are some key points that you need to contemplate.

If you already have a website, then you need to consider the implications of search engine migration. It is important that you have a full list of your current URLs. If you are going to use Screaming Frog or a similar platform to scan your website, remember they will only reveal pages that have links to them internally! To ensure you do not lose SEO juice, make a list of all pages that are going to be removed and redirect any changed links. In addition, make a list of any crawl errors so they are not continued with the new site. If you are currently undertaking any PPC (pay per click) advertising, make sure any new links are also updated in your campaigns.

There are numerous reports highlighting the dangers of site migration and the subsequent loss of search engine rankings. We believe and know from experience if you migrate efficiently and follow all necessary precautions there should be no issues.
Example migrations can include any of the following:

  • Domain name change
  • Changing platforms or upgrading
  • Design updates
  • Text updates
  • Structural changes

Below are some tips to make sure you achieve the best SEO migration possible for your finance related website.

  • Migrate during a slow period
  • Establish measurable objectives that can easily be compared - Keyword rankings, site performance, google speed test, bounce rate etc.
  • Collect SEO data - URL structures, headings, titles, internal linking strategy, keyword usage etc.
  • Redirect preparation
  • Assign adequate resources and time, do not cut corners
  • Test, and test again immediately fixing any issues

Recent Assignments

Internet Dreams Studio is proud to announce that we have recently been commissioned to design the new website for Buzzacott, a world-renowned leading financial business based in London.  Buzzacott is a leading accountancy firm, in the UK top 25 providing expertise in a multitude of financial services.

JJCFinTech – Offers connectivity between market participants, investors, asset managers, dealers, vendors and other FinTech firms.

Project Objects – Is a leading provider of Extended Enterprise Project & Portfolio Management (XPPM) software.

Arlingclose – An independent treasury advisory company providing unbiased financial advice and capital financing expertise for the public, private and the third sectors.

Invenio Corporate Finance – Is an independent, advisory boutique with a fresh and tailored approach to corporate transaction advisory.

Hamilton Ventures – An independent merchant banking boutique.

Opus Corporate Finance - Opus is a corporate finance advisory business providing independent, strategic and creative advice primarily to businesses in the UK and European mid-market.

Equiduct – A London based electronic trading platform.

If you are looking for a financial services web design agency with a proven track record, contact ID Studio to find out how we can help transform your online presence and give you a competitive advantage over your rivals.