How to build a better RIA website

Key Points

  • Every website needs a few essential features so that it looks good, is easy to find, and provides useful information.

  • Your website needs to be a dynamic online space that's always changing and improving.

  • No matter how advanced or website is, there are ways to keep improving it.

An effective RIA website is dynamic. It's always changing, always improving. Wherever your website is on the digital marketing spectrum—from focused on the basics to fully embracing digital marketing tactics—it's smart to ask yourself every 6-12 months: How can I make my website better?

The first step is to think about what your clients want or need that they're not getting from your website right now. Like the rest of your business, your website will only succeed if you put your clients first.

Let's look at how you can keep optimizing your website—no matter how advanced it is.

Build a foundation: What every website needs

Like a house, your website can be simple, but it needs a few things to make it functional.

 single story house graphic  Place below image title: Like a house, your website can be simple, but it needs a few things to make it functional


  • Up-to-date information: Do you immediately update your website when you hire new staff members? Has your offer shifted in any way? Are your blog posts recent? Outdated or stale information can damage your credibility. Even if you don't have big news, it's good to update information periodically so that your website always looks fresh.
  • Mobile-friendly design: It's generally believed that about half of website traffic in the U.S. is on mobile devices. Older websites often do not reconfigure content for smaller screens, causing the content to be distorted or unable to fit within the screen width. When users encounter a poor experience, they're likely to go somewhere else. According to Storyblok, 60% of consumers say they abandon purchases due to poor user experience on websites.1 For higher-stakes decisions such as choosing an advisor, websites are likely to be held to even higher standards.
  • An "about us" section: Financial advice is a relationship business. People want to see who they will be working with and understand a little about your philosophy before meeting to dig in deeper. A section that lets the uniqueness of your firm come through and includes team bios can make a big difference.
  • A list of service offerings: Clients need to know what they'll get when they work with you. Is estate planning part of your offer? Do you have expertise in administering trusts? It's especially important to communicate your service offerings if your firm targets specific niches.
  • Contact info on every page: You don't want prospective clients to have trouble giving you a call or finding your office. Many firms include contact information in the footer of each page.
  • Simplicity: A website that's complex, has a lot of layers, or is difficult to navigate is not likely to win over new clients. Simple navigation and a few easy-to-recognize categories will make it much easier for prospective clients to learn about your firm.
  • Write compelling headlines: A headline is about more than just grabbing attention. It can communicate important information. Just remember to be clear, be yourself, and write to what you know your ideal client wants.
  • Calls to action: Nearly every page should have a call to action (CTA). Even if it's a link to another page, you want to create opportunities for website visitors to engage more deeply with your firm.

Build bigger: Creating a better user experience

Once your house is in good shape, you can begin making additions. For a website, this means improving the user experience.

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  • Thought leadership content: Current and prospective clients come to you for your knowledge and insights. Your website is a great place to provide that content. Small firms may not be able to provide in-depth thought leadership every week, but even a monthly addition can drive traffic to your website and increase interest in your firm.
  • Client account access: Clients love the ease and convenience of being able to check on their account and take care of simple tasks via your website. In fact, some kind of online portal is becoming a minimum requirement in today's world.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO): There are a lot of small ways you can make it more likely that your website shows up when prospective clients are searching Google for financial advice. Check out "How to Improve Your Website Ranking in Search Results" to learn more about SEO.
  • Google Analytics: If you don't know how your website is performing, then you don't know how to improve it. Google Analytics provides a wealth of data that can help you see who's visiting your site and how they're engaging with content. Understanding how to use Google Analytics does take some training. You can learn on your own via Google's online tutorial.

Build with style: Top website features

The top RIA websites go a little further to deliver for their current and future clients. They provide frequent, in-depth content that drives engagement and strengthens relationships.

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  • Frequent thought leadership posts: Your firm can distinguish itself as a trusted name in wealth management with regular, insightful thought leadership content. Not only will clients love it, but Google is also likely to love it, moving your firm's site up in search rankings.
  • Segmented offers: Top firms structure their website around client segments. If your firm specializes in working with doctors, attorneys, or business leaders, you can create individual sections of your website that provide information tailored for that specific audience. This approach can show prospective clients that you're committed to their needs and help your firm convert more leads.
  • Engaging videos: Videos are a great way to let your personality and knowledge come through. They're also an effective way to communicate to perspective clients what they get from a relationship with your firm. 
  • Lead-capture forms tied to high-value content: To capture leads, you often must give prospective clients something valuable. By providing a useful worksheet to help a single woman plan for retirement or a white paper on the recent ups and downs of the markets, you're not only showing future clients how you will put them first, but you're also creating a compelling reason for that person to fill out a contact form or set up a meeting.
  • Regular blog posts or articles: A blog can do a lot for your website. It can host your thought leadership content, provide updates on what's happening at the firm, show how your firm works with your community, and more. It's a chance to keep your website fresh and to keep creating opportunities for your firm to show up in Google searches.
  • Trust cues: Top-performing websites have "trust cues"—features that signal your firm is trustworthy. Awards, accreditations, partner logos, news clips, and more can communicate to people who don't know you yet that your firm is not only reputable, but among the best in the industry.

Continue building your website

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You don't have to make all these changes tomorrow. Websites are works in progress. In fact, it's smart to prioritize your website improvements and tackle them one at a time. This will give you a chance to test and learn along the way so that your website is uniquely yours and will be tailored to your specific clients. 

Keep working to maximize your firm's digital potential. Now more than ever your website can be an essential key to your firm's growth.


What you can do next

  • Participate in the Forming Your Foundation series, part of our Virtual Practice Management program. At your own pace, you'll get expert guidance to help you identify your ideal client and communicate your value. 
  • Consider a custodian that invests in your success. If you're thinking about becoming an independent advisor, contact us to learn more about the benefits of a custodial relationship with Schwab.


1 "60% of consumers abandon purchases due to poor website user experience, costing e-commerce companies billions," PR Newswire, December 2022.