How to build a better RIA website

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 for current and prospective clients.


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 Outdated or stale information can damage your credibility.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 any big news, it's good to update information periodically so that your website always looks fresh. 


Mobile-friendly design: About 45% of website traffic in the U.S. is on mobile devices, according to Statista.1  Older websites often do not reconfigure content for smaller screens, causing the content to be distorted or requiring users to swipe from side to side to see the full width of the page. That means they're likely to go somewhere else. According to Google, 57% of mobile users wouldn't recommend a business with a bad mobile website.2 


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 for curious website visitors.


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 a specific niche such as doctors or CEOs. If your website includes language that's commonly used by your ideal client, it's more likely to show up in a Google search by those particular kinds of prospective clients. (See below for more on SEO.)


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.

Need help focusing your digital marketing on the right audience for your firm? 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. (login required)


Advancing beyond the basics

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

two story house graphic

Occasional thought leadership posts: 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 post in-depth thought leadership every week, but even a monthly post 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 this series to learn more about how you can boost your SEO.

57% Of mobile users would not recommend a business with a bad website
Source: Google, "The Mobile Playbook: A Busy Executive's Guide to Winning with Mobile."

A cut above

The top RIA websites go a little further to deliver for their current and future clients.

two story house with garage graphic

Frequent thought leadership posts: Your firm can distinguish itself as a leading RIA with regular, insightful thought leadership posts. Not only will clients love it, Google is likely to love it too, 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 effective at generating leads. In one study by Eyeview, a video landing page gathered 86% more newsletter subscribers than a page without a video. 

Lead-capture forms tied to high-value content: To capture leads you often have to 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, you're creating a compelling reason for that person to fill out a contact form or set up a meeting. Learn more about how to create an effective landing page here.

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 on Google.

Post badges: 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.


Keep building

construction graphic

All websites are a work in progress. You don't have to make every change tomorrow. 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 is essential to your firm's growth.


What you can do next

Read more articles about RIA websites:

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 Schwab custodial relationship.


1  Statista, "Percentage of mobile device website traffic in the United States from 1st quarter 2015 to 3rd quarter 2020"
2 Google, "The Mobile Playbook: A Busy Executive's Guide to Winning with Mobile."