How to design a financial web site

What main characteristics contribute to most effective web site design for financial companies? We need to start by breaking down financial web sites into several key categories as each segment requires totally different website design analysis and approach to marketing.

Best Online Trading and Online Brokers Web sites

Best web sites for brokers and online trading companies take advantage of combination of typical clear and logical corporate web site design with elements of informational design, which often includes financial data, performance, statistics and so on. While financial data is important, it should not be made a primary focus and only downplayed as a supportive element. It is important to keep in mind while developing an effective financial web site for an introducing broker specializing in equities, derivatives (futures, commodities) or foreign exchange (forex), that account opening process should still be a primary focus of the web site. Success of the web site for online trading depends on how effectively marketing message can be communicated to a prospect and how easy it will be reach sufficient comfort level to proceed to open an account.

How efficient account opening process can be distracted or prevented from being taken depending on different design and layout practices.

Unprofessional design
Inconsistent design and messages
Lack of winning proposition and unclear offering
Lack of overall trust in brand
Negative messages
Lack of contact and support information

How web site design for online trading companies can help in decision making process

Positive message
Professional and consistent graphic design and website design
Key relationships, associations with familiar brands
Testimonials
Clear account open process with no external distractions
Ability to contact company
Availability of support
Availability of standard industry web components ? Demos, screenshots
Availability of in-depth educational content
Availability of research and overall ?package?
Best Financial Advisory sites

A good advisory site is built with consideration of all aspects of marketing via ppc campaigns and traditional site conversion. Today, advisory site success depends not only on quality of the content, rather more on how smartly the content is presented ans sold to the user. Many organizations develop very sophisticated conversion mechanisms that lead user through variety of conversion steps to the final sale and then upsell to other products. Advisory sites are volume business and should be treated as such. A thorough A/B testing (to determine best working content and design) should be conducted continuously to eliminate low performing material. Constant refinement of actual marketing copy and creative marketing, list rentals, swaps, cross promotion and lead resale should drive profits of well-run financial advisory firm.

Best Financial Data Sites

A good financial data provider is a site dedicated to advertising. All of the content and data is delivered via technical channels wrapped around with advertising. Since the ad revenues are directly related to volume of traffic, free data components and syndication models are necessary to facilitate large traffic growth, which will drive sales. Often, data providers can coordinate efforts with educational material providers and create variety of subscription options as aditional revenue generators. In all cases, special attention should be paid to usability, technical aspects and ability to package and syndicate data to other entities.

http://www.cnbc.com
http://money.cnn.com
http://bigcharts.marketwatch.com
http://www.google.com/finance?ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tab=we
http://finance.yahoo.com

Best Financial Social Networking Sites

Social networking in the financial industry started with message boards in mid 90’s. This evolved over past 10 years into sites that come up with ever more creative mechanisms to engage user and make them come back. A good social networking site is costly and difficult to create. What seems to be simple in reality will either be too common or not developed enough to make it as solid business. From our experience in designing and building these sites, a very thorough planning and appropriate funding is needed to support social networking site through the first development period until more investors are able to fund advertising and more elaborate technical solution as well as costly market data.

http://www.stocktwits.com
http://www.tickerspy.com

Best corporate sites for investment clients

Corporate site design for financial services companies is no different then any other industry, yet with few elements that make it quite different. There are no conversion schemes, no open account, its all about corporate image and solid and trustworthy feel of the organization. Unless the company is well known and has extensive recognition in the field, same challenges apply as with any other corporate site. How do you create a face of the company, which is serious, trusted, yet informative enough and effective in getting prospects to enquire. Corporate sites in the financial industry normally follow simple design scheme, appropriate choice of directly related or “feel-good” images and well crafted marketing message which makes key marketing offer. Well-structured design, no-nonsense layout, logical and at times boring approach is very appropriate and provides for appropriate tone for many clients.

http://www.jpmorgan.com
http://www2.goldmansachs.com
http://www.morganstanley.com

Of course all of the aspects described above should be closely coordinated with existing company branding and style guide to ensure consistency in all visual marketing materials.

To view examples of our financial website design work please visit lightmix.com




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