Why Readability Is Important For Your Financial Advisor Website
Is your practice’s site up to Google’s SEO standards? If your answer is “Yes,” how readable is it in online terms? Believe it or not, this is important, even for a financial advisor website.
Try reading one of your pages out loud: Does it flow easily—or sound too much like a verbatim transcript of a conversation with a client?
The better it reads, the more attractive it is to visitors. Therefore, let’s take a look at what defines readability. Afterward, we’ll examine how you can use it to boost your site’s traffic.
It’s More Than Punctuation, Advisor
You want maximum appeal to prospects in your niche, right? For now, let’s assume you’ve done your demographic research. If you want to reach millennial state employees, for example, you’ll need strong content and on-the-go-friendly text.
Many visitors will be browsing on their phones or other devices. Consequently, keeping things comfortable for them means considering how you use paragraphs, headings, and more. Grammar and structure factor in, but they’re only parts of the overall equation.
Google’s online dictionary has a couple of definitions for “readability” (4 and 17). Both apply without conflict. In fact, they overlap: A decently readable page is both writing-styled and structured for simplicity.
Neither of them translates to mean “dumbed down,” so don’t worry. You’re still going to give prospective clients value through facts and insight. In a sense, you’ll just phrase these into a different language from how you normally speak or compose emails.
Why It’s Important For CFAs
Lots of prospects will be reading from a desktop monitor or laptop screen. Nevertheless, others will scroll your site through a game console on a TV.
A website lives or dies based on the quality of your content. That quality begins with how many hassles all those visitors have to deal with.
One way Google describes readability is in terms of writing quality. However, there’s more to it than that. Many renowned authors have crafted brilliant novels, but their pages lack web readability.
Not everyone agrees on what makes a good author, for that matter. “Quality,” in this sense, can be pretty subjective. As a result, we’ll be referring to it in terms of mechanics, specifically from here onward.
Pop quiz: What’s more valuable than money, in life’s final analysis?
Answer: Time. It’s precious to you and it’s precious to prospects. That’s why some advisors bill for their time—and the prospect doesn’t want theirs wasted, either. Readability means less time spent trying to understand you.
Time Is Money
Most site traffic will come seeking an answer. If they can swoop in and learn what they want quickly, that’s a win. Of course, you want to win additional attention with articles and other content while they’re there.
Regardless—in order for that content to appeal—you have only seconds to make a favorable impression: Don’t bog them down. Remove possible speed bumps ahead of time.
Slow-downs drive most people away. Conversely, a lack of frustration makes your stock rise instantly with readers. In other words, it makes them more likely to linger.
Streamlined readability is like having restrooms and refreshments at a brick-and-mortar practice: It’s polite. Most importantly, it conveys friendliness beyond the capacity of a smile and wave.
Time, when you can save it for prospects, isn’t just money; it’s success. To get them to stay awhile, you have to keep interactions speedy. That probably sounds counter-intuitive for a financial advisor website, but it’s true.
It’s Essential For Financial Advisor Website SEO
Back in the day, sites could win rankings just by selecting a keyword and spamming it: An advisor might launch a site with “Roth retirement advantages” crammed into every paragraph—and draw astounding traffic for that keyword phrase.
No, we’re not kidding. Most of the time, that was all it took.
However, those days of golden gibberish are history. Google’s AI is better than ever at detecting spam. It’s also significantly improved at recognizing quality content. That is to say, it reads nearly the way that a human might.
Google’s algorithms can also predict what’s most likely to appeal to readers. As a result, readability is now as important for rankings as your keywords are. This makes focusing on visitors and their interests vital.
How to Find Your Financial Advisor Website’s Readability in WordPress
Okay: Let’s assume you have Yoast installed into WordPress. What comes next?
It’s now it’s time to streamline your first blog post (or article) for SEO. So, to do this…
- Fire up WordPress in a browser.
- Look to your left (on the Dashboard) for the “Posts” section. This is where you’ll begin articles—and reopen them for editing.
- Start a new post. Next, paste in your content (maybe from a Word doc).
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and find your new Yoast tools. These include an SEO analyzer, a readability gauge, and more. They operate in real-time. However, we’ll look at them more in-depth in future articles.
Let’s take a look at what Yoast can do. Here’s an example of how it flags a questionable sentence:
And here’s an example of the same sentence, SEO-ed using Yoast.
See the difference? You’re basically wasting your web-hosting fees on a financial advisor website without it.
Best Ways To Improve A CFA Site’s Readability
Okay—do you have some idea of readability’s importance now?
Good. Let’s get into the ways that you can tailor your site for it. What follows are concrete steps.
Just keep in mind: As you put them into practice, watch to see what you need most overall. For best results, consider the steps as a single, comprehensive approach. The more you apply it, the more it should start to stick.
Simplify For A Successful Financial Advisor Website
If you were stupid, you wouldn’t be a successful advisor. Therefore, you’re probably capable of composing sentences that would please your high school English teacher. This is a good thing.
At the same time, artsy prose can get out of hand quickly. Word processors can check your spelling and grammar. Nevertheless, most won’t tell you if your document’s a chunky mess.
Take a long, hard look at your text: If you had a toddler’s hand in yours and your phone in the other, could you read it quickly?
Let’s say you had to stop and start reading in spurts (maybe on commuter train platforms): Could you find where you’d stopped easily?
The real art lies in eliminating unnecessary complexity without cutting value. This can be difficult. It’s a sweet spot you have to reach. If you have the time and patience though, it’s doable. To clarify, it requires work, like anything else.
Are you more comfortable with numbers? Consider hiring someone to draft content for your financial advisor website. An SEO-savvy writer can generate exponential ROI. It doesn’t get much simpler than handing outlines to a ghost blogger, either.
Tune Your Tone, Advisor
Before we get into mechanics, let’s start with your curb appeal. Whether you or an employee does your writing, consider the voice you’re communicating with.
This is often referred to as a document’s tone. If it’s active, as in “I threw Marcus the ball,” that’s good. People (and Google’s standards) prefer this. Like a clean, well-lit path, it’s easy to navigate.
If a sentence is passive, as in “The ball was thrown by Marcus to me,” that’s bad. Passive-toned text is longer and often over complicated. In other words, it’s harder to read.
There are situations in which a passive tone is called for. Those are rare, though—and they’re unlikely for a financial advisor website.
Structural Integrity For CFAs
Your sentence structure, like your layout, is extremely important. If you’re going to do the writing, memorize the following phrase:
Run-on sentences are the enemy.
If you painstakingly create a great line—but it’s a paragraph long (with only one period), it’s dead weight. Tolkien got away with that. On a website, you won’t.
In online terms, they’re traffic repellent. In other words, meandering run-ons demand too much time to understand.
Visitors won’t like having to pull over and parse out your meaning. Keep this in mind when composing headlines. Certainly, the same goes for sub-headlines, too.
On the other hand, don’t dumb things down, either. Pages of nothing but 3-word sentences probably won’t land well. Put another way, if they read like a children’s book, you could sound condescending.
The sweet spot lies somewhere in between: Convey what’s important, but don’t bury your prospects in words.
If you’re not sure where this middle ground lies, here’s some good news: There are multiple sites offering assistance. So, just enter “Flesch reading ease score” into your favorite search engine. You can take your pick from there.
The Flesch–Kincaid tests were created to gauge English readability. They are the initial basis for Google’s and everybody else’s standards. For example, the US military uses them to measure how easily their manuals read.
Here are some action items to start improving your website’s readability:
- Subscribe to Yoast, SEOPress, Rank Math, or another WordPress SEO plugin. This is a tool to help you with readability. Once you have the WordPress basics down, they’ll give massive ROI.
- Leave your ego at the door (if you’re composing your own content). Serious writers don’t bristle when mistakes are pointed out. Instead, like athletes, they welcome insights to help them improve.
- Seek second opinions. Ask a relative, friend, or co-worker to read your stuff. Listen to what they say: Unless you have money to hire marketing studies, that feedback is priceless.
- Get to know WordPress. It’s the industry standard for blogs. You can download the basics for free. Just read the instructions. Try setting up a private test server to learn on.
Don’t stop learning now! Our Supercharge Your SEO series continues here.