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FAs Should Look More Closely at Their Website Traffic

March 27, 2017

An advisor’s website is their “most powerful marketing tool,” but most practices fail to analyze their sites’ traffic and thus miss out on improving their sites to attract more potential prospects, Jack Waymire writes in Seeking Alpha.

Google Analytics is one of several website traffic analysis tools that can help advice practices better understand how visitors to their site interact with it and what works and what doesn’t, according to Waymire, founder of the RIA-focused marketing firm Paladin Digital Marketing. But despite the analytical tool being completely free and easy to implement for traffic analysis, only 42 of 164 registered investment advice firms surveyed by Waymire’s firm were using it on their sites, he writes. And of those who had Google Analytics, just 19 said they understood what to make of the data it produced, according to Waymire.

While some metrics collected by Google don’t have set benchmarks, such as the number of monthly visitors, he recommends paying attention to several of them. For average pageviews per session, if a practice’s website isn’t getting at least two, it’s likely the content on the site just isn’t engaging enough. Likewise, if the average visitor spends less than two minutes on the site, advisors need to reevaluate the force of their home page message, the use of images and the ease of use of navigation, says Waymire. There’s no set standard on the home page bounce rate, which measures how often visitors leave the page without going elsewhere on the site, but Waymire says the firms his company surveyed ranged from 28% to 68%.

Waymire also recommends that practices analyze where visitors come from geographically and on which “channels” -- directly visiting the site by typing in the URL; organic traffic, which comes from search engines; traffic from social media or from referrals. Advisors should be wary of referrals, however, because they often come from spam sites, he writes. But it’s possible to turn off tracking from specified referral websites so they don’t skew tracking results.

Paladin’s survey of RIAs also found that the top firms according to the Google Analytics metrics use every tool at their disposal to engage visitors on their sites. The top three websites used free offers, engaged visitors on the landing page, blogged regularly, integrated social media and also did email marketing, according to Waymire. He suggests firms review their analytics data at least once a month, and for those who don’t have time or interest in learning how to use the data for actionable ideas, he suggests hiring professionals who can analyze the data and make recommendations.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the SeekingAlpha article cited in this story, click here.