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4 Signs It’s Time to Update Your Web Site Photos

This post was authored by Kristen Harad and originally appeared here on GuideVine.

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Many Financial Advisors struggle to differentiate their firms and stand out in the crowd. Often times, this is best illustrated through your Web site. If you notice any of these four signs, it may be time to get an imagery makeover.

4 Signs You Need to Update Your Web site’s Photography:

1. Your home page’s first picture is a happy silver-haired couple gazing wistfully at the horizon dreaming of their retirement.

2. You see the same image on five other Financial Advisors’ home pages, all within your city limits.

3. Your primary audience is growing families and you still show active seniors, golf courses, or Adirondack chairs on the beach.

4. You don’t actually have any images on your site.

Inspirational images like sweeping scenery and active seniors help to convey the lifestyle that 80-90 percent of the population would probably like to eventually achieve, but do these types of photos help you speak to your ideal client?

Advisors use this type of generic imagery for two main reasons: (1) they want to be sure they do not exclude any potential prospects and (2) they are the default images set from their web provider.   Based on the presumption that most people’s financial goal is to retire to a life of financial comfort, the ‘silver fox’ or tropical vacation photos convey that this is what the Advisor can help clients achieve.  Whether or not your audience is 25, 45, or 65, everyone ultimately wants the same thing.

Unfortunately, this is not only the most widely deployed marketing strategy but also one of the least effective. By casting such a wide and inclusive net, this style of communication puts the burden on potential clients to figure out whom you best serve and if you are the right professional to help them with their unique challenges. Retirement planning is of course one part of the financial planning equation, but for many clients it’s not the reason they are seeking a planner’s help.  They have many bridges to cross before that stage of life.

How important is photography?

Expert marketers care about the images they use because images draw people in. With the right photos, you can increase the probability that you will attract the right people for your practice.

When I worked at a large New York Ad agency, we spent countless hours assessing each detail of every photograph we would use in an ad or a direct mail piece, just to be certain it resonated with the client’s target audience.  How much grey hair should he have? How many wrinkles? What ethnicity? What clothes would he wear? What’s happening in the background? Is that a place he would be? What expression fits the brand? Are they too ‘happy’? Are they believable? If we had a photo shoot, where we crafted the image – then 100 times as much detail, and even more patience, came into play.

Where to Find Inexpensive, Quality Photos

The good news is that while ad agencies can spend thousands of dollars to get one photo “right,” the Web offers a proliferation of quality photos at reasonable prices.

  • Istockphoto – Select your price range from $ up to $$$$ and sizes from Small to XL. With credits you purchase, you’ll access one of the widest ranges of quality photos offered online.
  • Bigstockphoto – You can subscribe to receive a flat number of photos per month (good for a frequent blogger) or buy photos as needed. This service offers modern, intriguing photos to brighten up your site.
  • Unsplash – this unique site offers free images, no strings attached. You pick from what is posted, and you can use it any way you like. They post 10 new photos every days. You never know what you’re going to find, but you’ll certainly stand out from the crowd.

Remember, while many clients do aspire to spend their retirement observing awe-inspiring sunsets around the globe, that may not be the driving factor that leads them to hire you.  Show your clients that you understand who they are and what they want. And, please, find photos that match.

The Top 4 ‘In-Browser’ Front End Development Tools of 2015

It wasn’t that long ago that we depended solely on photoshop as a means to design the visual look of a website. That of course meant that someone (usually someone else) was tasked with the job of coding it. This usually lead to more than a few headaches along the way as the designer tries to visually describe and detail exactly how the webpages should come together, look, animate, etc. The developer was then obliged to describe and detail how none of that was either possible, useful or likely to happen.

It’s not always quite so dramatic, but as you can see, it can lead to some problems.

In the past 2 or so years, a few tools have come together to bring the two worlds together. Why not create an application that sort functions like Adobe Photoshop but instead of creating an image that looks like a website, it is actually building a ‘real’ website?

Let’s take a look at some of the leading applications in the field:

1. Froont

froont-editor-open-show.jpg_1600x1006(2)

Froont was the first version I had a chance to try.  I have had the opportunity to chat a few times with one of the developers, Sandijs Ruluks. The app is everything one could hope for. I still have some issues moving content around as easily as I’d like, but that is likely due to the fact that I haven’t learned the app well enough yet. Aside from a few simple issues like that, Froont is a fantastic application.

Webflow is probably the biggest player on the block for in-browser web development. It is sophisticated, detailed, and can be a bit of a steep learning curve for some. It is also pricey. I’ve had some success with using this app, but frankly, the price is a bit too steep for me to use it as much as I’d like to. All that aside, it is the tool of choice for someone with the pockets to choose the best. I would consider this application as the Photoshop of the pack.

3. Stackhive

stackhive

Stackhive started its existence as ‘dockPHP’….”lets code websites visually”. A very noble idea.  This is exactly what we’re talking about here today.

However, it seems somewhere along the way, they decided to re-brand as Stackhive. Along with their re-branding, it appears that they decided to pivot exactly what their app would look like. Some argue that they pivoted a little too close to Webflow.

I, however, am not going to enter this debate. I will, however, say that I find Stackhive to be every bit as sophisticated and detailed as Webflow is and in some ways, a bit easier to work with. It is also much more accessible for the pocketbook. The regular account has cost me nothing so far, and I can already do a few more things with it than I can with the free account on Webflow. All of the power of Webflow, some extra tools and gimmicks but for less money, makes me a happy camper.

I’ve noticed one or two bugs with Stackhive, but with any luck, they’ll sort that out.  The main bug being that you can download a zip of the project that you’re currently working on but unfortunately the zip comes up with errors, making it useless.

4. Generator

generator

Generator is quite possibly the easiest to use, and the simplest version of these apps. It is also one of my favourites. It allows you to quickly put together a simple page by dragging and dropping simple template pieces. Once the page is complete, you can simply output the the html/css code and save it. The beauty of this for me, is that I can use it to quickly throw the basics of a page together in a few minutes, then spit out the html/css to then go further and tweak and expand upon the page. It’s a really fantastic way to get a project started quickly.