First impressions are lasting. That is especially true when it comes to your website. Your presence on the web must be professional and perfect in order to attract and maintain the interest of clients and prospects.

People want to get information quickly, says Marie Swift, president and CEO of Impact Communications Inc. in Leawood, Ks. If your website is slow to load, riddled with typographical errors or difficult to read, visitors will become alienated — and you won’t get a second chance to bring them back.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when creating or revising your website:

> Make it easy on the eyes
Stick to a classic look to make sure text on your site is readable.

Some advisors try to “dress up” their websites with different-coloured text, Swift says. Or they may use reversed type, such as white text on a dark-blue background. That might create a striking look, but it can be difficult to read.

Instead, stick to the traditional black text on a white background, she says. As well, make sure the font style and size are uniform throughout the site.

> Turn the camera on clients
Use the pictures on your website to focus on the people who can benefit from your services —rather than on yourself.

Placing a photo of yourself right on the homepage of your site sends visitors a signal that it’s all about you, Swift says. Instead, place photos of your ideal clients on the home page.

Include photos of yourself and team members, she says, but place them on a secondary “About us” page.

> Make it user-friendly
Tell your story to visitors by creating a path for them to follow without getting “lost” on your website, Swift says.

Place icons at the foot of each page, she says, to guide visitors to the various sections of the site.

> Keep content timely
In order to ensure your website content is fresh and interesting, update it on a regular basis.

Some advisors might think they can build a website once and it’s done forever, says Swift. Instead, the site should be refreshed at least once a month. Include timely articles or seasonal references, such as calendar-yearend and RRSP-deadline reminders.

Pay attention to the fine details, such as the copyright date at the bottom of the page, says Loic Jeanjean, director for web marketing with Advisor Websites in Vancouver. A detail such as a stale date will leave visitors with a bad impression of your site and your