Part 1 of a three-part series on advisor websites.

Creating and maintaining a professional looking website can help to increase interest in your business.

That’s because everybody goes to the Internet to make decisions about buying products or services these days, says Loic Jeanjean, director of web marketing for Advisor Websites in Vancouver. And when someone finds your website, you have three seconds to make a good impression before they move on to the next website in the search engine rankings.

Avoid these five common website mistakes to make the best impression with prospective clients:

1. Using unoriginal content
Brush up on your writing skills to make your website interesting.

“A lot of advisors don’t spend enough time crafting unique copy for their home page,” says Jeanjean. Cookie-cutter content and photos make your website look boring and weakens your search engine ranking.

Instead, either you or a team member should write all the content for the website, he says. Hire a professional copywriter to help if you don’t feel comfortable writing.

2. Making it about you
Focus your website on your clients’ needs, not your expertise.

Too often, advisors talk only about themselves on their website’s homepage, says Marie Swift, president and CEO of Impact Communications Inc. in Leawood, Kan. They focus on their designations and experience instead of talking about who their businesses can help.

Have a unique value proposition prominently displayed on your homepage, she says. That way, potential clients visiting your website will know right away that they’ve come to the right place for help.

3. Letting the website grow stale
Give your website a “makeover” once in a while to keep it looking modern and professional, says Swift.

For example, you can change the writing to make it a little punchier, re-design the overall look and add new features such as video or podcasts.

There is no hard and fast rule as to when you should revamp your website, she says. However, you should always compare your website to your peers to gauge its relevance.

4. Placing your website in a silo
With so many people using mobile devices today, it’s important that your website is compatible with that technology, says Jeanjean.

Avoid using programs such as Flash on your website, he says. It’s not compatible with Apple Inc.’s iOS devices, such as iPhones and iPads, which can leave your website looking unprofessional to people using those devices.

5. Broken links
Avoid frustrating visitors to your website by making sure any and all links work properly.

Links are highlighted words or phrases on a website that, when clicked, allow the visitor to move to another article or website related to the material they are reading.

Check all the links on your website every couple of months, says Swift, to make sure they still link to the correct articles and websites.

Next: How you can improve your website