I’m writing this post to make the "Fintech web design project” question as transparent as possible, at least from my agency’s perspective. This post is super long and covers almost every aspect that you could possibly comprehend when it comes to web design projects.
This should be applicable to any business we work with, but Fintech and its sub-verticals or sister sectors will all benefit from this I’m sure.
Financial technology web design or Fintech web design as it may also be referred to is just a phrase, as much as Estate agency web design or financial services web design is. But I don’t want to detract from what I am setting out to achieve here so I shall progress.
Things that can go wrong
Assuming that this is a website redesign project, that your startup has kicked on and you now have money to invest in your business and its marketing, rather than utilising the premium WordPress theme you purchased from ThemeForest or template monster. I thought it prudent to talk about what can go wrong first, rather than talk about the things that can go right.
If you have been either hosting your own website or have had your friend or another agency hosting the website, chances are the new agency will want to host the website. We do, in fact, it nullifies our warranty if the website isn’t hosted on our servers, simply because if we host it, we’re fully responsible for it. There is a limited chance for 3rd party interaction causing issues and possible problems.
When a website is transferred, you can lose email service, accrue technical errors and possibly have your website down for a few days whilst things get fixed. My advice is to get a copy of your website and its database and give that to your new agency/provider and let them get that working prior to making a full switch of hosting facilities.
Email Services Down
As I just mentioned, during a transfer of hosting it is possible that your email services will go down. This could be simply because your domain has been forwarded via its Domain Nameserver settings to the current hosting and therefore those settings will need changing. Or it could be that your domain was purchased with your hosting package and you may need to transfer your domains between registrars to proceed.
Either way, it is best to ask your provider how your emails are set up and how they can be transferred, then inform the new hosting provider/email provider.
Other Hosting Issues
There are a number of hosting issues you could run into. You have better hosting providers than others, so don’t buy hosting solely on price. I’ve seen really cheap providers have a lot of downtimes, which means your site spends a lot of time offline. You wouldn’t notice as you don’t spend your day looking at it every minute. If you’re on WordPress, install jetpack, it will advise you by email every time the site goes down.
Saying that I’ve seen very credible hosting companies offer the greatest services, only to find that there is no support, especially if you use a Hybrid or VPS server. You really need to know what you are getting, so check review sites and compare feedback.
Another topic I briefly mentioned was domain transfers. Domain transfers often happen when you swap providers. If your current hosting provider purchased your domain, the likelihood is that they purchased it from their hosting supplier. This can cause issues when you want to transfer as often, the current provider has registered the domains in their name, not yours, so ensure when you buy a domain through an agency or freelancer that your details are listed in full, not theirs. You have no legal claim to a domain registered in the agencies name so be careful.
Usually, transfers are painless but can take up to 48 hours to transfer, so expect your website to be offline for some time, it’s a bonus if not.
Having been on the receiving end of this issue, onboarding a client from another agency or freelancer can be problematic. Issues I’ve seen usually stem because a move has been caused by either a poor service, lack of clarity around managing expectations or possibly the client is the problem. You never find out about the latter until it’s too late.
So sometimes payments are outstanding, the incumbent agency drags its heels around the admin, new registrar details are incorrectly input and other issues I’m sure can appear I haven’t experienced. I say expect the worst and be happy with no problems.
Websites get Hacked
Websites get hacked! You don’t need to be a Goliath of business for some unscrupulous git with code experience to hack your website and leave their mark. Typically they will rearrange your file structure, leave their calling card graphically and leave a rootkit that will enable them to re-access the website if the proper cleansing of the infected files does not take place. Avoid this by backing up the website daily via your Cpanel (check with your hosting supplier) or off-site with WordPress plugins like Updraft plus - backup/restore.
You may be thinking how can this go wrong? But ongoing maintenance isn’t free. Some people assume ongoing CMS (content management systems, what enables your site to be edited) and plugin/module/software updates are included in the price, they aren’t and you need to be aware of that.
Find out if your web designer offers ongoing maintenance packages, what they cost and if you can do it yourself. Remember this, if you opt to do it yourself and fail to maintain the updates, your site can be hacked which can result in a rebuild or a heavy bill to put things right.
SEO isn’t free
You build your website and you want to get ranked on page one in the search engine results, for your product or service. This takes time and skill. There are paid search options and natural or organic options, but both have fees, so bear that in mind when planning your website project.
Don’t be the person who builds a website, doesn’t spend time marketing it and then moans that the platform didn’t bring you any results.
Technology develops at a fast rate these days. For bigger website projects, taking six months or more, there is a chance that technology for some aspects or functionality can change. There is no obligation for your web design agency to utilise the new technology and in fact, your expectation should be that the currently available technology at the time of booking will be used and any changes would incur costs/fees.
I wanted to start the post covering the negatives because I believe that if you can grasp the worst of what can happen up front, you can plan better accepting that problems may occur and how to foresee or allow for them.
Goals and Planning
Whenever you plan your fintech Webdesign project, you should first build out a picture of your ideal customer. This is commonly referred to as a buyer persona.
A buyer persona is a profile of one or more ideal customer types who procure your goods or services. A well-developed persona doesn’t just look at the buying power and position in the client’s company, but really builds out a picture of why they are behaving the way they do.
My advice is if you don’t have personas develop them first. Don’t hypothesise where possible and interview real or prospective clients and find out their pain points, why they buy your goods or services and how they go about sourcing new suppliers. Try and find out their online activity, where do they search, how do they search, what’s their favourite website of the current supplier(s).
Once you have this down and mapped, you can start the planning of the web design project in earnest.
At Bias Digital we have 5 stages, other freelancers or agencies could work differently or similarly:
- Understand clients business & services
- Competitor analysis + Loose wireframe
- Full wireframe + Graphic Design
- Build and snagging
- Testing and sign off
If you’ve been lucky enough or prudent enough to source your competitors from your interviews or your local business pages or even google, then do full competitor analysis. Depending on clients needs, you can ask for a 3, 5 or sometimes 8 competitor analysis reports.
These reports look at the following:
- Social Media
- Customer Acquisition
- Market Positioning
Once you have completed stages 1 and 2 of the process, your agency/designer should mock up a simple wireframe displaying where they feel you could get the most return from your investment. This is presented with the results of the competitor analysis and then you have the opportunity to discuss the results and see where the creative thought process is.
Stage 3 (providing that stages 1 and 2 are agreed) involves a two-part process. The first will be a round of revisions based on the basic mockup and any changes that you or further investigation present. This should be done before any artistic graphics are generated in photoshop.
Once you are satisfied and can sign off the wireframe, the agency should create the PSD (photoshop) graphics that show the website layout in more detail, using colours, fonts and images etc.
Admittedly, PSD files are flat and do not really show how the website will look in the end but will be as near to as possible. Sometimes colours in print and on-screen differ and different size screens will show the website layout differently, whether or not you use responsive design.
You can ask your designer to use platforms like invisionapp, Balsamiq moqups or justinmind to show you how the website could look before it’s built. This is a perfect time to make any changes in layout as after the build has started, extra costs to do so will accrue.
Avoid Scope Creep
So as I just touched on extra costs, scope creep is an important thing to understand when you plan your fintech Webdesign project. Your understanding of what is acceptable and what isn’t won’t always match with your web designer.
For example, if you talk about a particular function of your website at a high level, let’s say an accounting function. You need to specify exactly what you want this function to do. If you don’t and the end result delivered has functionality missing you wanted, well the developer is in his or her right to charge you extra for extra functionality. You must be totally specific about everything to ensure things go smoothly.
Understand that a designer and developer charge you for their time. This means that the more intricate the code or the design, the more you should expect to pay. Trying to not mention functionality, then pressing for it for free later only sours a relationship and often an agency will refuse to finalise your project until they are properly paid.
It’s in everybody’s best interest to have a clean, transparent, well planned out project from the outset and be prepared to pay if you forget or want to add or change things, post the design stage.
Costs and why they change
Some agencies have a fixed cost. They will produce you a website for £1500 to £2000. I wouldn’t expect a lot of what’s been previously talked about to be included, like competitor analysis, loose wireframes, rounds of design revisions etc
Other agencies will charge a fixed cost based on data gathered during a fact-finding meeting, an example of what that can entail. You could actually pre-populate as much of this project kick-off document as you can, prior to speaking to any agency or freelancer.
At Bias, we charge out stage by stage. There is a fixed cost for either a 3, 5, 8+ competitor analysis, loose wireframe and fact-finding stage.
We then have another meeting and go over what we found, why we presented the loose wireframes as we did and see if there is still synergy between us and the client. If we agree, we can then quote for an approximate number of design and graphic design hours to complete stage 3 of our process.
The reason we work this way is that we have no way of knowing after stage 1 and 2 how intricate or big this web design project is. Once we have discussed the loose wireframe and got feedback, we have a clearer idea of where we are, what functionality, styling is missing and roughly how long this conversion from paper to PSD will take. We always state that the hours are approx and may be shorter or longer but generally we are there or thereabouts.
Once we have the revisions of the PSD completed, we then know roughly how long in coding hours it will take to complete the build and we quote the equivalent hours beginning stage 4. Sometimes again the quote is under or over, but the client knows this is an educated guesstimate, which keeps all parties aware of where costs may be.
Again, I used our in-house example so you can build a picture of how things should work, this process has been developed over time and leaves options for parties to be paid for the work they perform and receive, but also to exit should a problem arise. Payments are always 40% upfront and 30% upon completion of designs and CMS integration and then 30% upon final sign off.
Costs in our process are always spelt out based on the information to hand, on occasion mid-process, wants and need of the client change and we can always accommodate more hours into a stage if needed rather than remaining to a full upfront quote, which can be harder to unwind as things change.
If you have got to this stage in your project and the build is underway and then completed on time and in scope, you have a winner. You can perform your testing and sign off before pushing the website live.
However, now you need to push and promote the site. You can’t invest the upfront time and money and then fail to market the site and drive traffic to it. This comes in many formats, such as:
- Paid Search (Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, Affiliates)
- Organic SEO (Blogging, OnPage Optimisation)
- Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram)
When plan your fintech Web design project you will need to combine all of the above. Sharing your educational content, your products and service offering across multiple platforms will help drive traffic into your website. But, I want you to remember in order to maximise the opportunity to convert this traffic into customers, you must include the 8 points of a conversion opportunity.
The ultimate aim of any website is to convert the traffic or website visitors into customers. To do this you must optimise your website when plan your fintech Webdesign project to contain as many of these as possible. My top 8 conversion opportunities are:
- Blog - Write as much educational content as possible about your product and services and post it on your blog
- Landing Pages - design landing pages that have forms that visitors must fill in to download premium content like whitepapers or brochures, webinars etc
- Content Offers - Again distribute your content offers throughout the website, use buttons to drive visitors to landing pages to download the content
- Calls to Action - You can’t simply blog and expect to convert. Use call to actions on your blog posts to move readers from the article to the offers you want them to download.
- Content Personalisation - Remember how you like to receive news and updates, if it’s not relevant, don’t produce it. Use content personalisation platforms like bright info to serve relevant and topical content to your readers.
- Exit Intent - A most underused way to capture email addresses for newsletters, or display offers that require an exchange of information
- Newsletter Sign Up - The easiest way to collect data from your visitors in order to market to them
- Live Chat - Live chat plugins can also run on your mobile device so you don’t really have an excuse not to have it on your website
This post I'm sure will continue to grow and be edited as no plans are definite or infinite, so a change will always be amongst us. But when you have to plan your fintech web design project, I'm sure these notes will come in handy.
10 great examples of Fintech Webdesign
I’ve found 10 great examples of fintech web design. As with all businesses these days, the internet plays a huge part in the promotion of your company locally nationally and globally. Couple your website with SEO social media content strategy and paid search, it's important that you optimise your website technically as well as for converting traffic once you get them there.
I score points for:
WEBSITE PERFORMANCE 30 Points
- Page Size
- Page Requests
- Page Speed
- Browser Caching
- Page Redirects
- Render Blocking
MOBILE 30 Points
- Responsive Design
SEO 30 Points
- Page Titles
- Meta Description
SECURITY 10 Points
- SSL Certificate
These points can all be scored using a website grader like Hubspot's, you should use this when your web developer asks you to sign off their handiwork. If your fintech web design is not up to scratch, get them to fix it for maximum opportunity.
Now I add my own points of conversion to the mix so that we can properly evaluate who has not just optimised their fintech website properly, but who has been forward-looking and also carries:
CONVERSION RATE OPTIMISATION
- A Blog
- Landing Pages
- Content Offers
- Calls To Action
- Content Personalisation
- Exit Intent Pop-Ups
- Email/Newsletter Sign Up
- Live Chat
A well-optimised fintech website with as many of these conversion opportunities as feasibly possible would have a major head start over rivals offering the same products and services.
The best Fintech web design
Insly is a software solution provider (Instech/Insuretech) for the insurance industry. They have a simple clean standard parallax website, which has a simple menu and a huge call to action on the home page. The homepage contains a video which is playable by clicking the play icon centre screen.
Their overall graded score was 89, made up of 24 for performance, 30 for mobile responsive, 30 for SEO and 10 for security.
Their overall CRO score was 50 made up of 10 for Blog, 10 for Calls to Action, 10 for exit intent pop up, 10 for email/newsletter sign up and 10 for live chat.
Growth Street is a provider of business finance. They too have a clean feel to their homepage with a simple menu and video background. They have a clear call to action with their green get started button and the white sign up for free button top right.
Again it’s a clean parallax scrolling website and has clear data capture points.
This website graded overall 82. 12 points for performance so an improvement in that would certainly help. If you have a WordPress website try Jetpack or W3 Total Cache to help you. They score 30 respectively for mobile responsiveness, 25 for SEO and 10 for security, they also have an SSL certificate.
Under my CRO scoring system, they scored 50. Scoring 10 for the blog, 10 for Calls to action, 10 for exit intent pop-up, 10 for email signup form and 10 for live chat.
Neyber has a great product offering. They want to enable hard-working people to access fairer finance deals than traditional lenders. They have clear calls to action and a very simple menu letting you know exactly what you need to do wherever you are on the website. They also have content offers and clear messaging.
Their website graded 79. They scored 19 for performance, 30 for mobile responsiveness, 20 for SEO and 10 for security.
For CRO they scored 50. 10 for the blog, 10 for landing pages, 10 for content offers, 10 for calls to action and 10 for email/newsletter sign up.
Monese. Digital bank account providers for the tech trusting savvy financiers amongst us. Operating with a contactless debit card that can be topped up and have deposits made at any stores that provide PayPoint facilities.
Again we see the ever-present parallax one-page scrolling homepage with a simple menu. This website has clear calls to action and explains its value proposition clearly as you move down the page.
The website grades a 94 overall. They scored 24 for performance, 30 for responsiveness, 30 for SEO and 10 for security.
For CRO they score 40. 10 for a blog, 10 for calls to action, 10 for exit intent and 10 for email sign up.
The PayPro offer international payments service for professionals, micro and small businesses in 25 currencies reducing standard charges from banks by up to 90%. The website is easy to navigate and utilises a parallax scrolling design with inlaid video.
The website scores 84 for overall performance. 24 for performance, 30 for mobile responsive, 30 for SEO and 10 for security.
In CRO the website scores 40 overall. 10 for a blog, 10 for calls to action, 10 for email sign up and 10 for live chat.
Masabi concentrates on organising your travel tickets in major cities around the world. They use a mobile app and integrated payments to allow you to prepay for your travel. They aim to be the future of mobile ticketing.
This website overall grades 79. Scoring 19 for performance, 30 for mobile responsive and 30 for SEO.
Their CRO score is 40. Scoring 10 for the blog, 10 for content offers, 10 for calls to action and 10 for email sign up.
Calastone provides transaction and data services to the investment fund industry. Their simple design and layout make it easy for a visitor to digest the information presented and have time to peruse at leisure.
This website grades a 74. Performance is 24, the responsive design gives them 30 points, they have a poor 10 for SEO and 10 for security.
Again if this is a WordPress website, look at installing Yoast or WordPress SEO plugins and utilise the easy to follow steps to increase your score.
For CRO they also scored 40 points. 10 for a blog, 10 for content offers, 10 for calls to action and 10 for email sign up.
Not so sharp on the design of this website. The graphics could be sharper and the white on blue text background does work the eyes a little. However, the website is clear and they put their value proposition across easily.
Technically a 94 grade is brilliant. They rock all areas with maximum points in all but one and that was a performance that scores 24/30. They scored 30 for responsive, 30 for SEO and 10 for security.
Their CRO score could improve with a 30/80. Only easily finding a blog for 10 points, 10 for calls to action and 10 for live chat.
Etoro is a social trading platform where you can trade by copying the best traders in the community. With millions of people already following this type of activity who knows, it could be you.
This site looks clean and smooth, Its value proposition is clearly displayed with a clear call to action.
Scoring a grade of 94 overall, technically this site really is a beast. Scoring 24 for performance, 30 for responsive and 30 for SEO with a final 10 for security.
Their CRO is only 30. They scored 10 points each for a blog, calls to action and email signup.
Go Cardless is specialising in recurring payments allowing smaller businesses access to direct debit facilities. They have a clear clean design style with prominent calls to action utilising the ever-popular parallax style of the website.
Their grade is 94. For performance 24, for responsive 30, for SEO 30 and for security 10.
For CRO they score 30 so could improve, 10 points for a blog, 10 for calls to action and 10 for email sign up.
The best Fintech websites
These websites for technical capacity and points of conversion really are the best I’ve seen. There are a few others tieing for a joint 10th place like lendinvest.com.
Good web design for me is not solely about User Experience although that should play a major part in this and maybe I’ll update this post with some help from a user experience expert in the near future. But right now there really are 10 great examples of fintech web design.
Hubspot and GTMetrix don’t have Fintech website testing right
When it comes to website testing for performance, there is any number of website testing platforms that will tell you how well your website is technically performing. I’m going to tell you why Hubspot and GTMetrix don’t have Fintech website testing right.
Why Hubspot and GTMetrix?
Hubspot’s platform will tell you exactly what is wrong with your website and then links to authoritative posts and articles that can help instruct you to remedy your defects.
GTMetrix has a platform that does the self-same thing, although it presents its results a little differently. Ultimately delivering results based on its own criteria. The reason I like this platform is that its results often differ from Hubspot’s.
Us mere mortals cannot see what standards each platform is using to determine their metrics, but if you combine your results from both sites, you can ensure you are working towards website performance optimisation properly.
Performance Optimisation is only half the battle
Here at Bias Digital, we grade our websites a little differently. For sure performance is critical to a website being sticky and helping you get good rankings. The more traffic passing through the website the better right?
But what about conversion?
We look at overall performance. That means technical performance and conversion performance combined. These overall measurements really tell you how well a website is performing and as to why you would invest budget to ensuring it continues to do so.
Bias Digital has previously produced a report looking at the State of Play for Fintech Websites, globally ranking over 100 websites for technical and conversion performance. There were some stunning insights brought to light from the analysis.
Some of the insights pulled out of the report are:
- Websites score well for mobile responsiveness 94% and security 83% scoring over 75% of the total sites graded
- Websites score badly for overall performance 59% under 75% and SEO scores 52% under 75%
- Websites score well in only 2 of 8 conversion metrics, having a blog 70% and calls to action 90%
- Not one other conversion metric scores over 30% across the websites graded
The report indicates that whilst these technology companies are really focused on having a technically sound website, there is far less focus on website conversion of traffic.
In a sector that is fighting hard for onboarding clients as it is, the onboarding strategy is nowhere near correct and this spells trouble in the short term.
Longer-term, immediate changes to the website offer a greater chance of conversion, therefore, improving results and the opportunity to sell products and or services. Its those focal points your shareholders want to see improvements in, yet quite blatantly from a digital perspective, you are already failing them.
Why Hubspot and GTMetrix don’t have Fintech website testing right
So in closing, I think from a business perspective - that’s sales and marketing, website performance platforms can only tell you half the story. They can only tell you how well built your website is and not how well it works from a business perspective which is what you really want to be told.
You shouldn’t use these to judge the quality of a website unless you are in a position that your website build is either outsourced and your marketing team in-house or you have outsourced your web development and have no marketing strategy.
Please do not report happy to your management team that the new website is technically sound because that doesn’t put profits in reports, just deficits in the budget spend.
By all means, report that you are halfway there and that if you can now adopt a good inbound strategy you can really excel by turning visitors into leads and qualifying them into sales using marketing automation and lead nurturing.
The days of simply having a website are long past and hopefully, none of that conversation reverberates around your meeting halls. Whether you are a 3 man startup or a larger more established company, adopting the right habits early in your marketing will always pay dividends in the long run.
If the report doesn’t point you to ensuring that your marketing and SEO team are integral to your web build, then please adjust your thinking because you cannot drive forward with a poorly converting website.
Performance and conversion are hand in hand in these projects and that’s why Hubspot and GTMetrix don’t have Fintech website testing right.