How to fine tune your website content with clear messaging and design

Your website viewer should be able to understand what you do and how you can help them. This can be achieved through a combination of clear messaging, a hierarchy of information and of course good design.


f you’re a financial services provider, the content on your website is going to play a vital role in capturing the attention of your audience, differentiating your company from your competitors, and turning a casual browser into a committed customer.

When written well, your website’s content will present complicated concepts in a way that any reader can understand. It will also convince your readers that you’re credible, authoritative, and the kind of business they want to partner with – and encourage them to connect with your business by making an enquiry.

Unfortunately, poorly designed copy can do precisely the opposite. It can confuse and frustrate the reader, and in extreme circumstances, it can even start to damage the brand you’ve worked so hard to create.

Your content could be causing your website more harm than good

If you feel your website isn’t helping you generate more enquiries for your business – and if your analytics reports are reflecting a low conversion rate and a high bounce rate – chances are that something onsite is proving to be a real turn-off for your potential customers.  

Ask yourself the three questions below. If you answer ‘yes’ to one or more of them, your content could be partly (or wholly) responsible for your website’s poor performance.  


Are you producing too much content?

As tempting as it can be to try and pack as much information into your pages as possible, stacks of long-winded copy could be damaging the usability of the site.  

We recently commissioned some research into the way in which Essex-based accountancy practices are presenting themselves online. The resulting report – simply titled Accountants’ Websites in Essex 2019 – saw us analyse the branding, design and content elements of 100 local accountancy firms’ websites. You can download the most recent research document here.

Not all of the information gathered for the report surprised us. For example, we found that grey and blue is the most popular colour combination for accountants’ branding – something that could have been predicted given the psychological impact of these tones, which typically evoke feelings of trust, stability, neutrality and balance.

However, as mentioned on the final page of the document, we did find that most of the accountancy websites we studied were very text heavy, despite some boasting well-considered branding and design elements. And this wasn’t necessarily a good thing, as the key messaging on many of these websites was getting lost in a sea of block paragraphs.

We all know that content is king when it comes to SEO, which is another reason why many financial services companies adopt a ‘more is more’ approach when it comes to creating content for their websites. But content that istoo convoluted becomes confusing to both the reader and the search engine crawler bots alike.

Look at your website content objectively. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Do they need to sift through reams and reams of copy? Could you be delivering the same message with less text?  


Are you making it difficult for readers to find your content?

A lot of the websites we visited when we were putting together our findings contained long, clunky-looking menus, which made it difficult for us to navigate our way around each site.  

What’s more, there was little discernible hierarchy of information in the websites we reviewed. It was unclear what the practice wanted us to read first, or what their call to action was.

Safe to say, we struggled to make sense of the design, and endured a pretty poor user experience as a result.

Think about the journey you want your readers to take through your website, and ask yourself: does the structure of the website, along with its content, make it easy for users to find what they’re looking for?  Clear messaging need to be married to good design and typographical hierarchy to communicate effectively.

Look at your website content objectively. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Do they need to sift through reams and reams of copy? Could you be delivering the same message with less text?  


Are you focusing on the ‘what’, when you should be focusing on the ‘why’?

Much of the content found on the websites of financial services providers is designed to educate the reader; to provide them with more of an insight into the services on offer, and perhaps even introduce them to the complex legislative changes that could affect their work or their investments.

This information is important, but it can be overwhelming for the average Joe.

Accountants do need to cover key points within their content, but the copy that’s prominently visible – such as the text within the homepage banner – needs to be short, punchy and to the point. It also needs to focus on the benefits of the service, as opposed to the ins and outs of what is on offer.

This is because, when all is said and done, clients are only interested in what they’re going to gain from you. They’ll expect you to know all about the latest tax thresholds, and they’ll assume you’ve achieved all the relevant qualifications – but what they really want to know is how your services can same them money and make their life easier. Does your copy tell the why the reader should work with you?  

Clear messaging need to be married to good design and typographical hierarchy to communicate effectively.

Ben Stanbury, Director of Prosper, the naming and branding agency for Professional Service firms

Written by Ben Stanbury

April 25, 2022

Ben is a branding and naming consultant. As the owner of Prosper he regularly blogs on the topic of branding, naming and differentiation for professional service firms. Among other things, he likes horror films, mountain biking and collecting vintage movie posters.

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