Learn how to create mortgage broker websites that make your business money.
15 minute read
Choosing a mortgage broker is probably one of the biggest financial decisions your customers will have to make in their lifetime. Yet often, there is a disconnect between the content found on mortgage broker websites and the information home loan customers are looking for.
That’s why we want to show you how you can make sure your website is optimised to attract new customers looking for mortgage broking services or advice. We’ve worked with hundreds of mortgage brokers from all mortgage aggregators across the industry, and we want to share tips we use to create top mortgage broker websites that generate return-on-investment.
Before we get into detail we’re going to start by teaching you the basic steps required to have a top mortgage broker website, because getting the basics right allows you to lay the foundation for your future digital marketing efforts. For beginners or mortgage brokers just starting out, this section is for you.
If you have a specific question, get in touch and we’ll be happy to offer additional advice based on your unique circumstances.
Assuming you’ve already set up a business, the next step is to register your domain name. We suggest doing this as early as possible – ideally even during the business registration process – so that your business has a domain that is relevant to your brand. If you can’t find a nice match, it is not far fetched to change your business name based on the list of domains available as it is imperative that your business name and website domain name be considered in tandem.
There are many companies that allow you to register a .com or .com.au website domain for up to 5 years, including Netregistry, GoDaddy and Crazy Domains to name a few. You can expect that between each of these companies, prices will be almost identical so whomever you choose to purchase your domain name of is almost inconsequential. We suggest going with whichever company you are most comfortable with, or whichever one you have an existing account with (no one needs another password to remember).
If you need help or get stuck, speak to one of our technical experts for assistance with the process of registering a domain.
Next, you want to start preparing your content and thinking about what kind of information you want on your website. This doesn’t mean you have to have all your content 100% complete, but rather, enough content to understand what website structure you want, and your website’s information architecture.
We recommend doing this before you begin looking for an agency or website provider as doing so will mean you are better prepared. Getting your website structure right from the get go is essential as it dictates how your website will be built, and can impact your search engine ranking in Google or Bing for keywords to do with your mortgage broking business.
The last step is to write down your expected budget. It’s important you consider costs from the start because it’s easy to get carried away with features, functionality and extras. This is not to say that those added features won’t come in handy, but rather that a budget will set a clear line on your website costs, particularly if you are just starting out. When you think about budget, break it down into the initial website cost and the ongoing website costs. For example:
Initial cost estimate: $8,400.00
Monthly cost estimate: $300.00
The reason we recommend budgeting for ongoing website costs is because it is important to understand that a website – just like any other software – is an ongoing entity that needs maintaining and updating.
Once you have registered your business, planned your website structure and put aside a budget, the next step is to select a digital agency or website provider. This usually goes hand-in-hand with selecting a hosting provider even though they are considered two seperate services.
A simple way of remembering who does what is that your website design agency will focus on the three D’s – designing, developing and deploying your website. Your hosting provider on the other hand only manages the website server once your website is deployed.
This is an important distinction to make as often the case, each provider will seperate their scope of work which in turn can sometimes make it difficult to know who you need to contact when there is a problem. Typically, when there is an issue with your website it can lead to a series of headaches in tracking down who is at fault or what needs to be done to fix the issue. It is for this reason that we highly recommend trying to find a digital agency that can not only design mortgage broker websites, but also host websites in a secure environment as well. There are a number of providers in Australia that offer these services with a wide range in costs and specialties.
For mortgage brokers, it is imperative that when you select a digital agency to work with you consider their unique expertise and experience specific to the mortgage broking and finance industries, as well as their expected delivery time of your mortgage broker website, and of course the total costs involved. On top of this, even though it is today possible to find a digital agency that is based in other parts of the world outside Australia, we always recommend working with a local agency based in the country of your business so that support is never too far away.
As part of our service offering, we offer mortgage brokers a range of packages based on their needs and business maturity. To find out more information on our website packages check out our services page.
Another useful tip to ensure the longevity of your website is to make sure that it comes with a content management system – also known as a CMS. This will allow you and your team to edit content at anytime without the need to go back to an external party, which can sometimes mean additional fees and charges per change request. More information on CMS’ can be found below.
When you are weighing up the total costs of your website, you should factor in both the initial costs of designing your website, as well as the costs to maintain and update it over time. On average, your website should last you at least 3 years so you want to be sure that you have considered the total lifespan involved. Just like a car, if you don’t service your website it can easily depreciate with value.
The best mortgage brokers will have thought out not only their budget but also the expected returns they want to get from their website. It is for this reason that we always recommend framing your website costs as a yearly budget. This could be structured in a way similar to below:
In the example above, you will notice that the total website budget for 2020 is $12,000 but a further breakdown would have revealed that this consists of $8,400 for the website design and development, and $3,600 (or $300/month) for the hosting and ongoing support fees. In 2021 however, the cost of the website decreases to just the hosting and support fees, while in 2022 the client is intending to upgrade their website by developing a new feature resulting in an increase of $3,000 to $6,600 in total for the year.
By itself, these costs may seem substantial, however the missing piece here is to correlate these budgets with the kinds of returns you expect for your mortgage broker business. One home loan settlement can be worth a couple thousand dollars over the lifetime of the loan so a few leads and closed settlements from your digital channels can more than compensate for the outgoings.
For example, if your website generates one new home loan customer per month, then it is most likely that you will receive your return on investment from your website in the first year, then in year two start to make a sizeable profit.
Alternatively, if your mortgage broker website hasn’t generated any new business for your company since you have put your website online, and you have already paid to keep it running for years, then perhaps you may want to rethink your online marketing strategy.
This is why costs and cost savings by themselves are not a good measure of success. Otherwise, the cheapest website would always be the best. Instead, consider the importance of being cost-effective, and then measuring your costs against your returns over time.
In the next section we show you how good design has helped some of our best mortgage broker websites attract more customers and increase their chances of turning website visitors into sales.
Best design practice is no longer only about making sure your website looks good, it encompasses cross-browser compatibility, speed and performance, and even goes as far as to effect your search engine ranking.
In this section we take you through some of the benchmarks we use to measure our design practice against, and show you how website design can be optimised to improve your customer acquisition.
Only a short time ago the world had a limited amount of devices that could access the internet. This meant that it was easy to optimise your website for your users as you really only had to cater to screens that were using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
Today however, your website audience could be using anything from Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Safari, Firefox, Opera and Google Chrome, plus this range of browsers are exponentially multiplied by the the multitude of resolutions available across mobile phones, tablets, laptops and monitors.
Taking all this into consideration, it is easy to see how complex modern website design can be.
To address the plethora of viewing options now available, a new standard for designing websites has quickly become the industry leading method – this is responsive design.
Simply put, responsive design is about making your website look good on all devices, but the process involved in doing this is not as easy as it sounds. For our team, a major part of ensuring we make the best mortgage broker websites possible is to employ rigorous testing across the most used resolutions and devices in the world. This is particularly important because it is impossible to know which device your next customer is going to be accessing your website on.
Market Share %
|1||1920 x 1080||8.11||LG 22MK400H-B Full HD Monitor|
|2||1600 x 900||1.80||Sony VAIO Tap 20|
|3||1536 x 864||2.58||MacBook Pro 16 (2019) – 1536 x 960 Viewport|
|4||1440 x 900||2.66||MacBook Pro 15 (2018)|
|5||1366 x 768||8.98||iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) – Landscape – 1024 x 1366 Viewport|
|6||1280 x 800||1.63||Samsung Galaxy Tab 10 – Landscape|
|7||1280 x 720||1.59||Microsoft Surface Pro|
|8||1024 x 768||1.34||iPad Mini – Landscape|
|9||768 x 1024||2.52||iPad Mini – Portrait|
|10||375 x 812||4.58||iPhone XS|
|11||375 x 667||4.58||iPhone 8|
|12||360 x 780||2.32||Huawei Mate 20 Pro|
|13||360 x 760||2.66||Samsung Galaxy S9 – 360 x 740 Viewport|
|14||360 x 740||1.90||Samsung Galaxy Note 9|
|15||360 x 720||3.08||Samsung Galaxy S9 – 360 x 740 Viewport|
|16||360 x 640||14.67||Samsung Galaxy S7|
The data above demonstrates the breadth of popular resolutions used around the world, but it should be noted that even this table still excludes 35% of all resolutions.
How then do you make a website that suits all of these devices? The short answer is you can’t (or at least you can’t without a substantial budget and dedicated team). But what you can pragmatically do is ensure that your website works well on the majority of devices and resolutions by using a technique we call graceful degradation.
The purpose of graceful degradation is to prevent critical failures by building a website that focuses on the newest browsers while delivering an experience on legacy browsers and devices that still delivers essential content and functionality. Such a technique acknowledges that you will not be able to make the perfect site for everyone, but identifies the majority as a focal point for a positive experience, without neglecting the minority.
All our top mortgage broker websites follow this methodology to ensure that the websites we design have the greatest reach across all audiences and potential customers – we employ graceful degradation to ensure that even the users on low-end devices can still access your website at any time from any place.
Beyond being cross-browser and resolution compatible, it is important to consider the role of context in responsive design. What we often find is that in certain industries such as mortgage broking, the device that a user is accessing a website on signifies their intent and value.
For example, looking at the data below taken from our own website, we can see that there is a huge disparity between not only the amount of mobile traffic versus desktop and tablet traffic, but also the activity of those users relative to each other.
The data suggests that our most valued customers will be the ones visiting our website from a desktop or tablet device as the engagement is seemingly more meaningful – deduced by looking at both bounce rate and average session duration.
To our team, this makes complete sense as our clients are typically looking for mortgage broker websites which requires in-depth research and comparison of other competitors. It also suggests that a wide-screen experience is where we should be focusing our efforts.
On the other hand, some of our other clients in the hospitality industry will tell you that mobile users often correlate to sales, as the search habits of a mobile user in the hospitality industry differs completely. For restaurants for example, our research has shown that often people will search a restaurant name to find its location or make a booking, thus making mobile views arguably more crucial than desktop ones.
Google Recommends Responsive Web Design
There is of course one other major reason why responsive design is a must, and that is Google’s commentary on it. With complete domination in the search engine market, what Google says and does matters a lot to the website design and digital industry. Hence, when Google comes out and makes a statement that they are supporting responsive design, it means that you can assume their search engine will likewise hold responsively designed websites in higher regard.
One of the main reasons Google prefers responsive websites is that it makes it easier for users to share and link to content due to having a singular URL. This in turn helps Google’s algorithms to index your website pages more efficiently as their crawlers will have no need to signal the existence of corresponding pages on desktop or mobile.
By abiding to Google’s recommendations and best practices, it is possible to improve your mortgage broker website ranking across keywords which will in-turn drive you new customers through an increase in organic traffic.
We demonstrate the value of a robust content management system and how to ensure you are getting the most from it.
A content management system (CMS) is a system that helps you to manage your content without the need for a designer or developer. It is an absolute must when creating a website due to the expanding use of content online, and the subsequent priority that search engines such as Google put on having quality content.
If your website does not have a content management system, then we encourage you to immediately invest in one for your website. There are a range of options to choose from and it will ultimately lay the foundations for your digital marketing efforts – the focus of next chapter.
Apart from the proprietary CMS’ that are used for specialist purposes, there are many well-known publicly available CMS’ used across the variety of websites in the world. Which one you choose for your business will ultimately depend on your unique circumstances and budget.
If a vendor is telling you that their CMS is the best on the market they may be misleading you. The truth is, it is impossible to say one is better than another. Instead, it is more accurate to appreciate that each CMS has its own advantages and disadvantages, and realise that you need to select the one that best suits your needs.
The most popular CMS in the world is WordPress with over 50% market share (and growing). One of the main reasons WordPress has been so successful to date is its open source nature which in turn has allowed many developers, freelancers and companies to contribute to building new plugins and custom features. Being open source also means that it is free – however it should be noted that it may require a lot of customisation to satisfy all your functional objectives.
In our experience, another major reason for WordPress’ popularity is that it comes with a simple user interface. We find this of particular benefit to our clients as often the people using the CMS have minimal expertise in design or development – think of staff from a marketing or administration team.
There are of course other CMS solutions apart from WordPress that can be used. Other popular CMS’ include: Wix, Squarespace, Joomla, Drupal, Kentico and Sitecore all with varying benefits and price ranges.
As part of delivering digital solutions for clients over the last decade plus, our team have used all of the aforementioned systems and overall find that on average WordPress seems to be the CMS of choice for businesses. We put this down to it’s low barrier to entry and easy-to-use interface.
Being the most popular CMS in the world does however come with a few disadvantages. Mainly, a lot of WordPress sites are the focus of hackers, and because of this are prone to being attacked.
With millions of WordPress users ranging in expertise, it is expected that some WordPress systems will be vulnerable to exploits. Yet often the misconception made is that WordPress websites are less secure or more vulnerable. Really what is happening is that because of its widespread use around the world, WordPress websites are targeted often as attackers can typically expect the most return for their efforts.
We liken this to a similar perception between Microsoft and Apple – at one point it was held that Apple computers could not be hacked, however what was really the case was that Microsoft’s operating system was so popular around the world it was the primary target for hackers.
In order to combat this constant targeting and make sure your website remains secure there are a number of steps that can be taken to limit vulnerabilities and prevent downtime.
The first is to make sure that your application, WordPress version and server firmware is always up-to-date and patched. System updates are released on a regular basis, and often the case, administrators cannot keep up with the regularity of releases leaving websites outdated and vulnerable to exploits.
Next, you can work with an agency or supplier that understands server architecture and website security. This will mean you can operate your business with the confidence that your website is well looked after. Our team for example, ensure that we keep abreast of OWASP Top 10 security risks and employ tools to monitor and prevent 3rd party intrusion.
Being the main target for hackers and spammers means that security is a must if you are going to use WordPress. If you are operating a WordPress website without proper security policies or without redundancies in place then you can expect that sooner or later your website will be exploited. From a business point of view, any website vulnerability can in turn have a negative impact on your credibility and could potentially spread viruses to your users.
To make Manta, we took the most popular platform in the world – WordPress – and made it even more powerful by enhancing it’s features using automation and cloud computing to deliver more value to our customers while they pay less.
We did this by integrating the WordPress system with industry leading technologies such as Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform so that your website is optimised for business use – specifically, it is safer, more secure and completely customisable to your unique needs.
Being an enterprise-ready solution, we provide hosting, uptime monitoring and weekly backups as part of all our website packages. We do this because we understand that our clients want a cost-effective solution that comes with the peace of mind required to go about their everyday lives.
You can find out more about the Manta system on our platform page.
Now that you’ve got a website and laid down the foundations you need to start your digital marketing, it’s time to get your business working for you. We show you how we’ve helped mortgage broker websites all around Australia increase traffic and generate new leads.
Our mortgage broker websites are designed to be suitable across all resolutions, platforms and operating systems including desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile devices.
We offer a fully managed service from start to finish. This includes design, development, copywriting and more. We look after you every step of the way.
By partnering with industry leaders Amazon and Google Cloud, we are able to provide a highly secure environment to host and maintain your website on.
Our websites are integrated with both the MFAA and FBAA calculators, and we have access to home loan comparison tools through our partner aggregators.
Congratulations, if you’ve reached this far we’re going to assume you’ve got a website and that you’ve built it in a way that it can start generating leads for your business. Now what we’re going to do is break down how we help ensure our mortgage broker websites start working for our customers.
To do this we’re going to dive into a variety of different online channels and platforms so that you can weight up which one works best for you, and offer tips on search engine optimisation and digital marketing so you can fine-tune your efforts.
If it’s not obvious by now, you can see that our team place a lot of focus on search engine optimisation. We do this becasue