15 minute read

For the average Australian, when they choose to buy a house they are buying something they believe will last them a lifetime. That is why for most people choosing a mortgage broker is a big deal, as they need to feel that they can trust you with one of the biggest decisions of their lives.

What we often find however, is that there is a disconnect between the content found on mortgage broker websites and the information customers need to make a decision.

Here we show you how you can optimise your website to attract customers looking for a home loan while providing key insights to help you build an online presence that generates your business return on investment.

The Basics

Before we get into detail we’re going to start by describing the basic steps needed to create a mortgage broker website – because getting the basics right allows you to lay a solid foundation for your digital marketing efforts. For beginners or mortgage brokers just starting out, this section is for you.

If you find you have a specific question on anything, make sure to get in touch and we’ll be happy to offer advice based on your unique circumstances.

Get a Website Domain

Assuming you’ve already set up a business, the next step is to register a domain name. We suggest exploring 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 mortgage broker 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 a digital 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.

Plan Your  Budget

Next write down your expected budget and associated website design cost. It’s important you consider all the 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. We recommend looking for a provider that offers a turn-key solution. This way your website design and hosting is handled by one entity so if there are ever any problems you know who to go to – more on this below.

Select the Right Website or Digital Agency

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 often 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 fully manage the website hosting in a secure environment. For more information on the solutions and packages we offer, including website hosting, visit our mortgage broker services page.

Work with a Local Digital Agency

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 the expected delivery time of your mortgage broker website. A great indicator of this is how they provide website design tips that are specific to your industry. Usually an initial call or meeting can tell you a lot about their previous experience so make sure to have an open discussion about your needs and goals before beginning.

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 so that you know support is never too far away. For example, as part of our local service offering, we offer mortgage brokers a range of packages based on their needs and support response and resolution times.

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.

Weigh up the Total Website Costs

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 to 5 years before you do any major upgrades, 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 reveals 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 can 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 is worth a couple thousand dollars so a few leads and closed settlements from your digital channels can more than compensate for the outgoings.

If you can work with a digital agency that gets your website generating new home loan leads every month, then it is likely that you will receive your return on investment from your website in the first year, then in year two 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 then perhaps you may want to rethink your online marketing strategy and start to look at other website design service providers.

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.

Coming Up Next

We demonstrate 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.

Responsive Website Design

Best design practice is no longer only about making sure your website looks good, it encompasses technical requirements such as cross-browser compatibility, speed and performance which all contribute to things such as your search engine ranking and social media engagement.

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 funnel.

Understanding Professional Website Design and Development Today

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 create a website for 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 for al users, 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.

Resolution ID
Resolution
Market Share %
Example Device
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
Total 65%

Source: https://gs.statcounter.com/screen-resolution-stats

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 to Optimise your Resolution for Mortgage Broker Marketing

How then do you make a website that suits all of your potential customers’ devices? The short answer is you can’t – or at least you can’t without a substantial budget. 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 and most popular browsers, while delivering a website 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 and website design packages 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 users on low-end devices can still access your website at any time from any place.

Consider Context When Designing

Beyond being cross-browser and resolution compatible, it is important to consider the role of context in custom website 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 sample data below taken from our website, we can see that there is a huge disparity between the amount of mobile traffic versus desktop and tablet traffic, as well as the activity of those users relative to each other.

The data suggests that our most valued customers will be the ones visiting the website from a desktop or tablet device as the engagement is seemingly more meaningful – deduced by looking at metrics such as 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. This is similarly the case for mortgage broking where desktop users tend to be more engaged – mainly because looking for a home loan is a research-intensive effort.

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 from that of the mortgage broking industry. In the case of restaurants, 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 final 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 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. Therefore, if you are embarking on your own mortgage broker marketing make sure you have a responsive website design.

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.

Coming Up Next

For more website tips, read on to see how a robust content management system can help your business with marketing, and how to ensure you are getting the most from it.

Content Management System

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 custom web design and development due to the expanding importance of content, and the subsequent priority that search engines such as Google put on having quality content on your website.

If your website does not have a content management system, then we encourage you to immediately invest in getting website developers to create one for your website. There are a range of options to choose from and it will ultimately lay the foundations for your mortgage broker marketing efforts.

Choosing a CMS

Apart from the custom web development 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 recognise that each CMS has its own advantages and disadvantages, and consider that you need to select the one that best suits your needs at the time of website development.

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 website development companies to contribute to building new plugins and custom web 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 custom web design and development 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 mortgage broker businesses. We put this down to it’s affordability, low barrier to entry and easy-to-use interface.

Disadvantages of WordPress

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.

The reality is that because of its widespread use, WordPress websites are targeted often as attackers can typically expect at least some of the WordPress websites created around the world to be left exposed and vulnerable.

We liken this to the perception of Microsoft and Apple platforms – 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 it was simply the primary target for hackers.

Securing Your Website with a Custom Web Design and Development

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 a web development company 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.

Operating in the finance and mortgage broking industries mean that security is a must if you are going to create a website. If you are operating a 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.

What CMS do we use for our websites

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 any website built with our platform 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.

Coming Up Next

Now that you’ve got a website and laid down the secure foundations you need to start your digital marketing, it’s time to get your business working for you. Next, we show you how we’ve helped mortgage broker websites all around Australia increase traffic and generate new leads.

Our CMS Features

Designed for Desktop and Mobile

Our mortgage broker websites are designed to be suitable across all resolutions, platforms and operating systems including desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile devices.

Fully Managed and Stress Free

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.

Robust and Secure System

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.

Gain Access to Industry Tools

Our websites are integrated with both the MFAA and FBAA calculators, and we have access to home loan comparison tools through our partner aggregators.

Digital Marketing

Congratulations on getting your website up and running! Now you just need to figure out how to come up with great mortgage broker marketing ideas and get it working for you. To do this, we’re going to dive into a variety of different marketing opportunities to demonstrate some of the ways you can generate traffic and turn that traffic into leads.

Search Engine Optimisation for Mortgage Brokers

If it’s not obvious by now, you can see that our team place a lot of focus on search engine optimisation (SEO) for mortgage brokers. We do this because we believe that SEO is the most cost-effective form of marketing in the industry, as once you get your website ranking for certain keywords you can endlessly reap the benefits of that search engine ranking for as long as you can maintain your position.

SEO has been around a long time now and there are plenty of agencies that you can pay to improve your ranking for you. We’re not going to get too much into that, but instead focus on what you can do yourself – and explain a little about how the way you build your website can impact SEO.

But first, to take a step back, it’s important to understand that Google’s goal when it comes to SEO is to help people who use their search to find what they are looking for as quickly as possible. This is a very abstract goal, but to apply it literally means that Google will never promote a website they don’t believe to be valuable to their users – in other words if you focus on creating value for consumers then you can be assured that your intentions and Google’s align.

Why does this matter? Well it means that if you are wanting to rank for ‘best mortgage brokers’ and the content on your website wasn’t relevant to the keywords, for example if it showed images of puppies or kittens, you would never expect to rank no matter how good your website looks or the quality of your SEO.

In fact, while there are many variables that Google use to determine ranking, there are effectively two main guiding principles that can be followed as overarching rules:

  1. Create quality content
  2. Prove your value through inbound linking

Creating Quality Content

In the eyes of Google, quality content is the content that answers the questions of visitors. This is typically content that looks good (aesthetically pleasing to digest), covers a specific topic (of substance) and is maintained on a regular basis (timely).

You may note that the above definition doesn’t really mention word count in anyway. This is because word count by itself doesn’t really matter. However, with this being said, it can be noted that research has proven a correlation between the word count and the ranking of that page in search engines. We believe this is most likely occurring because in order to make in-depth quality content, it is expected you will need to write a certain amount of words.

A great tip we always ask our mortgage broker customers to consider when writing content is whether or not they have anything new to add on the topic. An example of this could be if you wanted to create a page on ‘mortgage brokers’, you would need to first ask yourself what could you say that is new or different from your competitors, something that hasn’t already been said. This line of questioning can lead you to be more specific when you create content, focusing on subject matter that can really deliver value to communities through your mortgage broker marketing initiatives.

An example of this could be – ‘How to know if a property in Surry Hills is overvalued’. In this example, you would most likely be able to attract audiences that are interested in buying a property in the Surry Hills region, and in doing so engage them in a manner that aided them at a time when they possibly haven’t started looking for a mortgage broker – a prime time to start a conversation.

Inbound Linking Using the Campfire Analogy

When you write website content for your mortgage broker website you want to imagine you are creating a campfire with people gathered around the middle. Only instead of people, you will be creating new pages or ‘pillars’ to gather around the campfire.

Using this analogy, you want to ensure that each new page you create contributes to the larger cluster – for example, if your campfire was for ‘Website Design’ you could perhaps create pages around it for each relevant industry such as website design for mortgage brokers, accountants and financial advisors. This SEO model is called a topic cluster and search engine’s such as Google depend on them to identify related information and valuable content for their users.

Create content campfires

An inbound link from an external domain in a sense acts in the same way. Therefore, the more links you have to your page, the more Google and other search engines are able to measure the value of your mortgage broker website.

From this analogy, you can see how the more specific the content you make is, the more you will be able to attract the audiences that are right for your business. In this way, writing good content both serves to attract the right kind of customer, as well as help search engines rank your website pages.

This means you should never be aiming to target broad words or generic descriptions, but rather focus on attracting the kinds of traffic you think is relevant to your business. If you operate your business in Surry Hills for example, then think how you can create content that is localised. Alternatively, if you specialise in a specific kind of mortgage broking such as refinancing then make sure to target those relevant keywords as part of your mortgage broker marketing plan.

Stick to Google or Facebook

There are many different channels that you can market your business on, and it may seem appealing to focus on all of them. However, it is always our recommendation to be targeted rather than scattered in your mortgage broker marketing approach which is why we highly recommended sticking to one or two platforms at most – particularly if you are just starting out. Part of the reason behind this is because the finance and mortgage broking industries are highly competitive, and as a result, you will be pitting your marketing efforts and advertising spend against some very big players.

Some marketers may encourage you to advertise on other platforms such as Bing or Instagram but we have found that while there are wins to be had across all channels, it is a rarity. Using Google’s Search Console coupled with Google Ads can offer your business precision at a cost-effective rate, while Facebook enables network-centred marketing through your immediate circles. Both these platforms offer specialised tools as well as a large audience base that you can segment and micro-target.

Furthermore, both platforms allow you to moderate your marketing spend based on a variety of metrics including cost-per-acquisition, cost-per-click, cost-per-impression and more. Learn to use these metrics to adapt your campaigns on the fly, and continue to learn from the results of each campaign to iterate and improve.

Dive into the Data

Last but not least, it is imperative that throughout your website creation and marketing journey you make sure to consider the data, analytics and metrics that the digital world affords. Unlike marketing initiatives of the past, one of the key benefits of having a mortgage broker website is that all kinds of data is available for free. This means that your perception of whether or not your website is doing well should not be subjective, but rather based on clear identifiable goals.

Every mortgage broker marketing plan should include a series of objectives by which to measure your performance against. Some key questions for example include:

How much traffic is coming to your website? And from what sources?

Is that traffic converting to leads?

Are those leads translating to sales?

What are the value of those sales?

These questions help to visualise the digital sales funnel to ultimately determine if you are profiting from your mortgage broker marketing.  Each respective indicator along the way can help you deduce whether or not your website is working for you and help you improve over time.

It is therefore imperative that you not only have these insights available to you and review them constantly, but also that your website is being monitored and improved on a regular basis.