One area that brokers must not neglect as they prepare themselves for regulation is their website. It will not be enough just to update their regulatory status, brokers must go through the whole of their website with a fine toothed comb to make sure there's nothing that oversteps the mark. For example, many broker websites talk about being 'independent' and yet offer 'free advice'. Under the new rules you can't call yourself independent unless you offer clients the option of paying a fee so text must be rewritten accordingly. Oh, and I'm in Bolton this week.
If you want to recommend a particular broker website for me to review, e-mail the website address to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advanced Mortgage Solutions
There's nothing on the homepage here to encourage site visitors to go any further, and if they do all they'll find is generic information for a small number of borrower and product types. OK, I realise the company was initially set up to support accountants and solicitors but on the 'about us' page (which needs proofreading) it says it is now able to offer its facilities via the internet. Pity then that it doesn't promote any benefits of using the company or make enough of its contact points – or indeed use the power of the internet to provide any interactivity. And navigation is poor with a navibar only on the homepage (despite what it says elsewhere) so you have to keep on going backwards to go forwards.
Choice Mortgage Services
Things are a little better here. Part of the proposition on the homepage is about 'problem' mortgages – we all know what that means but when mortgage prospects are searching the internet they use 'bad credit' more than any other search words. It's always better to use the words the public uses – shows you're speaking the same language. Site navigation is good with the menu always on screen and the contact number well promoted. Each of the borrower types in the menu brings up a page with a few introductory lines and then an enquiry form. But web users generally look for more detailed information and the benefits of filling in the enquiry form need teeing up better for the site to increase its effectiveness as a lead generator.
Money & Mortgages
Money & Mortgages, a Sesame appointed representative, has a new site and asked for it to be reviewed. And, yes, overall the site has a good bit going for it. First off, I like its strapline – 'your personal mortgage shopper' creates uniqueness out of a service that, when it comes down to it, is not unique so brownie points for that. And the design looks clean in its blue and white livery, if a trifle bland. But the information is on the basic side – four steps to buying a new home? If only that were true – and I'm not impressed by a jargon buster that 'should not be relied upon'. Contact details could be bolder and the site cries out for testimonials and a calculator or two.