After my first visit to south Wales (Mortgage Strategy March 15), I had an email from a broker in Swansea. Inter City Finance wasn't sure whether to be miffed, disappointed or relieved that I hadn't reviewed its site. Ever one to please, I thought I would make a return visit but this time just to Swansea. Can't say I'm impressed. Select Mortgages doesn't offer much and nor does Mortgage Solutions Swansea. As for Inter City Finance, there's more here but the site doesn't make it easy to find and that broker probably wishes he hadn't emailed me.
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The promise on the far too long homepage is: 'Saving you time and money. We pride ourselves on achieving this for you.' But there isn't much fulfilment of this promise in the website itself. Click on 'introduction letter' and while a nice letter does come up, it's overlaid by a pop-up screen saying: 'Didn't find what you want? Try these sites,' with a whole bunch of alternative sites from the Select group covering mortgages, loans and insurance. Found what I want? I haven't even had a chance to look yet! The same happens when you click on 'terms of business'. The other pages in the menu bar may be marked mortgage, remortgage and loan but they are really just enquiry forms with no information at all.
Mortgage Solutions Swansea
The homepage here is a tad too long – it would be much better to make it fit into a single screen without having to scroll down – but it does include a matter-of-fact explanation of what the company does. Whether you do this or go for a pithy strapline, you still need to fulfil the promise that you're making to the site visitor. For example, it's good to talk about satisfied customers but testimonials to back this up say so much more. The navibar only has three options – click on mortgages and you get some basic information on mortgage types plus an addition to the navibar listing various customer types. Looks promising – except each type, from first-timer to buy-to-let, brings up the same enquiry form. Nice web address, though.
Inter City Finance
Wading through the site, I found the words: 'You won't find loads of useless information on this site.' Now there's a challenge. So ignoring the photo of the owl, I waded again. Loads of information? Er, yes. Useless? Well there's all that text about 'who we are' and 'what we do' and 'why come to us' – including information about the company's 'considerable' costs which as a prospective customer I couldn't give two hoots about (perhaps the owl does?). I had trouble finding useful and well laid out information in the main site although there's always the inserted Moneysupermarket pages. And if you want to get visitors to tell a friend about your site, a good tip is to spell out the web address correctly in the email message panel.