Nearly every advisor has a website. What’s not as common is a site that engages the target audience and stands out in a crowded digital landscape.

Consumers look for thought leadership and interesting content to determine if an advisor is someone they can trust. As such, your website plays a pivotal role in the client acquisition process. If you want to turn site visitors into clients, here are four things to keep in mind.

1. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Thanks to the availability of information on the internet, consumers are now doing more of their own research on financial products and services than ever before.

Once prospects do a Google search for a financial professional and ultimately make their way to your site, what will they see? Content that hasn’t been refreshed since the day your website went live or fresh, relevant material that is an accurate reflection of your current principles, ideas, and differentiated services?

Make sure your site isn’t frozen in time. It’s far easier to update content regularly to demonstrate that you are in touch than it is to make up for lost business as prospects move on to the next advisor that popped up their search results.

2. It should be easy for interested people to contact you.

While social media helps to forge new relationships and email helps to maintain relationships, websites are invaluable because they can convert business. There’s still no better place to put a call-to-action, such as a quote request widget or a “contact me” form.

By combining these conversion mechanisms with thoughtful, relevant content that speaks to your audience, your website can become a great channel to grow your business. So add that form to make life easier for potential clients and yourself -- just make sure it’s simple and quick from a user experience standpoint, or risk losing out due to a prospect’s frustration with the interface.

3. Your site should be a hub, supporting other elements of your online presence.

A great website serves as the foundation for an effective multi-channel online presence. It can and should support other online marketing efforts, such as email or social media campaigns.

For example, if a prospect reads your email, but isn’t ready to reach out directly, your website is a great place to send him or her to get to know you and your services on their own time. Make that connection for prospects -- it’s as simple as providing a link.

And just as email and social media draw interest and your website amplifies and continues that engagement, the reverse holds as well. Tools are readily available to integrate your social feeds into your site so that content remains consistent, relevant and dynamic across channels. Cross-pollinating your online content will pay big dividends later in terms of both client acquisition and retention.

4. Your site should show that you are a thought leader.

People want to work with experts who are knowledgeable about the services they provide, the communities they serve and the unique individuals they do business with. An effective site gives you a place to showcase your expertise and present your firm as a sought-after professional resource.

While social media is great for sharing quick thoughts, links and photos, it’s impossible to fully convey you and your business in 140 characters. For that, you have your website.

Create a space on your site devoted to your unique insights. Afraid that you won’t be able to fill it? Think about the questions, both common and uncommon, that clients ask and you will find plenty of fodder. Consider the seasons of the year and what they could imply -- paying for college, renovating a home, buying a boat, etc.

Once you get started, you’ll have no shortage of ideas to share, consistently replenishing your site with material that reinforces the image you want to project.

To keep up with shifting client expectations, professional websites are evolving from a Yellow Pages-type listing with simple contact information to a full-fledged content and engagement hub. Stay ahead of the curve by building a website that conveys your personal brand and ideas, integrates your social campaigns, hosts living content and provides multiple touch points for prospects.

If you need help creating one, many services will work with your corporate brand to ensure that you are in keeping with company policies and compliant with industry regulations. By making the commitment to building a stronger, better web presence, you will grow your business.

Meagan Hency is the director of product marketing at Hearsay Social, provider of the Predictive Social Suite for advisors.

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