Should You Offer Financial Calculators on Your Financial Planning Website?

Financial CalculatorsThe addition of Financial Calculators to an advisor’s website is a common consideration during the design process. The tools are well known, readily available, and are a regular offering on many finance related websites. The downside – professional calculators can be an¬†expensive add on. Are they worth it?

Case Study

A client recently asked that same question. He was paying high annual fees for a very nice set of 10 financial calculators for his website. It was time to renew and he wanted to know if, from a business/marketing perspective, they were worth the extra cost?

His firm is in the highly competitive southern California market and his website gets an average amount of web traffic for a small, independent planning business.

The Data

In determining the specific answer for this client, we evaluated the search market for financial calculators, his search competition, and reviewed his traffic patterns for the past year.

1. Is there consumer interest in financial calculators?

A search on Google’s Keyword Planner tool showed a healthy search volume for Calculators both nationally and locally.

Financial Calculator searches

2. Search Results: Who is the competition for search traffic?

A non-branded, non-location specific search for “Retirement Calculator” brings up the following listings:

  1. CNN Money
  2. Bloomberg
  3. Charles Schwab
  4. Bankrate.com
  5. Vanguard
  6. AARP
  7. FINRA
  8. CalcXML
  9. U.S. News & World Report
  10. T. RowePrice

. . . pretty stiff competition.

3. Historical Results: Client specific data from Google Analytics for the past year.

Looking through Google Analytics, I found the following data related to their calculator pages for the past year:

  • they were viewed a total of 55 times by 47 unique visitors – less than 1% of all visitors went to any of the 10 available calculators
  • the calculators were entry pages, meaning visitors found the website because of the calculators, only 5 times
  • the average time on a calculator page was 2.57 minutes

Recommendations

This case study is obviously far from an empirical study on calculator use on Financial Advisor websites, however it did provide information that can be applied to other advisors.

  1. Know your reason for offering calculators. Don’t expect it to increase your search traffic. The chances of out-ranking one of the national companies that are showing up in the search results is almost zero.
  2. Few visitors used this client’s calculators. Although, this might not be the case for your calculators should you choose to offer them, be sure to follow up by checking your Google Analytics data to be sure.
  3. Look for less expensive calculators. If they don’t offer a huge return, don’t invest as much in them.

Although I don’t see specific disadvantages (besides cost) to offering calculators, definitely consider your budget and goals when contemplating adding them to your website. If you are on a limited budget, it may not be the most cost effective use of your marketing dollars.

I am currently looking into more cost effective calculators for WordPress websites. I hope to be able to offer a review article on my findings soon.

What has your experience with Calculators on your website been. Have you seen a lot of use? Gained or maintained clients because of them?

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Brent is a REALTOR with Keller Williams in Henderson (Las Vegas valley) NV. He has a background in digital marketing and is a nationally recognized SEO expert. In addition to this blog, he is a VIP contributor to Search Engine Journal and has been syndicated through SteamFeed, Social Media Today and B2C.

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One Response to Should You Offer Financial Calculators on Your Financial Planning Website?

  1. Jyoti Chauhan May 5, 2015 at 5:00 pm #

    Hi Brent,

    Interesting case study! When we are going to start a business where we need to spend lots of money, we need to figure out lots of things like how many people are really interested to take services and at which position we can rank.

    You have mentioned some great point.

    Thanks
    Jyoti

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