Not every GP is making a positive impression with visitors to its website. At a time when investors, job applicants, regulators and others use firms’ websites as a first resource for information, that can be a problem. Therefore we challenged Andrew Lipstein, director of digital marketing at Wear Interactive, to identify a few common threads in some of the less appealing sites used by private fund managers.
ANDREW LIPSTEIN’S ANSWER:
It’s very common for private equity firms to not spend attention or resources on the design signifiers on their website.
While the website pitfalls of private equity firms might resemble that of other industries, the implications are significantly different. A potential investor on your site needs to be convinced that you’re trusted, sharp and plan everything out to a T. Your website succeeds not when the site itself impresses, but that it properly conveys your firm’s confidence and strengths.
Exceptional design takes attention to detail, care, strategy and intelligence – also hallmarks of a private equity firm ahead of the curve. One subtle design choice (i.e. a warmer primary color and cooler secondary cooler for a logo or vice-versa) not only says a great deal about how you do business, it says it before you can.
In that aim, there are some common mistakes GPs can avoid so that the right message to visitors of the site is properly conveyed. They include everything from mismatched font families to color schemes that amount to a wash. More specifically:
Too loud: Why does this look like the website for a nightclub? Why are there magenta, oversized letters?
Too soft: There’s a conspicuous absence of color. The website looks flat.
Overuse of abstract imagery: What do these random arrows allude to? Why is there wildlife on this site?
No use of imagery: Is this a whitepaper?
But there are many other design mistakes that could be sending an implicit message of unprofessionalism to potential investors and other types of visitors to the site:
An overly nature-toned color palette: The website looks more fitting for an animal rights agency.
An overly synthetic-toned color palette: The website looks more fitting for a tech startup.
Outdated font family: Using a serif font nearly everywhere or, even worse, using a mix of sans and serif throughout.
No clear direction of where to look first: The site doesn’t organically lead your eyes from one set of information to another.
Haphazard use of color: Warm and cold fonts are used without rhyme or reason, and thus, gives the impression of a lack of planning.
Furthermore, beyond the eye, it’s of great significance to make sure the website is programed with great attention to detail. If not, you could end up with:
A total absence of Search Engine Optimization (SEO): This means you have no chance of being ‘organically’ found on a Google search.
Incorrect or no page headers: When a potential investor/employee goes to your site and looks back in their history to find you again, they may not be able to.
Unlabeled images and graphics: Potential investors/employees won’t find your site in an image search.
No alt text: In some browsers, your website may appear broken.