Change of Direction…

In the past this website was all about the services that I provided to financial advisers, insurance brokers and online publishers in the insurance space.

But I don’t really write much content for others now (basically none) so it’s time to change direction…

Whilst I don’t write for others, I’m writing more than ever for my own company’s portfolio of websites, and I’m pleased to say that they’re going quite well.

So the new direction for this little blog of mine is to start sharing my views on insurance advice in the online world, along with reporting any news that I come across from around the place.

It’s certainly no secret that the internet is continuing to change the way that people search for personal and business insurance, and for those businesses that make the right decisions now I believe there will be major rewards in the not-to-distant future.

Stay tuned…

Access WHM cPanel from WiFi

This blog entry will probably be of little interest to my regular readers, but I had plenty of trouble finding this information for myself, so I feel the need to share!

I am writing this from Paris where I am enjoying a holiday with my wife.  Whilst not a working holiday, I do have to keep fresh content on my websites to ensure those Google rankings stay strong during my six week absence.

I’m using wifi wherever I can whilst overseas, which is fine for everything else, but when I tried to upload some new content via my FTP program I couldn’t get in.  I tried instead to use the File Manager function through my WHM (web host manager) but that wouldn’t let me in either.

The thought of not being able to update my websites for six weeks almost made me sick!  This wouldn’t be a problem if I used WordPress for all my sites, but for various reasons I don’t for my main business sites.

So anyway I searched and searched for a workaround and couldn’t find a solution, but finally I came across a gold nugget which saved the day!

If you are trying to access WHM from a wifi or other network which won’t allow access to the required port, simply use the following link as a workaround:

It’s as easy as that!  From here you can access the cPanel for each domain you have hosted within your WHM.

This is instead of the usual IP address based URL which would look something like 123.456.789:2086

So disaster averted and I once again have access to upload new content to my non-Wordpress websites.

For more information on accessing WHM from an overseas or wifi network please visit the original page (link here) that saved me.

Finance domain sales in the media

I’ve just been reading through some old magazines which have been sitting on my desk for a few months and came across this little item in the June issue of The Adviser sale

The article doesn’t mention the prices paid, but we know that was purchased for $100,000+ and was purchased for $33,001.

Previously it was only known that sold for somewhere in excess of $100k, but given that this latest article talks about “hundreds of thousands of dollars” we can probably assume that the $100k figure was very conservative.

Whilst I’d hardly call The Adviser a mainstream publication (I’m probably the only non-mortgage broker who reads it!) it is still good to see domain name sales getting attention outside of the domaining industry.

I realise that these two domains have limited relevance to insurance, but with them still being in the overall finance industry it does show what a super-premium insurance domain name could potentially be worth.

Don’t Lose Your Domains!

Every day there are hundreds of domain names which expire and are sold to the highest bidder at auction.

Many of these domains are deliberately left to expire, but unfortunately for the owners, sometimes the domains have unknowingly expired.

It can happen to anyone – even me!

Believe it or not, this almost happened to me today.

One of my content clients called me to let me know that my website ( was down.  I found this a little strange since I knew that other websites of mine on the same server were working fine, so the first thing I did was a whois search on the domain.

The result shocked me, as I saw that the domain had expired four days prior!

Thankfully domain owners are given around two months grace on their domains, so I was able to pay the renewal and fix the problem instantly.

How did it happen?

It happened in the same way that it happens to most other people.  I had an old email address listed as the contact for the domain name, and therefore I never received the renewal notice.


The easiest way to avoid this problem is to ensure that the email address listed on each of your domains is current and actively checked.

It is also important to use a generic company email address rather than an individual employee’s address.  Many companies have lost domains as the email address used for the domain was for a person who has since left the company.  The email address is either cancelled or no longer checked, and therefore no one in the company gets the renewal, leading to the domain expiring and being lost.

Famous examples

I couldn’t finish this article without mentioning a couple of well known examples within the domain owners community.

One of the best stories is that of  This fantastic domain was owned by Bunnings, however they let it expire and it was subsequently snapped up by bitter rival Masters for just over $30,000.

This was an example of the email address being that of a former employee.

Another great example was  This domain was allowed to expire by it’s previous owner, and was snapped up by an astute buyer for a massive $125,000.  Losing a six figure asset due to a missed renewal is not good!


Register your domains using an email address which you know will be available and monitored regardless of staff movements, and check your valuable domains from time to time to ensure that they are still active and have the correct contact details.

More Large Finance Domain Sales

Following on from last year’s post about finance related domain names, I thought I’d post a couple more large sales that have occurred so far in 2012.

It seems that anything in lending market is pretty hot right now, and that is certainly confirmed in the figures below.  Insurance is still as strong as ever, however there haven’t been as many high quality names coming onto the market recently.

Here are a selection of the best sales from 2012 so far:

  • $100,000+ –
  • $33,001 –
  • $22,002 –
  • $11,988 –
  • $10,800 –
  • $7,452 –
  • $2,530 –
  • $2,145 –

The buyer of (private equity firm, Aura Capital) would not confirm the exact price, stating only that it was in excess of $100k.  The same buyer of this domain was also behind the purchase of

You may think that spending over $130,000 on these two domain names would obviously mean that the buyer is in the home loan industry, but that is not the case.

In an interview with SmartCompany, Aura Capital director Calvin Ng said that both purchases were purely opportunistic, and they hadn’t even determined a strategy for the domains yet.

Given that information, it would certainly seem that they see the potential for strong growth in the value of finance related domain names.

Insurance Domains

There is another life insurance related sale worth mentioning, however the purchase price cannot be confirmed.  This sale was of a functioning website rather than a domain-only transaction.

The domain name and website was listed on auction website Flippa, and although the auction ended unsold, we can see that the highest bid was $40,000.

I have it on good authority that a sale was negotiated in the end, and one would have to assume that it was for more than the high bid of $40,000.

Is It Too Late To Get In?

There’s no doubt that prices are really getting up there, but there are still plenty of bargains to be had.

In five or ten year’s time, I actually think they we’ll look back at some of the big sales listed above and think they they too were bargains.

Financial Advisers Not Embracing Content Marketing

I was reading an article in Risk Info last week which encouraged financial advisers to embrace content marketing.  You can check out the article here, and I’ve also copied it below:

Advisers Should Embrace Content Marketing

Advisers should invest in content marketing in order to achieve greater cut-through with their promotional activity, according to marketing expert Claudio Pannunzio.

Mr Pannunzio, President of US-based financial services marketing firm i-Impact Group, explains that content marketing involves the creation and dissemination of original and useful content aimed at educating key audiences, rather than just promoting a product or service.

“The ultimate goal of content marketing is to provide information on a proactive and ongoing basis; information that the target audience finds valuable and that ultimately positions the adviser as a trusted professional,” he said.  “In essence, your clients and prospects engage in conversation with you before you even know they are interested in your services.”

However, Mr Pannunzio warned that it is not simply enough to create content, the marketing material must also prompt action.

“This could be by simply downloading your newsletter, signing up for a seminar/event, accessing significant articles or white papers or becoming your advocates,” he said.

I 100% agree with Mr Pannunzio on the importance of content marketing, but in my experience most financial advisers are still way behind.

There are quite a few clients who I regularly write financial content for, but the vast majority of them are not financial professionals.

Most of my clients are website owners with no financial qualifications or experience.  Instead, they are smart and forward-thinking entrepreneurs who can see the money making potential from generating leads for financial advisers and mortgage brokers who cannot generate leads of their own.

It amazes me that financial advisers are willing to pay between $50 and $100 per life insurance lead, adding up to thousands per month in some cases, but they are not willing to invest in their own lead generating websites.

I do get the occasional financial adviser who will contact me looking for content, but unfortunately most of them have been time wasters.  I hate to say it, especially since I love the financial advice industry so much, but most advisers who have contacted me about content just carry on about their big plans without ever going ahead with them.

It has gotten to the point where I tell some financial advisers that I simply don’t have any spare capacity to provide content to them, because I know they are just going to waste my time anyway.  Unfortunately they’re also wasting their own time.

For the small minority of advisers who are embracing online and content marketing properly, the rewards over the coming years will be huge.  For those who fail to do so, they will be paying the rest of us for leads for the rest of their working lives.

Benefiting from the latest Google changes

This article was originally written by Shane for Adviser Voice.

We should all know by now that website content is important for our visitors as well as the search engines, but recent changes by Google could give smart financial advisers an advantage.

The online space is getting more competitive every day when it comes to financial services websites.  There is competition from other financial services firms, as well as the growing number of lead generation websites that are coming from outside of the industry.

Financial advisers should already know the importance of original website content, but this week Google have made further changes to their search algorithm that means original content on its own will no longer be good enough, and they now want your content to be kept fresh as well.

Google states that more than one-in-three search queries will be affected, which is certainly a significant number.  They had this to say in their release:

“Given the incredibly fast pace at which information moves in today’s world, the most recent information can be from the last week, day or even minute, and depending on the search terms, the algorithm needs to be able to figure out if a result from a week ago about a TV show is recent, or if a result from a week ago about breaking news is too old.”

So how can smart financial advisers benefit from these changes?

Let’s take a look at the average financial services firm website.  Generally they will look very pretty, and they’ll have the standard pages that cover the firm’s services, staff profiles, contact details and maybe a few technical articles.

Some firm’s websites will have a blog or news section, but the majority I’ve seen are rarely updated, with some showing the ‘latest news’ from three years ago!

When combined with some link-building from the firm’s SEO provider, currently these sites tend to rank fairly well for search phrases such as ‘Sydney Financial Planner’ etc.

But with the latest Google changes, there is a window of opportunity for smart financial advisers to leap ahead of their competitors by adding fresh and original content to their websites on a regular basis.

So how can you do this?

Well the first step is to get a blog or news section onto your website that you can easily update yourself.  The next step is to start typing!

As financial professionals we do a huge amount of reading and listening every week.  There are CPD articles to be read, conferences to attend, product updates from the insurers and fund managers and plenty of news in the press.

There are many of sources of new information in our industry, so why not spend half an hour putting together a quick summary for your website?  You don’t have to be a Walkley Award winner; you just need to throw together 500 words of content that are relevant to the industry and the clients that you want to attract.

If you can do this once a month you’ll give your website a healthy boost in the rankings.  If you can increase it to once a week you should see some major results, and if you can start pumping out multiple items every week, the sky (or the number one ranking in Google) is the limit!

An additional benefit of regular content is that you can send out more frequent Facebook and Twitter updates, which gives more chances to interact with your current and potential clients.

The internet is increasingly the first place that people go to when searching for information on life insurance and investment, so if your website can out-rank your competitors you will have the greatest chance of attracting new clients at the expense of your rivals.

Start updating your website today with fresh and original content, and you will be rewarded.

PS.  If you’re not up the task of creating your own regular content, talk to me about how I can help you.

Tips for Financial Advisers Buying Internet Leads

This article was originally written by Shane for Adviser Voice.

Traditionally financial advisers and planners have obtained their leads from existing clients and referral partners, but as with many industries, the internet is changing things in a hurry.

When I first moved into the advice side of the industry I would ask a lot of advisers how they obtained their leads.  Most would say referrals from existing clients, whilst others had strong referral partnerships in place with accountants and mortgage brokers.

At that point in time no one ever told me they obtained leads from the internet, but fast forward to today and the number of financial advisers obtaining leads online has increased significantly.

Out the advisers I speak to who are obtaining leads online, the vast majority are not coming from their own websites.  In fact, most tell me that their own websites have failed dismally in generating leads.

Instead, they are buying leads from the growing number of websites setup by people outside of the industry who are seeing the money to be made from financial lead generation.

There is certainly nothing wrong with buying leads from these people, and I’ve spoken with plenty of financial advisers who have had success by operating in this manner.  Indeed, I was first put onto this activity by a former manager at ING (now OnePath).

If you are going to buy leads online, especially from a website that may be run by someone who has no formal qualifications in finance, there are some major issues to consider and to look out for.

A different approach

Internet leads require a completely different approach to leads provided by referral partners or existing clients.

When receiving leads from referral partners you are generally not competing against anyone else for the business.  Instead the referral partner has identified a potential need, and it is your job to explore that need with the general target of making a sale.

Internet leads are almost the opposite of this.  In this case the potential client has already identified their own need, and they are simply looking for the right financial adviser to fulfil that need for them.

In many cases a potential client will be requesting quotes or information from a number of websites, so you could be finding yourself competing against other financial advisers who have also bought leads for the same client.

So instead of convincing the client that they have a need, you are convincing them that you are the right person to fulfil their need.

Outright purchase or commission split?

This is one of the major questions to think about when buying leads.  Do you want to pay an upfront fee to purchase the lead outright, or do you want to pay a split of your commission on any successful sale?

Both options have their advantages, and the right answer really depends on a few different factors.

If buying outright, on average you will be looking at $50 per lead.  If going down the commission split path, you will generally need to share around 25% of your commission depending on whether or not trail is included in the split.

Let’s take a look at both options, assuming an average commission of $2,000 and a conversion rate of 25%.  We’ll use a number of 100 leads.

If you bought the leads outright you would be paying $5,000 for a commission return of $50,000 that you don’t have to share.  This would leave you with a profit of $45,000.

If you were paying a commission split you’d have to hand back $12,500 of your $50,000 commission, and potentially an ongoing share of the trail.  This would give you a profit of $37,500 which leaves you $7,500 worse off that if you’d have bought the leads outright.

At first glance it appears that buying outright is the better option, but it really depends on the quality of the leads.  If you were only able to convert 10% of the leads the figures would be quite different.

Based on the reduced conversion rate the profit (excluding office expenses etc.) would be $15,000 whichever way you went.  If the conversion rate dropped below 10% a commission split would become the more profitable option.

As I mentioned earlier, the right answer really depends on the quality of the leads and what sort of conversion rate and average commission you expect to achieve.

The target client

The target client of the lead generating website will have an impact on how desirable the lead will be for your business.

Many of these websites market themselves on offering the lowest premiums, and it’s not uncommon for potential clients to request a quote from more than one website.  If you are not prepared to compete based on price, then these leads may not be right for you.

On the other hand, if you are fairly new to the industry and are still learning about the products, purchasing leads from a website that targets insurance for surgeons or barristers may not be the most suitable option at this stage.


From my experience, most financial advisers buying internet leads are happy to leave the compliance issues up to the website owner.  After all, the adviser does not own the website and has no connection other than buying leads, so what’s the problem?

Most of the people running these lead generating websites do not have financial qualifications, and as they are not AFLS holders or Authorised Representatives (nor are they passing themselves off to be) they have little or no responsibility with regards to ASIC.

This doesn’t mean that their websites all contain incorrect information, indeed many of them are very well put together, but it does leave the door open for mistakes and issues to slip through.

Recently I conducted a full compliance audit on one such website, and whilst the majority of the site was okay, there were a couple of major errors that could have led to a successful complaint by a client.

If a client has relied upon information on that website when making a decision to proceed with your recommendation, there is the potential that you could get dragged into a complaint involving the client, the website owner and of course yourself.

Potential compliance issues shouldn’t turn you off internet leads completely, but it is important to be comfortable with the content on any website that you are considering buying leads from.

To buy or not to buy?

There is no doubt that internet leads will continue grow into one of the largest sources of clients for financial advisers, and with the current trend of the most successful sites being owned by people who are not financial advisers, it is clear that the buying and selling of leads will continue for a long time.

Is a strategy of buying internet leads right for you and your practice?  It really depends on your target market and your way of doing business.

If you partner with a lead generating website that fits your business well, it can be a terrific way to boost your client numbers and potentially introduce some diversity to your client book.  It can allow you to concentrate on providing good service and advice whilst someone else takes case of bringing in the leads.

But if you partner with a website or a group of websites that don’t fit your business, you could find yourself wasting a lot of time and money on leads that will never become clients, or clients that you don’t really want anyway.

The alternative to buying internet leads is to build your own lead generating website, but that’s another whole subject!

Creating your own content

I make a fair chunk of my living from creating content for others, so why would I write an article telling you guys how to create your own content?  I don’t know to be honest!  But I do like to share, so here goes…

There is no reason why any financial adviser or other financial professional could not create their own content.  There are a few reasons why they don’t, but I’ll get onto that later.

As financial advisers (or a former financial adviser in my case) we all have a huge amount of knowledge stored in our heads.  Right now, all of this information is stuck in our heads, and its only chance to escape is when we are talking with a client, putting together an SOA or the million other things we do in our working day.

Even though that knowledge gets the chance to escape, it isn’t really stored anywhere except in your client’s head (if they can remember everything you said) and in your file notes and SOA (which will likely be filed away for the next seven years, rarely to be looked at again).

Besides using all of this knowledge and experience to help your clients (which is a great use – don’t get me wrong) we can also use it for another worthwhile purpose – to create content.

Why would you want to create content?  Well in this context we’re really talking about content for your website, and the major benefits of content for your website can be read about in my earlier post.

If you’ve read my earlier post on the benefits of good content for your advice business, you will know how important this is to your website and to the growth of your business.

You could pay someone like me to write your content, but most financial advisers should be competent enough to write their own content.

What would you write about?  Believe me, there are many things trapped in your head that would be useful if turned from memories and thoughts into readable words:

  • Information about how different policies work
  • Your opinions on the important of different products
  • Case studies from previous clients you have helped
  • Your thoughts on different strategies and how they can help people
  • Reviews of new products available in the market
  • General interest stories about the industry
  • Information and stories about your own time in the industry

There should be enough there to keep you writing for a very long time!

That’s one excuse for not creating content that we can strike off the list, but the reality is that there are plenty of other reasons why advisers don’t write their own content.

   1.  They don’t believe in the benefits of content

Many advisers are very old-school in their thinking, and I include a lot of younger advisers in that group.

They don’t believe or understand how good content can improve not only the search engine rankings of their website, but also the likelihood of then turning your website visitors into leads, and then leads into clients.

For those who still don’t believe in the benefits of good content for financial websites, I will again refer you back to my earlier post.

     2.  They don’t have enough time

This point is actually fair enough for many advisers.  After all, why spend an hour (or more) writing your own 1,000 word article when you can pay someone like me just $90 to do it for you?

If you think you can earn more than $90 an hour doing client work (which any good adviser certainly should) then it wouldn’t make sense not to have me write for you!

     3.  They doubt their writing skills

Many advisers are probably better writers than they think, but it’s a fact that some people just aren’t good at writing content.

If you’re one of these people, then again it’s probably a good idea to have a professional writer like me look after it for you.  After all, you don’t want your writing style to turn off any potential clients that may have found their way to your website.

At the end of the day, I personally think that with a bit of time and practice any financial adviser should be able to write satisfactory content for their website.  But if you don’t have the time or interest in doing it yourself, then it might me time to get in contact with me and have a professional do the work for you.

Prices for my content are extremely competitive, and thanks to my considerable experience in the industry, including time as a practising financial adviser, you can be assured of the quality and technical accuracy of my work.

How content can help your advice business

Content is king!

Well that’s what they say in the world of online marketing and publishing.

There are two great reasons why content is so important in today’s online world:

  1. It attracts visitors to your website via search engines (eg. Google)
  2. It gives visitors a reason to stay on your website, and ultimately become a client

How does good content achieve this?

Content for search engine optimisation

If you’ve been in business for more than a week, you will have heard of search engine optimisation, or SEO.

SEO is simply the art of getting your website and its pages as high as possible in the Google (or other search engine) results.

The higher you are in the results, the more likely you are to be clicked on.  And the more you are clicked on, the better chance you have of securing new clients.

There is only one thing that Google loves more than original and relevant content, and that is original and relevant content that is fresh!

If your website doesn’t contain much relevant content, the content you’ve used is not original, or the content has not been updated for a while, then you’re really letting yourself down and missing out on potential clients.

By having original and relevant content on your website Google will recognise that you are an authority on the subject, and will know to put your website higher up in the search results.

If your content is also kept fresh and is continually updated, they will give your website even more authority and therefore rank it even higher in the results.

But be warned, because Google is smarter than you might think.  If you believe that you can take generic articles from other sources and just change a few words around, or that you can just stuff your content full of terms like ‘cheapest life insurance’ and ‘best income protection’ – you better think again!

Google knows when you’ve tried to use non-original content (even if you change a few words around) and it also knows when you are “keyword stuffing” your content just so you can rank well for certain terms.

If Google catches you, you may well find yourself heading south in the search results very quickly.

Content for your visitors

It’s all good and well to write content that is designed to please Google and the search engines, but what’s the point if your website visitors are turned off by this style of writing?

If you have the term ‘cheapest life insurance’ forced into every paragraph of your content, the visitor is quickly going to sniff a rat and may disregard your website as spam or some other unprofessional website.

You need your content to make your website visitors feel comfortable with you.  You want the content to instil a feeling of trust into the reader, and to have them feel that you must be an authority on the subject.

If your website can make your potential client feel comfortable, have some level of trust, and think of you as an authority, then 80% of the job is done before you’ve even spoken to them!

Getting the mix right

It’s important to get a good balance in your content to keep Google happy as well as your website visitors and prospective clients.  There is definitely an art to this style of writing, and when it comes to financial services it is not easy to find a writer who can pull it off.

Thanks to my decade in the financial services industry and time as a financial adviser, combined with my love of writing and experience in website development, I have been able to develop a writing style that will please both the search engines as well as your clients.

I have written content for dozens of financial websites in Australia, many of which rank in the top three results for very competitive search terms.  Of course my content isn’t the only reason they rank so highly, but it certainly helps.

If you would like some professionally written content for your financial services website, please give Shane a call on contact someone else as I no longer provide content for others. 🙂

You may be very surprised by how inexpensive good content can be…