Financial services companies are required to follow stringent compliance regulations. Smarsh provides built-in safeguards to ensure your website and its contents are compliant at all times. Get more details about compliance requirements and Smarsh’s content review process.
You must register a domain name when you create a website. Learn more about domain name requirements, guidelines, availability and transfers.
It’s easy to get your Smarsh Site up and running. See information about getting started, content options, service fees and setup timelines.
You can add a variety of documents, images and graphics to your Smarsh Site. Find out more about the type of content you can include, file formats allowed and file size requirements.
Does my website have to be approved by my Compliance Department?
Yes, in accordance with the FINRA conduct rules, electronic communications fall under the guidelines of CR 2210. Therefore, any information posted for computer network subscribers or on the Internet is considered advertising. It is very important to note that both types of websites—and any new securities-related information contained or “linked” therein—require prior approval by your Compliance Department.
Do I have to submit my website to the Compliance Department myself?
No, the review process occurs once you submit your request for compliance review. Smarsh developed an application your Compliance Department uses to electronically view and approve all website content. You can make ongoing changes and additions to your site, and with the click of a button your edits will be submitted to your Compliance Department for review and approval. Changes and additions to your website will not go live on your site until your Compliance Department approves them.
How long does it take for the Compliance Department to review and approve my website and any content edits?
Review times vary between broker-dealers, but the typical turnaround time is 7–21 business days.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is a unique name that identifies a site on the Internet. For example, in www.myfinancialsite.com, “myfinancialsite.com” is the domain name. Domain names must be registered through a domain name registration company, also known as a Registrar. If you don’t already have a domain name, Smarsh will register one on your behalf through our third-party Registrar and bill you for the initial registration fee. Once your domain name is registered, you own it and must renew it with the Registrar from term to term for a nominal fee. Whether we register your domain name or you do it yourself, you are responsible for all renewal fees, which are billed directly by the Registrar.
Can I have my own domain name?
Yes, you can have your own domain name, which must be registered with a domain name registration company, also known as a Registrar. Registering a domain name is part of the process in creating a website, so Smarsh will handle the registration on your behalf through our third-party Registrar. However, you actually own the domain name and are responsible for all associated registration and renewal fees. Once your domain name is registered, your URL is activated and an “Under Construction” page displays at your Web address until your website goes live. If Smarsh registers your domain name, we will send you an email with your domain name registration account information. Please keep this information for your records—you’ll need it to access to your domain name account for renewals and maintenance.
What are some guidelines for selecting a domain name?
NOTE: If you are affiliated with a broker dealer, please check with them prior to choosing a domain name to see if they have any specific requirements.
- Make it as short and simple as possible.
- Because domain names are not case sensitive, there is no difference whether you use upper or lowercase letters.
- Do not use punctuation or spaces. Although underscores are recognized, they are not recommended because they can be too easily misinterpreted. Stick to all letters!
- Choose carefully. Once you have distributed your address, you probably won’t want to change it!
How can I check the availability of a particular domain name?
You can visit a number of websites, including InterNIC (http://www.internic.com/whois.html) and Check Domain.com (http://www.checkdomain.com), where you can conduct a search to see if a particular domain name is available (i.e., not registered with anyone else).
What if I already own a domain name, but Smarsh does not host it?
If you already own a domain name, please contact us at 888.379.5724 to have the DNS transferred to Smarsh. There is a one-time $60 fee to have your domain name transferred from another host. No matter who hosts your website, you still own the domain name. Your domain name registration remains with the registration company (Registrar) you originally registered it with, and you are still responsible for all associated renewal fees through that Registrar.
When do I need to renew my domain name?
If you are not sure when your domain name expires, please visit the following website, www.internic.com/whois.html, and enter your domain name to check the expiration date. Please make sure you renew your domain name before its expiration date. If your domain name expires, your email and website become inaccessible, and the Registrar requires a $150 fee to reinstate your access.
General Information on Websites
What does my monthly fee pay for?
In addition to the storage of your website, your monthly fee pays for your access to third-party, compliance-approved articles, calculators, research tools and updates/changes to website content.
Do I need to speak “tech” to create content and make changes to my website?
No, with our easy-to-use website management tools, you can make edits to your site without knowing a single line of programming code. We also offer weekly training sessions to help you better manage, edit, and market your website. Review our weekly training schedule to find a day that works for you, and join the webinar 5 minutes prior to the start time. Attend as many sessions as you like – they’re all included free of charge with your Smarsh website service.
I want a website. How do I get started?
There are three ways to get started. Choose the one that is most convenient for you.
- Call us at 888–379-5724 to speak with a website consultant
- Request more information using our online form
- Sign up for a 30-day free trial here. (Business level website only)
How long will it take to build my website?
With our SiteGen technology, we can build a website within one day – allowing you to add your own personalized content almost immediately.
How long will it take for my website to go “live”?
Once content on your website is finalized, it still needs to be reviewed and approved by your compliance department before it goes live. Smarsh does not have control over how quickly various compliance departments complete a website review.
How much work do I have to do?
Once your Smarsh Site is created, you then have the choice of adding personalized content to your site yourself, or by calling our Support team. If you would like us to add content to your site for you, you just need to provide us with the appropriate copy, images, links, etc.
What is the difference between the three website packages?
A Brochure website provides you with a basic, modern website to help you begin connecting with your customers and prospects. A Business website is a level up, and offers a variety of widgets, financial calculators, and articles to enrich your website with valuable content and functionality. A Premium website allows you to add a more personal touch to your website, allowing you to customize one of our themes to meet your distinct design preferences. For more information, you can view each of the package features here.
What if I already have a website?
We will transfer your current web copy, content, and domain to our servers, so you can begin enjoying the benefits of our services and Smarsh Sites technologies. The cost to transfer your content is contingent on the original design. The cost to transfer your domain is $60. We are not able to transfer content from unsupported third party content vendors – please contact us to find out if we currently partner with any third party content providers you use.
How do I make changes to my site once it is live?
With the Smarsh Sites Control Panel, it’s easy to make changes to your website. The Control Panel is a Web-based tool, so there is no software to download or install. Once your changes are made, simply click a button to request compliance review and your compliance department will then receive an email notification to review your changes.
Uploading images and other documents
Can I upload images, PDFs, MP3s, Word documents and other files to my website?
Yes, you can upload images in .gif or .jpg format as well as PDFs, MP3s, Word documents and Excel files to your website, no matter which plan you have. You can also add links to your website, so visitors can click on them to view or download your files. These files can also be exchanged with customers over a secure connection, using our Lockbox feature.
What format should my files be in for uploading?
Image files for use on World Wide Web sites should be in one of two formats—.gif or .jpg— and saved at a resolution of 72dpi (dots per inch). In general, .jpg (pronounced jay-peg) is a better file format for photographs (especially photos of people) and images with subtle color gradations. A .gif file is a good format for images with solid, flat colors as well as images that have sharp edges, such as text or line art. A logo image usually works well in a .gif file.
What is the maximum size for graphic files I upload?
The smaller the file size, the faster your Web page and graphics will load. Depending on the use of the image, follow these guidelines for optimal file size:
- For headshot photographs a file size up to 75k is acceptable.
- For banners or header images a file size up to 200 KB is acceptable.
- For high end photographs try to keep them to within 500 KB at an absolute maximum.
What is the recommended image size?
Most images will look best on your website if they are between two– and three-inches wide with a proportional length.