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8 Things Your Accounting Website Needs

     -     Oct 20th, 2011   -     Accounting Marketing   -     0 Comments

Ever wonder why a website has to be so complicated? Finding it a little difficult to decide what you really need in a CPA or accounting website? The following 8 tips are the most important things to consider when developing a website for your firm:

1. Be Visually Appealing & Branded:

You’ve heard this one before I’m sure.  But your website really is your first (sometimes only) impression that a prospect may get.  Consider this, does your logo clearly embody professionalism? Does it allude to the culture of your firm? Are the colors complimenting each other? Or are they fighting? If a prospect saw your logo would they easily see your firm’s name? Would it showcase visually what your firm specializes in? Would it be memorable?

If you answered no to any of the above questions – put a hold on your website design and contact a professional who can help you develop a cohesive and communicative brand identity.  Once your visuals are sending the right message, the rest of your design can fall into place as a complimentary component.

Remember, all you get is that first impression – and you want your prospects to see you as an authoritative professional that can clearly and comprehensively execute a project. 

2. Generate Qualified Leads:

Your website must do something for you.  A brochure website is no longer an acceptable web presence.  The internet audience has higher expectations now, especially since technology has shifted so drastically in the last 5 years.  Prospects expect to be able to interact with you in ways previously not available. Examples include the ability to download a whitepaper, e-newsletter subscription, whitepaper or other such vehicle. Consider adding 1 or 2 of the following items to your website to help generate qualified leads:

  1. A section of articles written by members of your firm on issues or topics related to your firm’s areas of expertise.
  2. 1-2 White Papers
  3. A page or section dedicated to a specialty topic your firm is an expert in – with a contact form that caters specifically to that issue.
  4. Alt tags or meta-data to all pages of your website
  5. A “Contact Us” call to action within every page

There are so many ways to generate leads – but the key really is having specific initiatives that your site visitors can engage in. Make sure you are providing them with as many ways as possible to contact you at any given place on your website. 

3. Simple Sitemap

The point of your website is NOT to confuse your prospects.  The point of your website IS to make information about your firm and its expertise readily available and easily accessible.  Follow these simple guidelines when developing your sitemap: 

  1. Keep it to three levels of navigation – or think of it as only three levels of drop down menus.
  2. Navigation should be kept to a 1-2 word minimum per section, and under a total (including spaces) of 24 characters per section.
  3. Maximum of 8 top level navigation items.
  4. All of your content should be included in your sitemap – no hidden pages, except landing pages for ad campaigns.
  5. A call to action should never be more than 1 click away and it should be highly visible.

4. Promote Relevant Content

This means your content actually needs to be relevant.  Don’t post pages about how great your cat is (Yes I have actually seen this on an accounting website), instead focus on the issues and niches that your firm specializes in.  Have tons and tons of content about those items – including blogs, articles, and white papers.  Don’t just limit yourself to a static content page.  If your prospects are going to see you as an expert, and frankly if Google is going to see you as an expert, you need to saturate your website with content related to what you do and how you do it better than anyone else. 

So how much content is enough content? There is never enough content! Strive to have at least 50 pages.  You won’t get there in a day, so don’t even try, but you should always be adding content to your website.  If this is your first website launch, strive to have 20 pages of content and make a goal of adding 1-2 blogs or articles per month. 

5. Use Proper Keywords
You have already written stellar relevant content now you should make sure it includes relevant keywords.

“Everyone says that… but what does it MEAN?!”

 

It means that the words that you use the most in your content, should be your keywords because that is what people will see you as an expert on.  Bottom line – your website needs to contain content relevant to the prospects you are trying to get to find you.  So if you are writing about cats and rainbows and not tax incentives and audit processes, you’re going to end up with a bunch of 12 year old girls that love kittens and pretty colors visiting your website.  Your keywords should be relevant to the prospects you are targeting.

6. Be Accessible
Simple enough concept right? If you want to get new clients, they should be able to find you.  How do you do this you may be wondering? Consider the following:

  1. Adding SEO to your siteto increase leads for a specific topic, or consider doing a basic SEO plan to just get you on the radar in general.
  2. Try doing a pay-per-click Google ad words campaign.
  3. Go back to basics and write real, relevant copy that will help you achieve true organic search results in your firm’s areas of expertise.

7. Social Media
Not just social media buttons.  You need to engage with your prospects within the social stratosphere.

  1. Twitter – Get all of your co-workers/employees on Twitter.  They should each send out 1-2 tweets per day about something that is currently relevant in their area of expertise.  At the very least they should tweet a link to your firm’s latest blog post. Find a bunch of people relevant to your industry and follow them too – not only will you get an abundance of awesome and amazing tips and tricks daily, but you will start to develop a following of people that find your firm to be relevant and interesting and on the pulse of relevant issues.
  2. LinkedIn – Be a part of LinkedIn.  Connect with other professionals – business referrals come from LinkedIn all the time.  Share articles – update your status, be a part of it.  Take 5 minutes at the beginning of your day to read and share 1-2 articles that are interesting to you and might be interesting to your network.
  3. Facebook – If your firm has a Facebook page – you must remain active on that page in order to stay in the feeds of other Facebookers.  This is the PERFECT place to talk to your existing clients and maintain the relationship you have with them. Post deadlines and reminders of upcoming deadlines, share articles that are relevant to their type of business.  Always post links to your blogs, and don’t be afraid to tag a specific follower in your post if you think it would very much benefit them. 

8. Content Management

I promise if you do nothing with any of the information I have written above, please, PLEASE have your website built (or rebuilt) on a content management system.  This will allow you, the YOU that doesn’t have any coding or HTML experience, to regularly update your content and add additional pages and articles to your website.  A content management system will make your life easier, will make website updates much faster, and will take a financial burden away from being nickled and dimed to death by your website administrator who charges an obscene amount for even the most minor change. 

There are several open source CMS options available, but my personal preference is WordPress for more reasons than I could ever list here.  Trust me when I say that updating your website can be as easy as editing a word document  – and that ease will make developing website content, reworking sitemaps, implementing SEO and all of the other above mentions really seamless. Feel free to thank me later by sending me a warm fuzzy hug here, I also accept chocolate chip cookies and monetary gifts of gratitude.


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