Accountants matter. Accountants matter a lot.
That’s a major reason I love my job so much. You don’t need to sell a bill of goods to sell accounting services. Accountants provide real value to the businesses they serve. They are able to provide expert assistance with taxes throughout the year as well as at tax time as well as help companies boost their bottom lines by helping them streamline their businesses and track their profits and losses.
Almost everyone will likely need a reliable accountant sometime in their adult life.
As an accountant I want you to honestly consider how your business is portrayed on the web. Ask yourself, are you making a strong first impression? The days of relying on newspaper ads or the phone book listings are over. Everyone has replaced those methods of finding professional services with the Internet.
You might say, “Well, I rely on my reputation and word of mouth”. Sure, word of mouth is great. In fact, this is how you’ll get most of your best clients, but it won’t give you a steady flow of new clients.
People use the Internet for everything now and that includes finding an accountant. So this means that you can no longer neglect that website of yours. It is time to start strengthening your online presence so that it matches the level of professionalism you exhibit in person.
Since websites for accountants are a service business, accountants websites need to provide information in the most simple way possible. This means simple navigation and layout with fresh content. Since people are on the Internet to answer a question or solve a problem, the best websites are designed to answer a question or solve a problem. So now that you understand the need to give your website an upgrade, here are a few ways to avoid disaster and make your redesign effective!
Sloppy Sites Are a Death Knell
Even the most simple explanation of accounting may be confusing enough for your reader to continue browsing on the Internet. Therefore it is important to leave out lots of numbers, charts and spreadsheets. Most people who look at your website are simply trying to find out about your services. Help them evaluate if you are a good fit for their needs instead of getting into the boring details of accounting practices.
Don’t Make Visitors Feel Stupid
Many accountants make this mistake. It’s possible to make yourself look smart without making your prospect feel dumb but it takes a little forethought and consideration. As an accountant, you use a lot of terms that the average person will find confusing. Make an effort to speak as plainly about your services as you possible. Don’t get bogged down in the details. If you try to explain how you’re going to do everything you’ll leave the reader either bored to tears or feeling wholly inadequate. Just tell the prospect what you’re going to do and how it will benefit them.
Your website is a primary way for people to get in touch with you. Make it easy for people to find your contact information on your website. Make it intuitive so that they don’t have to search around the page for it. Put your phone number and address in the footer of every page and add lots of contact forms to your site. Use Facebook “like” buttons or “share with a friend” links to make it easy for visitors to share what they find on your site.
Don’t Use Your Business Site as a “Learning Experience”.
Your business website is not the best place to learn how to design websites. Even the best trained web designers put out a dud or two before they get the hang of producing a well organized, good looking website.
Understand your limits. Compare your web design skills to what is expected on even a basic website for businesses in your field. It is likely that you don’t have the web design skills to create a professional website. Therefore you should hire a professional web designer. The pay off will be well worth it.
Search Engines: The Contemporary Marketplace
Back in the old days there was an expression designed to explain the three most important elements to a successful business… “Location… Location… Location.” This cliche is as true today as it was a century ago, but the marketplace has changed. What matters isn’t your physical location. What street you’re on or where your storefront is in relation to commuting and pedestrian thoroughfares no longer matters much at all.
What matters now is your location in the search engines!
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a very important component of a website. Essentially, SEO helps increase your search engine ranking, which will in turn lead people to your website. If you have a brilliant website that nobody can find, it isn’t doing you any good.
Don’t Blow Your Chance at a Good First Impression!
It is important to provide users with a pleasing aesthetic and an easy, streamlined experience on your website. A visitor landing on a sloppy looking site will go straight for the “back” button and functionality issues, such as links that don’t work, are frustrating. They also call into question your level of professionalism.
Don’t be Afraid to Sell Yourself
Don’t forget that a website is just a tool to promote your services. It can be easy to get caught up in the creation of a website. Remember the big picture and focus on selling you and your services. Make your website for people to find you and learn about your services. For one thing, if you seem shy about what you do it will look like you lack confidence in yourself, and secondly… what you do matters. You’re not selling anyone a bill of goods. You’re going to save your clients money! That’s something to proud of, so don’t hide from it. Sell… sell… sell. It’s good for you and it’s good for them.
People have varying levels of experience with accountants. For a lot of people, it can be intimidating. You need to show people that you understand their needs and can offer a solution. Reassure them and stay true to yourself so that when they meet you in person you’ll already have a rapport. If done well, you’ll have an easy way to gain new clients.