The digital information age has not only transformed businesses worldwide, it has also created many challenges and opportunities for accounting businesses.
- How To Improve Your Website
Challenges CPAs Face Online
Accounting businesses must work harder than ever to remain competitive. Not only do you have to become actively involved in the communities and industries you serve, you must also maintain a strong presence online. This includes having a dynamic web presence and learning how to better promote your services online.
In addition to investing money in offline marketing activities like advertising on newspapers, ads in industry publications and magazines, radio and tv spots, etc., businesses in the accounting industry are now finding that increasingly larger amounts of their budget will need to be allocated towards the development and management of a website that will drive prospective clients, engage users, outrank the competition in search engines and help to create a wider degree of exposure online.
This means that your site not only has to look professional, your pages have to load fast, and your site layout has to be easy to navigate, but it’s also important to keep in mind that your site’s needs may change in time and some areas will need to be frequently updated. This requires implementing sound website and content management strategy.
Another difficult challenge that accounting businesses face with their websites (as most professions do for that matter), is that you have only about 30 seconds or less to provide users what they are searching for or they will look elsewhere.
“Websites have evolved into central information hubs where service information is still present but enhanced with web portals, hyperlinks to state and federal sites, and a variety of free tools.”
Online Opportunities For Accounting Businesses
As well as facing significant business and technology changes, there are also plenty of online opportunities available to businesses in the accounting industry that can evolve to meet online challenges and think outside the box about marketing their business services better online.
This guide will help you uncover new ways to attract and engage new visitors and build more online credibility for your accounting or financial services business.
As well as providing general website improvement tips, we also emphasize the benefits and advantages of using the WordPress Content Management System (CMS) to power your accounting or financial services website or blog.
For more information about the benefits and advantages of using the WordPress Content Management System, see the articles below:
- How A Poorly Built Website Can Cost You Potential Clients And What To Do About It
- Using WordPress – A Small Business Owner’s Guide
How To Improve Your Website
This section will show you ways to improve your accounting website and get better results. We will look at what pages an accounting website needs, what content works best for accounting and financial services websites, ways to improve your layout and navigation structure, etc.
If you need assistance or help planning your accounting website, check out the detailed guide we have written here: The Web Site Planning Process: A Basic Guide For Business Owners
Basic Web Pages
Professional business websites need several basic web pages. Let’s discuss these.
Services And Products
You need a page that explains your services and any products that you offer.
This page should include services such as:
- Business – business planning, formation, general accounting, payroll, preparing financial statements, bookkeeping, forecasting, financing, budgeting, strategic planning, consulting, etc.
- Taxation – preparing, planning, reviewing, auditing, advice, problem resolution
- Investment strategies
- Corporate finance
- Wealth creation
- Superannuation/retirement plan (401k) advice
- Audit risk assessment and assurance
- Quickbooks – setup, training, tune up, and support
- Specialist services – mergers, acquisitions, information technology, secretarial, rentals, trusts, fiduciary accounting, succession planning, selling a business, asset transfers, etc.
- Lending and leasing
Make sure to list all of the services you provide, not just the ones you specialize in. Provide your visitors with information that will educate them about the benefits of using these services and direct them to your contact or appointment booking page.
The ‘About Us’ page needs to describe your business and explain to visitors what your business stands for, its unique approach, philanthropical activities, etc.
Remember to include any accounting awards, certifications, recognitions, accreditations, associations, publications, etc., that you can use to promote the company and set it above other competitors.
(List all of your awards certifications, recognitions, accreditations, publications, associations, etc. in your About page. Image sourced from: deloitte.com)
Are you looking for simple ideas to sell more products or services online? Then something you can do, is help visitors get to know, like and trust you, your team and your business better.
You want potential clients to relate to your business. One great way to do that is to have a page that introduces your team members. This page should include a photo and a mini bio. Since most visitors will not tend to be well-versed in accounting terms your descriptions should tell who they are and what their specialties are. You may also want to explain what those specialties mean. This page should also include social buttons so your site visitors can follow individual staff members on their social pages.
In this page, don’t be afraid to humanize your people with personal stories, hobbies, etc., but make sure to outline each team member’s expertise and qualifications, why they are an invaluable asset to your team, and more importantly, how they will help add value to your clients’ business.
(Add a page that introduces your team to prospective new clients. Screenshot source: deepsky.com)
For a detailed step-by-step tutorial about how to add an easy-to-maintain list directory of staff members to your web site without coding skills, go here: How To Easily Add An Employee Directory To Your Site
This is a listing of career opportunities available within your organization. This page would include training provided, benefits, opportunities for advancement, etc. You can include information about upcoming career opportunities in the accounting industry.
Also include a positions available section in your page. If there are no positions currently available, consider inviting people to return periodically to this page, subscribe to your announcements list, follow your social pages, etc.
Case studies and testimonials from past clients are a great way to show potential clients them minimise tax, increase profitability, or grow strategically. Adding a web page with case studies and testimonials also provides prospective clients with social proof.
(Add a page to your site with testimonials and case studies. Screenshot image sourced from: pcg-services.com)
We have created a comprehensive article about using testimonials and reviews improve your business online. Go here to learn more about this: How To Turn More Visitors Into Qualified Leads With Powerful Testimonials
Contact Us Page
A contact page is essential.
It should include the following information:
- Name Of Your Organization
- Address of premises
- Telephone number
- Contact email
- Map and directions
- Website URL
- Contact form
- Name of person to contact
- Social media web addresses
- Interactive chat feature (optional)
If your business operates out of several locations you should make that clear when showing your address and contact information.
Consider also including links to the most commonly asked questions, useful pages, special offers, support area, newsletter opt-in form, blog, etc.
Add An Accounting Blog Section
A blog can be a very powerful marketing tool for your business. Most blogging platforms are built around a content management system that is easy to use and allows you to easily promote your business by publishing content like company news, company updates, educational articles, informative posts, videos, infographics, etc.
If you already have an established accounting website, then consider adding a WordPress-powered blog to promote your services.
If you don’t have a website yet, or your existing accounting website is very hard to keep updated with new content or not giving you the results you want, then WordPress can act both as your business website and business blog.
You may not be aware of this, but an expertly configured WordPress site can become an automated traffic system that can begin to drive web traffic to your business, simply by adding regular content to your web site.
(WordPress can generate traffic automatically to your website)
It’s essential to ensure they have a website that complies will all legal requirements online, not just for building trust with prospective clients, but also to ensure that no laws or regulations are being breached wherever you provide services to.
Adding the following legal pages to your website will help keep you out of trouble with most regulatory authorities, third-party service providers, and other potential legal threats or inconveniences:
- Contact Us
- Website Disclaimer
- Affiliate Agreement
- Anti-Spam Policy
- Compensation Disclosure
- DMCA Notice
- Earnings Disclaimer
- External Links Policy
- Health Disclaimers
- Refund Policy
- Video/Audio Terms
- and others
Go here if you want to learn more adding legal pages to your website: How To Add Legal Pages To Your Site
Tips For Improving Your Content
In today’s fiercely competitive global economy, the earlier you begin to publish great content on your site, the sooner you will begin to see results and differentiate yourself from the competition.
Providing great content with useful information and tips will get your visitors sharing your content with others online and coming back for more. Using content is the most effective way to educate site visitors and prospects about your business.
For example, for an accounting business, topics could include the following:
- How balance sheets work
- Profit & loss statements
- Duties and legal responsibilities of company directors
- How to present accounts for non-profit activities
- Cashflow planning advice
- Business insurance
- Protecting revenues
- Structuring a self-managed retirement fund
- Do’s and don’ts of … (e.g. purchasing vs leasing, claiming business expenses, etc.)
You can also create a series of informative articles that will help your prospective clients understand your accounting services, such as forensic accounting, small business accounting, tax planning for small business, reducing business debt, understanding accounting concepts, etc.
Remember to use keywords in your content that your readers will be searching for.
We recommend subscribing to our Content Marketing Email Training Series. You will receive a comprehensive series of training emails with actionable information that will show exactly how to drive more traffic to your site, save money creating high-quality content that will add value to your visitors and grow your business online using content marketing. It’s not only a great course with loads of useful information, it’s also 100% FREE!
Ways Of Improving Visitor Experience
Improving website user experience (often referred to as UX) helps keep visitors coming back and using your site. This section will show you ways you can improve visitor engagement and UX.
Syndicate Content With RSS Feeds
An RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed provides plenty of benefits for your business.
If you provide useful information, other businesses may want to syndicate your content to their visitors.
Some of the benefits of having other businesses syndicate your content, include:
- All of your updates are in one place
- your content distribution doesn’t rely on email
- Your feed can be shared online
- RSS feeds allow for subscribing
- An RSS feed provides a way for external links to point back to your content
- Your feeds can be submitted to RSS directories and aggregator services
- RSS provides multiple ways for readers to receive your content (e.g. subscribers can view the content on their mobile device using different applications)
- It’s built into WordPress
There are also a number of benefits to adding syndicated content to your website from other sites, such as the fact that you don’t have to write, manage or update the content.
To find useful RSS feeds just search online for finance-related government departments or well-known industry bodies.
Here are a few RSS feeds containing useful information that you could consider adding to your accounting website:
- Taxation Policy Center: http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/press/rss.cfm
- Australian Taxation Office: https://www.ato.gov.au/RSS-news-feeds.aspx
- Canada Revenue Agency: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/rssfeeds/
- UK HM Revenue and Customs: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/rss/rss.htm
- South Africa Revenue Service: http://www.sars.gov.za/Pages/RSS-Feeds.aspx
(Adding RSS feeds can help to improve your site’s UX.)
Provide Online Forms
Adding checklists and forms to your site is a fantastic way to increase visitor engagement and add value to your audience. Checklists and forms can provide users with useful instructions and resources to perform a necessary task. They can also be great planning tools.
Checklists and forms could address areas such as:
- How To Set Up A Company
- Rental Property Worksheet
- Not-For-Profit Governance Checklist
- Disclosure Requirements
- Partnership Tax Checklist
- Capital Gains Tax Checklist
- Income Tax Variation Forms
Providing useful tools and applications for businesses (or links to these tools) can help increase visitor engagement and significantly add value to your target audience. Calculators, such as loan and tax calculators, are useful tools for accounting websites. Others could include time cards, and retirement and interest calculators.
In the next section of this detailed article, we discuss a number of online tools you can use in your accounting website using WordPress plugins that can help to improve your seo, improve user engagement and generate more traffic to your business.
This is the end of section one.
Click on this link to keep reading: The Ultimate Guide On How To Grow Your Accounting Online Presence – Part Two
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