The web economy has not only transformed business worldwide, it has also created a growing number of challenges and opportunities for businesses in the accountancy sector.
- 0.1 Online Challenges For Accountants
- 0.2 Opportunities For The Accounting Profession In The Web Economy
- 1 Useful Tips To Improve Your Website
- 1.1 Your Website Pages
- 1.2 Improving Your Web Content
- 1.3 Tips For Improving Visitor Engagement And User Experience
- 1.4 Like It? Share It:
- 1.5 Related
Online Challenges For Accountants
Certified Public Accountants today must work harder than ever before to remain competitive. Not only do they have to participate in the communities and industries they serve, they must also maintain a strong presence online. This includes having a website and learning smarter ways to market your business services online.
In addition to spending dollars advertising offline on newspapers, ads in industry publications and magazines, radio and television, etc., businesses in the accounting industry are now also finding that increasingly larger amounts of their marketing budget will need to be assigned to developing and maintaining a website that will attract clients, engage visitors, outrank the competition in search engines and help increase their presence online.
This means that your site not only has to look professional, your pages have to be fast-loading, and your site has to be easy to navigate, but it’s also important to keep in mind that the needs of the website will change over time and many aspects may need to be updated frequently. This requires the implementation of a well-planned website and content management strategy.
Another problem that accounting organizations face with their websites (as other professions do for that matter), is that your site has around 30 seconds or less to help visitors find what they need or they will leave and go 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.”
Opportunities For The Accounting Profession In The Web Economy
As well as facing a number of business and technology changes, there are also loads of online opportunities available for accounting businesses that can adapt to meet the demands of the digital economy and who can think progressively in terms of marketing themselves better online.
In this article, you will learn ways to attract and engage new visitors and improve your accounting and financial business presence online.
As well as providing tips and information on ways to improve your website, we also recommend that you consider using the WordPress content management system to power your accounting or financial services website.
To learn more about the benefits and advantages of using the WordPress content management system, see the articles below:
- How A Poorly Constructed Web Site Can Lose You Prospective Customers And What To Do About It
- Everything You Need To Know About Growing A Successful Business Online Using WordPress
Useful Tips To Improve Your Website
This section looks at how to improve your website and get better results online. We will look at what web pages you need, what content works best for accounting and financial services sites, layout and navigation, etc.
If you need website planning assistance, read this article: The Web Site Planning Process - A Cost-Saving Guide For Business Owners
Your Website Pages
All business websites need several basic pages. Let’s discuss these.
Services And Products Description Page
It’s essential to include a page that lists your products or services.
It should include services such as:
- Business accounting – business planning, company formation, general accounting, payroll, preparing financial statements, bookkeeping, forecasting, budgeting, financing, strategic planning, consulting services, etc.
- Taxation – preparation, 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
List all of the services you provide, not just the ones you specialize in. Educate your visitors about the benefits of using your services and direct them to your contact or appointment booking page.
Who We Are
The ‘About Us’ page needs to describe your business and explain to visitors what it stands for, its unique approach, community activities, etc.
It should also mention any awards, certifications, recognitions, accreditations, associations, publications, etc., that you can use to promote the company and position it above other competitors.
(List all of your industry awards recognitions, certifications, accreditations, associations, publications, etc. in your About page. Screenshot source: deloitte.com)
Meet The Team
If you are looking for cost-effective ideas to sell more products or services online and get people to interact more on your site, then one of the things you can do, is make it easier for your prospects to get to know your business better.
Your business needs to be relatable. A great way to do that is to have a page that introduces your team. It should include a photo and a mini biography. Since most visitors are probably not familiar with accounting terms your descriptions should tell who they are and what their specialties are. It should also explain what those specialties mean. It should even include social buttons that will allow your site visitors to follow individual staff members on their social networks.
In this page, make sure to highlight your team member’s experience, 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 staff or team members to prospective new clients. Image source: deepsky.com)
To learn more about how to add an updatable simple employee directory in a WordPress site using free plugins, see this step-by-step tutorial: Step-By-Step Tutorial: Adding An Employee Directory
List any career opportunities available within your organization. It should include training provided, employee benefits, professional development, social aspects of working for your firm, etc. You can also include case studies of trainees who have established a solid career path thanks to your firm and information about new career opportunities in the accounting and financial services industry.
Include also a positions available section in this page. If there are no positions currently available, consider inviting people to return periodically to the page, join your announcements list, follow you on social media, etc.
Case studies and client reviews are a great way to show prospective clients the benefits of doing business with your company. Adding a page with client reviews and case studies also provides visitors social proof.
(Add a web page with client reviews and case studies. Screenshot source: pcg-services.com)
If you want to learn more about using client case studies and client reviews, refer to this article: Convert More Visitors Into Prospects Using Knockout Client Testimonials
A contact page is absolutely necessary.
Your contact page should include:
- Company Name
- Your physical location
- Google Map and directions
- Web address
- Contact form
- Contact name
- Links to social media pages
- Live chat feature
If your business operates from several areas you should make that clear when showing the address and contact info.
You should also include links to an FAQ page, useful pages, special offers, support area, newsletter opt-in form, blog, etc.
Add An Accounting Or Financial Services Blog
A blog is a powerful marketing tool for your business. Many 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, product updates, useful articles and tutorials, opinions and discussions, promotional videos, infographics, etc.
If you already have an existing accounting or financial services website, then consider adding a WordPress blog to promote your services.
If you don’t have a website yet, or your existing website is hard to manage or not delivering you the results you want, then WordPress can be used as both your business website and blog.
Very few businesses know that WordPress can turn into an automated traffic system that can help drive targeted visitors to your site, simply by adding regular content to your web site.
(WordPress can automate your traffic generation)
If you would like to learn more here: Website Traffic Blueprint – How To Automatically Grow Your Website Traffic For Your Business Using WordPress
Legal Information Pages
Having a website that complies will all legal requirements online is very important, not just for establishing trust and credibility with visitors, but also to ensure that you are not contravening any laws or regulations wherever you service clients.
Adding the following legal pages to your website will help you stay out of legal hot water with most regulatory authorities, third-party service providers (e.g. Google), and other potential legal threats and inconveniences:
- Contact Us
- Terms And Conditions
- Website Disclaimer
- Affiliate Agreement
- Anti-Spam Policy
- Compensation Disclosure
- DMCA Notice
- Earnings Disclaimer
- External Links Policy
- Financial/Health Disclaimers
- Refund Policy
- Video/Audio Terms
We have written a detailed article about adding legal pages to your website here: What You Need To Know About Adding Legal Pages To Your Site
Improving Your Web Content
In today’s highly competitive global economy, the earlier you begin to publish great content on your site, the faster you will begin to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
You want to provide great content with useful advice and tips that will get your readers to share your content with others and come back for more. Content marketing is the most effective way to educate your visitors and prospective clients about your business and about doing business with you.
For example, topics for an accounting business could cover:
- Explanations of balance sheets
- Overlooked tax deductions
- Duties and legal responsibilities of company directors
- How to present accounts for fundraising activities
- Cashflow planning
- Maximizing business insurance cover
- Protecting revenues
- How to structure your self-managed retirement fund
- Do’s and don’ts of … (e.g. purchasing insurance, claiming business expenses, etc.)
You can also create a series of educational articles that will help your prospective clients gain a better understanding of your services, such as forensic accounting, business accounting, using office accounting software, reducing business debt, understanding accounting concepts, etc.
Remember to use specific keywords and terminology in your content that readers would search for online.
We recommend subscribing to our Content Marketing Email Training Series. You will receive a comprehensive series of training emails with easy-to-digest information that will teach you how to drive more traffic to your website or blog, 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!
Tips For Improving Visitor Engagement And User Experience
Improving your user experience (known as UX) will help keep visitors coming back and engaging with your site. This section will show you different ways to improve your visitor engagement and UX.
Add RSS Feeds
RSS feeds can help to improve visitor engagement and user experience in many ways.
If you provide information that adds value to others, other sites will want to syndicate your content to their visitors.
Some of the benefits of syndicating your content to other sites using RSS feeds, include:
- All of your content updates are kept in one place
- Doesn’t rely on email
- Your feed can be shared online
- Users can subscribe to your RSS feed
- An RSS feed provides links back to your site
- RSS feeds can be submitted to RSS directories
- There are several ways readers can receive your content (e.g. read 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 websites, such as the fact that you don’t have to write, manage or update the content.
You can find many useful RSS feeds by searching online for tax-related government departments or respected industry bodies.
For example, here are some exaples of useful RSS feeds you could add to your site:
- 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
(Using RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds can help to improve your accounting site’s UX.)
Checklists And Forms
Checklists and forms are a fantastic way to increase visitor engagement, add value to your readers and provide something unique. Forms and checklists can provide users with step-by-step instructions and resources to perform necessary tasks. They can also be great planning tools.
You can provide forms and checklists (or links to these) covering a range of topics such as:
- How To Set Up A Company
- Negative Gearing Checklist
- Non-Profit Activity Checklist
- Disclosure Checklists
- Partnership Tax Checklist
- Capital Gains Tax Checklist
- Income Tax Variation Forms
Providing unique online tools, gadgets and applications for businesses (or links to these tools) on your website can help increase visitor engagement and add value to your potential clients. Calculators, such as loan and tax calculators, are useful tools for accounting websites. Other applications can include time cards, or retirement and interest calculators.
In part 2 of this guide, we take a look at a number of online tools you can use in your website using WordPress plugins and themes that improve your seo, increase user engagement and drive more visitors to your business.
This is the end of part one of this article on ways to build your accounting business web presence.
To view Part Two, click here: A Step-By-Step Guide To Successfully Growing Your Accounting Or Financial Services Website – Part 2
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