The web economy has not only revolutionized businesses around the world, it has also created increasingly difficult challenges and great opportunities for CPAs.
- Useful Tips For Improving Your Accounting Website
Online Challenges For Accounting Businesses
Accounting businesses must work harder than ever before to remain competitive. Not only do you have to become more involved in the communities and industries your business serves, you must also maintain an active digital presence. This includes having a dynamic website and learning how to better market your services online.
In addition to investing dollars in offline marketing activities such as advertising on local newspapers, ads in industry publications and magazines, radio and television spots, etc., you will probably find (if you haven’t already) that in order to remain competitive, increasingly larger amounts of their budget will need to be allocated towards the development and maintenance of a website that drives prospective clients, engages visitors, outranks the competition in search engines and social media, and helps increase your presence online.
This means that your website not only has to look professional, your pages have to load fast, and your website has to be easy to navigate, but even more importantly, your site’s needs may change in time and many aspects will need to be updated frequently. This requires having a well-planned web and content management strategy.
One other difficult challenge that certified public accountants face online, as most businesses do for that matter, is that they have around 30 seconds or less to give users what they are looking for or they will go away.
“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 Professional Accountants
As well as facing a number of significant challenges, there are also loads of online opportunities available to accounting companies that can evolve to meet digital demands and think outside the box in terms of marketing themselves better online.
The article below will help you uncover new ways to attract more visitors and improve your business presence online.
As well as providing practical tips and information on ways to improve your web presence, we also emphasize the benefits and advantages of using the WordPress content management system to power your accounting or financial services website or blog.
To learn more about the benefits and advantages of using the WordPress Content Management System, go here:
- Discover How A Poorly Designed Web Site Can Cost You Customers
- Everything You Need To Know To Grow A Successful Business Using WordPress
Useful Tips For Improving Your Accounting Website
We’ll start first by covering some basic stuff. In this section, we’ll look at how to improve your website and get better results online. We will look at what web pages you need, what content works best, your layout and navigation, etc.
If you need assistance or help planning your accounting or financial services website, check out the detailed guide we have written here: A Cost-Saving Guide To Web Site Planning For Non-Technical Business Owners
Improve Your Web Pages
Professional websites require some basic pages. Let’s discuss these.
Your Products And Services
You need to include a page that lists your services and any products that you offer.
Your page will include services such as:
- Business – business planning, company structures, accounting, payroll, preparing financial statements, bookkeeping, budgeting, financing, forecasting, strategic planning, consulting, etc.
- Taxation – preparing, planning, reviewing, auditing, advising, 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 businesses, 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 these services and direct them to your appointment booking page.
Who We Are
The ‘About Us’ page should give a description of your business and explain to visitors what your business stands for, its unique approach, sponsored community activities, etc.
This page should also list any awards, certifications, recognitions, accreditations, publications, associations, etc., that you can use to promote your company and set it above the competition.
(List all of your awards recognitions, certifications, accreditations, publications, associations, etc. in your About page. Image sourced from: deloitte.com)
Meet Your Staff
If you are searching for quicker, simpler and cheaper ideas to grow your business online, then help prospective clients get to know you, your team and your business better.
Prospects need to relate to your business. One great way to do that is to have a page that introduces your people. It should include a photo and a mini biography. Since most visitors won’t be that well-versed in accounting terms it should tell who they are and what their specialties are. You may also want to explain what those specialties mean. This page should even include social buttons so your site visitors can follow your staff members on their social pages.
On this page, don’t be afraid to show the human side of your team members with personal stories, hobbies, etc., but make sure to highlight each person’s experience, why they are an invaluable asset to your team, and more importantly, how they will help add value to your clients’ business.
(Make sure to add an employee page. Screenshot image sourced from: deepsky.com)
We have created a detailed tutorial about how to easily add a simple and easy-to-manage directory of staff members in your web site using a free plugin here: How To Easily Add A Simple Staff List To Your WordPress Site
Work With Us
This is a listing of career opportunities within the organization. This page would include training, benefits, advancement opportunities, social aspects of working for your firm, etc. You can include stories of trainees who have established a solid career path thanks to your organization and information such as the job outlook and new career opportunities in the accounting and financial services 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, join your newsletter, follow your social pages, etc.
Case Studies And Testimonials
Customer reviews and case studies are a great way to show prospective clients what it’s like to do business with your firm. By adding a page with case studies and testimonials from past clients, you are also helping to provide social proof.
(Add a web page with case studies and reviews from clients. Image sourced from: pcg-services.com)
To learn more about using client testimonials and client reviews, see this article: Improve Your Sales With Awesome Customer Testimonials
A functional contact page is absolutely necessary.
Your contact page should include the following:
- Business Name
- Location of premises
- Contact email
- Google Map
- Website URL
- Contact form
- Contact name
- Social media web addresses
- Online chat feature
If your business services multiple locations you should make that clear when showing your address and contact info.
Consider also including a few links for commonly-asked questions, main pages, special offers, helpdesk, newsletter opt-in form, blog, etc.
Add An Accounting Blog Section
A blog can be a very powerful marketing tool. Blogs typically comprise of a content management system that allows you to promote your business by publishing timely content such as news, updates, useful information, informative posts, videos, webinars, etc.
If you already have an existing site, then consider adding a WordPress-powered blog to promote your organization.
If you don’t have a website yet, or your existing accounting or financial services site is hard to keep updated or not giving you the results you want, then WordPress can act as both your business website and business blog.
Very few people know that WordPress can turn into an automated traffic-generation machine that will begin to drive new visitors to your web site, simply by publishing content on a regular basis to your website.
(WordPress can drive web traffic automatically to your website)
To learn more about this go here: WordPress Web Site Traffic Blueprint – A Complete Guide To Driving More Website Traffic For Your Business Automatically With WordPress
Having a compliant website is vital, not just for building trust with prospective clients, but also to ensure that you are not breaching local, regional and federal laws and regulations wherever your business is located.
Depending on the products and services you provide, adding the following legal pages to your site will help you stay out of legal hot water with most regulatory authorities, third-party service providers, and other potential legal threats or inconveniences:
- Contact Page
- Privacy Statement
- Terms And Conditions Of Use
- Website Disclaimer
- Affiliate Agreement
- Anti-Spam Policy
- Compensation Disclosure
- DMCA Notice
- Earnings Disclaimer
- External Links Policy
- Financial/Health Disclaimers
- Refund Policy
- Video/Audio Terms
- and others
We have written a comprehensive article about adding legal pages to your site. Go here to learn more: Why You Need To Add Legal Pages To Your WordPress Site
Tips For Improving The Content On Your Site
In today’s globally competitive economy, the earlier you begin to publish great content on your site, the quicker you will begin to differentiate yourself from the competition.
You will want to provide great content with advice and tips that will get your visitors sharing your web pages and coming back for more. Publishing content is a great way to inform and teach site visitors and prospective clients about your business and about doing business with your company.
For example, topics for an accounting or financial services business can include the following:
- Explanations of balance sheets
- Profit & loss statements
- Duties and legal responsibilities of company directors
- How to present accounts for fundraising activities
- Business cashflow planning advice
- Business insurance
- Protecting revenues
- Tips on structuring a self-managed retirement fund
- Do’s and don’ts of … (e.g. purchasing insurance, setting up payroll systems, 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 finance accounting, small business accounting, tax planning for small business, reducing debt, financial concepts made simple, etc.
Remember to use specific keywords and terminology in your articles that your prospective clients would search for.
We recommend subscribing to our Content Marketing Email Training Series. You will receive regular training emails with easy-to-digest information and practical tips that will teach exactly how to drive more traffic to your web 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 completely FREE!
Tips For Improving User Experience
Improving website user experience (generally referred to as UX) will help keep visitors coming back and using your site. This section will show you different ways to improve visitor engagement and user experience.
Add RSS Feeds
RSS feeds can help to improve visitor engagement and UX in many ways.
If you provide information that adds value to others, other businesses will 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
- Content distribution doesn’t rely on email
- RSS feeds can be shared online
- RSS feeds allow for subscribing
- A feed provides links to your content
- Your feeds can be submitted to RSS directories and aggregators
- There are several ways readers can receive your content (e.g. users can view your content on their mobile device using a feed reader)
- It’s built into WordPress
There are also a number of benefits when it comes to providing content on your website from other sites, such as the fact that you don’t have to write, manage or update the content.
You can find many useful RSS feeds for your website by searching online for finance-related government departments and industry bodies.
Here are a few useful RSS feeds you could add to your 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
(RSS feeds can help to improve your website’s UX.)
Checklists And Forms
Checklists and forms are a great way to help increase visitor engagement, add value to your visitors and set yourself apart from the competition. They can provide visitors with step-by-step instructions and resources to get necessary tasks done. They are great business planning tools.
You can provide a range of online or downloadable forms and checklists covering subjects such as:
- How To Set Up A Company
- Rental Property Checklist
- Fundraising Governance Checklist
- Disclosure Requirements
- Partnership Tax Checklist
- Trust Tax Checklist
- Income Tax Variation Forms
Providing useful tools, gadgets and applications for businesses on your website can help increase visitor engagement and add significant value to potential clients. Calculators, such as loan and tax calculators, are some of the most popular tools for accounting websites. Other applications could include time cards, or retirement and interest calculators.
In the next section, we will be discussing a number of WordPress-based tools you can add to your site that can help to improve search engine optimization, increase user engagement and generate more visitors to your business.
This is the end of part 1.
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