The digital age has not only revolutionised business around the world, it has also created a growing number of challenges and great opportunities for businesses in the accountancy profession.
- Useful Tips For Improving Your Website
Online Challenges For CPAs
Certified Public Accountants today must work harder than ever to remain in business. Not only do you have to be fully involved in the communities and industries your business serves, you must also develop and maintain a strong presence online. This includes having a dynamic website and learning how to better promote your services online.
As well as spending dollars in offline marketing activities like advertising on 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 compete with other accounting businesses, you will need to assign a greater portion of your marketing budget to developing and managing a website that attracts new prospective clients, engages visitors, outperforms the competition in search engines and helps you gain wider exposure online.
This means that your website not only has to look great, load fast, and your site layout 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 a well-developed web and content management strategy in place.
Another problem that accountancy firms face online, as all other businesses do for that matter, is that they have only about thirty seconds to help users find the information they are searching for or they will leave the site 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.”
Online Opportunities For CPAs
As well as facing significant business and technology changes, there are also plenty of online opportunities available for businesses in the accounting industry that are willing to evolve to meet digital demands and can think progressively in terms of marketing their services better online.
This article will help you uncover a number of ways to attract and engage more visitors and build more online credibility for your accounting or financial services business.
As well as providing useful website improvement tips, we also place special emphasis on the benefits and advantages of using the WordPress Content Management System (CMS) to power your accounting business website or blog.
To learn more about the benefits and advantages of using the WordPress Content Management System, go here:
- Why A Poorly Constructed Web Site Can Lose You Business
- Learn How To Grow Your Business Using A WordPress Site
Useful Tips For Improving Your Website
This section covers ways to improve your accounting website and get better results online. We will look at what pages you need, what type of content you need, navigation structure, etc.
If you need help with website planning, visit this page: Planning Your Website - A Money-Saving Primer For Business Owners
How To Improve Your Web Pages
All business websites require some basic pages. Let’s go over the pages your need and how to set up your website for best results.
It’s essential to include a page that explains your services and any products that you offer.
Your page will include all the services you offer, such as:
- Business – planning, incorporation of companies, accounting, payroll, financial statement compilation, bookkeeping, financing, forecasting, budgeting, strategic planning, consulting services, etc.
- Taxation – preparation, 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 a business, transfers, etc.
- Lending and leasing
Make sure to list all of the services you provide. Educate your visitors about the benefits of using these services and why they should choose you.
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, community events, etc.
This page should mention any professional awards, accreditations, recognitions, certifications, associations, publications, etc., that can be used to promote the company and set it above other competitors.
(List all of your industry awards recognitions, certifications, accreditations, publications, associations, etc. in the About Us page. Image source: deloitte.com)
Are you searching for ways to sell more products or services online? Then something you can do, is make it easier for prospects to get to know your organization better.
Prospective clients need to relate to your business. One great way to do that is to have a page that introduces your employees or team members. This page should include a photo and a brief biography. Since most visitors are probably not well-versed in accounting terms your bio descriptions should tell who they are and what their specialties are. It should also explain what those specialties mean. This page should also include social buttons that will allow your visitors to follow some of your staff members on their social pages.
On this page, don’t be afraid to humanize your team members 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 can help add value to your clients’ business.
(Make sure to add a page that introduces your team members to prospective new clients. Image sourced from: deepsky.com)
We have created a detailed tutorial on how to add a simple and easy-to-maintain simple staff directory to a WordPress site using free WP plugins here: How To Create A Simple Staff Directory In Your WordPress Site
This is a listing of career opportunities within the firm. It would include training provided, benefits, advancement opportunities, etc. You can also include information about additional career opportunities in the accounting and financial services industry.
Include also 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 client reviews are a great way to show prospective clients businesses minimise tax, increase profitability, or grow strategically. Adding a page with client reviews and case studies also establishes social proof online.
(Add a page to your site with testimonials from past clients and case studies. Screenshot image source: pcg-services.com)
If you would like to learn more about using testimonials and reviews go here: Convert More Visitors Into Prospects Using Standout Customer Testimonials
A contact page is absolutely necessary.
It should include the following information about your business:
- Business Name
- Google Map
- Website address
- Contact form
- Contact name
- Social media web addresses
- Interactive chat (optional feature)
If your business services several areas you want to make this clear when displaying your address and contact information.
Consider also including links to commonly-asked questions, main pages, special offers, support page, newsletter opt-in form, blog, etc.
Add An Accounting Or Financial Services Blog
A blog is a very powerful marketing tool for your business. Blogs typically include a content management system that allows you to easily promote your business using timely content like news, updates, training articles and tutorials, opinions and discussions, how-to videos, infographics, etc.
If you already have an accounting or financial services website, then consider adding a WordPress-driven blog to promote your services.
If you don’t have a website yet, or your existing site is hard to add new content to or not giving you the results you want, then WordPress can act both as your website and business blog.
Very few businesses know that WordPress can turn your web presence into an automated traffic machine that can begin attracting a stream of web traffic to your web site, simply by adding content to your website on a consistent basis.
(WordPress can drive new visitors automatically to your website)
Go here to learn more about this: Web Traffic Blueprint – A Complete Guide To Driving More Website Traffic For Your Business Automatically
Legal Info Pages
As a professional business, having a website that complies will all legal requirements online is important, not just for building trust and credibility with prospective clients, but also to ensure that no laws and regulations are being broken wherever your business services clients.
Depending on the services and products you provide, adding some or all of the legal pages below to your accounting or financial services website will help keep you out of legal hot water with most regulatory authorities, third-party service providers (e.g. Google), and other potential legal threats and inconveniences:
- Contact Page
- Privacy Statement
- Terms And Conditions
- Website Disclaimer
- Affiliate Agreement
- Anti-Spam Policy
- Compensation Disclosure
- DMCA Notice
- Earnings Disclaimer
- External Links Policy
- Financial Disclaimers
- Refund Policy
- Video/Audio Terms
- and others
We have written a detailed article about adding legal pages to your website here: How To Add Legal Pages To Your Website
Improving Your Content
In today’s ultra competitive digital economy, content marketing has become one of the key success factors for businesses that sell similar products or provide similar services.
Providing great content with advice and tips will get your readers to share your content and come back for more information. Using content is a great way to inform and teach your visitors and prospective clients about your business.
For example, for an accounting business, topics can cover the following:
- Explanations of balance sheets
- Overlooked tax deductions
- Directors’ duties and legal responsibilities
- How to present accounts for non-profit activities
- Business cashflow planning tips
- Maximizing business insurance cover
- Risk prevention
- How to structure your self-managed retirement fund
- Things to look for when … (e.g. purchasing insurance, setting up payroll systems, etc.)
You can also create a series of educational articles that will help your prospective clients understand your services, such as software accounting, business accounting, tax planning for small business, reducing debt, understanding financial concepts, etc.
Remember to use the same keywords and terms in your articles that 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 teach exactly how to drive more traffic to your website, save money creating high-quality content that will add value to your visitors and grow your business online using content marketing strategies. It’s not only a great course with loads of useful information, it’s also 100% FREE!
Improving Visitor Experience
Improving your website’s user experience (known as UX) helps to keep visitors coming back and using your site. This section will show you ways you can improve visitor engagement and UX.
Use RSS Feeds
Using RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds can help to improve visitor engagement and user experience in several ways.
If you provide useful information, other sites will want to syndicate your content.
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
- Feeds allow for subscribing
- It provides a way for external links to point back to your content
- RSS feeds can be submitted to RSS directories and aggregators
- There are several ways readers can receive your content (e.g. users can view the content on their mobile device using different applications)
- RSS is built into WordPress
There are also 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 relevant government departments and respected industry bodies.
For example, here are examples of RSS feeds containing useful information that you could add to your accounting 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
(RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds can help to improve your accounting site’s UX.)
Checklists & Forms
Checklists and forms are a fantastic way to help increase visitor engagement, add value to your audience and set yourself apart from the competition. They can provide useful step-by-step instructions and resources to complete tasks. Forms and checklists are also great planning tools.
Checklists and forms could cover topics such as:
- How To Set Up A Company
- Rental Property Worksheet
- Non-Profit Governance Checklist
- Disclosure Requirements
- Individual Tax Checklist
- Capital Gains Tax Checklist
- Income Tax Variation Forms
Providing useful tools and applications for businesses on your website is a great way to increase visitor engagement and significantly add value to your target audience. Calculators, such as loan and tax calculators, are useful tools for accounting websites. Other applications could include time cards, or retirement and interest calculators.
In part two, we discuss a several WordPress plugins you can use in your website that can help improve search engine optimization, increase user engagement and drive more traffic to your business.
This is the end of section 1 of this article on ways to improve your accounting business online.
To view the rest of this guide, click here: How To Build And Grow An Accounting Or Financial Services Website Successfully With WordPress – Part Two
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