Accountants face a number of challenges in today’s online economy, especially in terms of growing a successful presence online.
- Practical Tips To Improve Your Website
- Your Website Pages
- Ways To Improve Your Content
- Ways Of Improving User Experience
Challenges Accounting & Financial Professionals Face Online
Today, more than ever, CPAs must work hard to remain competitive, obtain new business, and keep their current clients. Not only do they have to be fully involved in the communities and industries they serve, they must also develop and maintain an active presence online. This includes having a dynamic web presence and learning how to better promote your business services online.
In addition to investing dollars advertising offline, businesses in the accounting industry are now finding that increasingly larger amounts of their marketing budget will need to be delegated to develop and manage a website that brings in leads, engages visitors, outperforms the competition in search engines and creates a wider marketing exposure online.
This means that your site not only has to look professional, your web pages have to be fast-loading, and your site layout has to be easy to navigate, but even more importantly, your site’s needs may change over time and some areas will need to be frequently updated. This requires implementing sound website and content management strategy.
One other difficult challenge that accounting firms (and most other businesses) face online, is that your site has an average of 30 seconds or less to provide users with 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 CPAs
As well as facing many new business and technology changes, there are also loads of online opportunities available to accounting businesses that can evolve to meet online demands and can think progressively when it comes to marketing their business better online.
In this article, you will learn about new opportunities to drive more web traffic and build more online credibility for your accounting or financial services business.
As well as providing general website improvement tips, we also recommend that you consider using the WordPress content management system to power your accounting or financial services website.
For more information about the benefits and advantages of using the WordPress CMS platform, go here:
Practical Tips To Improve Your Website
Let’s start by covering some basic information you need. In this section, we’ll look at ways to improve your accounting website and get better results. We will look at what pages you need, what content works best for accounting websites, your layout and navigation, etc.
If you need help with website planning, go here: Planning Your Business Web Site: A Useful Primer For Non-Technical Business Owners
Your Website Pages
Professional business websites require some basic pages. Let’s review the pages your need and how to structure your accounting website for best results.
Services And Products Description Page
You need a page that describes your products or services.
This page will include all the services you offer, such as:
- Business – business planning, company structures, accounting, payroll, preparing financial statements, book keeping, financing, forecasting, 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
List all of the services you provide. Provide your visitors with information that will educate them about what your services do and direct them to your appointment booking page.
About Us Page
This page should give a description of your business and what your business stands for, its unique approach, supported community activities, etc.
Remember to include any accounting awards, recognitions, accreditations, certifications, publications, associations, etc., that can be used to promote the company and position it above the competition.
(List all of your awards accreditations, certifications, recognitions, associations, publications, etc. in your About Us page. Screenshot source: deloitte.com)
Meet The Team
Are you searching for quicker, easier and cost-effective ideas to sell more products or services online or get prospects to stay longer on your site? Then make it easier for visitors to get to know, like and trust you 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 staff. It should include a photo and a mini biography. Since most visitors will not tend to 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 visitors can follow your staff members on their social networks.
In this page, make sure to highlight your person’s expertise, why they are an asset to your team, and more importantly, how they will help add value to your clients’ business.
(Make sure to add a team profile page. Image sourced from: deepsky.com)
If you need help how to add an easy-to-update list of employees in your WordPress site using a free WP plugin, go here: Step-By-Step Tutorial: Adding An Employee List Directory To WordPress
List any career opportunities available within your organization. It would include training, employee benefits, opportunities for advancement, social aspects of working with your organization, etc. You should also include information such as the job outlook and 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, subscribe to your updates list, follow you on social media, etc.
Client reviews and case studies are a great way to show potential clients what type of solutions you will implement to help solve their problems. By adding a page with client reviews and case studies, you are also helping to are also providing visitors social proof.
(Add a page with reviews from clients and case studies. Image sourced from: pcg-services.com)
We have created a comprehensive article on using case studies, testimonials and reviews to grow your business online. For more details, go here: Improve Your Sales Using Effective Testimonials
Contact Us Page
Having a clean contact page is absolutely necessary.
Your contact page should provide visitors with the following:
- Company Name
- Address of office
- Telephone number
- Email address
- Web URL
- Contact form
- Contact name
- Links to social media profiles
- Interactive chat (optional feature)
If your business operates from different locations you want to make that clear when showing your address and contact info.
Consider also including links to the most commonly asked questions, frequently-visited pages, special offers, support page, newsletter, blog, etc.
Add An Accounting Or Financial Services Blog
A blog can be a powerful business marketing tool. Blogs typically include a content management system that is easy to use and allows you to promote your business by publishing content such as industry events, company updates, training articles, opinions and discussions, how-to videos, webinars, etc.
If you already have an established accounting site, then consider adding a WordPress-powered blog to promote your organization.
If you don’t have a website yet, or your existing accounting site is hard to add new content to or not giving you the results you want, then WordPress can be used as both your website and your blog.
Very few people know that an expertly configured WordPress site can turn into an automated traffic machine that will help begin attracting targeted traffic to your site, simply by adding content on a consistent basis to your website.
(An expertly configured WordPress site can automate your traffic generation)
For more info, see this article: Website Traffic Blueprint – Discover How To Turn Your WordPress Web Site Into A Traffic Machine
It’s very important to make sure they have a compliant website, not just for building trust and credibility with prospective clients, but also to ensure that no laws or regulations are being contravened wherever your business services clients.
Adding the following legal pages to your accounting website will help keep you out of trouble with most regulatory authorities, third-party service providers, and other potential legal threats or inconveniences:
- Contact Page
- Privacy Statement
- Website Disclaimer
- Affiliate Agreement
- Anti-Spam Policy
- Compensation Disclosure
- DMCA Notice
- Earnings Disclaimer
- External Linking Policy
- Health Disclaimers
- Refund Policy
- Video/Audio Terms
We have written a comprehensive article on adding legal pages to your site. For more details, go here: The Importance Of Adding Legal Pages To Your Site
Ways To Improve Your Content
In today’s highly competitive digital economy, the earlier you begin to publish great content on your site, the sooner you will begin to differentiate yourself from the competition.
Providing great content with information and tips will get your readers to share your web pages and come back for more. Content marketing is the most effective way to educate your visitors and prospective clients about your business and about using your services and products.
For example, topics for an accounting business could cover the following:
- How balance sheets work
- Overlooked tax deductions
- Directors’ duties and legal responsibilities
- How to present accounts for non-profit activities
- Cashflow planning tips
- Maximizing business insurance cover
- Protecting revenues
- How to structure a self-managed retirement fund
- Things to look for when … (e.g. purchasing vs leasing, claiming business expenses, etc.)
You can also create a series of informative articles that will help your prospective clients gain a better understanding of your services, such as forensic accounting, tax accounting, office accounting software, reducing business debt, understanding financial concepts, etc.
Remember to use relevant keywords in your content that readers will be searching for.
We recommend subscribing to our Content Marketing Email Training Series. You will receive regular training emails with actionable information and practical tips that will show exactly how to drive more traffic to your site, save money creating useful 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 User Experience
Improving your website’s user experience (generally referred to 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.
Adding RSS Feeds
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds can help to improve your visitor engagement and user experience in several 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
- your content distribution doesn’t rely on email
- Feeds can be shared and picked up by other sites online
- RSS feeds allow for subscribing
- An RSS feed provides a way for links to point back to your site
- Your feeds can be submitted to RSS directories
- There are several ways readers can receive your content (e.g. subscribers can view your content on their mobile device using a feed reader)
- RSS is built into WordPress
There are also benefits to providing great information on your website from other websites, such as the fact that you don’t have to write, manage or update the content.
To find RSS feeds with useful content for your website, visit sites of finance and tax-related government departments or respected industry bodies.
Here are examples of useful RSS feeds you may want to 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
(Adding RSS feeds can help to improve your accounting site’s user experience.)
Checklists & Forms
Checklists and forms are a fantastic way to help increase user engagement, add value to your audience and provide something unique. They can provide users with useful step-by-step instructions and resources to complete necessary tasks. Checklists and forms are also great business planning tools.
You can provide online or downloadable checklists and forms covering a range of areas such as:
- How To Set Up A Business
- Rental Property Checklist
- Not-For-Profit Governance Checklist
- Disclosure Checklists
- Company Tax Checklist
- Trust Tax Checklist
- Income Tax Variation Forms
Adding Online Tools
Providing unique online tools and applications for businesses on your website is a great way to increase visitor engagement and add significant value to your potential clients. Calculators, such as loan and tax calculators, are useful tools you can add to accounting websites. Other tools can include time cards, and retirement and interest calculators.
In the next section, we take a look at a several online tools you can add to your accounting or financial services website using WordPress plugins that can improve your seo, increase user engagement and drive more web traffic to your business.
This is the end of section 1 of this guide on ways to build your accounting business presence online.
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