Grow Your Accounting Business Online With WordPress
Online Challenges For Accounting & Financial Firms
Today, more than ever, certified public accountants must work hard and find smarter ways to stand out from the crowd, source new clients, and retain current clients. Not only do they have to maintain an active presence in the communities and industries their business serves, they must also develop an active presence online. This includes having a website and learning smarter ways to market your business services online.
In addition to investing dollars advertising offline, businesses in the accounting industry are now finding that they will need to assign a more significant portion of their budget to developing and maintaining a website that can bring new clients, engage visitors, outrank the competition in search engines and social media, and help give them a wider degree of marketing exposure online.
This means that your website not only has to look great, your pages have to be fast-loading, and your website layout has to be easy to navigate, but even more importantly, your site’s needs will change over time and many areas may need to be updated often. This requires having a well-developed web and content management strategy in place.
One other challenge that accounting firms (and other professions) face online, is that they have an average of 30 seconds to help users find the information they need 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.”
Opportunities For Certified Public Accountants In The Digital Economy
As well as facing many business and technology changes, there are also many online opportunities available for businesses in the accounting sector that can evolve to meet the challenges of the digital economy and can think strategically in terms of improving their online business marketing skills.
This comprehensive article will help you uncover a number of ways to find new business and create significant improvements in your business presence online.
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 or financial services website or blog.
To learn more about the benefits and advantages of using the WordPress CMS platform, see these articles:
- Discover Why A Poorly Constructed Web Site Can Lose You Business
- Learn How To Grow Your Small Business With WordPress
Useful Tips To Improve Your Accounting Website
We’ll start first by reviewing the basics. In this section, we’ll look at how to improve your website and get better results. We show you what web pages you need, what type of content works best for accounting websites, layout and navigation structure, etc.
If you need website planning assistance, go here: A Comprehensive Guide To Web Site Planning For Business Owners
Your Web Pages
Professional business websites require a number of essential web pages. Let’s go over the pages your need to have and how to set up your website for best results.
Services And Products Description Page
It’s essential to include a page that explains your services and any products that you offer.
Your page should include services such as:
- Business – planning, incorporation of companies, accounting, payroll, preparing financial statements, book keeping, financing, budgeting, forecasting, 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 businesses, 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 book an appointment with you.
About Us Page
The ‘About Us’ page needs to describe your business and explain to visitors what it stands for, its unique approach, causes supported, etc.
Remember to list any awards, accreditations, certifications, recognitions, associations, publications, etc., that could be used to promote your company and set it above your competitors.
(List all of your awards recognitions, accreditations, certifications, publications, associations, etc. in the About page. Screenshot image sourced from: deloitte.com)
Team Profile Page
If you are searching for simple ideas to sell more products or services online, then something you can do, is make it easier for your prospects to get to know your organization better.
You want potential clients to relate to your business. 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 won’t be that well-versed in accounting terms your bio descriptions should tell who they are and what their specialties are. You may also want to explain what those specialties mean. It should even include social buttons so your prospective clients can follow your team members on their social networks.
On this page, make sure to highlight your staff member’s experience, how their skills and knowledge add value 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)
To learn more about how to add an updatable directory of employees or team members in your site using a free WP plugin, see this tutorial: Tutorial: How To Add A Staff Directory
Career Opportunities Page
List any career opportunities available within the firm. This page could include training offered, benefits, advancement opportunities, etc. It should include case studies of recruits who have risen within 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 this page. If there are no positions currently available, consider inviting people to return periodically to this page, subscribe to your updates list, follow your social pages, etc.
Case Studies & Testimonials
Testimonials from past clients and case studies are a great way to show prospective clients what it’s like to do business with your company. Adding a web page with testimonials and case studies also provides prospective clients with social proof online.
(Add a page to your site with client reviews and case studies. Screenshot image source: pcg-services.com)
We have written extensively about using testimonials and reviews to grow your business online. For more details, go here: How To Improve Your Sales Using Highly Effective Customer Testimonials
Contact Us Page
Having a contact page is crucial.
Your contact page should provide the following information:
- Business Name
- Physical location
- Web address
- Contact form
- Name of person to contact
- Links to social media networks
- Chat (optional feature)
If you operate out of multiple areas you will want to make that clear when showing your address and contact information.
Consider also including links to an FAQ section, useful pages, special offers, support page, newsletter, blog, etc.
Add An Accounting Or Financial Services Blog
A blog is a very powerful marketing tool. Blogs are built around a content management system that allows you to promote your business using timely content like industry news, company updates, training articles, opinions on current topics, how-to videos, infographics, etc.
If you already have an established accounting website, then consider adding a WordPress-driven blog to promote your company.
If you don’t have a website yet, or your existing accounting website is hard to keep updated with new content or not giving you the results you want, then WordPress can serve as both your website and business blog.
Something not many people know about, is that an expertly configured WordPress site can become an automated traffic-generation system that will begin attracting a stream of targeted traffic to your web site, simply by publishing regular content to your website.
(An expertly configured WordPress site can automate your traffic generation)
For more details, go here: Web Site Traffic Blueprint – Learn How To Turn Your WordPress Blog Into An Automated Traffic Machine
Having a website that complies will all legal requirements online is vitally important, not just for building credibility with prospective clients, but also to ensure that no local, regional and federal laws or regulations are being contravened wherever your business services clients.
Depending on what products and services you provide, adding the following legal pages to your accounting site will help you stay out of trouble with most regulatory authorities, third-party service providers (e.g. Facebook), and other potential legal threats and inconveniences:
- Contact Page
- Privacy Statement
- Terms And Conditions Of Use
- Website Disclaimer
- Affiliate Agreement
- Anti-Spam Policy
- Compensation Disclosure
- DMCA Notice
- Earnings Disclaimer
- External Linking Policy
- Financial Disclaimers
- Refund Policy
- Video/Audio Terms
- and others
Go here if you would like to learn more about adding legal pages to your site: Adding Legal Pages To Your WordPress Site
Improving The Content On Your Site
In today’s fiercely competitive online economy, the sooner you begin engaging in the practice of content marketing, the sooner you will begin to differentiate yourself from the competition.
You want to provide great content with advice and tips that will get your readers sharing your content with others and coming back for more. Using content is the most effective way to inform and educate site visitors and prospects about your business and about doing business with your organization.
For example, for an accounting or financial services business, topics could cover:
- Explanations of balance sheets
- Understanding profit and loss statements
- Directors’ duties and legal responsibilities
- Presenting accounts for fundraising activities
- Cashflow planning
- Business insurance
- Risk protection
- Tips on structuring your self-managed retirement fund
- Things to look for when … (e.g. purchasing vs leasing, setting up payroll systems, etc.)
You can also create a series of informative articles that will help your prospective clients understand your services, such as forensic accounting, business accounting, office accounting software, reducing business debt, understanding accounting concepts, etc.
Remember to use relevant keywords and terms in your content that your prospective clients will be searching for.
We recommend subscribing to our Content Marketing Email Training Series. You will receive a comprehensive series of training emails with easy-to-digest information and practical tips that will teach 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!
Tips For Improving Visitor Experience
Improving your user experience (generally 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.
RSS Feeds – Content Syndication
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds provide plenty of benefits for your site.
If you provide information that adds value to others, other sites will want to syndicate your content.
Some of the benefits of having other businesses syndicate your content, include:
- All of your content updates are kept in one place
- your content distribution doesn’t rely on email
- Your feeds can be shared
- 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 and aggregator services
- There are various ways your readers can receive your content (e.g. read the content on their mobile device using a feed reader)
- It’s built into WordPress
There are also benefits when it comes to providing valuable content on your site 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 for your website by visiting sites of relevant government departments or key industry bodies.
Here are examples of feeds containing useful information that you may want to add 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
(Use RSS feeds to provide your visitors with a better user experience.)
Add Online Forms
Checklists and forms are a great way to help increase visitor engagement and add value to your visitors. Checklists and forms can provide visitors with useful step-by-step instructions and resources to complete necessary tasks. Forms and checklists are also great business planning tools.
You can provide a range of online or downloadable forms and checklists (or links to these) covering areas such as:
- How To Set Up A Business
- Rental Property Worksheet
- Not-For-Profit Activity Checklist
- Disclosure Requirements
- Individual Tax Checklist
- Capital Gains Tax Checklist
- Income Tax Variation Forms
Add Online Tools
Providing useful tools, gadgets and applications for businesses is a great way to increase visitor engagement and add significant value to potential clients. Calculators, such as loan and tax calculators, are useful tools for accounting websites. Other tools can include time cards, and retirement and interest calculators.
In the next section, we will be discussing a number of WordPress plugins and themes you can add to your accounting or financial services site that can help improve your search engine optimization, increase user engagement and generate more web traffic to your business.
This is the end of part 1.
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