Having a strong online presence is crucial in the field of accountancy.
Your reputation is everything in this business, and this applies to your online efforts too.
Therefore, having a website plays a vital role in your accountancy firm’s success, both in terms of its visibility and credibility. Namely, by not having a website, you risk being perceived as no longer in business. Especially now that 81% of people use the internet to search for a product or service, meaning that you leave money on the table if your prospects can’t find you on the web.
Another critical factor that you should bear in mind is the new reality that we’ll have to adapt to. In the light of the current pandemic that brought the world to a halt and temporarily closed many businesses, switching to online business channels is the only way to get in touch with your prospects and stay afloat.
That’s the reason why 51% of business owners increased their number of interactions with their clients on the internet.
To follow their cue and make sure to keep your accountancy business going strong in good times and bad, you need a website. Here’s what you should take into consideration.
Visually Appealing Web Design
This might sound superficial, but the truth is that people do judge a book by its cover when it comes to website design.
As a matter of fact, 94% of website first impressions are related to design. This means that when a potential client lands on your website, they will decide to stick around and explore further only if it’s visually appealing.
If your website design leaves much to be desired, your entire brand will come across as unprofessional and untrustworthy.
And since you’re expecting your prospects to trust you with keeping their financial records and help them grow their business, it’s clear that every element of your brand, including the design of your new website, should exude trust and credibility.
Here are a couple of tips to set you in the right direction.
1. Go for simplicity
Less is more when we’re talking about web design.
You don’t want your website audience to have to find their way through the clutter.
The key is in helping them find the information they need quickly and easily.
This particularly refers to your homepage or landing page. By adding too much text and unnecessary elements, you’ll instantly overwhelm and confuse your prospects.
Don’t be afraid to leverage whitespace to give your website a clean look and some breathing room. Avoid large blocks of text as they decrease readability and make it difficult to find relevant information.
2. Be consistent
Consistency of colour schemes, fonts, menus, and website elements is crucial for creating an aesthetically pleasing website.
If you have brand colours, include them in your colour scheme and never use more than three or four colours. Blue, white, and grey are the most popular colour schemes for accountancy firms, as they indicate trust, balance, and professionalism, so if you want to play it safe, these should be your top options.
As for the website elements such as menus and calls-to-action, make sure that they’re always placed prominently so that your prospects can easily find them.
3. Implement good pop-ups
Pop-ups can be really annoying, and they can distract your potential clients while they’re browsing your website.
However, it can’t be denied that pop-ups can be very effective in attracting the attention of your prospects and getting them to click on your offer.
To minimize unwanted pop-up effects, follow these best practices:
- Display your pop-ups at the right time. If you start pushing your prospects to give you their email address, fill out different forms, or sign up for your newsletter, they will bounce off. The trick is to set your pop-ups so that they’re triggered when your prospects have spent enough time on your website to understand your offer, and according to surveys, this threshold is 60 seconds. This way, you’ll prompt them to take action without interrupting their user experience and annoying them.
- Communicate only relevant messages. Align your pop-up content with your prospects’ behaviour and customer journey stage for the best results. It’s counter-productive to offer a discount to someone who only checks out your blog and has never visited your pricing page.
- Don’t ask for too much information. Make your pop-ups simple and with fewer fields. People don’t want to spend more than a couple of seconds on this task, so asking for their email address and name will do.
Take Full Advantage of Your Hero Section
In web design, the hero refers to the section of the web page right below the main navigation.
It’s the central, front area of a web page, and it’s the first thing that someone who lands on your website sees. A hero image, a large, high-resolution web banner image that’s placed in this section, should contain a hook, that is, tell your customers how you will make their life better.
Using this valuable real estate to talk about your accountancy firm or explain what services you offer would be a mistake. The best approach is to take a “what’s in it for me” approach and clearly tell your audience what you as an accountant can do for them and why they should opt for you.
People expect accountancy firms to
- Help them save time and money
- Make their everyday life and business less stressful
- Handle their taxes
- Ensure legal compliance.
And your hero section should cover all these bases and convince your prospects that they have come to the right place.
In a nutshell, come up with a high-quality photo (or video), carefully crafted unique selling proposition, and a CTA. Remember, people aren’t looking for products and services just for the sake of it – everything they purchase or sign up for has the purpose of making their life better.
The same applies to picking accountants and the hero section of your website has the role of convincing your prospects that they will be in safe hands if they choose you over your competitors.
Build a Responsive Website
Over 55% of people use their smartphones to surf the internet. At the same time, 57% of internet users say they wouldn’t recommend a brand with a poorly designed mobile website.
These two stats illustrate why building a responsive website should be your top priority. Without a great experience across all devices, you won’t be able to convert your prospects into paying clients.
Responsive web design means that your website will be automatically reformatted based on the screen size.
Some of the best practices that will ensure your website is truly responsive include:
- Using the appropriate button size. To prevent annoying fat-finger errors, implement only hyperlinks and buttons that are at least 48 pixels wide and 48 pixels tall. That way, these elements will be big enough so that people can easily click them.
- Opting for SVG files. Scalable Vector Graphics files refer to images that can be scaled to any extent without losing their quality.
- Using responsive images. Besides SVGs, you should use responsive images, created with CSS. Their main characteristic is that they can adjust to fit any screen size.
- Using the right font size. According to Google, it’s best to use a font size of 16 CSS pixels in order to ensure legibility on all devices.
- Adjusting your CTA copy. Your calls-to-action should change to “Call Now” when someone is accessing your website from a mobile device. Include your business phone number instead of your email address and improve the mobile user experience.
- Testing your website. Always test your website on different devices and mobile platforms, because it can display well on Android and have a glitch on iOS.
Apart from improving your user experience, having a responsive or mobile-friendly website is important because it’s also one of Google’s ranking signals. The search engine rolled out its mobile-first indexing in 2018, and from that moment on, primarily mobile versions of the website content will be used for indexing and ranking.
The difference between the two approaches lies in the fact that a responsive website adjusts its layout to fit the screen, while mobile-friendliness means that the website will resize the content to fit the screen without making any changes to the layout.
Improve Your Website Speed
Websites for accountants, and for any other business for that matter, have to load fast too.
People have become increasingly impatient, meaning that they aren’t ready to wait for more than 3 seconds for your website to load. If it doesn’t, off they go to your competitors’ websites.
Just like Google’s algorithm awards responsive websites, it also holds the fast ones in high regard, so it’s obvious that speed is another ranking signal.
There are various ways to speed up your website, and we’ll mention a couple of them.
Finding a reliable hosting provider
Even if your site is well-optimized, it won’t reach its full potential in terms of speed if you opt for a more affordable provider or plan. While your site is still new, you can pull it off on a budget plan, as you won’t have too much traffic and content. But, as your site grows, it becomes more demanding in terms of technology. You definitely shouldn’t cut corners when it comes to hosting, particularly when you notice an increase in traffic, as that way you’ll ensure that your website has zero downtime, as well as that it’s loading fast.
Compressing your images
Images and other visuals play an important role when it comes to improving the esthetics of your website, but at the same time, they can slow it down. Especially if they’re large. The solution is to reduce the size of the images on your site without sacrificing their quality with the help of an optimization tool.
Installing a content delivery network (CDN)
Whenever someone tries to visit your website, a request is sent to the server where it’s hosted. When you’re experiencing a surge in traffic, all these requests will take longer than usual to process. Together with this, visitors’ physical location also affects how fast your website loads. With a CDN, when someone tries to access your website, their request is routed to a server that’s physically closest to their location. This will help your site to load significantly faster.
Make Sure Your Website Is Easy to Use
Besides looking pretty and professional, your site also has to be easy to navigate.
Visual appeal will attract your potential customers, but it’s good navigation that will retain them and allow them to easily find the information they need.
When a potential customer lands on your website, the first thing they look for is usually the navigation menu as it can help them orient themselves and find their way to the home page.
If you have too many categories in your navigation bar, it will look bulky and overcrowded. As a result, your prospects will be confused and they won’t be able to find the services they need in all that clutter.
That’s why you should limit yourself to no more than seven categories.
Another factor that will improve the user-friendliness of your website is coming up with obvious and straightforward category labels. You don’t want people to guess what you mean and where clicking a particular category in the drop-down menu take will them.
Similarly, using generic terms such as “services” doesn’t reveal much and should be avoided.
Create Helpful Content
Accountants are aware that their potential clients usually don’t know the first thing about keeping books. That’s why one of the most important purposes of your new website is creating educational and informative content so that people who come to you can see that you want to help them.
Your blog is a central part of your site and the key to the success of this marketing strategy is producing high-quality content consistently.
If you aren’t sure what to blog about, start from the beginning and offer your potential clients a crash course on accounting. It’s also a good idea to write about your existing clients’ issues, challenges, or frequently asked questions.
Taking a page from your competitors’ book is another great way of coming up with fresh and relevant content ideas.
Optimize Your Content for SEO
No matter how superb your content marketing strategy is, it can’t be effective if you don’t amplify it with SEO for accountants.
Namely, if your audience can’t find your content through search engines, you’ll hardly attract any website traffic. All you can expect is for someone to accidentally stumble upon your site.
Search engine optimisation goes hand in hand with content and this marketing strategy can improve the visibility of your new website and bring you a lot of high-quality traffic.
SEO refers to the practice of optimizing your website content so that its visibility in search results is improved as well as its Google rankings. Search engine optimisation is a broad topic and it also encompasses other tactics that we already discussed such as responsive website design, website usability, loading speed, and anything that has the purpose of improving user experience in general.
Crucial aspects of search engine optimisation include:
- Internal linking. This practice refers to connecting content and pages on your website by means of hyperlinks. It allows Google to assess your content’s relevance and index it. At the same time, it makes for an easy-to-use navigation as it helps your audience to find everything they need to know about a particular topic.
- Keywords and phrases. When you start building your new website, it’s crucial to conduct keyword research and identify the exact words and phrases your audience types into the search box when they’re trying to find answers to their questions and solutions to their issues. With these valuable insights, you can enrich both your content and website copy with these keywords, thus helping your prospects to easily find your website in search results.
- Link building. Your SEO score heavily relies on the relevance and quality of your content. To convince Google that your content fits the bill, you should get reputable sources to link to your website. Apart from waiting for this to happen organically, it’s a good idea to reach out to respectable websites from your industry and offer them a guest post. By linking to your content, these authority websites are in a way vouching for you and signal to the search engine that your content is valuable. As a result, your rankings will improve.
- Optimise your meta tags. For your SEO marketing to yield the best results, you need to focus on details too. Websites that have meta tags right see a boost in their SEO and rankings. Meta titles, meta descriptions, robots meta tags, canonical tags, header tags, and alt text provide data about your website to the search engine and your audience. These snippets of code help the search engine to display your web pages in search results properly.
- Social signals. As social media and search engine optimisation are inseparable, you should pay attention to social signals. In other words, Google takes shares, comments, and likes into consideration when assessing the quality of your content. That’s why you should encourage people to interact with your content if you want your SEO marketing to be successful.
- Pick the right content management system. To optimize your website properly, you need a content management system that among other features, comes with customizable page elements, responsive themes, analytics tools, and blogging tools. For example, WordPress is one of the most popular CMSs.
Features All Websites for Accountants Should Have
Accounting websites should follow a certain structure and have the following pages:
- Homepage. Superb design is a must, while other elements should include a short description about your company, the hero image listing the ways you can help, a brief explanation of your services, as well as strategically placed CTAs.
- About page. This is where you’ll tell your audience more about your company, values, accolades, and your team.
- Service page. It’s best to have a separate page for every service your provide. This is where your audience can learn more about the advantages of your services.
- Contact page. This is the place where you provide contact information such as the phone number, email address, and physical address of your company.
- Review/Customer testimonial pag Show your audience what others think about you and why they should become your clients.
When designed and tweaked properly, your website can be a great source of new leads and business opportunities, and present your company in the best light possible.