Like it or not, in today’s world, your website is the public-facing foundation of your business. It’s typically one of the first things a prospect will look at when considering whether or not to do business with you. In some tech-forward industries, many companies won’t even do business with you if your site doesn’t have the information they need or isn’t functioning well.
We see too many accounting firms today trying to fight this trend, coming up with excuses why they can’t update their site or don’t need to. Some accountants will claim their business is surviving or even growing despite a lackluster web presence. Others know they probably should do something about their outdated website but aren’t sure where to start and keep pushing it to the back burner amid the dozens of other things they need to get done each day.
However, the most savvy accounting firm owners and operators know that they can turn their website from a disadvantage to a strength in the marketplace. If you’re looking to get more from your existing website, or are thinking about key elements to include on a new site, we suggest starting with the three concepts below.
Refresh your approach to accounting firm SEO
Even for those who work in tech or marketing roles, search engine optimization (SEO) can be something of a mystery. There are a lot of misconceptions about who works in the SEO field, their goals, and what it takes to be successful. Fortunately, accounting firms don’t need to be well-versed in search engine optimization to see results from these campaigns.
A simple tweak like targeting new keywords or publishing content on a new platform could be all it takes to kick your SEO results into high gear. If you’re really confused by SEO, and those terms sound like Greek, we suggest starting with a basic introduction to the field. The intro guides published by Moz and HubSpot are a great starting point.
Incorporate self-service features
Nowadays, it’s not enough for your site to look nice and function properly. Today’s business professional expects a website to offer customized help for their specific problem immediately. This is the standard set by some of the largest companies in the world, and unfortunately, clients and prospects will also apply it to your website.
Luckily, there’s a way you can meet this demand – or at least show your clients and prospects that their needs matter. That way is to give them access to self-service functionality, which lets them look for answers to their questions on their own, as opposed to waiting for someone to contact them. If you don’t have any sort of self-service in place, one of the easiest ways to get started is by creating a simple searchable FAQ page. This may not be “interactive” in the more modern sense, but it at least lets your clients find answers more efficiently.
Improve your accounting firm website user experience (UX)
User experience (UX) is a unique aspect of digital design and marketing because it’s vitally important – yet 10 or 15 years ago, many people wouldn’t even have known it existed. The truth is, the principles and ideas behind user experience have been around for a while. The advent of technology has made it much easier to group them together under one specific set of skills.
According to the UX thought leader Nielsen Norman, the official definition of user experience is anything related to “the end-user's interaction with the company, its services, and its products.” This is a broad definition – for an accounting firm website, more specific UX concepts might include:
- Page speed – you can have a great-looking site, but if your clients and prospects can’t load it quickly enough, it probably isn’t going to perform the way you want.
- Navigation – how are your pages ordered and indexed? Do your menu items make sense? Are there any visual obstructions or glitches in your menu? Asking these and other questions will ensure your page is easy to get around.
- Responsiveness – a responsive page is one that loads and functions well on any device, from a typical desktop computer monitor to a smartphone screen. Entering 2024, if your site isn’t already responsive, you’re behind when it comes to effective web design.
Finally, be sure your images are formatted properly and include alt tags for visitors who may not be able to process visual images normally.
Last word on accounting firm website UX
While your website plays a central role in the visibility of your firm – think of it as a digital business card or storefront – it’s just the first part of the equation for online success as an accounting firm. Not only should your website be up-to-date and functional, but you should also be using digital tools to supplement the site and make sales and support steps even easier for prospects and clients. Accounting practice management software that includes CRM functionality, simplified payment collection processes, and streamlined client communication tools is the perfect complement to a highly functioning accounting firm website.
The better your website’s UX is, the more likely you’ll be able to implement a better-functioning overall user experience in every element of your firm, which will give you a huge advantage over competitors and let you successfully serve clients for as long as you’d like.