For example, many CPAs add value to their website by integrating their payroll solution logins, creating client portals, and offering tools and resources. These save the firm time because they won't have to handle requests for each of these individually. But, your website can also be used to release news, offer information on your services, set up appointments, directly market through SEO and PPC, and can be used to launch press releases and other media for local news outlets.
In short, a good website can offer a lot, and there are many CPAs who use them to great effectiveness.
Web design has changed a lot in the past 5 years alone and in that time we've gone from standards where just about anything goes (including flashing neon) to a public that respects quality design, minimalism, and a color palette that facilitates ease of use. Today's graphic design is all about the reader, because they should see your website and immediately think and feel the perceptions that you want to associate with your business. They should also be able to easily find what they want, see what you have to offer, and read text as easily as if it were on a book.
As an example, let's take a look at one of the largest businesses in the world. Amazon
They were founded on July 5th, 1994, and their website looked a bit like this (image to the right):
Chances are, if you were to discover this website today, you'd hit the backspace button and never go there again. But Amazon has updated and changed with the times, and by taking a few seconds in another browser tab, you can see just how much they've updated.
Many CPA websites experience the same issues to a lesser degree. Accountants pay for them to be put up and then never really update them again. As a result, many of our clients have had the same HTML pages for five years or more. If this is you, most of your potential clients will be hitting the back button as soon as they visit your site.
Web Development and Design
You also have to have think about services, features, and accessibility. Most CPA websites are simplistic and basically focus on telling consumers what they have to offer. But modern web users already know that if you're a CPA you can handle their taxes, their tax strategy, their planning, and maybe even their bookkeeping. While you do have to create a list of services, it's not enough to simply put out a glorified version of a business resume. Instead, you have to put time and effort into creating a website that speaks to your audience, offers value, and offer solutions to their problems. How can you do this? Plan your content, your images, and even your color scheme around your audience, your company ideals, and your area, and show visitors who you are. You can also back up your claims with customer reviews, whitepapers, and other proof of value points right on your site. Mobile Optimization – Did you know that more than 50% of all web traffic now comes from mobile phones? This is important when you consider that many people use their phones to look up businesses before they go in, and use their phones to research businesses before calling them. If your website doesn't work for mobile, you're losing traffic (67% will hit the back button if the site isn't optimized for mobile). How can you fix this? Ask your web developer or design team to create a responsive website for your firm. A responsive site automatically resizes based on the device visiting it.
Not Just a Social Media Page
Websites have a lot to offer that you can't achieve with social media. While you can choose to just set up a Facebook page, your own website adds perceived value, allows you to offer more features, and can help with your marketing.
Content – Content marketing allows you to host your own pictures, articles, content guides, whitepapers, videos, and other information and then distribute them to your clients and potential clients. You can use content to offer value to your clients, to inform and to update, and to build a marketing funnel using search optimization and email. What you do should entirely depend on your goals for the site and your marketing strategy, but a website allows you to do almost anything.
Search Engine Optimization - Search Engine Optimization, usually abbreviated to SEO, is a term that most of us are familiar with, but if you're not, it's the process of optimizing your site using best practices to ensure that your site comes up in search when people look for things through Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines. SEO is crucial to modern digital marketing, because it allows you to compete on a crowded web for traffic. More importantly for smaller firms, it allows you to target local searchers who are in your area and able to come into your office. More importantly, you can't have SEO without a website, so you can't take advantage of organic search traffic. Small business owners search for solutions on lunch breaks, when out for coffee and whatever else they have time, so it's crucial to optimize your site for local searches in your area. According to Google, local searches for solutions have increased 34x since 2011 so you are missing out if your website isn't optimized to show up for these searches.
If you're ready for a new CPA Website, Architechs for the Web can help. We specialize in CPA websites and can help you build a site that reflects your business, appeals to your consumers, and helps you to drive leads. Interested? Contact us for a free consultation.