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Blog on an accountant's website

Number of accountants of websites is on the increase, though a large number of these do not have yet a blog.

I have a blog and I have not quite worked out fully what makes a good accountants blog. I suppose it would be whatever is of interest to the visitors.

Is it worth having a blog? Do you have a blog? What makes a good accountants blog? How often should I post an entry on a blog?


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01st Nov 2010 08:14

Your online magazine

Interesting because we are just researching Brighton Accountants and producing a benchmark report on their Websites. We re scoring Websites for “getting found” (which will be SEO and PPC) and “conversion” which will include design. Part of this is seeing if they have an up to date blog.

The blog plays a role in getting found because it supports SEO and conversion; interesting content will get people to pick up the phone and register for the newsletter. It will also enable you to nurture opportunities, an email once a month is 3D marketing (drip, drip, drip).

We have not finished the research but I estimate only 5% of firms have blogs so there is an opportunity for you. Amazingly, it is looking like nearly 40% do not have a Website!

Put useful and interesting content on the blog. A mixture of written, video and audio; treat it like your own multimedia magazine. Then, at the end of the month send out an email newsletter to clients, prospects and associates with a sentence about each article and a link. If you use a tracking system you will see what people are clicking on so can write more of that. You can follow up with people that are reading and ask them what they want more of.

Write your blog posts with SEO keywords in mind and create internal links on your Website. If you can do one a week that is great, I would focus on quality rather than just quantity.

Ensure your blog and email has Social Sharing because this will become more popular. This allows people to easily share your content with their friends.

So, why not produce top-tips for starting in business. Write on one aspect on one topic a week. Within 6 months you will have a report you can offer and not to long after a book.

Reuse content, I have just started using Audioboo and videos, there is even a 30-minute training video on Website marketing I give away for free.

Giving away highly valuable information which you would normally charge for maybe counter intuitive but it is the best way to marketing yourself. Your Website and blogs are great tools to do this but you must be patient, this type of marketing is an invest, little and often and it pays back in the long-term.

Bob Harper

Portfolio Marketing

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01st Nov 2010 08:53

I write blogs for web sites

Blogs are not just a space for ad hoc comments and musings - they are an online sales tool that should drive traffic to your web site and link existing clients to your marketing via an email newsletter

Blogs , articles, guides and other web site content should be keyword based - ie linked to search terms that people looking for your services are typing in to Google and other search engines. The content should be relevant, accurate and up-to-date. If you commit to a blog, you should add posts every week.

I have found the most successful business/tax/property blogs add at least an article every day as a newsfeed and take at least six months to generate good traffic.

You should be aware that if you are looking for business in a restricted area, like a specific town or district in a city, that the response will be sparse.

Blogs take time and resources to research, write and post. A six month test project is an investment that costs about £4,000.


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01st Nov 2010 09:46

Outsource blog writing

Thanks for the interesting response. Blogs are time consuming to maintain. Based in reading the response I am thinking about outsourcing this aspect now. Any recommendations and ideas on costs? Taxassist are honest about the fact that they have outsource this aspect. I like this.

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01st Nov 2010 10:03

is that part of the problem....?!

as firsttab has mentioned this is time consuming and for those with bigger practices something they can delegate but for sole traders this is very difficult - and maybe not expected/necessary or more importantly valued by the client of small practices.  Choose the most effective tools for your practice (one size doesn't fit all, and the most effective tool for one practice is the biggest waste of time for the next).

As for outsourcing this process (which is completely understandable given the time consuming nature) - doesn't this defeat the whole purpose of doing a blog or twitter - isn't this supposed to bring you closer to your clients (not sure this can be achieved by someone else doing the tweets)?  I am not against using technology to push practices forward....but it must be fit for purpose for that practice....

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By blok
01st Nov 2010 10:22


I am a bit behind the times!

Can someone define a "blog" to me in one sentence?

Bob, I am sure you mean well, but I understand very little of what you write. 

It may just be me but it makes me feel old.  I am only 31 by the way.

This all seems quite important becasue you are all discussing it, but I am miles behind!


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01st Nov 2010 10:30

Outsourcing and online marketing for accountants

The secret of online marketing is linking your web content, be it a blog, article or other material, to search engine keywords. Text should contain a smattering of keywords to hook searches.

The principle is that you want your site to come back on the first page of a Google search when a user types in "accountant Milton keynes' or the like.

So your text should mention words like 'accountant', 'business tax', 'VAT', "partnership accounts' and 'Milton Keynes'.

Blogs and pages should match services - so a page for payroll would have PAYE keywords etc

To rank high on searches, you need to have regularly updated, topical and relevant content that the search engine recognises as useful to the searcher. Effective keyword content posted regularly will push your web site up the page rankings and attract Google traffic.

Don't worry about the technical stuff - that's why people outsource their tax to accountants - so they don't have to learn it and do it themselves!  It's cheaper and more effective for accountants to outsource their marketing to other professionals in the same way.

After all, we might enjoy tinkering with cars, but we don't all have the knowledge and equipment to build one from scratch.

Feel free to mail me your requirements and I can help you put together a strategy and supply the blogs.

These would be unique, which is important for search engine optimisation for your web site.

I am not in to a heavy sales pitch - just explain what you want to achieve and I'll tell you whether we can take you there, and if we can, how and the likely cost.

I can also provide other content like articles, how-to's - in fact anything from a scratch-built site to full-blown newspapers/magazines. I have lots of samples from financial services, accountants, mortgage brokers and landlord web sites.

I design, write and manage web sites for small businesses full time.

For your information, I am a professional writer, print/web designer and best selling tax author with an accountancy background.

Mail me at [email protected]


Steve Sims

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01st Nov 2010 11:07


@Block - blog is sort for Weblog...diary or as I see it online magazine.

Link all your marketing together and use the latest tools, tactics and methods - there is a video on my Website which you may find useful.

Bob Harper

Portfolio Marketing for Accountants

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01st Nov 2010 11:09


You might find this site useful:

I have already searched 'blog' for you, but if you want to search any other web term use the search bar near the top, can't miss it.

Hope this helps.

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01st Nov 2010 11:25

@ Blok

Always be careful to differentiate 'everyone discussing something' to a small number of people always 'selling something'!

Perhaps the 40% of practices in Brighton without a web-site don't need one? Perhaps they get satisfactory responses from conventional advertising or have sufficient referral business not to need an on-line presense. I have a lovely web-site but deep down I think it is a vanity thing which is only occasionally useful for portential referral clients to 'try before they buy'. I don't believe 95% of my clients are really that influenced one way or the other by it.


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01st Nov 2010 11:49

A lot of effort for zero return

 I don't believe 95% of my clients are really that influenced one way or the other by it.


Posted by Steve Holloway on Mon, 01/11/2010 - 12:25


Agreed Steve - but I would extend that to all forms of advertising.

I think people can be pursuaded to buy a certain brand of washing powder by flashy adverts, prmotions, get one and get lumbered with another one "free" whether you want another or not etc.   But, I think engaging a professional is different, and whatever anyone might like to think, the fact is that propbably 95% of people chose their professional advisers (accountants, solicitors, dentist, vets etc) on three core criteria - recommendation, reputation, convenience. 

And of course, a client who comes to you because you have the glossiest adverts, will simply move to another accountant once they have an even glossier advert.  


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By blok
01st Nov 2010 11:50

Special mention to Bob...

I must say, I admire your persitence with all this.  You never really take anything too personal.

A lot of people have had a go at you in the past with regards to your methods but I take my hat off to you.  You must have absolute belief in what it is you do. 

I am not saying that I will ever understand it.

Can I ask, how do you measure your success?  Are you focused on your personal profit?

(A reply in just one or two sentences would be ideal!:)

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01st Nov 2010 11:52

Couldn't agree more with Steve

When marketing make sure you choose what is effective for you and your it networking, putting on seminars, mailings or whatever....but you only have a finite amount of time (and money) - so pick things that work for you.  I am sure we could all spend more on our marketing (using the various 'tools' no business cannot live without) but I dare say we could say the same about tax/accounting software, printers, computers etc etc....but it all depends on what your business needs...and how it acheives the best results.  Having a website (no matter how good or where it lands on a search) does NOT guarantee you clients (or potentials).....and the same goes for tweets/blogs etc etc.

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01st Nov 2010 11:59


@Steve - the firms who do not have Websites are clearly not serious about marketing - if and when they need one it will be too late. You are right, what they have is satisfactory -that is the reality for the majority and opens the opportunity for the minority.

Web design for vanity is often not effective in terms of generating leads, it just makes the practice owner feel good for a while and then they start to resent the investment, especially the template solutions that cost money every month.

I’d suggest Website leads will bring in 15% of new business (about one a month) but it can support the other 85%.

@Blok - following on from Steve's plug...yes I sell Websites or rather people buy them if they want to and there is a process. Watch a 30-minute video, have a 30-minute consultation and do it or do not. No hard feeling if you do not and a guarantee if you do.

Bob Harper

Portfolio Marketing

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01st Nov 2010 12:13


Good to hear...I assume based upon number of referrals/quality leads produced as a result? so you invoice based upon the success of the website you have produced?

Now you have me interested! If thats the case I can see justification for investing money into this area with you....

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01st Nov 2010 12:24

Why not try a marketing joint venture rather than reinvent the w

I don't think a business that doesn't have a web site should be slated as not serious about marketing.

Online marketing works for some but not others - just as networking, yellow pages or referrals works for some but not all.

And the comments about online marketing not working for local firms is a good point that many miss - web sites are not a 'build and they will come' phenomenon and users often want a local solution that doesn't provide enough traffic to justify a full-blown accountancy and tax service web site..

The solution here is one we are working on - a lead generation site for accountants who can log in and 'buy' potential clients for a set fee on a first-come first-served basis. Perhaps small firms collaborating on marketing and sharing the spoils, so to speak, is a better model than reinventing an expensive wheel for each practise.

This way, a firm can buy leads in a specific post code area and set a marketing budget rather than spend cash on a shiny web site that doesn't produce results.

Any takers want to express an interest - and this is my market research not a plug, but then I suppose anyone selling a service who responds to a question online is promoting their product :)


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01st Nov 2010 12:36

Free training

@JustsoTax - there are different types of guarantee and I am happy to link fees to the success. 

I agree that every aspect of a business can be improved but marketing drives everything and delivers the biggest return by far. For example, a £1,500 Website could bring £50,000 to £100,000 over five years. Where else can you get that in a business?

@Blok - the comments are not personal because the people do not know me, and I do not know them.

How do I measure my success? Well, it is basically how good I feel about a number of things, mainly around relationships.

There is a minimal amount of money I need but for me it is more about time to do what I want. And, what I really enjoy (for part of the day) is helping people in business, so the more people I help the better and that is why I am looking at a new way of delivering the support.

So, instead of working one-to-one I will be launching an online training/coaching programme. It’s in development so I would be interested in some feedback.

Bob Harper

Portfolio Marketing

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01st Nov 2010 12:55


I have mixed views on this despite being an ardent blogger myself.  I'd like to think I know who my target audience is - accountants and tax advisers. So. of course, I'm not myself a practicing accountant.

Two years ago I wrote a piece: Blogging myths for accountants

At the end of that piece I wrote:

I am aware of a relatively small number of accountants in practice who seem to enjoy blogging. I know of far more who gave it a try and then gave up. The benefits didn’t live upto the hype.  I don’t think that’s a reflection on the accountants. I think it’s more to do with the hype.

Despite some of the erudite comments above I stand by that view. Except perhaps in one situation:

If your website is already optimised for local web searches for accountants - by your target market; andIf you are facing stiff competition to appear on the first page of search engine results; andYou are willing to write/blog regularly to make your site more attractive to the search engines - or to pay someone to do this for you.

Then  go ahead and start blogging.  But do be clear as to your objectives.


PS: My blogs are:

Tips and advice for ambitious accountantsTax insights and commentaryAccountant jokes and fun

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01st Nov 2010 12:58

Log in and 'buy' potential clients for a set fee on a first-come

Who is going to buy potential clients who have responded in some way which must be by definition entirely blind? I would never personally engage in tele-marketing but if I did then I would make sure the tele-sales person was selling MY business. In your model they have no idea what they are buying and therefore probably make bad prospects.

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01st Nov 2010 13:17

£1,500 investment for £50-60k return sounds good on paper....

but how much is directly attributable to the website, and how much networking/advertising/mailshots/twitter/blogs etc do you need to do....or are you saying that the 50k is produced purely from having a internet presence?  I am not questioning your figures just the work (and additional funds) that maybe required to get that 50-60k - presumably the website needs to be updated - and if that is done by the owner then there is a cost (loss of chargeable hours) or this is passed on to increasing the overall cost. 


I say all of this not because I don't believe any of it will work, but because it is important to understand the amount of time and money required to commit to this sort of thing to achieve these goals.....this was started with the q. is it worth having a blog - well if you have the time maybe - but its a commitment that you need to keep up....if you sub-contract that work it is at a cost....and what do you get back (that you wouldn't already thru networking etc).



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01st Nov 2010 13:52

How much?

@Justsotax - a firm should expect one client a month from a Website from people who are online searching.

The first will need to invest some time with SEO BUT and it is an important BUT most of the time will be a one-off investment and in the video I suggest four hours a week. The question is, what does the cost need to be to make £50k of additional fees for 10 years not worthwhile?

Bob Harper

Portfolio Marketing for Accountants

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By mwngiol
01st Nov 2010 13:57


"a firm should expect one client a month from a Website from people who are online searching"

Do you apply that to all firms? I'm thinking of small one partner firms in small rural towns with a fair number of competitors. I'm not sure I agree that they could expect to see that rate of return.

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01st Nov 2010 14:21


[email protected] - it is an average and remember “Place” is one of the four marketing Ps so firms in this situation can consider a national service to a niche market as part of their practice development plan.

By the way, I have recommended start-ups move as part of their marketing strategy. 

Bob Harper

Portfolio Marketing for Accountants

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01st Nov 2010 14:43

Blogging for accountants

disclaimer one: I am working at one of the suppliers of websites for accountants;

disclaimer two: I've been blogging for a about a year, so this is only my own take on things;

1. Blogging takes time... a lot of time... especially when starting up
When launching your blog, you should have between 5 and 8 articles already published and a further 6 "in the pipeline" ready to be published. Posting new blog articles at a rate of 2 a week is almost the minimum you should consider if you want to build a strong reader base. And these are not "look at what we do" type of posts but insightful, interesting articles for potential clients like: the best trading format for ebay sellers, the review of company formation websites, sharing experience of dealing with companies house, HMRC etc.
In between these posts, try to fit local area news and niche industry news/reviews - for SEO purposes, but SEO shouldn't really be the only reason you start blogging (as the changes of Google Places show, localised result will be getting harder and harder to get into).

2. Blogging might notbe the most cost effective way to market / advertise your practice
Is blogging your first foray into marketing your practice? It shouldn't be. Results are not guaranteed, far from it. And they're probably not going to be instantaneous either. Other methods will provide a greater return on investment. If it takes two to three hours to write a blog post that is interesting enough to generate 1 new client. That 2-3 hours of your time cost you £150-£250 -> offering £100 to each of your existing client that introduce you to someone who signs up is therefore - a lot - more cost effective and likely to generate more referral as well.

3. Externalising content might work, but you have to be very confident that the person you choose is reliable, accurate and write in the same "voice" as you would. Like social media, blogging is about creating a "relationship" with your readers. At the very least, reply to the comments yourself, and write 1 or 2 article a month - to learn how things work - and be able to add your own spin on things.

4. Blogging and SEO
As mentioned above, if you only want to take blogging for SEO (to target a niche), quite a lot of time and effort should also be put in getting links to your articles in order for them to rank well. You should also try to split your article to create "clusters" on a subject for better chance of ranking high for competitive keywords.

5. Everything you may need to get a successful blog (whether it be generic blogging advice or specific SEO information) can usually be found for free on the web, so you should be able to make an informed decision whether to do it yourself, externalise it, or even do it at all.



NetAccountant, my blog about websites, SEO, blogging and social media for Accountants

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01st Nov 2010 15:11


I think you have to work out what the purposes of websites and blogs are.  Some people have a website because people tell them that they should have a website.  It's the online equivalent of advertising in some trade mag that you just do - doesn't bring any work and hasn't for ages. 

We have a website because it's becoming a medium of contact exchange.  When client A used to recommend potential client B 10 years ago, they'd have just passed on a phone number when they met in the pub.  No-one is actually going to pass on an email address - they're slightly clumsy, not memorable and people don't have them in their diary or in older/simpler phones.  What they will pass on is a weblink/URL to a website which then has the contact data within it.  From there, the website should be about selling what you can do and (personal bugbear) how much you charge.

A blog's purpose can be one of two things - to communicate issues/articles/information relevant to clients.  Easy to write, issues crop up all the time, but very hard to target right, because issues-based content will only be relevant to a small subset of the clients.  Our blog has a second purpose - to sell the people within a firm, rather than the firm itself.  With our typical clients, they're more affected by a comment on the latest film I've seen, or the latest bit of in-house baking, than they would be by a piece on bookkeeping methods or credit control.

This could be because our clients are self-employed individuals and not businesses, but there's no doubt in does you no harm to show humanity within a blog.


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01st Nov 2010 15:17

Good points

@NetAccountant - remember who the competition is, accountants so it is easy to get good results quickly.

My advice is just to firms is to stop procrastinating and just do it. Figure it out as you go, there is no need to have all the answers before you start. Relax about content, there is content created every day in emails, letters and reports which you can use.

Nothing to stop you offering £100 per referral as well as blogging and the “voice” is important and that is why I recommend the practice does it themselves.

You can build your own Website for nothing. Have a look at Wordpress and remember this is about client retention, cross/up selling as much as new business.

Bob Harper

Portfolio | Marketing  Professionals

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01st Nov 2010 15:35

Waste of time & money

This could be because our clients are self-employed individuals and not businesses, but there's no doubt in does you no harm to show humanity within a blog.

Posted by MarionMorrison on Mon, 01/11/2010 - 15:11


The relationship with a professional advisor is far more about people than it is about cost, glossy adverts, flashy websites etc.   As I've said before people want someone they TRUST dealing with their financial affairs, just as they want a doctor the trust dealing with their health.

Knowing those details about a client (his dog's name, the football team he supports, etc) makes a huge difference to the client and makes him feel more important.  Blogs are, by their nature, general. The chances of your latest blog addressing something that a particular client is interested in are minimal. They are, at best, a way of massaging your own ego, not addressing issues of interest to clients.   

The purpose of advertising is to let people know you are there - beyond that it achieves little. Yes some people might fall for advertising drivel, but just as many will be put off by it.  I know when i get a sales call from "bigger, better, cheaper windows" or whoever, it actually has the effect of ensuring that if i wanted whatever they are pushing I will go anywhere rather than use a firm that has to push it's products. 

In other words, advertisng and selling can be a double edged sword - and no "expert" can change that because it's not how they advertise that matters, people are hardened to selling, and most are actually put off by it.


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01st Nov 2010 15:50

Have to agree CD

... although I am not sure that the marketeers on here are actually trying to achieve the same goals that you (or I) are. We wish to have long term stability, happy clients, satisfying work for us etc.  I think (upon reflection) they are selling to people who want rapid growth, a saleable business and to get rich quickly. The strategy that they advocate is not going to appeal to us clearly but that is not to say that it cannot be successful for someone who shares their ethos. There are after all (as we have discussed on here many times) clients we would not touch who may well flock to these people. It doesn't really matter if they are temporary or even rubbish because its a volume game and you sell it all on after a few years anyway.

So, possibly we should all just accept that we are talking about 2 inherrantly different plans and stop criticising each other. But sometimes it is too easy I must admit!!

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01st Nov 2010 16:12


@Steve - A Website/blog is not a quick win, this is a point I make in the video and as far as I know accountancy is not a get rich quick business opportunity. But a Website/blog should be part of a growth plan and will enhance the value of a practice.

What I hear is that about won from Internet marketing is that are much better than other forms of marketing. They are ready to buy and tend to be more modern in their mindset. Having said that, word of mouth is the best form of marketing but a Website/blog/email newsletter combination can stimulate that as well.

Bob Harper

Portfolio | Marketing Professionals

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01st Nov 2010 16:45

You said it Bob...

word of don't win that because you twitter, blog or have a fancy website that does everything for win that because when the client meets you he likes what you say, and you do what you say you are going to do....its not rocket science.

Its great that you seem willing to offer some of these services based upon success...but the success is as a result of spending time and money on getting leads, and then having to persuade that client you are the best choice.  Yet the most cost effective, and most likely way to win is through a referral, this surely has to be the best 'marketing tool' but there is generally little or no mention of how we should maximise this potential.  I wonder for established accountants how many clients they win monthly thru word of mouth 1-2 maybe 5-6.....for what cost, zero....and of course providing an excellent service (on time and good advice)....isn't that the prime driver for 'organic' growth? 







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01st Nov 2010 17:01

I think you're missing a trick here CD

CD:  Knowing those details about a client (his dog's name, the football team he supports, etc) makes a huge difference to the client and makes him feel more important.  Blogs are, by their nature, general. The chances of your latest blog addressing something that a particular client is interested in are minimal. They are, at best, a way of massaging your own ego, not addressing issues of interest to clients.   

You've entirely right that us knowing details about a client makes a huge difference to them, but you're only seeing a blog as the general, pontificating style which I think of as worthless.  I use a blog to enable the client to know what football I support and how I hate dogs, not to dispense business advice.  That humanises the relationship in the other direction and produces a better relationship - it doesn't matter that they don't agree over dogs and football teams, but some of my happiest client relationships are with people who disagree with me.


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01st Nov 2010 17:07

@Bob Harper
re "remember who the competition is, accountants so it is easy to get good results quickly" - did you mean getting high ranking quickly for local SEO keywords? If so, local searches may just have become a lot more competitive (new Google Places embedded in the results). Accountants are also competing with a lot of online directories (2 out of the 6 "organic" results for "accountants in brighton") and the trend my be accelerating if the changes of Google SERP push them higher.

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01st Nov 2010 17:59

Door is wide open

@Justsotax - yes, word of mouth is the number one way firms grow; client referrals and introductions from strategic partners is followed by telemarketing but Websites can support both and retain/develop clients.

If the accountants are not willing to invest time and a little bit of money then they will probably not enjoy a lot of success.

With referrals, there is a lot a firm can do to stimulate and control referrals. There are some obvious things (like asking for them) and some more subtle/high level strategies and tactics. But, like all good marketing, the key is systems.

The only metric I have for referrals is from 2020 - they say the average existing client referral ratio is one new client for every thirty five clients per annual. Or, put another way, one referral every thirty five years per client!

@NetAccountant - I appreciate everything is getting more competitive and had a look at the search result and if a firm wanted to be number one I can not see too much in their way. Can you?

Bob Harper

Portfolio | Marketing for Professionals

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01st Nov 2010 18:01

Thanks for the response. I was left really confused. I then read all the posts again. Mark's post goes someway in clearing some of my confusion.


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01st Nov 2010 18:24

Type of clients

A lot depends on the type of clients you are targetting.  In our experience subcontractors can often refer anything from 5 to 10 fellow subcontractors a year. This is, of course, because they are working side by side with other sub contractors.

Publicans tend to be another source of regular referrals.

By comparison clients whose business makes them work in relative isolation, means they very rarely refer others quite simply because they dont mix often with other self employed people.

There is of course one exception to this rule, which I have never figured out. For some reason professional writers & authors seem to make regular referrals despite the fact that they obviously work in issolation.  There must be some secret authors mafia or something.



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02nd Nov 2010 08:52


@Bob Harper,
The number 1 spot on my local machine was Google Places - in fact the first 7 were, so no amount of "traditional" SEO was going to get you past them.
The client really needs to have offices in - or around - Brighton to be able to have a chance to get there, and then Google need to be "aware" of them.

Previously, if you had an office in Worthing or Eastbourne, you could just create an optimised page for Brighton, but now this page is, at best, going to be ranked 8th, and it therefore may not be worth the time and effort. Trying to "game" Google Places is a bit more risky as it could result in the removal of all your offices.

@cymraeg_draig, I use to attend a lot of networking meetings a couple of years ago and professional writers and copywriters always had a very large network of "acquaintances". I think it my be to do with the fact that companies employing them usually use a lot of other "freelance", like graphic designers, web designers, web developers, etc...

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02nd Nov 2010 09:31

No ricks, just treats

@NetAccountant - the first two for me were not “Place” listings so I tested a search on another town and the same, the first two were not “Place listing. But, put that aside, the “A” spot on places for the second search was a firm outside the search phrase.

So, this means a firm in Hove can hit the “A” spot for Google places for Brighton. In my search results for Brighton a Hove firm was fifth.

I triple checked with a firm I work with who was second or third for a county search and they are "A" in Google places but there is one non Place listing above them. For the town the Places listing is first - he is second.  

He is winning regular new business and signs people up over the phone because he lives in France and visits once a quarter. He loves leads from the Website because they are easy to convert, almost like referrals.

I am not suggesting anyone try to out-smart or trick Google, just use what works and having a blog is part of it.

Bob Harper

Portfolio Marketing

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03rd Nov 2010 14:19

A website / blog is not the start of the sales process

Having had a website for my practice since 1999 (is it really 11 years ago ...) and having previously been in the business of selling ready made templates to other accountants (but not any more) I have come to 3 firm conclusions:

You must have a website because it allows a prospective client to "kick the tyres" AFTER they have heard about you by either word of mouth, or a traditional advertising sourceDon't expect to get new clients by them finding your site in a search.  There are just too many web pages out there and, despite what the SEO snake-oil purveyors will try to tell you, it's just not gonna happen in any worthwhile volumeDon't put any content on your site aimed at existing clients.  They never visit your site.  How many times do you spend time looking through the websites of your own suppliers?  Exactly.

As for Blogs - if by that we mean regularly updated content, specific and personal to you and your firm, I would recommend them.

As for Twitter, think word of mouth made easy.

Twitter is, effectively, a way for people to see the text messages sent by other people they follow.  If a client is really happy with your service and texts a friend to recommend you, only that friend gets to know.  On the other hand, if your happy client "tweets" the exact same message, everyone gets to know how good you are.

Finally, maintaining a blog need not be that time-consuming.  Services like WordPress and Tumblog mean that you can post short snippets of information very quickly.  No need for rambling essays.  I use a Tumblog theme for my Blog.


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03rd Nov 2010 16:43

Mainly true Adrian

Totally agree with you about the SEO snake-oil salesman.  I just tell them I'll be interested if they agree to take a per new client payment for their services.

I don't think a website is a must.  I know of a good few successful firms who have no website at all and whose email addresses are [email protected].  Their clients just don't care.  You might argue that they could do better with a website but it's not as essential.

Existing clients certainly visit our site - I know this because they ring me up and take the mick about stuff or say nice things about certain items.  It also exists as a resource centre for people to download forms, newsletters, e-cashbooks and the like.

And certainly blogs that are chatty and personal are easy to keep going.  We just use an existing and personal Livejournal blog with a link from the website, with further links to our Facebook presence.

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04th Nov 2010 11:38



There must be some secret authors mafia or something.

Perhaps they just read each others' blogs...

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04th Nov 2010 12:26

The new generation of advertising

@Bob and @Marion

I totally agree with you, I have both a blog and website and can easily see how they could be used by an Accounts practice.

Newspaper ads never generate that much business either but are more acceptable, why??

I see everything I do as a form of advertisement for me and my company. Increasing your visibilty either locally or nationally is the key, websites and blogs are just part of that whole arena

I have to say I google everything I need to know including where to find any firm locally from car parts to builders!!!

No one has mentioned "mailing lists" yet.....................another form of very good client liason tool

PS I do all the, blog and mailing shots free, it does take time but worth it


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04th Nov 2010 13:41

Where to blog?

Is it better from an SEO (or any other) point of view to have the blog as a page on your main website, or as a completely separate website with reciprocal links?

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04th Nov 2010 16:43

I'll mention mailing lists....

I write a blog for a client linked to their client database, which is a 'clean' opt-in email list.

Each article in the blog is sent out to the mailing list as part of a digest ie the title and first sentence links back to the web site and each article is written around a news article or service the client provides.

Each article is tracked to see if it is opened, read and clicked back to the web site.

On average each article is read more than 500 times. Some, like the emergency budget synopsis, are read 5,000 times. The traffic to the web site has propelled the site up Google rankings and generates a large number of business inquiries from new and existing customers.

Tracking means we can tailor articles to the topics the audience want to read and link them to information about products and services they want to buy.

If you want to see the model in action...try visiting accountingweb lol

Marketing really comes down to the type of business owner - a lifestyle self-employed accountant looking to fund spending and retirement probably doesn't need to embrace modern marketing. There's no right and wrong, just different.



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04th Nov 2010 17:02


Where can is see a sample of your work (blogs). I have seen too many marketing people claiming to work miracles, so I am cynical at the moment. This is not a reflection on your response.

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04th Nov 2010 17:24


I am quite surprised by your comment about SEO. I agree that SEO is not the be all end all of marketing (not even internet marketing for that matter) but if done properly it can be very beneficial to an accountant website.

I just looked at some stats for a client in a relatively large city I SEO'ed the website for. Pure SEO (Google organic) brought in over 350 visitors last month, with 20% looking for local related keywords (some variation of accountant in city). Admittedly, I don't know the conversion rate on this, but it still quite good for a set investment. That figure is constant month on month and the SEO was originally done 2 years or so ago.

@MarionMorrison I am certain that it is possible to find people who would take you up on your offer of "£ per new client". How much would you be willing to pay for them though? 10% of lifetime value? 20 or 25? That pricing structure may cost you more in the long run.

I agree that there are some people that try to sell you quick fixes that will not work in today's market, but many SEO's are honest/decent people ;)

@gsgordon external vs internal blog: it depends what you want your blog to achieve? A blog on a separate domain can be a great way to get a brand new domain ranking for similar keywords than your main site, but it may be a bit harder to start from scratch. A separate domain can also be severed more easily if you decide that blogging isn't for you after all, whereas you will probably get more flow (visitors and links) if you have the blog integrated to your main site. Whatever your choice I would still use a self hosted solution (where you install the blog software on your own domain) as it gives you full control over every aspects of the blog and you are not relying - as much - on the decision of the blog provider.

NetAccountant - blog for accountants.

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04th Nov 2010 17:48

Free nurturing

@FirstTab - there no marketing miricles, but I do believe in magic dust. By that I mean the art of sales and marketing. You know, using just the right words at the right time.

@gsgordon - I’d strongly recommend having the blog on your Website domain. The number if pages on a Website will impact SEO drivers and a blog post is a page.

@yardleystar - totally agree with linking the email newsletter to the blog. The key in all this though is the list and that is where all marketing comes in…telemarketing can be used to build the list and then the nurturing is almost done at no cost because the articles are written for client retention as much as new business.

Bob Harper

Portfolio Marketing

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By MaxHeadroom
04th Nov 2010 20:24

Net Accountant

I looked at your website. I saw from various tabs what you do. I am at a loss what you sell, your prices etc. I was not even sure if you wanted any business. The info you provide is useful.

Can I use your services for Blogging leading to SEO improvements?

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08th Nov 2010 12:10


If you looked at the blog - - I am not selling anything from it, nor is it used to generate direct business, that's why there isn't any pricing info on there. As a matter of fact I am no longer involved in blogging, social media or SEO for third parties.

It is a place I use to share information / knowledge that I gained over the past 10 years working on, designing, optimising and marketing websites (ie. I am not an accountant but rather a "web guy"). I am a director at Accountant Websmiths and the blog is simply a place to help clients - and non clients - find answers to the questions they may be asking themselves. The idea behind it was to target "long tail searches" and may be generate one or two indirect sales to our main product, which was easily achieved after only a couple of months.

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30th May 2012 20:41

@ Highwoods & Associates

Wow very interesting topic..

Mo @ Highwoods & Associates, accountants in shoreditch, accountants in old street

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