I am setting up my own practice and I am somewhat torn over the importance of the company websites.
I trained at a 4 partner firm that has been around now for 100 years (passed from father to son etc) and I have discussed what work is generated by their website along with other similar practices. They said that they would be lucky if 10% of clients came through their website. Word of mouth is best ay to get work which I agree with. But is that what the market allows or is it because the website does not work. 80% of accountancy websites look exactly the same if you remove the logos. They are all 5 pages long include, about us, services, links, contacts page and have some sort of tax feed newsletter attached to them along with professional associations the firm has like Sage Etc. For me none of this would make me want to sign up with them, If I am looking for an accountant I have a good idea what they do, so listing the services they offer is of no value unless they offer a specilaist service no other firm offers. How many people have won a client because they have "a cracking taxfeed newsletter" on their site, in fact has anyone ever commented on your newsfeed, if not why do you pay for it? A partner I know well said his website cost £10k but had generated little to no extra business. So is it possible to develop a website that will work and generate contacts or would the money be spent on other areas. For me the website just needs to generate a contact but this style of website does not do that
On the opposite end of the scale there seems to be emerging firms who trade mostly on line such as www.boox.co.uk and the www.applauseaccountancy.co.uk website i mentioned on another post. These sites are very up front and advertise a fixed cost solution depending on size of business, and i would imagine probably never meet a lot a of their clients face to face. I would be concerned about going down this route as I think a strength I have is that people trust me and I value the face to face meeting. I would be concerned that this style would remove that opportunity of face to face meetings and you would develop higher numbers of clients on low ends fees with little scope to sell extras to them, and clients who are cost driven with little loyalty to you.
If you were starting up today what sort of money would you invest in your website. Would you go for the standard accounting site, an up front selling website or somewhere in between. Also what sort of monet would you invest in it to get a return.
I appreciate word of mouth is king, but it is also slow when you first start I am keen to kick start my new firm with as any many referrals as I can handle.
What percentage of your client base have you signed up through your website.
I welcome your comments/experiences.