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Is a decent website important to get clients ?

Is a decent website important to get clients ?

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Just been visiting a number of accountants websites for ideas for my website and surprised how poor they were. Out of 50 only 5 were only decent and that made me think if a decent websites will help to get clients. I doubt I will pick up new clients though my website as probably on page 20 on google. Though for potential clients it may help for example to see Testimonals and just give some credibility and good impression of my accountancy practice. Is a good website important to pick up clients ?

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By pawncob
07th Aug 2014 22:01

No

has anyone on here ever gained a client just from the website?

 

It may be the entree, but it won't convince anyone to employ you.

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By duncanedwards
07th Aug 2014 22:05

Agree with pawncob
I am sure the best advertising is word of mouth recommendations from satisfied clients.

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By merlyn
08th Aug 2014 07:21

SEO

Unless you are going to spend a lot of money on SEO to ensure when someone searches google for accountant and your area you appear on page one, then doubtful potential clients will find you via your website.

It's good to have a clean, easy to read website so if people are doing some research you actually exist, but as others have said for marketing purposes existing client referrals are the most effective way to build a client base.

 

 

 

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Mark Lee 2017
By Mark Lee
08th Aug 2014 08:00

Your website is what allows people to check you out

How do you anticipate finding new clients and what sort of people do you want to have as clients?  They don't all do the same things. So part of the answer depends on who you are hoping to win as clients. And other accountants' replies here are a factor of the type of people they win as clients and how established is their practice.

Perhaps it is reasonable to hope that when someone is recommended to you they will just pick up the phone or pop in to see you. Perhaps.

I tend to assume that, these days, most people check out even people who are highly recommended by searching for them on line. If they have your name then the first result to show up will probably be your Linkedin profile. So do ensure that this presents you in a compelling fashion so that you STAND OUT as compared with any others against whom you may be compared.

The same goes for your website. It won't matter to everyone that you don't have one or that yours looks cheap and amateurish. But will it matter to to the type of people you want to attract as clients? I think it's best to assume 'yes' as it certainly can't hurt to look professional.

I am not a fan of feature heavy websites for accountants. So I don't think you need to invest heavily.  Here are my top tips for accountants' websites.

There are also a couple of related articles on AccountingWeb:

The top five accountants’ website mistakesPositioning your start-up practice website

Mark

 

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By John Webb
08th Aug 2014 08:12

absolutely not

I have a one page site done by me, i do get the odd client thru it as i am on google p2 locally, but that is just the enquiry, i have to meet and then win the client.

Referrals is what you need..........

Three or four of my 200 clients come via web, the rest ALL referrals. A good friend of mine has a practice locally, he has never had a website and since starting now has 1000+ clients and employs 10 staff - all growth via referral. 

Do a good job and the rest sorts itself out........

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By JimH
08th Aug 2014 08:30

Yes - I get clients
Through my diy website. I don't pay for seo; I do update blog/news at least monthly - seems to help; I'm on google places, professional listings etc. I don't capture contact details in return for freebies, but it works as I get calls, emails and convert.

I'm in a crowded south east market and appear near top on page 1 of Google search for the area (luckily it's not London as I don't think I could achieve this there).

No, it's not essential, but useful as I also think referrals check it out before approaching the practice.

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By Maslins
08th Aug 2014 09:18

In my view - YES, definitely.

You talk about ranking on Google...what for?  If it's "accountants" then you've got no realistic chance.  If it's "accountants [big town]" it'll be tough.  If it's "accountants [small town/village] it should be a doddle.  Alternatively (and what I personally would recommend) don't do it based on geography, but find some other niche.  Eg we rank pretty well for "FreeAgent accountants" and similar phrases.  Was very much a tiny niche 5 years ago, not so narrow now.

Also, you say only 5 out of 50 were decent.  One thing I've learned is websites are very subjective.  Decide on your target market (and if you're currently thinking "everyone", have a rethink, now) and think what they would want to see.

I can't believe how little money some accountants invest (and I see it as an investment, not a cost) in their website.

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By Cardigan
08th Aug 2014 09:27

A vote for Websites

We have had great success with our website.

I agree that whether a website will bring in new clients depends on the type of clients you want to attract. Our ideal clients are tech-savvy so a good website is important to us.

I agree with Mark's comment about a website being used to check you out. As a new practice, we want to let potential clients know that we know what we are doing. We have plenty of blog posts and testimonials from identified clients. We also announced our re-vamped website to our current clients. I like to think it gives them the message that we are a growing business and serious about what we do.

While we also get clients through word of mouth, I'm sure like most people would check you out online before calling.

 

 

 

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By Rachael White
08th Aug 2014 09:37

Hmm

I would say in some cases a website is important. If you think about it, whenever someone's looking for a product or service nowadays, many people just Google it. If you've got a good website, that features high in the rankings (good SEO in other words), and can catch their attention then I would say it is important for winning new clients. 

There are a number of benefits to having a good website - and a 'good' website doesn't mean the fanciest or most expensive you can buy. It means your contact details will be clear and available, you can reach out to new and existing clients and communicate clearly what you offer and show them you're in the know by having a good and updated blog. 

But it's obviously not the be all and end all - it's just something that can help considerably.

Remember you can also use social media to reach out and link that to your website too. When used in the correct way it's a powerful tool and way to get your message out.

Our Start Up in Practice guide is out soon and it has a good section on websites. 

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
08th Aug 2014 10:00

Analogy

I think the converse holds true: a bad website can lose you prospects.

I recently searched for a car body repair workshop, specialist sports car, and was as turned off by the over-complicated chest-beating websites as I was by those sites that were poorly presented. In the end the firm I selected looked professional without actually saying so ("implied") or making outlandish claims; and the pictures on their site conveyed the message that they were comfortable working with expensive sports cars. Simple, uncomplicated, and enough to get me dropping in.

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By BananaMan
08th Aug 2014 10:14

The first thing I do when I get a new client (obviously after letter of engagement & MLR etc) is check their website to get a feel for who they are. You need to have a presence and, in my opinion, as the internet grows ever bigger it will become more and more important.

 

The question isn't do I need one today, it's what can I do today to ensure that my site is at the forefront as and when the client's preference for sourcing their accountant shifts - It will happen

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By andrew.hyde
08th Aug 2014 11:04

Is a decent website important to get clients ?

Apparently an indecent website works even better.

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By Chris08
08th Aug 2014 16:10

Yes from me

I believe a decent website is entirely necessary

Do not expect hundreds of referrals from it, but when your name is referred to someone, it gives them some where to look you up (and be impressed or put off)  before they call.

Personally, any clients I get through Google or the website I consider a bonus and not the main reason for the site.

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By Jim100
08th Aug 2014 18:40

summarise

A website is like visiting your home.  If it is messy and untidy then your guests may not visit again.  If its nice then perhaps they will come around again.

To summarise a website can help in the following ways

1) Credibility

2) Image

3) Branding

4) Information on practice

5) Accounting and Tax News

6) Pick up the odd client

7) Testimonals

8) Newsletter signup

I think a decent website gives a good impression of the practice. A poor one perhaps could do a disservice.  

I don't expect my website to pick up new business through google but like to think when potential client meets me and then visits my website that it gives an favourable impression about me and my business. 

I do agree it will not likely to pick up business immediately but after a few years as the website increases ranking it could potentially pick up clients 

Just surprised how many websites I visited have not invested in their websites and some have stayed the same since 2003.  Some of the mistakes were elementary like narrow screen, terrible bright colours,  different fonts, poor layout, , unable to locate contact information etc

 

 

 

 

 

 

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By plummy1
10th Aug 2014 23:24

We get business from our website although we do have more of a niche interest in one particular area of taxation. Many people do not want to pick up the phone and talk to people in the first instance but prefer to do their research on-line and they will form an opinion based on a website.

Of the accountancy websites I have seen, which are quite a few, I would say that the good ones do stand out because the majority are (in my opinion) poor. Also from a demographics point of view the working population will become even more internet focussed not less so hence why I think a decent website will become more important not less.

Lastly SEO is much easier than it used to be because of platforms like Wordpress offering SEO plugins and there are also lots of articles on the web which can also help you. Other programmes which measure your websites performance for you such as Traffic Travis are also invaluable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Replying to nodrogbir:
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By Jim100
11th Aug 2014 14:13

good points

plummy1 wrote:

We get business from our website although we do have more of a niche interest in one particular area of taxation. Many people do not want to pick up the phone and talk to people in the first instance but prefer to do their research on-line and they will form an opinion based on a website.

Of the accountancy websites I have seen, which are quite a few, I would say that the good ones do stand out because the majority are (in my opinion) poor. Also from a demographics point of view the working population will become even more internet focussed not less so hence why I think a decent website will become more important not less.

Lastly SEO is much easier than it used to be because of platforms like Wordpress offering SEO plugins and there are also lots of articles on the web which can also help you. Other programmes which measure your websites performance for you such as Traffic Travis are also invaluable.

 

Yes I am thinking more now that some people may prefer to go on a website and email than picking up the phone.

 Secondly, clients could be acquired once the website gets established and through SEO.

 

 

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By Alonicus
12th Aug 2014 11:39

What kind of clients do you want ?

If you prefer to deal with sole trader tradesmen, CIS clients, and the "old school" clients who turn up with a cardboard box full of a year's receipts (and I recognise that these kinds of clients can be profitable and pleasant to deal with), then a website probably isn't too important.

If you prefer clients from office-based service industries, e-commerce businesses etc, then a decent website is essential.

I know when I'm looking for a new service provider, I Google the companies in the local area (I prefer to support local businesses where I can), and shortlist down to 3-4 entirely based on their websites.  Word of mouth recommendation is a key factor, but I still look at their websites as well.  It's only then that I contact the ones on the shortlist, so those without a website, or with a poorly designed website have already lost out on the chance of the work.

You don't need a website with lots of bells and whistles, just an attractive, fast-loading and up-to-date "brochureware" site.

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By David Winch
12th Aug 2014 11:40

Yes, Jim

I'm not surprised you found such poor quality sites.  Like the rest of businesses in all other fields, most Accounting firms know precious little about Marketing strategy.

You'd be far better off going to internet Marketing experts to get your ideas, and even then you need to choose carefully. If everyone copies what they see others doing, without establishing whether they're being successful by doing it, mediocrity gets multiplied.

I totally agree with Mark.  You will get "Googled" and "LinkedIn'd"- even by a prospect referred by a good friend or family member, so make your site and your social media profiles reasonable - i.e. Prospect friendly - Answering the "What's in it for me?" questions.

And if you're lead generating in anything like a reasonable way, you'll need a website as a platform to host your landing pages and thank-you pages.

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By macaulay147
12th Aug 2014 11:41

Staff recruitment

If you employ staff then a good website will also assist with recruitment of staff. Would anybody these days apply for a job without researching the company and checking out their website. If I was looking for a job then a poor website would certainly put me off.  

 

Also agree with plummy1 that with the impact of social media having an online presence will only become more important.

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By angusnicolson
12th Aug 2014 11:54

Loads of new clients

Like Plummy1, we too have niche websites, and by working on the SEO and targetting relevant Google searches, we get 1/2 new enquiries a day from web searches.

It's costs nothing bar my time, and adds £50,000-£100,000 in turnover each year.

A bad - or non-existent - website is going to hamper your business.

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By allenlunn
12th Aug 2014 13:20

websites

As mentioned earlier in an article: websites are for plumbers and electricians.

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By torbenhalvorsen
14th Aug 2014 15:17

Website as the face of the company

Website works as the face of your company in the cyber world so having a good and up to date website is important to create a first good impression. When you have so much offer you need to differentiate your company and the website, services provided and the software you use play a major role for you to differentiate yourself from your competitors and succeed. 

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