Is your website harming your brand?
First impressions count in business, and your website is one of the first chances you get to show visitors what your firm is all about.. With technology forever changing, if your website is stuck in the past your potential new prospects may think your business is too.
Think how much your business has changed in the last couple of years. Has your website changed with it? Does it accurately reflect what your business stands for and what it offers?
Ideally, you should be doing a full redesign of your website every two to three years to stay modern. If your website is not performing in terms of traffic or conversion, however, it is time to re-evaluate and make some updates to capture your users’ attention and turn them into customers.
A good place to start is to go back to what the purpose of your website is.
Depending on the nature of your business, your website may serve one of a range of purposes, from simply acting as a digital placeholder for you on the web which people can check out after they’ve met you in person; to being a basic showcase of your services; to being an all singing, all dancing lead-generating machine, search engine optimised and packed with content.
Even the simplest of websites can make a big difference to users’ perceptions. You could judge this by gut feeling – looking at your homepage, does it feel true to your firm? But beyond your instinct, there are lots of questions you can ask yourself to make sure your current website is working hard for you:
- Does your website have a clear message that engages with new clients?
- Can you easily update it with new pages and blog posts to show your expertise?
- Has your company’s focus changed to a new service or offering, and is your website up to date with the services and sectors that generate you the most revenue?
- Is your website mobile-friendly, fast and secure?
- Does your competitor have a better site?
- Where in Google does your website rank when you type “Accountants in X city?” How far down the list do you appear?
- Does your website integrate with other software?
- Are people visiting your site?
- How many leads are you getting and converting through it?
Below are four areas for your firm to focus on when reviewing your accountancy website:
User experience (front and back end)
Put yourself in the position of people who visit your website. How would it make you feel?
Does it inspire confidence in your service? Is it easy to navigate and find the information that you require? If it was developed a few years ago, is it still a reflection of your business as it stands now?
These questions all cut right through the clutter when reviewing your site. If the answers to them are not satisfactory your website is likely to be harming your brand.
Take a moment to think about the back end of your site as well. Whether it is you or a marketing employee, consider how easy it is to change content on your website. If it’s always a hassle, then this may be a good motivation to invest in something more user friendly. Because it will certainly be a time burden and may be putting you off adding content to your site as much as you should, or changing what you have.
You don’t need to be a web developer to see the basic signs of technical shortcomings on your website. There are a few things to look out for, including site speed (how quickly pages load up), responsiveness (how the site adapts to different screen sizes), and security (does it hold the latest security certificates?).
There are, of course, specific tools that measure this kind of thing, but you’ll be able to see for yourself to an extent if a page does not load up instantaneously or looks disjointed on a smartphone. Site security is definitely an issue if your web address starts with http instead of https.
Not only will technical issues translate into poor user experience, but they will also affect your search engine rankings.
Content is far more than just a blog. Think about the messaging of your core website pages and service pages. Do they communicate a strong rationale for selecting you over your competitors? And your resources such as your blog, downloads and case studies – are they relevant and useful to your target audience? Increasingly, accountants are turning to video and podcasts to engage with clients.
Competition is hot online and a good content strategy is one of the main ways you can stand out from the crowd, both to human eyes and search engine spiders crawling the net.
Upping your content game does not, by default, mean investing in a whole new website. You may just be underusing the functionality on your current site. If, however, your site architecture is incapable of adequately displaying appropriate content, it’s time to upgrade to a better website to keep up with the market.
One of the attractions of digital channels is the amount of data it gives you on your marketing activity, so you can find out if your website is performing for you. It is relatively easy to see how many visitors you have, where they go, how long they stay on your website and much more. You can track your performance over time and by working with an agency like us, you can get a feel for how you measure up within your industry.
It is not just about tracking on your website. There are plenty of other ways you can gauge performance, from seeing where your website ranks on a Google search for terms like “Accountancy firms in [Area]”, to simply asking people who enquire where they heard about you.
Another good idea is to look at the websites and rankings of your main competitors and see if they are doing things better or worse than you.
Discuss your options
Taking all of the above into account you should be able to get a pretty good idea of whether your website is doing your brand justice or whether it needs a review.
Editorial: Gabo Quiros, commercial manager, PracticeWeb
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