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Why a good website is essential for your practice

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A good website that meets client expectations is fundamental for accountants and bookkeepers in 2023. It’s a way to generate and convert leads, a place for existing clients to access knowledge and support, and a modern-day equivalent to ‘word of mouth’. AccountingWEB’s Jake Smith reports on what makes a good website in 2023 with insights from marketing specialists PracticeWEB and customer contact experts Moneypenny. 

19th Jun 2023
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It can also solve problems: less admin time having to follow up leads (by having a good live chat partner, like Moneypenny), a place to host blog articles and frequently asked questions where clients can get simple information quickly, and attract the kind of clients you really want to work with.

But when it comes to your website, where do you even begin? After all, building or improving one is a large undertaking that can become quite complex and technical. 

Findability

One of the main purposes of a website is to allow potential clients to easily find you on the internet after a search — usually something like, ‘accountant near me’ or ‘accountant in X’. But have you ever thought about how your competitors actually do that? 

The main way is to rank organically, which means showing up in search results without paying for the privilege. How well you rank depends on how optimised for search your website is. And to rank well, you need a strong grasp of search engine optimisation (SEO). 

SEO is a complex topic with many caveats, but at the heart of it, if you want Google to put your website at the top of its result page for certain keywords, you need to include those words in your website to tell the search engine who you are and what you do. 

Brand

Did you know, it takes 0.05 seconds for a user to form an opinion about your website? We might tell ourselves not to judge a book by its cover, but unfortunately, we do!

So, as the flagship for your brand, your website needs to send clear, upfront signals about your firm — what it’s like to work with you, the approach you take, how formal you are, and so on. 

Crucially, a well-designed website also demonstrates that you've stepped into the modern age and embraced technology. With 88% of SMEs agreeing that having an accountant who understands technology is important, that’s an image you want to reflect!

Trust is another important part of a brand, which a website can help nurture by including reviews — integrate review tools Feefo or Trustpilot, and you’re golden.

Usability

I won’t sugarcoat this one: if your website’s user experience (UX) is terrible, users won't want to buy your services. 

Jacob Pugh, lead designer at PracticeWeb, who specialises in marketing services for accountants said:

“If the UX on a website isn’t good, people simply won’t be able to do what you need them to do. Aside from leading to fewer conversions, a poorly structured website is also frustrating for the user. 

“Nobody wants to interact with a website that’s difficult to navigate, poorly adapted for use on mobile devices, or just plain confusing.”

Communication

Your website should have a certain flow. 

A user decides (after the 0.05 seconds we mentioned) that they like the look of you and carry on. The website works well and they visit your fixed content (homepage, ‘about us’, service pages). Then they decide to get in touch with you — but what if they can’t find an email address or phone number?

The team at PracticeWeb recently did some research in conjunction with Moneypenny and found that out of 300 accountant websites, most did indeed have contact information available (98% had a phone number, 96% an email address, and 86% a contact form).

However, that information was often buried, with only 10% scoring ‘clear’ for ease of finding a phone number; meanwhile, none scored ‘very clear’. 

Hannah Stringer, Marketing Director at Moneypenny, said ”The live chat logs from Moneypenny demonstrate how frequently accountants’ clients struggle to find contact information on their websites. Queries like ‘I’d like to send an introduction but can’t find the right email’ or ‘I need to send a letter but don’t know your postal address’ are common, and they point to a lack of visible communication information on the site. “

On the topic of live chat, you can think of it as a friendly shop assistant who greets you and offers help if you need it. As Stringer said: “That proactive engagement is what makes live chat so effective – it engages the visitors who are in browsing mode and brings them into the sales funnel.”

If you want to learn more about the importance of a good website for your firm, read Moneypenny and PracticeWEB’s latest whitepaper, which goes into detail on the topic and includes a practical 10-step checklist to improve your website. 

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