In today’s digital marketplace, being a tax professional or accountant can make you the go-to guru when it comes to taxes, investments, and other major financial activities.But it’s difficult for future clients to know that your expertise exists without a great website. Should you really prioritize an appealing online presence when your daily work focuses on numbers and client work?Yes, and here’s why—your professional business website is a first impression and main source of contact. Fortunately, you don’t need a background in web design to build and maintain a website that attracts new clients and showcases your services.Keep reading to discover why you should have a website for your accounting firm, what to look for in high-quality web design, and how an online platform with smart website design features can help.
Why do you need a website for your accounting firm?
The COVID-19 pandemic showed all of us that many financial businesses can exist and thrive in a digital, online format.For small business owners and service providers, this means that it’s more important than ever to nurture your online presence. An effective digital footprint can help you stay resilient, grow your customer base, and remain competitive in a crowded online market.There are plenty of sensible reasons why you need a website for your tax firm or accounting business, but here are just a few of the most compelling.
- Create an avenue for lead generation – The right website functions as both a place to gather more information (for your customer) and as a way that you can gather important data about possible clients. When designed correctly, it’s a win-win situation for you and them.
- Build credibility with your audience – Having a professional website legitimizes your business as reputable and solid. It proves to potential clients that you are who you say you are, and that your services are trustworthy.
- Reach more users beyond your locality – The more that you optimize your website (especially from an SEO perspective), the more likely it is that your pages will populate in search queries. This means people can find and link up to your services, even if they don’t live close to you. According to FinancesOnline, the majority of accountants believe that traditional accounting isn’t enough to stay competitive, which underscores the need to spend time on your online search rankings.
Do you need to work with a qualified web designer?
Depending on the size and budget of your accounting or tax firm, you may have a set amount of resources that you can allocate to web design and development. Collaborating with a qualified web designer offers numerous benefits, such as:
- Access to expert training and knowledge
- Access to industry-leading technology and web design tools
- Ability to iterate and request site revisions
- Ongoing support for branding and customer conversion tactics
Fortunately, if you don’t have the funds required to hire your own web design team, all hope is not lost. It’s possible to create professional, visually appealing websites without spending a fortune.Whether you use a template or build a site from scratch, nailing down the core components can help you make a great first impression with future clients.
Top qualities of a high-performing accounting website
Your firm’s website serves many different purposes. Not only does it provide essential information about who you are and how to get in touch for services, but it should meet customers and clients where they are in their respective journeys.This means that a good website must be optimized in such a way as to attract prospective clients and inform or educate current ones. You can accomplish this two-fold task by making sure that your site checks the following boxes.
Quality 1: It’s mobile friendly and optimized for all devices
Modern users are more likely to browse websites on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Clients aren’t always tied down to a desktop computer, which means that your website needs to go where they go.Websites that aren’t mobile compatible can encourage users to bounce (leave the website before they would have initially planned to do so). High bounce rates have negative impacts on conversion, which means less business for you in the long run.
Quality 2: A website’s calls to action (CTAs) are clear and direct
Your website should have simply stated directives that tell site visitors what they should do next. Place these directions as high on each page as possible so that the instructions capture a user’s interest and attention before they scroll away.Direct CTAs inform your clients or site visitors:
- How to easily download a piece of free content
- How to get in touch with you (or your firm) directly
- How to learn more about specific financial and accounting services
- How to sign up for special offers, events, or communications (such as newsletters)
Well-written CTAs also clear up confusion. They also help website visitors know exactly which steps they should take next if they want to move forward.
Quality 3: The aesthetic is clean and visually appealing
Modern websites might have strong branding and images, but these should be incorporated with plenty of whitespace. Resist the urge to overfill or crowd your site’s pages with lots of text and imagery.While it may seem like these elements add something unique, too many distracting pieces can actually take away from your main goals. They can also make it more difficult for users to find what they were searching for in the first place.When in doubt—less is more. Opt for a minimal, simplified design at first. Then, if you want to test out other elements, incorporate them on a few pages at a time.
Quality 4: Navigation and layout are user-friendly
Think of your accounting firm’s website like a roadmap. Where should your ideal user or target customer go if they want more information about a specific service?User experience (UX) is often used to describe how easy it is for an average site visitor to navigate a website and explore different pages. You can make this process simple by:
- Simplifying your site’s header and footer sections
- Creating quick and legible navigation tools
- Using forms and other embedded elements as needed
Don’t send your ideal customer on a wild goose chase. Put your most requested information in prominent places on the site. Always provide an option to convert.
Quality 5: Most important messaging is “above the fold”
In web design, “above the fold” refers to the text or copy that appears before a user has to scroll down to see more content. This copy is often the most viewed, simply because it's easier to see and requires less effort to read.Place your most important messaging above this critical point on your site.Sometimes, businesses are tempted to use the upper portions of a page for flashy descriptions and imagery, but these don’t explain what a prospective customer would most want to know. View your website objectively, from the perspective of your ideal user.
Mistakes to avoid when creating your accounting website
The best accounting and financial websites take the above qualities into account during the design and launch processes. They also avoid several common mistakes that can undermine even the most well-planned website.These common website issues are outlined below.
Over-communicating about you
We know that it’s important to talk about your business and your services, but don’t forget to tell the story of your clients. Chances are good that they’re looking for real solutions to their actual problems, and they need to be able to envision what you can accomplish on their behalf. So while you are trying to sell services, it’s important to do so from a customer-centric mindset.
Offering no clear direction on what to do next
The fastest way to lose potential clients through your website is to make it difficult to spot the next steps. Always offer a simple direction or path to follow. Don’t leave clients guessing about how to get in touch. If you do, they’re bound to take their business somewhere else.
Incorporating too many distracting elements
Overdoing it on graphics, stock imagery, jargon, and long blocks of text can really set your website behind the competition. Instead, think about the top things you want your customers to know and experience when they visit your site. Build the design around simple priorities that are more likely to produce actionable results.
Examples of top accounting and tax websites
To help you visualize what’s possible for your accounting or tax website, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite examples. Take a peek at what CountingWorks PRO customers are doing to optimize unique website design.
Niche website designs
Centralizing your branding around a niche makes it easier to communicate what you know about your prospects' business when they land on your website. Nothing is more challenging than writing or designing a website for a generalist. When you attempt to deliver everything to everyone, your results miss the mark. Match the images and narrative to a targeted prospect by designing and implementing a hyper-focused website.With over 25 niche and specialty themes already loaded and designed with target copy and messaging, CountingWorks makes positioning easy (watch our Positioning Webcast for more tips). Whether you want to attract cryptocurrency pros, Cannabis businesses, or even attorneys, CountingWorks offers a starting website that you can easily personalize to your offering.[caption id="attachment_241531" align="aligncenter" width="500"]
JPN Services, LLC works with first responders.[/caption][caption id="attachment_241530" align="aligncenter" width="500"]
The Groomer's Bookkeeper does accounting for dog groomers.[/caption][caption id="attachment_241529" align="aligncenter" width="500"]
CM Tax and Consulting Works does accounting for interior designers.[/caption]
Specialty website designs
Unlike a niche, where your audience shares demographic attributes (such as dental practitioners), a specialty website narrows down your focus to one type of service. For example, you could specialize in R&D tax credits or IRS tax problems. By narrowing your offering, you become the perceived expert in that field.Yes, many CPAs and EAs might offer IRS tax resolution services, but prospects will be most attracted to the specialists—those that they perceive have more experience and successes than generalists. Often, the result of specializing is signing or attracting higher-paying clients.
Examples of specialty sites
[caption id="attachment_241536" align="aligncenter" width="500"]
Mabry Tax Advisory Group focuses on taxes and IRS resolutions.[/caption][caption id="attachment_241539" align="aligncenter" width="500"]
CBS Payroll Service, Inc. specializes in payroll, unemployment and workers' comp.[/caption][caption id="attachment_241540" align="aligncenter" width="500"]
Expat Tax Center is a specialist in expatriate taxes .[/caption]CountingWorks even helps users develop cornerstone content to attract prospects who are in search of specialty services. For example, a landing page for the CP-2000 whitepaper has generated thousands of leads for our subscribers.
Value and packaged pricing sites
Modern buyers are more savvy than ever, and they want to cut through the clutter when it comes to pricing. Transparent pricing does not turn you into a commodity player. One of our most heavily trafficked sites, bookkeeper.com, does just that by spotlighting their pricing throughout the website. This site gets approximately 8,000 monthly visitors and out-produces many of its competitors.
Using color and images to stand out
CPAs, EAs, and tax professionals often use a “follow the flock” approach to website design. They see what others are doing and copy it (sometimes literally copying written content as well).This is a major no-go in digital marketing. There are physiological processes that take place when we design a website for our subscribers. The colors they choose, the copy and narrative, CTAs, and images all need to work together to get more high-paying prospects to reach out for contact.(We’ve even written all about the importance of color and simple design in a previous blog article on factors in web design.)Many of the professionals we work with have followed our lead and have well-indexed, highly performing websites that are optimized for user experience and visibility.[caption id="attachment_241441" align="aligncenter" width="500"]
Timewise Bookkeeping[/caption][caption id="attachment_241443" align="aligncenter" width="500"]
Perkis, CPA[/caption][caption id="attachment_241442" align="aligncenter" width="500"]
Ardent[/caption][caption id="attachment_241444" align="aligncenter" width="500"]
T2 Bookkeeping & Tax Service[/caption]
How CountingWorks PRO can help
An all-in-one marketing platform like CountingWorks PRO can help you build your accounting firm website while saving time, money, and effort. You don’t have to be a web design wizard to benefit from a high-quality website builder.CountingWorks PRO even has features in place to nail down the aspects of web design that are more difficult to manage upfront. These include:
- Google and accessibility compliance
- Security features
- Search engine rankings and optimization
- Social media integration
- Landing pages
- Niche-focused sites
Get your accounting website up and running quickly with the help of an intuitive platform that checks all the right boxes while saving you time.
Let’s get started
CountingWorks PRO is trusted by over 8,000 accounting professionals who want to simplify their business and take advantage of future growth. Start attracting the perfect clients for your accounting firm with a website that works for you!Start a Free 30-Day Trial of CountingWorks PRO