By Chad Brubaker, CEO, www.emochila.com
OK, so you have decided that it is high time to build a Web site for your firm. The ability to trade files online with your clients and store files has finally forced you to put away the FedEx envelopes.
Aside from the file trading aspect, one of the nice things about some of the Web developers that work within the accounting industry is that they provide page content for you. Usually, this bodes well for information related to tax law, IRS updates, and general tax planning advice. Where a template fails, however, is in the information that is unique and individual to your firm. Unfortunately, more than 70 percent of professionals in the tax and accounting industry rely on canned content for the Bio/About Us section of their pages. The result - a generalized description of who you are as a professional. There are some very quick and easy changes that you can make to your page in order to ensure that when newcomers and referrals visit your page for the first time, they sense the unique professionalism of your firm.
First, include a headshot of yourself, partners, staff. One of the nice things about having a site in the first place is that it allows newcomers and referrals to see you before they actually meet you. It gives your site the most personal touch possible - your image.
Second, add your credentials. Include your experience, education, dates of certification, and any professional memberships you have. It doesn’t have to be a résumé and it doesn’t have to be long - even bullet points will suffice. You need just enough for those first-time site visitors to feel reassured by your professional qualifications. In a company-wide e-mail, ask your staff to provide the same personal information, and add that information to the Web site as well.
The result will be very little of your time spent personalizing an otherwise templated Web site. If you think about it logically, the benefits you will reap in online search also make the time well spent. Your name and your staff’s names will appear if a potential client is looking for you individually as opposed to your firm name when using Google, Yahoo, MSN, or any other search engine. Additionally, an algorithmic factor in search engine rankings is if a Web page has been substantially altered with unique content. The more literal work you put into your Web page, the more likely your firm is to appear closer to number one in particular searches. All in all, personalizing the bios and background information of your firm’s Web site takes minimal time and can yield stellar rewards.