If it’s been more than three or four years since you redesigned your firm’s website, it might be time for a redo.
Keep in mind that over 80% of prospects will visit the website of a professional service provider before making a commitment. And that almost 64% will Google your firm’s name to gather additional insights.
Even if you rely on referrals for new business, there’s an excellent chance that those referrals will check out your website before they call you. And if your website isn’t up to snuff, you may never hear from some of those prospective new clients.
Prospective employees will also check out your website. In today’s tight labor market for accounting talent, a stale website may repel the best and brightest new employees you need to make it through the next busy season.
How do you know it’s time for a redesign? Here are six clear signs:
It’s hard to tell what makes your firm different. Many accountants suffer from the misperception that their firm does the same things in the same way as all the other firms around. After working with accounting firms across the country and around the world, I know that’s just not true. Every firm is different simply because we’re all different people. Dig deep and find those differences. Ask your new clients what you do that their old accountant didn’t. Do you have expertise in a particular industry? Do you have additional credentials that enable you to provide specialized services or advice? Highlight those differences, and describe the benefits of choosing your firm.
Your website looks dated. To get an idea of what the top accounting firms are doing, Google “top 300 accounting firms” and look at a few websites of the top firms. Trends in design come and go, so what was trendy two or three years ago may look stale today. Take notes on what you like and what you don’t like. Firms change personality over time, so a design that made sense a few years ago may not be the right fit today. If your firm has recently re-branded or perhaps merged with another, it may be time to update your website to reflect your firm’s new identity.
Is the information on your website still correct? Do you still offer the same services? Have you added new services or perhaps created bundled services? Have you developed expertise in a new industry? Is your Team page up to date?
Is your website mobile-friendly? Not sure? Try pulling up your own website on your phone. Does it load slowly? How does it look? Are there strange line breaks? Can you read the text without manipulating it on your screen? Since 2015, Google has been penalizing websites that aren't mobile friendly. According to a study published in August, 2016, nearly 60% of all searches are done on mobile devices.
Your Google Analytics show a high bounce rate. This means that people leave your site quickly. Other stats that indicate web visitors don’t stick around long are a low average-time-on-site and a low average-pages-per-visit. You only have a few seconds to grab someone’s eyeballs, so you need to have a site that’s appealing to look at, easy to read and understand, and offers solutions to the problems your prospects have.
Is your site easy to navigate? Is it easy for a user to quickly find what they’re looking for? Are there clear buttons and links that tell clients and prospects what to do? The second most frequently visited page on a firm’s website is the team page. Don’t bury it.
A website design can be daunting and time-consuming. And busy accountants who have relied on getting new clients via referrals or word-of-mouth may see little value in the resources needed for a complete overhaul. But a new look and new architecture can make a difference in your firm’s ability to attract new clients and new employees.
Liz Farr, CPA, spent 15 years in tax and accounting at small firms in Albuquerque, NM. Besides tax returns of all flavors, she worked on audits of governmental entities and not-for-profits, business valuations, and litigation support. Now she's a full-time freelance writer specializing in content marketing for accountants and bookkeepers around...