Website design has evolved with the times. Online information is consumed with an endless scroll by your prospects and clients. This is a far cry from 10 years ago, when websites were designed for casual, desktop reading.
This doesn’t mean you need to pay a web designer top dollar for a start-from-scratch site. You can use the one you already have. It just needs a fresh look and feel.
Start by updating your copy. Replace the great American novel that you call a homepage with concise, bulleted messaging. Your audience is acclimated to scrolling. You have a few seconds to convince them you are the accountant they need for their unique problem.
Start with your home page, and then update your other pages to communicate your value and services. Take your prospect on a journey filled with trust and confidence in your accounting prowess. For your existing clients, a fresh feel shows you are staying relevant. You are not only an expert on TCJA, but your website is also up with the times.
Use the tips below to update your website’s pages without a complete overhaul.
- Succinct introduction - target less than 300 words. Clarity is the reason minimalist web design has been so popular. Your audience can form a bond with you when there isn’t confusion about your message.
- Skimming is how we read online – use one to three sentence paragraphs, headlines that stand out and bullet points.
- Brand colors, not a color wheel - use your two or three main brand hues plus an accent shade. Avoid overwhelming the audience with color by staying on brand.
- Call-to-action buttons on the top and bottom - they can sign up for your newsletter or schedule a call. You should anticipate their desire to connect.
- The bio says why you do what you do. Tell your story and weave in the problems you solve for your clients. Your bio should not read like a resume, listing your achievements, credentials, degrees and awards.
- Specialties should spark joy with your audience - make them interested in what you do by connecting their needs with your special services. For those who are not accountants, your specialties may not connect. That is a nice way of saying you will put them to sleep with a comprehensive list.
- A headshot that matches your target client - set a natural tone either outdoors or in the office, and wear what you would to meet them. Avoid the classic photo in a suit with crossed arms and a gray background.
- Be personal - give the client a conversation starter by sharing your hobbies, family and community engagements.
- Set up a blog or resources page featuring custom, re-branded articles or your own posts. Engaging articles make people want to share, thus broadening your audience and leading to more referrals.
- Publish a weekly or monthly newsletter.
- Include a resource section with value-adding, relevant info for your target client - this could be white papers, infographics, e-books or presentations.
- Avoid providing links to third-party websites or an RSS feed of accounting and bookkeeping industry news and stories.
- Make your contact page feel redundant - share your phone number, personal email address and a button to schedule a call or fill out a contact form on every page.
- If you have a fax number, consider the last time it was used or if you want people to use it.
- Be welcoming. Add a personal message that includes your hobbies, family and interests. Picking up the phone to call you is easier when they have a conversation starter. A prospect is just as nervous to meet you as you are to receive them.
Before you look at your website and read the copy you haven’t looked at in years, jot down some notes on what your firm stands for. What are your core beliefs? What is your mission for clients?
By making these small changes, your 10-plus-year-old website will look and feel like your clients expect in 2019. Keep it simple: All these changes can be made with in-house expertise or a freelance copywriter.
Take the notes from your website audit and make it happen. When prospects search for an accountant or they are referred, modern website copy can be the differentiator.
Erica Gellerman, CPA, is the co-founder of The Worth Project Consulting. A boutique content marketing firm who helps CPAs and financial advisors differentiate themselves and build trust with the right messaging, copy, and content. After working as a CPA, she earned her MBA from...