I’m not an accountant. Therefore, I find it difficult to tell one accountant from another. I don’t know what questions to ask, and if I did I wouldn’t know what answers were “correct” anyway.

Similarly, it’s difficult for accountants without any online marketing training to understand what should be on their website, and why it even matters. Building the online presence for your accountancy firm does begin with an effective website though.

Let’s see why.

Return on investment

Let’s start at the basics. Your accountancy practice website is there to receive visitors and turn as many of them into leads – and eventually customers – as possible. This is called “lead generation”.

There’s no point in spending money on a new site if there is no return on investment.

So where does the ROI come from? Let’s look through the various elements.

Conversion rate for lead generation

The technique involved in this is called Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO). The idea is that you start with, say, 1000 visitors to your website and if only 1 makes contact, you have a 0.1% conversion.

(You’re accountants .. this should be easy math for you!)

Now lets say you make some changes and you double the conversion, you now have a 0.2% conversion rate. And so on.

Accountant website for leadgen
A lead gen accountant website designed by us, with a quote form

So, you want your website to have as high conversion rate optimisation as possible, and that means having a positive user experience (UX), including:

  • Easy to find contact forms.
  • Obvious address & phone number.
  • Clear copy which aligns with peoples actions and journey.
  • Plenty of call to action buttons to move people towards the content they need.
  • Headings which provide useful information.
  • Information hierarchy, which ensures that people don’t become overwhelmed. IH is where design elements tell a visitor what is important to read. The text you’re reading is slightly grey whereas headings are black: that’s an example of IH.

Getting these right requires getting to know your business and customers very well, as well as experience in how visitors use websites.

Visual design & brand image

The other core reason that accountants want a website is to wow potential customers they are talking to. If your website is over 4 years old, chances are it’s due an update since your potential clients will judge it negatively.

Let’s say you meet someone at a business meeting when you’re “suited-and-booted”, and you give them your business card. Chances are, they’ll go straight back and look at your website.

A very modern accountant website

If your website is more “hoody & 15 year old tracksuit bottoms”, the chances they’ll make contact is significantly lowered.

Isn’t this conversion rate optimisation then?

Well, kind of. Conversion rate optimisation is typically for people who are completely new to your business, but if you like, you can think of it in that way.

Optimised for search engines

SEO is a large subject, and just remaking a website won’t necessarily grow your SEO and increase the amount of users that come from Google.

However, if it was poorly done before, you can get some fantastic wins, as Leonherman – accountants in Manchester – discovered when we launched their new site

Accountant rankings in seo tools
Leonherman rankings before and we launched their new website

You see, there are two key elements to accountancy SEO:

  1. On-page SEO; this is everything which is on your website, such as the copy, headings and links inbetween your pages.
  2. Off-page SEO; this is everything which isn’t on your websites, such as links pointing to your website, and mentions of your brand name.

Launching a website can only affect the first one of these. So, when your web designer says “SEO optimised”, they’re only talking about the first bit. And typically, they don’t understand SEO very well, so really they mean adding a few keywords.

Instead, we evaluate the topics which need covering and optimise the content until there is a good score. You can see the 100% score in the top right of this image:

While tools aren’t the be all and end all of on-page SEO, they give you a good idea of whether a page really have been optimised.

An easy-to-read blog

Blogs are an important element of online strategy, but typically they don’t look very attractive and can even be arduous to read.

The blog on this site has a number of elements which make it easy & interesting to read.

Gaps between headings and lists, the choice and size of font and how they read on mobile devices can make a significant difference to how the engagement level with audiences.

Content Management System (CMS)

Accountants – and other service businesses – benefit from being able to make changes to articles, and having a system which is well understood in the marketplace when they are making a choice about their accounting website development platform.

The leader of course is WordPress. It is incredibly popular and powers nearly 65% of websites on the internet. Other options include Wix and Squarespace.

A minimalist style of accountant website

All three come with advantages and disadvantages. We choose WordPress though since it’s so well supported in so many ways, and the best of all of them for SEO.

Responsive website

This sounds like a confusing term; but really it just means a website that displays and functions as well on mobile and tablet as it does on desktop.

As the screen size of the window becomes narrower, the design changes and becomes narrower and shifts around to make it most suitable for the new type of device.

Making a responsive design needs to happen for every page. This boosts conversions from visitors, but also Google expects this today.

Links to your other online elements

As well as being an important source of information, your website should also link through to your social profiles.

This will allow people to learn more about your company and what’s important to you on a daily basis.

Fast loading

In 2021, Google will start to take the speed with which your website loads into account. We know that visitors already do.

Typically if a website takes more than 2.5 seconds to download, it’s too slow for the modern audience. There are web tools which you can use to check this:

Summary

There are many elements to successful accountancy website design, but these basics are the very minimum which you should consider from a high-quality professional web design firm. If you do receive these, you should expect to make your money back from this activity over time with an increased amount of business.

If you’d like to discuss your website, please do get in touch.