As an accountant, you deal with finances, not web design. Yet according to 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics data cited on Pass the CPA Exam, the US has 1.3 million accountants. That means steep competition among your fellow CPAs. Is web design really something you should consider?
Yes, accountants need their own well-designed website to reach their target audience and draw in new clients. The site should include such elements as mobile optimization, simple navigation, and a visible call to action.
In this post, we’ll elaborate on the importance of web design for accountants. We’ll even share more must-have features of a good CPA website and provide some examples from our own experience.
What Is Web Design for Accountants?
As an accountant, you may work as part of a company or as an individually-owned business.
If it’s the latter, then you’re responsible for your firm’s web presence. You don’t have to create the website yourself of course, unless you’re experienced in site design. Otherwise, you can hire a third-party agency to get you online.
Foregoing a website in any industry today is heavily frowned upon, and that’s especially true in accounting.
FinancesOnline.com noted that most accountants have reported a “cultural shift in accountancy that leans towards technological innovation,” with 90 percent saying this in all.
Further, “the majority of accountants” have reported that traditional measures aren’t helping them keep up with the competition anymore, notes the data. It’s time to go digital with a web presence then, and there’s no better time than now.
Five Reasons Accountants Need Exceptional Website Design
A bare-bones, simple website won’t suffice as you seek to grow your accounting business.
If your site is anything less than exceptional, you’ll fail to make a mark on your clients and potential clients. The following five reasons proves why it’s worth spending the extra time and money to get a high-quality website right away.
Reach Your Target Audience
You’ve done lots of research into your target audience, combing through their demographics, psychographics, and other pertinent information to better understand who they are and what they want. Now it’s just a matter of reaching them, which can be easier said than done – and that’s why its essential to implement digital marketing strategies for you accounting firm.
Adding content on your website that is targeted to your audience segments will give potential clients the feeling that you’re almost speaking to them directly. Their curiosity piqued, they’ll feel inclined to give you a call or send you an email.
The goal of any website is to drive traffic. To do that, you need your accounting site to appear at the top of search engine results.
By optimizing your website for better SEO, you can gain the traffic you seek and rise in the rankings. You have lots of ways to optimize, such as:
- Creating page titles for each page on the website with your keyword naturally included
- Adding landing pages for major keywords
- Running speed tests so your site loads quickly (Google may penalize slower-loading websites)
- Writing blog content (or hiring someone to) that implements your keywords in an engaging way
- Performing keyword research to ensure you choose competitive keywords that generate results
Convert Website Users into Clients
How much traffic is your optimized CPA website generating?
In studying your site’s analytics over time, you can glean important information that can help you grow. Then you can compare your site visitors to your actual clients to see where there may exist a gap.
A well-designed, SEO-optimized website should begin to generate new leads for you.
To help speed along the process, you may want to introduce opt-in forms and CTAs if these aren’t already on your website.
When you gain a lead’s contact information, you can then reach out to them through email and other means. This is the first part of the conversion process that could turn these leads into long-term clients.
Find and Target New Clients
Your website can help you build up a steady base of accounting clients, but you can’t rely on the same people forever. Their needs may change, or any number of things can happen to cause them to drop out.
To prevent your business from slipping into the red, you need a study influx of new potential clients. This may be a trickle more than a deluge as your CPA business gets off the ground, but your website will help majorly change that.
Once these leads find your website (which should be ranking on the first page of search results by now), it’s up to you to give them targeted, personalized content that will get the ball rolling on a professional relationship.
By nurturing that relationship further through email newsletters and more, the lead should eventually feel confident enough to convert into a client.
Increase Brand Awareness
As you build your accountancy clientele through your website, another great little perk happens. When someone searches for a CPA firm in your neighborhood and you show up on the first page of results, your name gets around.
Combining your professionally-designed website with a strong social media presence will put your name on the map even further. Here are some other ways you can promote your brand awareness even more:
- Brand your website with a company name or logo; make sure this is present in all emails you send and on your social media accounts
- Tend to your email list with thoughtful, informative, actionable content
- Write content that positions you as a thought leader in your industry; if this content is sharable enough, it could be used and cited on other websites in the industry
- Take one of your highest performing posts and convert into an infographic, which is also very shareable
What Makes a Good Web Design for Accountants?
You’re convinced you should prioritize your CPA firm website, especially since your current client base is quite small and you’re looking to expand. As you begin to put the pieces together of what your site will look like, what are some must-have features that you shouldn’t omit?
We’ve put together five elements that will not only drive new leads to your website, but keep them there long enough that they reach out to you by phone or email.
Clean Menus and Information
Dazzling graphics and animations do have their place in grabbing a website visitor’s attention and holding them there. Do make sure that when contemplating the visuals that you don’t forget the basics of any good website.
Namely, you need all your information clearly laid out and accessible in your web design for accountants.
For example, can a lead easily get to your team page? How hard is it to track down your contact information, including a phone number? If the lead has to search and search for this very basic info, they’re going to give up and go to the competition.
PKF O’Connor Davies is a great example of what a successful marriage between stunning graphics and clear information looks like. Their website features a colorful carousel of moving images, yet at the top is an easily accessible menu. There, you can quickly read more about the firm, what they do, and who’s a part of it.
If you want to get in touch, there’s a second, smaller menu above the main menu with such options as client portals, contact information, and proposal requests.
Calls to Action
You want to make it as easy for a potential client to reach out as possible. That means using calls to action or CTAs when appropriate throughout your website.
For instance, as soon as you click onto St. Clair CPA Solutions, you’ll see several CTAs right off the bat.
One of these is to schedule a consultation, which is in a yellow box. This box stands out because of its vibrant color, yet it also works with St. Clair’s royal blue and golden yellow color scheme, as seen in their logo.
As you may notice, this same CTA is at the top of their website. This above-the-fold placement is convenient. St. Clair’s website features rotating images, as we said, so the CTA at the top ensures the visitor doesn’t have to wait even a moment to navigate where they want to.
Speaking of navigation, it’s a crucial element of any website worth its salt.
A deluge of confusing menus options will send visitors elsewhere online to find what they need. Skipping a menu in lieu of a more progressive website design can be confusing.
You want to keep your website as easily navigable as possible from beginning to end. St. Clair does this exceptionally well. Their menu items at the top of the page–including about, events, news, and clients services–scrolls with you.
You could be scrolling your way through a particularly long page and you’ll still never lose that main menu. Should you quickly need to get back to a page you were on prior, you can do so. Your potential clients and existing clients alike will appreciate a design touch like this.
Most users who engage in ecommerce are doing so on their smartphones at least 60 percent of the time, reports Front Burner Marketing in a 2020 report.
These people also have a higher likelihood of buying. The same report found that more than half (51 percent) of those who search on a website that’s mobile optimized will be more likely to buy.
With 3.5 billion smartphone users worldwide, that’s a large portion of your audience to miss out on without a mobile optimized website. In fact, it’s 61.51 percent of the entire population on the earth.
Whether a client or lead visits your website on their smartphone, their tablet, their smartwatch, or their full-screened home computer, the experience should be largely the same. Not all elements of a desktop website may convert to a mobile one, but the theming, colors, branding, and feel of your site should translate seamlessly from mobile to non-mobile devices. Mobile optimization is essential in successful web design for accountants – and is something that can’t go overlooked.
Lastly, it’s important to offer your website visitors downloadable content. This content can encompass all sorts of things, from a collection of resources to chapters of an eBook or an exclusive report.
Downloadable content is valuable for several reasons.
First, it gives your potential clients something valuable that gives them a taste of what you can do for their finances. Also, in return for the content, the lead will have shared their contact information, either a phone number, an email address, or both.
Now the door is open for future communications so you can convert the lead into a client.
Accountants are in one of the most competitive businesses around. A website with exceptional design is a great opportunity to differentiate yourself, promote your brand, attract new website traffic, build your clientele, and generate new leads.
The best CPA websites have elements like downloadable content, clear menus, conveniently-placed CTAs, and mobile optimization. Through this article, your firm is now ready to begin working on your website so you can achieve your goals.
By: Frank DePino
Frank DePino is Principal and Founder of Mediaboom. Since 2002, Frank has led Mediaboom’s award-winning staff of creative and technical professionals building the most effective marketing and advertising solutions for its clients.