Your website is your practices’ virtual face online. Having a poorly designed or functioning website will lose you business. In fact, 94% of people don’t trust an outdated website and 75% of people base the credibility of an accountant on the website they have. So, as you can see it’s crucial that your website be the best it can. Below are some tips that you can implement on your website to make it work harder for you.
When getting a new website built it is now imperative that the website is mobile responsive. What this means is that the website will be viewable in an optimised way no matter what device is being used – be it a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile, giving everyone the same visitor experience. Having a mobile optimised website is crucial. Globally, from a study carried out by the website Statista, in Q3 2019 over 51% of website traffic was on a mobile device (excluding tablets). It is now just over 4 years since Google launched ‘mobilegeddon’ where the company changed its algorithms to penalise websites that were not mobile responsive, by bumping them down the rankings on the search engine. This was a way to force website owners in to making their website experience better for mobile users.
Today, it is standard when building a new website to make that website mobile responsive. If your current website is not, then it would be wise to invest in one that is.
Having a website that was secure, using an SSL certificate or more commonly seen – the padlock, was only necessary if you were asking website visitors to transact through your website. That would be sharing confidential information such as bank details, credit card details, contact details etc. Today, all websites should have an SSL certificate no matter what the website is for. Since 2017, Google has been flagging websites that do not have an SSL certificate as Not Safe. How much website traffic can you afford to lose if visitors are told your website is not safe to click on? Having an SSL certificate is a barrier to website hacking and gives visitors a better experience
Using an SSL certificate on your website enhances the search engine results, as along with mobile optimisation, Google uses HTTPS as the SEO ranking parameter.
Finally, speed is another benefit of website security with those websites typically loading pages faster, giving a better initial impression.
Content and keywords
SEO is optimizing your web pages for better ranking results. Part of the SEO process is using keywords: words and phrases that describe what your content is about. Google then uses that information to determine which content is relevant to a search query, and how the page should rank in searches for a term. That’s what gives a web page its search ranking.
It’s important to note that while keywords aren’t the main ranking factor themselves, their use in content and links, which ARE among the top-ranking factors, helps Google with this process.
In the past, one of the aims of keyword research was to stuff your content with terms people were looking for and artificially push pages to the top of the search results. Quality was often seen as less important than the right keyword density – having a certain percentage of the same keyword within the content. That kind of approach no longer works. In fact, it’s more often penalized than rewarded. Google keeps tweaking how its search algorithms work to try to deliver search results more relevant to what people want to find.
One thing to consider is that more and more people are using mobile devices with digital assistants which allow them to search by voice. That means they are using natural language and asking questions, not just typing in search phrases. Also, content is not being optimised for a single target phrase, but for related phrases that mean basically the same thing. Once you know what keywords you want to be found under you are then able to start writing your website content.
Content itself comes in various guises – about the accountancy practice, history, staff, area of specialisation through to technical news, practice news, tools, tips and resources. The more personal content you can put on your website the better. Not only does this help the website to stand out but how many ways are there to display a set of rates and allowances. Whilst helpful, necessary and something your clients should be getting from you if they are looking for it, it really is all the same information.
When looking at practice news consider news within the business that promotes the staff, local business news such as events that visitors can get involved in and finally, promote clients. There is nothing better than an accountant endorsing a business. How about case studies of work done for clients or a ‘client of the month’ special offer? This will come back to you in spades over time with increased referrals from clients, which account for 95% of new business for accountants.
Multiple domain names
One cheeky way of driving traffic to your website is through linking multiple domain names to your main website that are based on what people are searching for. For example, if someone is looking for an accountant based in Derby who specialises in van drivers then why not purchase www.vandriveraccountantderby.co.uk. Put a forwarder on that URL to your main website. When someone searches that criteria, the URL will come up at the top of Google. When someone clicks on it, the forwarder takes them straight to your website.
Cloud accounting software
With the growth in cloud accounting software and other associated tools for clients there is an opportunity for you to use your website as a resource area and gateway for this. How about adding login buttons on your website to all the main software platforms your clients are using? What about adding tutorials and ‘how to’ videos on to your website? All the main accountancy software providers now have videos you can link on to your website. Instead of clients crawling around the internet trying to find the support they need, or unnecessary calls in to the office, get them on to your website to get that information. Not only will that improve your image and give you brownie points with them, but you will know that they will be getting the information they need first time.
These are just some tips and tricks and are designed to start the process in improving your website. To discuss in more detail please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Contact us at email@example.com or call 08452 722377.
Author: Laurence Vogel, Head of UK Operations, Informanagement UK