Is your website faceless and impersonal? Does it lack personality?
While I admit that many accounting firm websites are improving, most are still very cold and fail to create the right first impression. In some cases, they suck. Sorry but true.
Making a strong first impression is a part of building your accounting firm into a brand. Whether a person first learns about your firm from your website, LinkedIn page, Facebook Fan page, or from a client of yours, the first impression goes a long ways towards defining their perception of your firm, and you.
Let’s focus on your accounting firm website. The process is similar for most electronic mediums. Here are several factors that create an impression when someone is considering working with your accounting firm.
1. Photography – It’s amazing how much impact a high-quality photo or graphic can have on a website design. The right photo can immediately create interest in your firm services. Take the time to paint the proper picture for your prospect when they arrive at your doorstep. Here are examples of how photography can create an image.
2. Logo/Branding – A well crafted logo can make it easier for people to remember your firm or create a favorable image of your firm. While a logo is not always necessary, it can pull together the message you want to create.
3. Website Colors – The color of your website should coordinate with the photography and logo for your firm and create the right mood.
4. Website layout design – One of the most important design elements is the layout choice. Whatever layout you use should draw the reader to those items that are most important. While most template based accounting websites use a standard and rigid design, you’ll want to make sure your website design adds to the effectiveness of your message.
5. Advertising – Accepting advertising onto a professional service firm website is an easy way to create a bad first impression. Don’t do it.
6. Your Reputation and Qualifications – Many accounting firms have a lame page dedicated to the owners of the firm. Often, the copy on the page is boiler plate generic text provided by the accounting website provider and there are no pictures of the owner and worker bees. If you are working with a Fortune 500 company, we understand that it’s a faceless corporation but a local accounting firm should be warm and inviting.
7. Quality of Content – The content on each page about your accounting firm services should be well organized and persuasive so the prospect can decide whether your accounting firm can address their issues and concerns.
8. Associations – Visitors to your website are looking for assurance that you can handle their needs competently. Many associations have logos and these logos should be strategically placed onto the corresponding pages. In other words, a CPA logo should probably be placed into the website header so it is on each page but logos like QuickBooks Pro Advisor should be on the page discussing QuickBooks accounting services. Other logos and acronyms to consider are NACVA, CVA, CFE, PFS, MTAX, EA, JD, MBA and Certified Tax Coach.
9. Video – Another technique to draw website visitors into your firm is the use of video. Some website visitors like video and others avoid it. A general rule is that you should make video optional and never ever play it automatically.