Thoughts on websites upon the launch of our new site

So, in case you didn’t notice yet, we’ve launched our new website this week! Woohoo!

We’ve been hard at work on this site for several months, and we’re thrilled to present it to the world.  We’ve been thrilled also with the world’s response!

Since websites are something we offer for accountants, we want to practice what we preach.  So here are a few tips as you think about your next website, and know that we either have implemented or will implement these ourselves!

The buck doesn’t stop here.  As with all online marketing, once a website is launched, you don’t just dust off your hands and go back to work, and leave the website to sit there, being awesome.  Your website is your marketing hub, so everything – blog posts, news items, team members, new products or services, events, webinars, social media – should draw people back to the site.

Blogging is really, really helpful for SEO.  Google’s search engine algorithms are continually being evaluated and updated – partly to make the most of newer technology, and mostly to prevent cheaters from zooming to the top of search engines when real, honest businesses are falling to the wayside.  One of the things Google is very aware of is how recent content is, how applicable it is to the keywords that were searched, and how relevant the website itself is to what the person is searching for.  Google is becoming smarter than you – it can help you find what you want even when you don’t know what that is.  But it does that by picking out the websites that are updated most often, that has content which is well written and not filled with keywords just for the sake of it, and that everyone else is looking at, too.  The more blogs you write, the more your website has a chance to move up in the search engines for the words and phrases you’re writing about.  If you develop a website, absolutely make sure it has a blog capability: and then blog as often as you can.  Daily would be best, in an ideal world; weekly is awesome; monthly is okay; less than that is probably kind of pointless, but you can do it anyway.

Less text, more content.  When we built our original Profitable Firm website, we spent a lot of time getting the words just write.  We wrote long paragraphs about how we did business, and what we understood about accountancy firms, and how accounting firms moved through the growth stages of their practice, and how great we were.  After a year, we looked at our site and realised we’d got it all wrong.  So we started again, and this time the site is (hopefully) all about you.  What do YOU need? What do YOU want?  If you want email marketing, what do we offer that would help you get it?  We spent far more time making the pages look nice and picking cool images and designing the layout than we did actually writing pages and pages of content.  (We leave that for our blog posts.)  You should do that, too.

Reflect your personality.  We went for a fun-and-funky concept.  We work with accountancy firms, who we know sometimes get a rap for being stuffy or old fashioned, but we know that the firms we work with are the ones who want to step out of that.  You want to be different, but you’re not quite sure how.  You appreciate that there are massive online opportunities, but you don’t know what to do with them or where to start.  And you know that you’re a brilliant firm with really cool team members and your clients love you, but it’s hard to express that properly.  Well, if that’s you, that’s who we’re talking to.  We could have gone all stuffy and old-fashioned ourselves, but that’s not who we are: and that’s not who our clients are, either.  So we designed our site with our personality in mind, and yours too.

Use keywords that relate to what your client actually is searching for, not what you want them to search for, or what you think you do.  I attended a webinar recently that used a great example to get us thinking about the right kind of keywords.  The speaker (Paula Wynne) said, imagine you’re Henry Ford, and you’ve just designed this great new product, and everyone has the internet but no one has ever heard of a car.  What keywords would people type in that would cause them to come to your site?  And the words people suggested were things like “travel”, “trip”, “getting somewhere” – and then someone suggested “fast carriage”.  The speaker got really excited.  She said we’d really gotten into the heads of our prospective customers by thinking about where they are right now and what they want.  They don’t know to search for the term car, but they know they have a carriage (or a horse) and they want it to go faster or perform better.  And that’s what Ford had made.  I thought that was a great tip for thinking about your own keywords.  What are people thinking of when they search for what they need?  And how does what you need fit what they’re searching for?  Because most people you want to work with are searching for what you need, but perhaps they’re not finding you because you’ve got the wrong words.

Use video.  This is something we want to do a lot more of, but it’s a fact that video is becoming one of the most massive ways to get found online.  YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google.  The second largest one! Not Bing or Yahoo or any of those other “actual” search engines, but what we think of as the video site.  It’s where people go to find stuff – and in this day and age, everyone wants to see it to believe it.  (It’s kind of frustrating, actually – I’ll post something on Facebook and my friends will say “Post pictures or it didn’t happen.”  Stubborn me says fine, then, I’ll just keep my experience to myself and you can disbelieve me if you like.  End of rant.)

Use a ‘request for quote’ – or price request, or purchase option, or anything that is there for those who are ready to buy. Not everyone is, but if you’re ready to make a purchase you don’t want to have to take ages to figure out what the price is.  We’ve tried to at least include minimum prices on most of our services, or deposit amounts, so that you have a rough idea – but we’ve also got a quick and easy request for quote form that has no pressure whatsoever.  We even mention that there’s no pressure just in case someone is thinking, well, I want a quote, but I don’t want them hounding me for ages.  Trust me, we don’t like hounding people and we don’t have that kind of time anyway.  If you love what we do and you like our previous work and you think we’re the kind of people you could work with, great.  If not, access some free stuff and work with someone else – no hard feelings!  The last thing we want in the world is for someone to feel pressured into working with us.  It doesn’t make them a happy client and it doesn’t make our working job any easier.

Make it possible to purchase online.  This is another thing we’re working on even as I type, but we love everything online and we want to get all of our services set up so that when you’re ready to buy, it’s just a few clicks and you’re all set.  It makes life easy for you, and it makes life easy for us. Our CRM system, Infusionsoft, has all the capability for that (so much capability that we sometimes don’t even know where to start, but we love that), and we’re excited about the possibilities.  We can even set up a similar system for you – it’s not cheap, but it’s AMAZING.

Anything else you’d like to see – on your site, or ours?  Drop a note in the comments below.