COVID-19 has just turned your website into a rainmaker

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered the professional services landscape, accelerating the trend toward working remotely, limiting face-to-face client and prospect interactions, and generally pushing business activities online, including many accounting services.

As a result, websites are becoming increasingly valuable business tools, especially for business development. In other words, the coronavirus has just turned your website into your rainmaker.

It would be difficult to overestimate the value of your website as the accounting industry environment evolves to meet the new reality of a post-pandemic environment. Both clients and prospects will rely even more upon your website to research, understand and access your services.

One thing is certain — your firm’s website will play a critical role in virtually every aspect of your accounting practice, including a key role in developing new business. To ensure your firm is maximizing its online presence, here are seven best practices to boost your website’s efficiency and effectiveness:

Showcase educational content

When prospects visit your site, they typically look for information related to their problems and how your expertise can solve those types of problems. Our new reality has stirred up a host of challenges that businesses have never faced before. Creating case studies and other educational content enables you to demonstrate your firm’s knowledge and understanding of specific issues and provide concrete examples of how you have addressed them.

Create a “Library” or “Resources” section, accessible from your homepage, that contains genuine insights such as how-to guides, white papers, e-books, research studies and webinars that provide real value to the reader and help build credibility for your firm. Update this consistently with new content to demonstrate an ongoing dedication to education and industry engagement. Never include self-serving, promotional materials such as sales presentations, company news or company brochures in this section.

Highlight premium content to generate leads

A meaty, high-value piece of content, such as an e-book, is an ideal tool for generating leads. Prospects, anticipating benefiting from valuable insights relevant to their problems, are often more than willing to provide basic contact information such as names and email addresses to receive this kind of content.

Make your website mobile

More people now access the web through a mobile device than a desktop or laptop. That means a substantial number of potential visitors run the risk of being shut out by website designs optimized for larger screens. Larger web pages are often rendered illegible and fragmented on much smaller mobile device screens. Websites today should be optimized for mobile, not only because it’s more user-friendly, but because Google adjusts search rankings based on mobile accessibility.

Optimize your site for search engine indexing

Some of the most essential SEO best practices include:
  • Unique titles and “meta” descriptions for each page, so Google (and searchers) know what’s on them.
  • “Image alt” HTML tags to give context to images on your site, improve accessibility for users, and help Google understand image content.
  • Keyword phrases based on your specific expertise. Include them in both your site copy and metadata, and use only the most natural and relevant ones.
  • Fastest possible page load times. A positive user experience is crucial, so make sure elements such as page design and plug-ins take advantage of the best download speeds available from your ISP.
  • Use Google Search Console to monitor your site’s performance, leveraging the data to increase traffic and produce more relevant content.

Create clear calls to action

It’s essential to include clear, attractive calls to action that guide visitors to a particular task, encouraging further engagement. These typically take the form of bright, descriptive buttons. Develop an offer strategy that highlights which calls to action will be placed on a given page, and why. Their text should be brief, descriptive, and active.

Demonstrate your firm’s expertise

Everyone wants to work with an expert. Highlighting your firm’s expertise — and most important, being able to demonstrate it — will set you apart from your competition. Your expertise should be at the heart of everything you do online. Our research suggests that buyers are placing more emphasis on firm expertise in their evolving issues today than just five years ago. This year’s lockdown has only further heightened the importance of raising your online profile.

Turn your key personnel into visible experts by promoting detailed bios of them, including their pictures, background, experience, recent projects, professional associations, client testimonials and any other relevant information.

Your messaging should convey your firm’s expertise and reflect your knowledge and grasp of the issues that are important to your target audience. Present this information in a clear and compelling manner so that prospects realize that your firm has a thorough understanding of their problems and can effectively solve them.

Make your site easy to navigate

Now that your firm’s website has turned into a repository of valuable information, it must be clearly organized and easy to navigate. The Web is an unforgiving environment and attention spans are short. Site visitors will leave quickly if they don’t see something of value within seconds.

Keep navigation menus simple and uncluttered, with no more than six top-level categories. Use dropdown menus to guide them deeper into your site. A B2B website is no place for a fishing expedition — keep your navigation architecture and site design straightforward, intuitive, and easy-to-use. The second visitors start to struggle, they’ll bail.