[IMGCAP(1)]Your firm’s website is responsive, but if it still isn’t getting the response you hoped for, it might need some updating to create the positive impression you're hoping to convey. Try these tips to ensure it’s doing everything possible for your accounting firm.

1. Organize for easy orientation. Once you’ve invited people to visit you online, making a clear path to find all the information a visitor might need is part of being a good host. Sort your content carefully so it’s obvious where to go to find contact information (this should be somewhere on every page), specific services and everything else. It’s a really good idea to ask for input from observers who are unfamiliar with either the firm or the site, because you’ll get a more realistic picture of how you’re doing in your quest for simple, straightforward navigation.

2. Build your brand with consistent design. Remember that this website isn’t just another set of web pages—it’s your firm’s online home! Spend the time to ensure your logo, colors, fonts and name are used consistently and attractively. Also be sure the other site graphics complement your branding in size, style and color. Each page should feel easy on the eyes and further establish your logo in your visitors’ minds.

3. Use your prime real estate well. The information that appears right where viewers are looking—without scrolling down—should be the most important message you want to share. Don’t let this valuable space be eaten up entirely by invitations to sign up for email, navigation bars, overly thick logo banners or anything else. Those things are important, but you absolutely must reserve enough space so what visitor focuses on right away is your key message for the page.

4. Stick to great images. Stock images…meh. If you use them, go for the good ones that cost a little and are carefully selected to make a great impression. Far better, get a good photographer to take photos of your own people at work and at play, and of your offices. Other great shots might come from local scenery (both natural and manmade) or original art. There are a million ways you can go with site imagery! The key is to be original, eye-catching and memorable. You already know how many words each image is worth. Now make them count.

5. Highlight the benefits. Your web content contains all sorts of information, naturally, but the benefits of choosing your firm should be front and center. Try taking the client’s perspective. It’s far more powerful to read about getting something you want than it is to see someone saying, “I’m awesome,” over and over.

6. Include another perspective. While it’s appropriate to toot your own horn to some degree on your website, the message is many times louder and more convincing when clients are saying those great things about your firm than when you’re doing the talking. Including case studies and testimonials where they’re easy to spot is a great way to help drive the message home. These tools are also helpful for allowing potential clients to visualize specific ways you can help them achieve their goals.

An effective, inviting website is one of your accounting firm’s most powerful marketing assets. You can make yours even stronger by following these tips, but there are plenty of further options as well. Are there other strategies that have made a big difference for your site? Feel free to share them with us—we’re all ears.

Sarah Warlick is responsible for making bbr marketing and all its clients sound professional and eloquent as the content director. In this role, Sarah is in charge of ensuring that all copy is well-written, accurate and free of pesky typos before it heads out the door. Additionally, she is a prolific writer and a frequent contributor to bbr marketing’s blog sites. She spends a good deal of time writing copy for our clients and has a unique way of crawling into clients’ heads to create ghostwritten copy that sounds as if it came directly from their pen. She recently helped write a AICPA-published book, Take Your Marketing Online: Proven Ways to Grow Your Firm in the Digital Age.

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