25 reasons your website is working against you

Oct 27, 2020 | Accountants, Marketing and promotion, Websites

In some respects this post addresses many points I have addressed previously on this blog from the opposite perspective. There are links at the end if you want to read more. I would stress that I do not design or supply websites.  But I do get asked to help accountants who want more and better leads for their practice. Sorting out your website is invariably a key factor here.

I offer my advice without fear or favour and from an entirely independent and objective perspective.

Today then we are focusing on why your website may be working against you.  This is commonly at least part of the reason you are not attracting the business you want.  It could be that your website is giving a poor impression, discouraging your target audience and suggesting that your style and approach are out-of-date.

Remember that your website needs to appeal to your key target audience and that may include:

  • Prospective clients who are simply searching online for someone to help them
  • Anyone who wants to check you out – they could be prospective clients, competitors, possible collaborators, referrers or journalists. They already know the name of your firm or your name, perhaps through personal introductions, your social media activity, Linkedin profile or  your marketing and branding efforts
  • Potential new staff, partners or suppliers – who might just be searching online or who might know of you/your firm and want to learn more before getting in touch or proceeding further.

I have categorised the most common mistakes I see under four key headings:

Message mistakes

1 – Bland, generic statements and assertions that could be on any accountant’s website.

2 – Typos, poor grammar and/or poor English

3 – Not specifying who should most want to appoint you – beyond ‘anyone’ who needs an accountant. Being clear as regards your specialisms, ideal clients, preferred work style and fees may mean fewer time wasters and more ideal prospective clients getting in touch.

Stuff that is missing

4 – Hiding the name(s) of the key accountants and their expertise, interests and focus

5 – Welcoming, smiling and  suitably ‘professional’ headshot photo(s) of key contacts at the firm

6 – What makes you different and special as compared with other accountants? Your experience, background, style, approach, preferences and anything else about you that makes you stand out positively from other accountants. How else do you think people choose who to appoint?

7 – Being clear who should NOT think about appointing you.  Do you want just ‘anyone’ who is looking for accounting or tax services to get in touch?

8 – Testimonials and recommendations that will provide strangers with some comfort that you are as good as your website claims you to be

9 – Where are you based? Locations are useful for SEO purposes and also to help prospective visitors find your office. Transport and parking details can be helpful too.

Design flaws

10 – Slow to load pages – risking visitors giving up

11 – Absence of key message to grab attention of your target audiences when they first arrive at your site

12 – Use of interchangeable stock images of ‘accountants’ and failing to show who YOU are.

13 – Website doesn’t look good on mobile and tablet devices (when was the last time you checked?)

14 – An out of date blog – your designer insisted on this “to help SEO” but it’s rarely updated. Contrary to popular belief you do NOT have to have a blog on your site. If you do, be sure you know why you have it and what help it is or isn’t providing.

15 – Too much clutter and tools that don’t help get visitors of your site to do what you want them to do. (Who goes to an accountant’s website for news?)

16 – Single strip of content down the middle of the screen

17 – Tiny default font size that reduces the prospect of visitors trying to read it

18 – Confusing menu structure – probably with too many options on it

18 – Too many pages that don’t help your target visitor know if you’re the right accountant for them

20 – Social media buttons that you were told you NEED to include but which work against you if you are not posting regular relevant content to the social media platforms concerned.

21 – Too much generic SEO focused content – which is only relevant to people who don’t already know (of) you – and which simply attracts visitor numbers that make your website designer happy, despite most of them not being your target audience.

Problems with your calls to action

22 – Too many pages that do not link directly to a name and a phone number or any other way to get in touch with you. What’s the point of all those pages if not to prompt action?

23 – Requiring all visitors to complete a form if they want to get  in touch. (At least tell them if they will be sent a copy of the form). Why won’t you let them email (or even phone) you?

24 – Requiring all email messages to be sent to a generic email address that starts with admin@ rather than with someone’s NAME

25 – Failure to include ONE phone number at the top right of the screen (which has become the default place that we expect to see it)

A couple of years ago I wrote a related post: Effective websites – a checklist for accountants. It contains further details on a number of the above points.  More recently I shared this related post: How can we get more of the traffic we want to our website?

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