Five Problems with Accounting Websites

As a small business owner, you wear many hats.  It’s hard to be an expert at all of the hats you have to wear, and that includes the hat that has to make good decisions about your website.  In some cases, vendors don’t make this any easier, and in the accounting profession, the website models that are available on the market just don’t make any sense.

Here are five things to watch out for so that website vendors don’t sell you more than what you need:

 1. Are you renting or buying? 

It almost never makes sense to rent a website, but there are many website vendors that sell them that way.  The two problems with this are: 1) you are paying for the website for the rest of your life, and 2) if you change website firms, you have nothing that you can take with you and you have to start all over again.

This renting model does not exist in most other industries; if you’re in accounting, don’t get sucked into thinking there are a bunch of ongoing costs you need to pay for regarding your website.  There aren’t.

2. Does it look like it’s your website or just any old accounting firm’s website? 

A website that is not personalized does not pay back anymore.  It may have a few years ago, but now that social media is raising the bar, it’s essential that you have content on your site that describes your unique strengths.

3.  Which features are, well, featured?

A website vendor that offers you hundreds of designs and lots of calculators may not understand what generates business.  I don’t know of anyone that’s said I want to hire you because of your web design or the calculator I found on your website.

The top two most important features of a high-payback website are great copywriting and superior search engine optimization.  Insist on these.

 4. Are you overpaying for your client portal? 

Some website vendors are charging a great deal of money for client portals.  A client portal should not reside on the same server as a website due to the differences in security requirements.  There are great client portal solutions available apart from website vendors.  You can always get a link to your client portal on your website; this is a less-than-five-minute, one-time task.  Don’t overpay for it and don’t assume it has to come from the same vendor.

5. Are you overpaying for a client newsletter no one reads?

A website and a newsletter are two different marketing channels.  Some vendors bundle the two together to justify charging you on an ongoing basis.  We experimented with this, and it doesn’t really make sense.   We feel both channels are important, but that clients should be able to choose separately.

Are you overpaying for your website?  Worse, are you overpaying for a website that’s generating no leads for you?  If so, it might be time to look around for a better alternative