Why Accountant's Websites are an Epic Fail

With close to 700 million websites on the internet how can you make your website stand out in the crowd? Believe it or not, for accountants, it’s actually not that hard. Let me explain …

For a start, less than one third of accounting firms in Australia have a website. Of the firms that do have a website, I estimate close to forty percent are ‘off the shelf’ templates that look good but contain very little substance. These sites are full of repetitive, boring content that rank poorly with the search engines.

But why don’t they work?

Firstly, the search engines punish websites full of generic, duplicate content. In some cases, the duplicate content can make them almost invisible in the search results. Original, quality content drives the search engines and it’s no surprise that a number of firms decide to ‘borrow’ content from other websites. This is a bad idea on several fronts. Firstly, the search engines reward original content and punish duplicate content. Secondly, copyright breaches are a serious offence that have legal ramifications. I can assure you that we don’t invest hundreds of hours to write content for our client’s websites only to have someone else copy the content! While some say ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’, we run scanning software every month to detect duplication of our intellectual property. Sadly, we have more than a dozen claims (and growing) in the hands of our solicitors and plagiarism is not the answer if you are looking to hit page one in the Google search rankings.

Another 30 percent of accountant’s websites are probably best described as ‘electronic billboards’. They contain a list of services and numerous bullet points but very little descriptive text. This probably explains why firms go down the plagiarism path but Google and the other search engines crave remarkable, quality, relevant and original content. These sites are also static, rarely updated or refreshed. They don’t have a blog and the firm has a ‘set and forget’ mentality. They simply have a website that looks good and lists the ‘who, what and where’ of the firm. These sites don’t add value fail to deliver new clients.

Incredibly they often don’t come cheap either but creating a beautiful website that attracts minimal traffic and very few leads just defeats the whole purpose of having a website. You want to attract visitors, convert leads into appointments and ‘wow’ your clients and prospects. The oxygen that breathes life into your website is fresh content that is highly relevant to your target market and might include videos, whitepapers and blog posts. A great website becomes your marketing hub. Certainly the websites we create for members of the Accountants Accelerator Group are proving to be marketing magnets because of their focus on keywords and industry niches.

Hubspot’s Marketing Grader has analysed millions of websites and report that 72 percent of websites receive a grading of 59 or less out of 100. This essentially means 72% of websites are failing to attract new visitors and convert leads. I see a lot of firms caught up in the cosmetics of their website but there are much more important issues to address.

What’s in it for me?

Many accounting firm websites describe how good the firm is but your prospects are tuned into that old radio station WI-FM (what’s in it for me). Your website should spell out your point of difference and how they will benefit from engaging you. The content should address ‘you and your’ not ‘we and I’. Let’s be frank here, most off the shelf websites promise the same thing including personal service. Unfortunately, if everyone promises the same thing it isn’t a point of difference! Prospects who land on your website don’t want to hear how good you are. They rely on social media and testimonials for endorsements so when they land on your site they want education, information and answers to their problems. Give them what they want and with the ageing population of business owners you need to look to the future and integrate social media into your website and marketing plan. 

Don't get any website, get one that works.

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