10 Top Tips For Your Website That Really Work
Tip 1 - Recognise that the market has changed
Over the past 3 years, the way people browse the web has changed dramatically, thanks to the advent of Smartphones and the technology behind them. Today, a single smartphone has more computing power than it took to put the first man on the moon!
That powerful technology means that over 50% of local web searches are carried out by mobile devices with their owners spending 80 plus minutes a day on Apps. It’s predicted that tablet sales will increase by 70% in 2013 and by 2014, mobile internet use will overtake desktop (PC) browsing. These changes have transformed the role of traditional websites and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future
Tip 2 - Understand what is important now
Accountants need to understand that a different approach is urgently required if they are to stay in touch with their clients and contacts. Some of them will be ‘mobile only’ browsers (they have given up their PC and laptop a long time ago); others will have a smartphone and a PC; a small proportion will continue with only a PC.
Mobile visitors expect a very different experience to a desktop visitor and that means the traditional website structure needs to change.
Tip 3 - Use the ‘4 legged stool’ approach
Today’s successful website strategy incorporates 4 elements:
1. A Mobile-enabled Website – Essential, as more than 50% of local searches are already mobile!
2. A well designed and written website for those who continue to browse from a PC
3. A Blog – allowing content control, SEO control and Social Media Management in 1 click
4. A bespoke App, approved by Apple and Google
Tip 4 - Make your website ‘mobile-friendly’
By the end of 2013 mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common web access device in the world. That means your website will be viewed by more mobile visitors than desktop users! And if your website is not enabled for mobile users then, according to Google, your visitors are 61% more likely to leave!
Despite this fact, less than 5% of accountants currently have a mobile website!
A mobile website benefits from:
• Rapid load time
• Directions and key contact info immediately available (74% of visitors look for this)
• Key content on screen
• Minimal scroll, pinch or zoom
• Simple, clear navigation
• Click to call
• Mobile enabled forms (most desktop sites’ forms don’t work on a mobile phone)
Tip 5 - Upgrade your Desktop Site
Most accountants’ websites are significantly ‘out of date’ and need to be upgraded to a level that will serve modern browsing habits: Ideally, a desktop site needs to:
1. Rank on Google so people searching for ‘Accountant in x’ will find the site
2. Be well written with calls to action -boxes, offers, promotions, free reports to capture leads
3. Cater for clients with a resources or client login area
4. Direct visitors to an App
Tip 6 - Create an integrated Blog
A well-integrated blog not only works seamlessly with your website, it also automatically updates your social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook) and your App, saving huge amounts of time.
A blog gives practices the ability to write, share and distribute high quality content to current and potential clients in minutes, replacing the need for out of date newsletters and dependence on web agencies to keep everything updated.
A properly integrated blog has been shown to increase visitors by 50% and time on site by 70%.
Tip 7 - Get your own App - Less than 2% of firms have one
An App is an absolute essential for accountancy firms, giving them a low cost, high quality way to stand out from their competitors. With less than 2% of accountancy firms currently having their own App, it’s easy to understand why ‘early adopters’ are getting most benefit from their App!
Here are a few impressive figures:
• More than a half of accountancy firms’ customers and prospects already use Apps, daily
• 370 million smartphones were sold last year
• 66% of people use their favorite App at least once per day
Tip 8 - Use effective ‘Calls to Action’ on your website
We are all fish, attracted by the brightest lure! And visitors to your website are no different; they need to be attracted to specific parts of your site and that’s the job of a ‘Call To Action’.
• An immediate focus for visitors to each page
• A way to measure the success of the website
• Clear direction to visitors
That’s does not mean every site should be filled with Calls To Action. They should be used sparingly for best impact.
Tip 9 - Upgrade your website SEO
97% of accountancy websites don’t work. And the chief reason for this is poor SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). SEO is fraught with promises, claims and confusing language, however, almost all firms can vastly improve their sites and make it much easier for visitors to find them by applying fundamental yet well thought through ‘on-page optimisation’. Every page on the website should be optimised in the following areas:
• Page Title
• Meta description
• Body copy
Tip 10 - Don’t have too much cluttered content on your website
Thanks to the increasing use of mobile technology and Apps, sites that are over-stuffed with reams of content just don’t work anymore. Simple, attractive design, easy navigation that is quick to follow, attractive calls to action, and short sentences are the order of the day for the best websites.
Published October 2013