2011 Review of Intuit, Inc. — Intuit Websites

Intuit, Inc. - Intuit Websites
websites.intuit.com
 

From the Oct. 2011 Review of Website Tools & Services for tax & Accounting Firms.

Best Fit

Virtually any small business, including tax and accounting practices, wanting a simple and automated website creation system.

 

Strengths

  • Easy to add Intuit Web Payment service for ecommerce activities
  • Good search engine optimization tools
  • Includes email marketing features and an online small business marketing toolkit
  • Broad collection of template designs
  • Customized blog service can be integrated into websites

 

Potential Limitations

  • The system is not specifically tailored to needs of accounting practice.
  • There are no options for syndicated news content, newsletters or accounting/tax-related content or calculators.
  • No integration with professional accounting, tax or document management systems
  • No client portals

 

With QuickBooks maintaining the lion’s marketshare of accounting software among small businesses and the firms that service them, Intuit is well-positioned to offer a small business site building application, Intuit Websites. The company has over 300,000 small businesses using Intuit-built websites. With Intuit Websites, Intuit is truly catering to the needs of the busy small business owner who doesn’t have a lot of time or a lot of resources to create a useable site. Accounting professionals will also find the simplicity of the signup process and creation of the site to be very painless.

Pages. Intuit Websites’ Platinum package allows for an unlimited number of pages, restricted only by the total storage space required by the files. The Gold package allows up to 100 pages, with the Starter package allowing five. More than 2,000 site templates are available.

Multiple web pages are linked under a single domain to form a site. Several short pages are organized by topic and subtopic, ensuring that pages download quickly. Intuit generally recommends keeping each page at less than 100KB and about one-and-a-half to two screens long.

Users may build sites with Macs or PCs using Internet Explorer or Firefox. Mobile browsers are not supported at this time. Sites can be linked to social networking sites, and YouTube videos can be embedded within pages.

Pricing. Depending on the user’s needs, Intuit offers three levels of pricing, with each based on the number of available pages, amount of storage, number of email addresses, and a few other bells and whistles. The Starter plan, also called “Personal,” offers a 30-day free trial and is $4.99/month. With the Gold or “Business” plan, the first 30 days are also free, and the cost is $19.99/month. The Platinum or “Professional” plan is $49.99 per month.

Search engines. All site packages provide real-time reports of the user’s most popular pages, as well as reports detailing site entry points of visitors and how they navigate the site, among other indicators. Other tools include search engine optimization (SEO) to improve site visibility in search engines, and a traffic booster that regularly updates content and automatically optimizes key elements for higher ranking in search engine results.

Domains. OpenSRS maintains all DNS records for the domains, but customers can manage their DNS through an Intuit Websites account. Subdomains are available, and the domain is owned by the firm that signed up for Intuit Websites and the domain. No fee is assessed for exporting data or transferring out a domain name if the firm decides to terminate the service.

Email & marketing. Email is available and it is branded with the user’s site address. Email is not required, and users can maintain their own Exchange or other server. Intuit Websites offers email marketing and an online small business marketing toolkit with advice on online marketing strategies and tactics, as well as guidance on how to maximize a Web presence. The kit shares best practices and real-life small business success stories with topics that range from social media to advertising.

Intuit Websites also offers a customized blog service that easily integrates with the website. The ability to customize messages to go live at a certain date or time is unavailable, as is client document management.

Other Features

  • Intuit Web Payment allows small businesses to establish a professional-looking online store and the ability to streamline the payment process. Small businesses can accept credit or debit card payments through the site with no extra logins required for the customer. Users also get online access to their statements and a searchable transaction history.
  • For an additional cost, small business owners can consult with Intuit web advisors on site design.

As its web building division continues to add features, Intuit should be able to build on its overpowering share of the small business accounting market and the relatively low cost of its solution. Practitioners who appreciate QuickBooks’ flow and ease of use will probably find Intuit Websites to be a seamless, web building solution. With Intuit’s focus on small business, many accountants may also find themselves recommending this solution to their own clients.

Summary & Pricing

With Intuit Websites, Intuit truly is catering to the needs of the busy small business owner who doesn’t have a lot of time or a lot of resources to create a useable site. Accounting professionals will also find the simplicity of the signup process and creation of the site to be very painless. Intuit offers three levels of pricing, with each based on the number of available pages, amount of storage, number of email addresses, and a few other bells and whistles. The Starter plan, also called “Personal,” offers a 30-day free trial and is $4.99/month. With the Gold or “Business” plan, the first 30 days are also free, and the cost is $19.99/month. The Platinum or “Professional” plan is $49.99 per month.

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