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Thomson Reuters — Web Builder CS, Powered by Emochila
From the Aug. 2012 Review of Web Building Tools for Accounting Firms.
Best Fit: Tax and accounting firms that either want a customized design or want to build a site based on a template. Since the product is owned by Thomson Reuters and contains a template for a client login page to NetClient CS, as well as a basic file exchange portal and integration with NetClient CS, it could be considered by firms using the CS Professional Suite.
- Templates have attractive designs, and it is easy to switch between templates.
- The tax tools, news, and financial guides provide plenty of helpful information and resources for website visitors.
- Easy interface within the administration page for managing a site’s page structure and menus.
- Online appointment requests, referral submission forms, and client testimonial collection tools.
- Technical support and website edits (except custom design changes) are included in the monthly service fee, so firms don’t need to learn the back-end administrative tools.
- Built-in blogging system is proprietary. While it is simple and easy to use, it does not contain advanced features of other blogging software (such as WordPress). However, third-party blogging platforms can be integrated.
- No mechanism to prevent webform spamming, but firms must approve testimonials before they are posted.
Since 2003, Emochila has been one of the leading website builder service providers to tax and accounting firms. On December 9, 2011, the Tax & Accounting business unit of Thomson Reuters acquired Emochila. Not to be confused with Thomson Reuters’ previous website builder software, the current product offered is known as Thomson Reuters Web Builder CS, Powered by Emochila (however, throughout this review, I will refer to it as simply “Web Builder CS”). Since it is built on the Emochila platform, it is completely different than the former Thomson system.
Web Builder CS has client firms with both hands-on and hands-off approaches to their websites. For the “hands-off” firms, custom website design services are provided for an additional fee. Firms can contact the technical support team to handle minor edits (such as text changes), which are included in the monthly service fee.
Though only about 29 different templates are offered, they are very distinctive. Some have large images for the home page while others have more text. Users can easily switch templates by clicking on a thumbnail image. Compared to its competitors, Web Builder CS has one of the easier interfaces for managing the page structure (creating a splash page, adding subpages, reordering submenus, etc). For editing page content, both a WYSIWYG editor is available with an interface similar to a word processor and an html code editor is provided for advanced users.
Technical support is available both by phone and e-mail, and an online knowledgebase can answer many frequently asked questions. Thomson Reuters also offers the ARNE Community, an online peer-to-peer support system through which professionals can share tips and advice on all products in the CS Professional Suite.
On-page search engine optimization is included in the monthly fee. Within the settings, users can change the website’s name, title, meta keywords and meta description. There is also an area within the administration page to enter a tracking code for Google Analytics. Additional search engine optimization is also available.
The client firm always maintains ownership of its domain. Firms can maintain the DNS records for the domain if they wish, or Web Builder CS is happy to handle it for them.
The main servers are in a San Francisco facility monitored 24 hours a day with triple-threat lockdown security, and checked hourly for temperature, humidity, and optimal running conditions. The data is mirrored at a second facility in Las Vegas with the same specifications. Both data centers are SAS 70 certified, and administration is done over SSL. Web Builder CS offers client portals that are 256-bit SSL encrypted.