2012 Review of CCH Site Builder

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CCH, a Wolters Kluwer Business — CCH Site Builder
www.CCHwebsites.com

From the 2012 Review of Website Building Tools for Accounting Firms

Best Fit:
Firms using the CCH ProSystem fx Suite and firms that want to add state-specific tax alerts or premium content (such as the CCH Tax Guide and toolkits) not offered by other vendors.

Strengths

  • Integration with ProSystem fx Portal, CCH File Share, GainsKeeper, and ProSystem fx Tax Notebook.
  • The ability to easily preview changes made to a page before publishing.
  • A questions/comments button that launches a contact form. The built-in Lead Generator module tracks contacts obtained from completed forms.
  • Excellent newsletter content from CCH, with many options for displaying and distributing newsletters, including monthly eMarketing of newsletters to customer base.
  • Scrolling tax alerts, both federal and state. Firms can select to only show tax alerts for certain states.
  • Color-coded events calendar can be used to display tax and firm events.
  • Expansive library of interactive financial tools and calculators.
  • Available as an eContent solution for firms with existing websites in need of dynamic updates. eContent package allows firms to plug in newsletters, tax alerts, and financial tools to their existing website.

Potential Limitations

  • No built-in blogging engine. However, users can link to an external blog.

The ProSystem fx Suite from CCH offers an integrated set of tax and accounting software for CPA firms. Along with an easy integration with the suite, CCH Site Builder features a sleek and user-friendly interface for building a CPA firm website. The product was introduced in 1997, so CCH has many years of experience helping firms to establish a web presence.

For firms that want to build their own site, CCH Site Builder has over 70 templates to choose from, each with options to easily modify the color scheme, pictures, and navigation buttons. Firms can easily switch templates with the click of a button, at no additional charge, and without the help of a webmaster or other IT support. Editing and styling text with Site Builder is as easy as working with a Microsoft Word document. The interface is also very intuitive for uploading images and adding custom pages.

For firms that want something different from the templates offered, CCH has a custom design team on staff. CCH quotes a fee for this service after a consultation.

Search Engines

Users can easily enter meta tags for keywords and descriptions for each page within the “edit pages” screen. The search engine optimization configuration is included with a CCH Site Builder subscription. CCH offers SEO consulting service packages for an additional fee.

CCH Site Builder has a basic built-in analytics tool, but firms can also easily integrate a third-party application such as Google Analytics to monitor site traffic with more detailed information.

Domains

Domain names are unique and owned by the firm. The domain registrar owns and maintains the DNS records.

Hosting

CCH Site Builder uses a IBM Tier IV data center in Hazelwood, Missouri. With connectivity at 99.9 percent, CCH utilizes industry standard redundancy and disaster recovery procedures to maximize data protection. CCH reports that encryption is up to HIPAA standards.

Email

CCH offers e-mail hosting, but it is not required for firms that create and host a website with Site Builder.

Newsletter Marketing & Content

Through Site Builder, firms can easily set up eNewsletters informing clients about state and federal tax alerts, tax briefings (using either the firm’s own content or CCH’s newsletters), as well as calendar events. Firms can customize the eNewsletter headers with text and images. CCH retains the copyright to its syndicated content. Firms can automate the distribution of newsletters to their customer base through an easy-to-use eMarketing module.

Other Features

For firms that do not use the ProSystem fx portal, CCH Site Builder offers File Share as a secure web application for exchanging documents with clients. Firms using File Share receive a firm-specific URL and 50 MB of storage space with the ability to purchase additional storage space in 100 MB increments. However, File Share is not available for users testing CCH Site Builder.

CCH Site Builder includes a social media module to add icons and links for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. The Social Network icons can be displayed on the Home and Contact Us pages.

Summary & Pricing

CCH Site Builder is a strong template-based product, and because of its user-friendly interface, it is ideal for firms that want to build a site quickly and have control over customization and making changes. Its integration with the ProSystem fx suite makes it a good candidate for firms using other CCH applications, and firms may also want to consider it because of its impressive set of calculators, resources included in the premium content, and eNewsletter content with federal and state tax alerts.

The standard package costs $1,290 in the first year including setup. The annual renewal cost is $995. Other features, such as the CCH Tax Guide, toolkits, and e-mail are available at additional costs. Potential customers interested in custom website design packages and search engine optimization services should contact CCH for a quote. CCH offers a free 30-day evaluation period (no credit card required).

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