2016 Review of Website Builders for Accounting Firms
In website design, like is so many other things, less is more. A simply designed website will likely have a higher conversion rate simply because no one likes confusion and clutter. Spending precious browsing minutes trying to figure out where to ...
Jul. 18, 2016
Researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology have determined that it takes less than a second for a person to form an initial opinion about a website. Today, you only have one chance to make a good first impression with your website, an impression that will engage visitors and encourage them to remain on your website. In fact, marketing experts have agreed on one thing, every business, even a very small business should have a website; but that it’s better to not have a website at all then to offer visitors a sub-standard experience on your website.
What does your website look like?
In website design, like is so many other things, less is more. A simply designed website will likely have a higher conversion rate simply because no one likes confusion and clutter. Spending precious browsing minutes trying to figure out where to click to find information will likely result in that visitor moving on to the next website.
Another thing to avoid is slow load times. While patience may be a virtue, even the most patient person will become frustrated waiting for a website to load. Make it easy for users to get into your website, not harder. And once they’re in, make it easy for them to navigate through the system. Large navigation tabs and a common sense structure may not seem exciting, but they’ll likely ensure that visitors will stay on your website longer than 30 seconds.
You’ll also want to make sure that you provide an easily accessible list of services that you provide, and a way for those interested to get in touch with you. Online appointment forms and ‘request more information’ options on your website are a stress free way for users to get in touch with your firm, growing your firm in the process.
A client portal is another feature that is vital for accounting firms. The ability to safely and securely exchange documents will make your life and your client’s life a lot easier.
While everyone does not blog, more accounting firms are finding the value in creating a blog for current and potential clients. While tools such as financial and tax information should be part of any accounting firm’s website, blogging adds a personal touch to a firm, and offers clients the opportunity to get to know you and your firm a little better.
I’ll ask again: What does your website look like?
The web-building products reviewed in this issue are designed specifically for accounting firms, with most offering common tools such as financial reports, newsletter capability, and calculators. They were grouped into two groups, with six products rated based on very similar feature capabilities. Those products are:
- Accounting and Financial Builder from Tenenz
- Accountants World Website Relief from Accountants World
- CCH Site Builder from CCH Wolters Kluwer
- CPA Site Solutions
- GetNetSet for Accounting Firms from GetNetSet LLC
- Web Builder CS from Thomson Reuters
The solution from CPAsites.com and BuildYourFirm are not rated in these reviews, since they offer website design and editing options, and various full-service options not available with other traditional website builder solutions.
Before deciding on a web-building product, it’s important to determine how much time and energy you or your staff has to design a website. Do you want to be ‘hands-on,’ or do you prefer that someone else do the work? Does your firm constantly update web content, or do the pages remain fairly static? Are you comfortable using a template design or would you prefer to have a custom look to your website? Of course, for many firms, pricing levels need to be considered as well.
Many of the vendors in this review offer potential users a free trial to try out the product, explore the templates available and see if the product is a good fit.
While web-building products are not new, they certainly are not the same product from even five years ago. If it’s been a while since you looked at web-building products, you owe it to yourself to take another look. Chances are you’ll have that sleek website running a lot sooner than you might imagine.