When it comes to a high-performing website for accountancy firms, if it’s broke, it’s got to be fixed. A well-designed website for accountants and any small business must act as an extension of the sales team on a 24-7 basis.
To be a high-performing website, it should
- Attract new visitors
- Appeal to your target audience
- Promote your business and convert those website visitors into leads
If your website can’t do this as effectively as you would like, it’s time to revisit the digital blueprint and create a visitor’s journey that will work. Stanford University research found 75% of people make value judgements about the credibility of a company based on the design of its website alone. It may seem unfair, but in an age of instant feedback and answers, your digital presence is subjected to an unforgiving, responsive audience.
Here are four common website issues to revamp so that your prospects don’t judge your brand too harshly.
Bounce rate is an important metric for measuring the effectiveness of your website and can be found in your Google Analytics data.
In simple terms, bounce rate is the rate of a single-page session on your site. For example, suppose a user opens a single page on your site and exits without triggering any other requests to Analytics during this session. This is classed as a bounce.
This may be fine if you have a single-page site, like a blog, or any offer-related content for which single-page sessions are the norm. However, if the success of your site depends on users viewing more than one page, then a high bounce rate is deadly.
How High Bounce Rates Occur
Think of your accountancy website home page as an entry point to your site. If you discovered that a high percentage of users entered your website through that homepage, but didn’t go anywhere else, it would be evidence of a high bounce rate.
That’s anything but ideal for your web traffic generation. It would be readily clear that visitors to your site would be neither engaging with your content nor migrating further along the buyer journey. Therefore, it is likely that you’ll be missing your website conversion goals, causing problems for any new business generation.
The average bounce rate for websites falls in the 41-55% range. A bounce rate between 26% and 40% for a lead capture website is excellent. If your bounce rate is 56% or higher above, it’s time to start scrutinising your website thoroughly. Anything higher than 70% should set off alarm bells.
On average, companies redesign their website every three years. If you’re not responsive, your website is well behind the curve. Statistics from Search Engine Land indicate that up to 60% of total search enquiries are performed via mobile devices instead of desktops.
More fun facts to reinforce the reach of mobile search:
- 51% of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product when conducting a search on their smartphone
- Local search creates foot traffic - 72% of local mobile searches visited a store within five miles. Furthermore, 18% made a purchase within 24 hours
- Whether it’s your opening hours (54%), directions to your office (53%) or address (50%), more than half of mobile searches want to find you
So let’s be clear: people want to browse quickly and have identified mobile as the way to do that, even during work hours. Those unable to browse quickly will leave, resulting in your website having a high bounce rate.
Another advantage of a fully responsive website designs is for SEO purposes, as search engines favour them. If your website does not adapt to the device it is being viewed on, this is a sure sign that it’s time to make an update.
Your conversion rate is a key indicator of the success of your website. If your conversion rate is low, decreasing or improving too gradually, it’s an indication that your visitors are not engaging with your website effectively.
Average rates for converting visitors into leads stands at around 2.35%. But 10% of the websites monitored in that survey were converting at an incredible 11.45% or higher. Accountancy firms need to be working toward the upper range of these conversion rates, but anything less than the average means that there is plenty of room for improvement.
A website full of high-quality content to interest and educate your readers will help website conversions, but how does this content convert visitors into leads?
As part of best practice inbound marketing, we recommend your web design and any design project we undertake must integrate a sound call-to-action (CTA) strategy. This will help visitors engage with your website and move them along the buying funnel towards becoming paying customers, so don’t forget CTAs! If you’re interested in learning more about using content to convert visitors into leads, read our blog on the Three Pillars of Inbound Marketing.
Central to a design of a proper CTA is the company:
We always recommend using discernible:
- Action language (i.e., click here)
If visitors still aren’t converting, despite your effective utilisation of CTAs, then a more comprehensive refresh focussed around content and user experience might be necessary.
Bottom line: if you currently incorporate Adobe Flash into the design of your website, you need a redesign.
Though a popular tool several years ago for its ability to easily incorporate showy animations into your website, Flash is now an outdated tool. Nielson Norman group research found Flash incorporation was considered to be a sign of bad usability 99% of the time. The reasons for this are numerous:
- Devices such as iPhones and iPads cannot display Flash animations, making them generally obsolete for mobile.
- The indexing bots for search engines like Google and Bing can’t read Flash, causing undue but unavoidable SEO harm to your website.
- Also for SEO purposes (and UX in general), there is a long load time associated with Flash-designed animations. Remember earlier when we mentioned load times of one second were too long? Site visitors are busy people, and if it takes too long to load, people will leave in a heartbeat.
- Flash integrates poorly with several key website features, such as search and navigation.
- Flash is a format easily exploitable by hackers. If your website is one that handles sensitive customer information, using Flash leaves those details at risk.
Fortunately for lovers of creative animation and accounting, website developers no longer have to rely on Flash-based animation in the build of their websites. HTML5 markup language is a decent three-in-one proposition:
- Animations and content can be displayed easily
- It is an SEO-friendly format
- It is easily read by mobile devices
If you choose to utilise HTML5, your website’s mobile visitors should be able to view your website securely, without any error boxes or formatting issues. But a re-design or thorough audit of website effectiveness would certainly be recommended.
Where is your accountancy business going online?
To achieve business results, accounting firms may feel a redesign is on the card. If so, it’s not to be taken lightly.
For any accounting firm, a website is an investment in the future success of your business, so it’s important that you maximise its effectiveness to obtain the best return on investment (ROI). The world of website design is a rapidly developing industry and it’s critical that accountancy businesses make changes to be relevant for their customers and to develop and maintain trust.
Project your business professionally and prioritise your user experience. An accountancy firm website’s capabilities are pivotal for helping you achieve your business goals. To generate increased brand awareness, leads and paying customers, speak with the experts at Digital Media Stream about any design queries you have - it’s our job align your website with your objectives.