CPA Firm Sites—Dos and Don’ts

BY MARGOT W. TELEKI

DO register the domain yourself . A third party can easily register it in their name, making themselves an administrator—then your Web site becomes their property.

DO present a précis of your practice on the home page . Don’t use a “Welcome” message.

DON’T use frivolous graphics, which often turn off visitors . If used, graphics should relate to the text and help communicate a message to set you apart from the competition.

DON’T use Flash . It takes too long to load and isn’t worth the extra cost.

DON’T complicate the site’s navigation with multiple subtopics . They could confuse or mislead visitors.

DO consider how visitors read your site . Eye-tracking visualization studies indicate that Web visitors read sites in an F-shaped pattern, starting with horizontal movement across the banner, left to right, returning to the left side, then down to the first paragraph.

DO be succinct . If your home page is not concise, visitors will not bother to navigate to secondary pages.

DO keep secondary pages easy to read . They should explain the home page content in greater detail and delve deeper into your practice.

DON’T include fluff, e specially adjectives that take up space and mean nothing. What’s important is not what you say about yourself, but your experience and client testimonials.

DO have a separate Web site if you also provide investment advisory services . As an investment adviser, the firm has to abide by several regulatory and professional guidelines; it’s important to include text assuring conformance to these regulations.

DO design your site to be different . Beware of the cookie-cutter look, and don’t be afraid to stand out from the competition.

DON’T use bright primary colors on the site’s background , particularly white text on red or royal blue. Content will be hard to read, and visitors will tune out.

DO describe your area of specialization . Potential clients may not be aware of the profession’s boundaries or definitions.

DO communicate trust and credibility . You’re in a personal service business, and nothing is more important to a client than knowing you can be trusted.

Source: Margot W. Teleki, partner, CopyWrite Marketing Group, www.copywritemarketinggroup.com .

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