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 .

SPONSORED REPORT

Why cybercriminals are targeting CPAs

This free report expands on the most commonly found scams, why education and specialized IT knowledge help to lessen security vulnerabilities, and why every firm should plan carefully for how it would respond to a breach.

PODCAST

How tax reform — and Excel — are changing the CPA Exam

Mike Decker, the vice president of examinations at the AICPA, discusses changes being made to the exam as a result of tax reform — and about how Excel will now be available for use on the test.