Is updating your website on your spring cleaning checklist? When was the last time you made any major updates to the website for your tax preparation business? I’m not just talking about adding blogs or editing your service descriptions. I’m talking about really looking at your website for functionality and aesthetics.
As you review your website, look at it with a fresh, critical eye and ask yourself:
- How does my website compare to other tax prep businesses, including competitors and businesses that are bigger than mine?
- Does it work the way people expect it to work – or is it hard to find information on it?
- Is it compatible with any new custom relationship management (CRM), customer portal, or lead capturing software I want use (or am using)?
- When was the last time I upgraded my website? (Spoiler alert: Any website older than five years will probably need to be updated.)
- If I want to make upgrades, how involved will they be? Can I do them myself or do I need to hire someone?
- What styles and functionalities can I use to make my website updates last as long as possible?
All up-to-date websites include certain functionalities. If your website is missing any of these key features, it’s time to get down to work.
Responsive design is when your website is designed to respond to the size of the device the visitor is using. Without responsive design, your website is going to look teeny tiny and be really hard to navigate and use on a phone or a tablet (which over half of users will be on when they look at your site). If you haven’t updated your website yet to be mobile responsive, you are a few years behind the times. This feature alone is worth an upgrade, especially since Google favors websites with responsive design in its search algorithms.
The rules and best practices of search engine optimization evolve regularly. When was the last time you audited your site to see if it contains the right key words and phrases and in the right concentration?
Other important SEO rules to follow:
- Make sure your business name is written in text in key places, since your logo is an image and search engines are scanning text for their SEO rankings, not images.
- On that note, make sure you have alt text coded behind your logo and images for a better experience for visually impaired people who are using screen readers to “hear” your site and to help with SEO.
- Make sure your business address and location are included in text, since local results matter a lot to people and in search rankings.
If you aren’t sure where you stand SEO-wise, work with an expert who can help guide you through updating your website SEO.
The right message
What makes the right message on your website?
- Get to the point quickly. Visitors to your site should understand what you do – in terms they understand, not professional jargon – within 30 seconds or less.
- Remember: Your website is NOT ABOUT YOU. It’s about your customer. Tell them quickly and directly what they will get out of working with you (i.e., better service? quicker turnarounds? more complete service? better tax planning advice? etc.)
- Do not use your website to feed your ego. Your website isn’t about how great you are. It’s about what you offer and what your customers get from working with you.
- Include your value propositions to the customer and your mission statement.
- Include stories – both your business story and stories of clients you’ve helped, because stories help people connect.
An FAQ section is a great way to set the expectations of what your customers can expect when they work with you, as well as prep them for what you will need from them as you work together. It’s also an effective way to be able to work in more key words and phrases to help boost your SEO, since the services you offer are presumably also great keywords for you.
Include the stories of what you’ve done for your clients in their own words, because testimonials really resonate with prospects who are still making up their minds. Have a way to collect more testimonials. Encourage people to leave reviews on Google, since that will also help your search rankings.
Call to action
Do you clearly tell your customers and prospects what the next step is? Is it a phone call or an in-person consultation? Do you want them to send you an email? Should they create an account in your customer portal for future use? Be clear and be direct. Help guide your customers, so they know exactly where to go next.
Professional email address
If you aren’t doing it already, make sure you’re using an email address with your domain name, so people are emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and not at yahoo.com or gmail.com, etc.
How your website measures up
How did you do? Could your website use a little light sprucing up or a major overhaul? Whichever it is, taking a month in the summer to take inventory of where your website stands and then fixing any problems you find will pay off in the fall and winter, when you’re doing more business taxes and preparing for “tax season.”