CPA Practice Advisor

OCT 2018

Today's Technology for Tomorrow's Firm.

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OCTOBER 2018 ■ 13 WEBSITE BUILDERS: REVIEW By Mary Girsch-Bock First Impressions Matter Years ago, a client’s first impression of your firm likely took place in the lobby or reception area of your firm. Today, most people will visit your website long before they visit your office. Is your website up to the task? The truth is, the average website visit is less than one minute in length, with users typically deciding in that time frame whether or not to explore the website further. In fact, the decision to stay on a website is typically decided within the first 10 seconds on the site: not a lot of time to make that good first impression. Users cite slow loading time, a confusing layout, and information overload as some of the reasons why they leave a website. So, what can you do to increase visitor traffic and more importantly, get those visitors to stay on your website and perhaps engage with your firm? ■ Create great content relevant to your firm in an easy-to-read format. If web visitors are unsure what to read first, they’ll likely not read anything at all. Make it easy for them to stay. ■ Change it up. Visitors want to see something new on your site. If it looks stagnant and unchanged from year to year, there is no incentive for them to return. ■ Create an offer that gets visitors engaged. A free financial newsletter, a free consultation, a free eBook to download – everyone likes free things. And the longer they remain on your site, the greater chance that they’ll request further interaction, or even make an appointment. ■ Offer a way for visitors to remain engaged, such as a blog or the option to follow your firm on Facebook or Twitter. ■ Make sure your website is mobile friendly. People under 35 in particular are likely to access your website from their smartphone or tablet. Make sure it’s optimally designed for them as well. If all of this sounds a little overwhelming, the goods news is that there are a variety of products available that make it easy to create and manage your website. To make your life a little easier, we’ve reviewed several in this issue including: ■ CCH Site Builder from Wolters Kluwer ■ CPA Site Solutions ■ Integer from Tenenz ■ Web Builder CS from Thomson Reuters ■ Website Relief from AccountantsWorld While the products above offer a do-it-yourself approach, there are also custom website builders who specialize in building websites for accountants and CPAs. While not rated, nor included in the features chart below, these products are worth a second look if you want to farm out the entire website creation process. These products include: ■ Build Your Firm Accounting Website Packages ■ CPAsites ■ GetNetSet Websites for Accounting Firms Either option offers advantages and disadvantages, so you’ll have to make the decision for yourself whether you have the time and/or the manpower to create and maintain a website in-house, or whether a custom option would work best. Today, a website is a must. Fortunately, there are products and services available to ensure that your website is engaging, informative, and professional in appearance. ■ Mary Girsch-Bock specializes in business and technology issues and is the author of several HR handbooks, training manuals, and other publications. She can be reached at ALL INCLUSIVE Build Your Firm Accounting Website Packages Build Your Firm Accounting Website Packages offers a variety of web building solutions for accounting firms of any size. Build Your Firm offers three different types of website plans: the Premier Plan, the Niche Plan, and the Custom Plan, which is best suited for mid-sized to larger firms that are looking for a completely customized website. The Premier plan does not charge a setup fee, so monthly hosting is the only charge firms would pay. The Niche plan is for firms that specialize in a particular niche, with setup fees starting at $500. The Custom plan is the most comprehensive, with a setup charge of $1,750. Professional level hosting starts at $83.33 per month, Platinum Level hosting costs $99.95 per month, and Platinum Plus hosting costs $299.95 per month. Read the full review for this product online at: 12428968 4.5 2018 OVERALL RATING MULTIPLE TEMPLATES AVAILABLE DEFAULT PAGES INCLUDED AUTOMATED CONTENT AVAILABLE DOMAIN MANAGEMENT & BRANDED EMAILS MAKE IN-HOUSE CHANGES ADD BANNERS, SLIDES & ANIMATION CUSTOM DESIGN OPTIONS ADDITIONAL FUNCTIONS (PORTALS, BLOGS) SUPPORT OPTIONS SOCIAL MEDIA OPTIONS SEO & MARKETING DO-IT-YOURSELF ACCOUNTANTSWORLD WEBSITE RELIEF X X X X X X X X X X X CCH SITE BUILDER X X X X X X X X X* X X CPA SITE SOLUTIONS X X X X X X X X X X X INTEGER (FORMERLY AFSB) X X X X X X X** X X X WEB BUILDER CS X X X X X X X X X X X ALL INCLUSIVE BUILD YOUR FIRM X X X X X X X X X CPASITES X X X** X X X X X X GETNETSET X X X X** X X X X X X *ADDITIONAL MODULE REQUIRED **LIMITED

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