When I conduct client consultative groups for firm a question I ask is whether the clients have visited the visited the firm's website and for what purpose. Sadly the answers are quite depressing. Many have never visited the website and for those that have by far the number one reason is to obtain the firm's telephone number!

The Most Important 10 Seconds in Your Firm!

Then consider this. Research indicates that unless you engage with website visitors in the first 10 seconds they will quickly click off your page and move somewhere else. If the number one reason that people are visiting your website is to get your phone number I suspect it is grabbing people's attention and dragging them into your firm's web shopfront.

I spend quite a bit of time looking at accounting firm websites. The thing that surprises me is how similar they all are. Menu options that talk about our team, our services, contact us. Overviews on the home page that talk about the firm's services and values. To be frank it's difficult to stay awake.

As I wander into lots of firm's websites a pattern became quite obvious. All websites are talking about the firm. They were inward looking out. Few, if any, were outward looking in. In other words, few were taking a client's perspective.

So let's think about this. We have 10 seconds to capture attention before people click off the website. What do we want to achieve. In my mind we want the website visit to engage with us in some way. We want them to register for our newsletter; we want them to book a free consultation; we want them to download a paper of interest; we want them to comment on our blog perhaps or ask a question.

If one has only 10 seconds to capture attention we can't have a lot of words on the home page. People won't read them. Leave the detail to other pages that are displayed once something on the home page has been clicked which indicates that the visitor is interested in a particular topic. The home page should be there to capture attention. What would capture the attention of a prospective client? What would interest them?

Conduct a workshop in your firm and ponder this issue. Clients are looking for a relationship. Some do have testimonials on our home page that show that we are a firm that can be trusted and has clients who commend us. Clients are also looking for solutions to problems. Are you actively addressing these issues on your home page?

Do you have a button that says "How to improve your cash flow"? Do you have a button that says "Protecting your income & assets"? Do you have a button that says "Optimising your tax position". Do you get the idea? The website is now focussed on issues important to the website visitor.

Behind those buttons should be an offer. A call to action. The intention is to ensure that the website visitor engages with you in some way. As a minimum you should be trying to capture their contact details so that you can send your newsletter to them or invite them to seminars. We can take it further though to encourage the visitor to request additional information or even request a meeting.

The world is changing. Yellow Pages is dying. People do enter the word "Accountant" into search engines on a regular basis. People will be landing on your website. What are you doing to maximise the impact on and opportunities from these website visitors?

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David Smith