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Here’s Where You Should Be Focusing Your Website Efforts

There are a lot of very pretty websites out there. Some people spend thousands of dollars on design teams measuring every possible aesthetic and the impact it will have on their visitors. The question – do you need to spend equal amounts of money in order for your website to at least compete, if not outperform, the sites of your competition?

The answer is no. When it comes to website design there is one key concept that you should keep in mind – content is 90% of the battle.

As long as your site has a solid stream of helpful information, and visitors can easily find that info, then you’re going to have a successful portal for drawing in new business.

In fact, some businesses have websites that are famously less-than-pretty. But they’ve got it where it counts, and users by the millions keep coming back.

Let’s take a look at some of these ugly ducklings and see if there are any points we can pick up.

Craigslist

It doesn’t get much simpler than Craigslist:

In the main body of the page all you have are the main categories, followed by smaller sub-categories. People come in knowing what they want, find it, put up their post or find the kind of post they’re looking for, and they’re done. Easy.

When you’re setting up your site take on the point of view of your visitors. What information are they most likely to be searching for? Have links to that information be as easy to find as possible. If visitors have to spend more than a minute or so searching then they’re more likely to spend their time hopping to your competitors’ sites.

Craigslist
Ebay

eBay

Nobody is going to accuse eBay of being too pretty, although they have upped their game quite a bit in the past couple of years:

Although it’s more aesthetically pleasing now as compared to yesteryears, the same principle has always applied – get visitors to the things they want to buy as quickly as possible. Hence the drop-down category buttons along the top.

That’s what the entire site is about – people buying and selling things. That’s the heart of it. What is the heart of your firm’s website? If you’re focused on a niche like helping new businesses getting their start, then what services are they going to want from your firm? They’re probably going to be very happy to click on a button that is titled “New business accounting packages” or something of the like.

People are busy – save them time with your website. They’ll appreciate it.

Google

Speaking of keeping it simple:

Visitors to the main Googles sites only have one goal – to search something out.

Again, this goes to the mindset of your visitors. Make up a list of questions that they would have as they visit your site. They’re going to be looking for the services your offer, the niche or industry you focus on (if applicable), easy-to-understand references for terms, how to make an appointment with you, what kind of information they should bring to a meeting, your costs, etc.

When in doubt, ask you existing clients what info they would have liked to have had from you when they were first investigating your firm.

This isn’t to say everything must remain super-simple. Just like with Google, as someone transitions from a visitor to a client (in Google’s case, from a visitor to someone with a  Google account) you can open up new pathways so they can get more in-depth info (in Google’s case, access to all of their online programs like email, website analytics, and so on).

Google Australia

The True Beauty of Websites

The thing that makes a website truly beautiful to a visitor is its value. For accounting firms, this means offering information and competitive services that are easy to find.

All of these elements can absolutely be tweaked with design and professional content writing. But what you have to offer your clients is by far the most important component to consider in your website’s design.

It’s not a matter of being pretty. It’s a matter of delivering on the promise made by your website and by extension your firm as a whole. Keep it simple, and keep it valuable.

Visitors to the main Googles sites only have one goal – to search something out.

Again, this goes to the mindset of your visitors. Make up a list of questions that they would have as they visit your site. They’re going to be looking for the services your offer, the niche or industry you focus on (if applicable), easy-to-understand references for terms, how to make an appointment with you, what kind of information they should bring to a meeting, your costs, etc.

When in doubt, ask you existing clients what info they would have liked to have had from you when they were first investigating your firm.

This isn’t to say everything must remain super-simple. Just like with Google, as someone transitions from a visitor to a client (in Google’s case, from a visitor to someone with a  Google account) you can open up new pathways so they can get more in-depth info (in Google’s case, access to all of their online programs like email, website analytics, and so on).

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