Guest blog by Matt McFedries of PracticePlus
With growth in cloud accounting and add-on software, bookkeepers can look to new opportunities. Modern bookkeeping signals new opportunities in Xero conversion, software consulting, training, and add-on implementation. These can provide a welcome change and a higher potential income than traditional bookkeeping. And crucial to this is a rethink of marketing and website needs.
Founder of Jill of All Trades Gillian Rossouw (Jill), from Australia’s Gold Coast, is a leading advocate for bookkeepers diversifying their services. The majority of client enquiries she receives now are for Xero conversion and add-on implementation. “I don’t have the time to take on bookkeeping work any more.”
Compared to accounting firms, bookkeepers are often smaller and can be more nimble. They’re often quicker to adapt to change and more willing to take leaps into uncharted territory. This can be a benefit for many accountants. Partnering with bookkeepers can provide them with instant capacity and capability for Xero conversions and add-on implementation.
Richard Perry from Sempre Business Consulting told me that working with Jill has allowed them to offer a more comprehensive service to our clients from Xero conversions to finding and implementing the best add-ons for their business. “It means we can remain focused on our core business, knowing that Jill is keeping up-to-date with the technology and the latest Xero conversion options.”
Website change case study
This shift in focus for bookkeepers requires a change in marketing approach, in particular of the content and structure of their websites. Jill engaged us (PracticePlus) to redesign her website from the ground up to reflect her new business model.
Beyond the excitement of a ground-up website redesign, this was a great opportunity to re-imagine what a modern bookkeeping website could look like, getting inside Jill’s head to understand the priorities of her business.
What we did know is that her target audience of small businesses around Australia were extremely time poor, with little tolerance for long-winded service descriptions and unclear navigation. So her new website had to be extremely efficient at communicating what services were on offer and why Jill of All Trades was the best choice for moving their business to the Cloud.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO was also an important factor and needs to be “baked in” from the beginning, influencing both the page content and site plan. It’s no coincidence that if you optimize the design of your website to meet the search needs of your visitors, then you’ll indirectly be optimizing it for Google at the same time.
Google is all about providing the best possible user experience for its users and one way they do that is by prioritising sites that are fast to load, mobile-friendly and designed to help visitors find what they’re looking for, fast. Remember “search” does not end at Google, it continues on your website until a visitor finds what they’re looking for.
The new website did away with the slideshows that a lot of websites use and instead focused on providing visitors with quick navigation options to the main services on offer. The heatmap report below shows the hotspots where visitors are actually clicking on the home page. The more red the spot, the more clicks.
It’s been five weeks since the launch of Jill’s new website. Jill advises that the number of enquiries are up by 300%, but even better, the quality of enquiries has improved – the majority of enquiries are for Xero conversion, training and add-on implementation, which is exactly what she is looking to do.
Top tips – redesigning a bookkeeping website
- Start by getting really clear on the 3-4 main services you want to offer then prioritise these in your new website design and navigation. It’s better for your visitors and for Google.
- Don’t try and say everything on your home page, it’ll end up cluttered and actually turn people away. Instead focus on making it a pleasant experience for your visitors, create space and drive home the value you offer. Give people a reason to click further.
- Your website is a constant work in progress. Even in the five weeks since launch we’ve made subtle tweaks to improve the usability of Jill’s website based on feedback from website analytics reports. And we’ll keep tuning things to increase the conversion rate over time.
- Work with a marketing strategist or web designer that can help you get to the crux of the value you offer and explain it clearly on your website. If you cram your website with too many poorly chosen words you’ll confuse and lose visitors in seconds. Instead make it super easy for people to figure out what you offer and why they should choose you over your competitors. That’s what your website is for.