- Written by Joshua Fluegel
Attracting new clients must always be in the forefront of a tax professional’s thoughts. Gone are the days of placing an ad in the newspaper a couple of months before tax season and seeing a steady inflow of new clients as a result. To attract clients online the tax professional must be online as well. The checklist below offers some helpful hints that will help your website receive more traffic and keep your tax practice flourishing:
Evaluate Your Existing Site
_____ What are the successes and failures of your existing site? Gather a few people to get an honest evaluation of your existing site.
_____ Write three successes and three failures.
_____ Then write down your dreams and goals for the new site.
Does It Grab Your Attention?
_____ Do you think visitors remember your site?
_____ Does it have something that gets attention and is memorable?
_____ If he/she does not bookmark your site, what will get them back?
You should give your visitor something to remember so that he can find his way back to your site. Write one thing that will be remembered about your site.
_____ Who is the target audience?
_____ Decide whom you want to target with the site.
_____ Who is your customer or audience? Try and get into their shoes and think like they think. What are their needs or points of interest? How can they be served?
_____ List the top three categories of people. Write three one-sentence descriptions of different people in your target audience. Then write a few words that might interest these people and cause them to respond to your site.
Theme and ‘Look and Feel’
_____ What is the mood or emotion that you want to communicate?
_____ Decide on the overall theme and "look and feel" of the site. For example: humor, professional, academic, family or technical.
_____ Write three adjectives to describe the way you want your site to feel. _____ _____ _____
Trust and Credibility
_____ What will make your visitor believe you? Imagine going into an automobile repair shop. What is it that gives you a sense of trust that your car will be repaired correctly? A quality site that does what it says it is going to do will help. Well-written content also adds credibility. Testimonies by reputable people or companies are perhaps the best way to establish creditability.
Analyze Popular Pages
_____ Look at your site statistics and carefully examine the popularity of the pages. You may need to redesign the site so that the pages that you want visited are the most popular. There will always be pages at the bottom of the list but your goal should be to make sure that the important pages are not at the bottom.
Analyze Visitors’ Actions
_____ Are your visitors coming back and are they spending time at your site? If your visitors are not returning or they are only spending a few seconds at your site then something is wrong. A good site statistics program or service will help you know what your visitors are doing.
_____ Do your visitors feel they are visiting an active site? Visiting a site that was last updated in 1996 is a sure way to lose visitor trust. When redesigning the website build in ways to keep it fresh, but keep in mind that publishing dates can work against you. You don’t want to be worrying about updating a website in the middle of tax season.
Search Engine Optimization
_____ Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a Web site from search engines via "natural" ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results. Typically, the higher a site's "page rank" (i.e, the earlier it comes in the search results list), the more visitors it will receive from the search engine. SEO can also target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, and industry-specific vertical search engines.
As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work and what people search for. Optimizing a Web site primarily involves editing its content and HTML coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines.