The perfect bookkeeper website (2 of 5)
4 Common Mistakes Bookkeepers Make on their Websites
Common Mistakes Bookkeepers Make on their Websites is something that you don’t want to do. We have already made many Bookkeeping websites. Because of that, let us do this for you, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We’ve already got wheels that work! 🙂
*This is a Guest Post from my wife, Amy Hooke. (More about Amy here https://thesavvybookkeeper.com.au/amy-hooke/)
In this five part series I’m going to share with you;
- Part 1: Introduction
- Part 2: Mistakes and tips
- Part 3: Website Terms and Types
- Part 4: Costs (and hidden costs)
- Part 5: Portfolio and plans
Here are the common mistakes Bookkeepers make on their websites, and the tips to counteract them;
Mistake # 1 Bookkeepers websites are all the same
The first mistake will become evident to you if you open your browser, type in your suburb followed by the word bookkeeper and hit ENTER. I want you to select the first 5 websites that come up and compare them.
I guarantee you that most of them will be outdated, but that’s not the biggest problem. The big issue is that they all say the same thing!
If any bookkeeper website had a value proposition statement in the background it would be so version of this;
I am a bookkeeper who helps small business owners with their bookkeeping, payroll and bas, so that they can get their weekends back. We take care of the books, and you’re free to take care of your business/family/life.
The big issue is this; think of it from the clients point of view. Imagine you were a client who brought up those 5 websites for bookkeepers in your area. The client can’t see any difference between the sites so what are they going to do? They only have one choice and that is to start trying to compare on price.
As bookkeepers we hate being compared on price because we know it’s not a true indication of value. Yet we present websites that are begging for us to be compared on price because we don’t differentiate ourselves.
Tip # 1 Understand your niche and be yourself
The solution to this is be yourself. This might sound easier that it actually is. It takes time to develop and discover your niche and your value proposition, and to develop your marketing copy around and brand around this. It can even take years; but it will never happen if you don’t start.
Once you know your true purpose and your business mission and values, you will be able to communicate this with your potential clients anywhere, including on your website.
Imagine your value proposition was more like;
Ever wished you could just hit the “delete” button, or a magic “file” button on the paper-clutter lying around your office? Maybe you’ve been secretly planning to sweep it all away into the bin and go on holidays. Don’t do it! We can help!
Or how about…
Having trouble finding your desk? Where is that piece of paper you’re looking for; it’s got to be here somewhere! There is nothing worse that being overwhelmed and unorganised, because it robs you of your peace of mind, clarity and ability to create.
This conversational, laid back value proposition gets into the client world and speaks there language. It’s natural.
The best place to start is to evaluate your value proposition; your identity, people, mission and purpose. Here’s a helpful format;
I am a………..(identity)
To do / understand ….. (mission)
So that they can….. (purpose)
There’s no perfect answer, but starting to look and try this will make a huge difference.
Mistake # 2 Bookkeepers websites are to wordy and full of jargon
If a client is looking for clarity in their finances, but they can’t understand your website, they will doubt you can help them.
This common theme you will notice when you bring up those 5 websites is going to be the jargon. Often we miss it because we are bookkeepers, we use this language every day. But unfortunately normal people don’t have a clue what it means.
Reconciliations, compliance, registrations, balance sheets, p and l’s, activity statements, tax practitioners board, bas agent.
Of course you need to mention these things, but you need to say things in a simple way. The other thing that I would put into this category is making the website very wordy and cluttered. It makes it hard for the client to read and they will likely just give up by the first sentence.
Too many moving parts like sliders, or flashing things can also be annoying causing them to close the browser.
Tip # 2 Be clear, concise and speak in every day language
Keep it simple.
Clarity attracts. Confusion repels. The more clear, concise and straightforward you can be, the better.
Use short sentences, every day language and lots of space around your words is attractive. Breaking up the words with pictures makes your site easy on the eyes. Your goal is not to try to cram a novel onto to your site. You don’t need to tell them everything, just enough to make them want to contact you.
Save your lengthy content for your blog! This can increase your authority with Google.
Mistake # 3 Bookkeepers website are all about them
This leads me to the third common mistake I see in our industry. A lot of bookkeepers’ websites are full of boasting how qualified, clever, and organised they are. Many websites focus on showing off membership and software logos, client testimonials and pictures of your team. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with putting these logos, testimonials or your staff on your site for credibility, that’s not what I’m talking about.
The thing is the client needs to know if and how you can help them. It’s easy to think that talking yourself up will make the want to hire you but it can work in the opposite way because they will leave your site not feeling sure you care.
Tip # 3 Your website needs to be all about your client
The big tip here is to relate everything back to them. If you display an ABN (Australian Bookkeepers Network) logo ask yourself “Do I actually use my membership?” If not, why have it there. If you do use it, then ask yourself “How does this help the client?”
Try to word your paragraphs and sentences so that, even if you begin by saying something about yourself or your business, finish that sentence with how that will benefit them or solve their problems.
Show that you care and understand what the client needs, not just tell them how fantastic you are.
Mistake # 4 Bookkeepers try to do it themselves
Now you might think that because I’m a website designer and I’d love to work with you, that I’m saying this to trick you. Honestly I’m not.
Think about this familiar scenario;
Remember the last time your client said to you “but bookkeeping is easy, I can do it myself. Plus I want to save money.” And you inwardly cringed and then replied “If you do it yourself it will cost you in the long run”. The client refused to believe you and said “But I want to do it myself anyway”.
The client went ahead and tried to do their own bookkeeper for a month. You were right! You had to fix their mistakes. And it cost them more that if you had done it yourself, and they were annoyed with you, and left to find another bookkeeper. How annoying?!
It’s no different with websites.
I’m not saying you can’t DIY. Actually I’ve seen some bookkeepers websites of those who have done it themselves and they have done a fantastic job. The website looks beautiful.
So I’m not saying “You have to pay me or someone else otherwise your website will be terrible”. I’m going to outline in the next section the things you haven’t thought of. There are lots of things to know about a website that a pro can help you with that you cannot possibly do on your own.
You don’t just want a pretty website; you want a website that works. You want a website that generates business for you!
Tip # 4 Seek advice or help from a professional
A professional can help you with professional marketing copy (copywriting) to help you sell your services, SEO (search engine optimisation) and also to design the layout and flow of your website to make sure you client always knows where to go next.
Your website may look fantastic if you do it yourself, and perhaps you enjoy writing and enjoy selling. But most bookkeepers don’t enjoy that. You may manage to choose some good pictures and it may look very nice.
But what about the back end stuff? SEO? Keyword planning and research?
How are you going to get new potential clients to find your site if you’re not even appearing on Google search or on the Maps? Do you know how to do all this yourself. Most people don’t.
So those who have done a good job visually may find they need to hire a professional copywriter and SEO person. And that alone can cost well upward of $1000.
Common Mistakes Bookkeepers Make on their Websites isn’t something you need to do!
I know that you will benefit from these Posts, your expertise is in doing Bookkeeping, BAS Lodgement, Tax Reconciliations, etc. You don’t need to learn a new field of skills, you are already busy enough. Because of this, follow our advise and leverage the expertise we have already learnt by putting in to practice what these 5 posts teach. As a result, you will avoid the common mistakes Bookkeepers make on their websites.
You will be glad that you did!
Continue to Part 3: Website Terms and Types
Go back to Part 1: Introduction