4 Simple Ways to Boost Your Online Presence
It’s important for any CPA firm to have a strong presence online. According to Local Search Usage Study: Bridging the Caps, From Search to Sales, 70% of consumers go online first for local business information. Are potential clients finding your firm? Not only do you want to be easy to find in cyberspace, but you also want to present yourself as an expert and trusted financial advisor. A simple website is a start, but is not enough to give you an edge in today’s competitive environment. In order to find new clients, and keep the ones you already have, focus your efforts on ways to boost your online presence. I have found that even small efforts go a long way toward a more prolific online presence.
Here are four steps to raise your online credibility and widen your client base in the process.
- Crosslink to other sites. No website is an island- or, at least, it never should be. One of the best ways to increase traffic to your website and bump up your page rank on search engines like Google is by linking to other sites, and having those sites link to you. This can range from writing a guest blog post for another site, to including your financial services in an online directory. Be sure that the webpages where you place your link and those you choose to include on your site are relevant to your business. Adding links that are unrelated to your website can actually hurt your site’s traffic and page rank. Seek out specific cross-linking opportunities that will benefit both sites. I’ve found that sites related to accounting regulations, tax assistance and local business organizations provide excellent opportunities for crosslinking.
- Apply SEO principles to your site. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of using specific keywords or phrases in order to drive traffic to your website. Consider spending some money and hire an SEO expert to analyze your site and make suggestions on how to improve your keyword density to bring in more unsolicited visitors. You can also do research of your own, take an SEO course or read one of the many consumer books on SEO and apply basic principles based on what you learn. Using online resources, I have taught myself the basics of SEO, increasing internet traffic flow to my website.
- Inform visitors. Another great way to drive traffic to your site is by providing more than just the contact information for you or your business. Online directories are an ideal place to list “the basics” of what you offer and how you can be contacted, so use your site for more meaningful content. I have a blog component on my site that I update with new material on a weekly basis. Consider writing a blog yourself, adding a video component that you update with industry information or creating a place where you answer common financial questions from clients. People who are searching for the information you provide on your site will not only find answers, but they will also learn more about your business and services in the process.
- Utilize social media. You likely already have personal social media pages on popular sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. If you have not taken the step to create separate professional accounts, take the time to do it. You may or may not want your clients to see your personal profiles. The AICPA has produced comprehensive social media guides to help members get started.
SueEllen Brantley, CPA, Audit Senior Associate, Grant Thornton. SueEllen is a Florida licensed CPA and is a member of the Florida Young CPAs and AICPA. She is a graduate of the University of Central Florida and its Masters in Taxation program. SueEllen has more than five years of public accounting experience including audit and taxation for both public and privately held companies.
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