Who has a web site?

FitzFitz Settling In NicelyRegistered Posts: 23
As with most MIP's the vast majority of my new clients are from word of mouth recommendations, therefore I have not felt the need to have a web site to help advertise my work. However, I would be interested to hear from MIP's who have websites - do they consider them to be a useful marketing tool? Do they generate new clients? Were they expensive to set up?

Comments

  • jiltjilt Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 2,903
    Hi Fitz, I have a website and have received quite a few new clients through it. I think it all depends where your location is, how many accountancy practices there are etc etc but it has worked for me. If you get plenty of work through word of mouth then maybe you simply don't need one.

    Mine wasn't expensive no, but that's because my husband designed and built it I'm afraid.
  • MonsoonMonsoon Font Of All Knowledge FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 4,069
    My website is invaluable, but I am based in a small town with few other nearby accountants.

    Nowadays, a lot of people will type "accountant mytown" into google - and having a good website that gets on page 1 is important. It's pretty easy to rank well on google if you have little competition and do a little research into SEO.

    I'm surprised some people don't have websites, especially startups.

    I'd also say if you're going to do it, then spend the money (or have a web-designer hubby!) and do a good one. A cheap looking website won't do you any favours.
  • groundygroundy Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 495
    We have a website but purely as a point of reference. We attract the odd client from it but we only went ahead with it as a client offered to do it on the cheap.

    90% of our new business is from referrals and we get plenty so don't feel the need to spend money on advertising.
  • MonsoonMonsoon Font Of All Knowledge FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 4,069
    I just did a quick tot-up of current clients:

    My 4 sources of business:

    Referrals 30%
    Advertising 25%
    Website 20%
    Social networking 25%

    Caveats to that: A lot of the "advertising" categories are older clients from before I had a website, so if I did the same exercise on clients I've picked up in the last few years, the % would be very different, I'm sure.
    Obviously, the website clients are in the last few years (only launched a site in 2009!!!)

    That was an interesting exercise, thank you :)

    Aside from the website and one local directory, we don't pay for advertising either.
  • deanshepherddeanshepherd Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 1,809
    In my humble opinion, a good website is an ESSENTIAL part of your marketing plan. Once you have a reasonable number of clients then, I agree, referrals should become your biggest source of new work BUT if you are not at that stage yet OR you are serious about growing your practice quickly then you are turning away huge numbers of prospects by not having a website.

    Sign up for the next AcademyForGrowth web site success formula webinar. It's well worth watching.
  • FitzFitz Settling In Nicely Registered Posts: 23
    Thanks Monsoon - your stats make interesting reading!

    Monsoon wrote: »
    I just did a quick tot-up of current clients:

    My 4 sources of business:

    Referrals 30%
    Advertising 25%
    Website 20%
    Social networking 25%

    Caveats to that: A lot of the "advertising" categories are older clients from before I had a website, so if I did the same exercise on clients I've picked up in the last few years, the % would be very different, I'm sure.
    Obviously, the website clients are in the last few years (only launched a site in 2009!!!)

    That was an interesting exercise, thank you :)

    Aside from the website and one local directory, we don't pay for advertising either.
  • BobJollyBobJolly New Member Registered Posts: 10
    Just recently I sold my practice. Now at 73 I am helping my purchaser to get more clients.

    I had forgotten how slow and difficult this all was. Without doubt you get more clients from referrals. No websites in my early days, but I cannot believe that this would ever get you started. I once advertised in Yellow Pages (the old fashioned website I suppose) for about 4 years and I didn't get one phone call from it.

    Not that I have ever done this myself, but the quickest and smart way to get a portfolio of clients is to buy a clutch from some overworked local person or retiree.

    Look at things the other way round, if you had an accountant that had looked after you for years and years, would you simply turf him/her and go to some unknown and untested? Now the irony is that I can (or could) get more clients in my own name than I can than in the name of the lady that took me over. Yet, in the narrow world of our accountancy profession, she (an FCCA) is we are led to believe more qualified than me (an FMAAT). Hope she doesn't read this!!

    At the end of things I ended up with more than 200 personal clients and 15 limited companies. A good 90% from word of mouth. Just about the right number for a sole practitioner to handle with a bit of outside help.

    Bob
  • Paul CPaul C Well-Known Registered Posts: 193
    A great post Bob, very interesting (thanks) :-)

    I seem to have got some lovely clients this year from the oddest of places - business cards in free places really. Cafe's, chip shops (blushing) and supermarket boards, all free......I plan to try a local paper in January (a free monthly paper that has a "dial the experts" section, its delivered to 62,000 local homes per month, advert is £90 for 6 months).
  • NeilEThereNeilEThere Just Joined Registered Posts: 4
    Nowadays for me the prospects come from almost half and half recommendation and half Google/possibly Yell/"err, just saw you on teh interweb". This year will be our last in the dead tree Yellow Pages - it just about pays for itself, but the money would be better spent on revamping our website. The website was something I did myself partly as a hobby a few years ago (being of the 80's write-it-yourself BASIC generation, playing with HMTL//PHP was actually rather fun).

    Interestingly on the recommendation front, this week we picked up a '5th degree' recommendation - i.e. a recommendation from a recommendation from a recommendation, etc ... going back to a client we first got about five years ago (can't remember if via the web or YP).

    So next year it'll be a new website, and we'll be looking into electronic document exchange (dropbox, etc) and electronic signing.

    Back to the original question: suffice to say for me it's a big yes to having a website. The way things are going it's not just a form of advertising, but can be an integral part of the service.
  • burgburg Experienced Mentor GloucesterModerator, FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,440
    WE also have a website.

    From our current client list the various sources are:-

    Referrals - 40%
    Website - 55%
    Other Adverts - 5%

    In the last 12 months our sources have been:-

    Referrals - 32%
    Website - 68%

    Our website clearly brings us in quite a lot of new business but it depends on your area. The area our offices are in works well with a website but the area in which I live does not as we have tried to target that area and with little results.

    As for other forms of advertising we have tried a few such as Yellow Pages, Parish Mags, local papers, shop windows but most have little or no return.

    I believe a website is great for attracting new clients but I always check someone out online before I buy a product or service and if they don't have a website or one that tells me what I want then I very often won't buy.
    Regards,

    Burg
  • esimpsesimps Settling In Nicely Registered Posts: 15
    I also have a website and this is the main source of new business for me. We are slightly different as we only operate 100% online. You must remember to promote your website after setting it up so potential clients know your site exists.

    You can start up a free website by signing up to "Getting Bristish Businesses Online".
  • GuestGuest Feels At Home Registered Posts: 73
    Wow, that is cheap, can I sub out all my jobs to you next year!
  • MonsoonMonsoon Font Of All Knowledge FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 4,069
    Esimps, you wouldn't have been 'inspired' by Elaine Clark of www.cheapaccounting.co.uk by any chance, would you?
  • paulstaffordpaulstafford Feels At Home Registered Posts: 126
    Check out my new website www.cheapestaccountant.co.uk Prices start from 99p for sole traders and £1.99 for Ltd companies.

    :001_smile:
  • deanshepherddeanshepherd Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 1,809
    www.cheaperaccountant.co.uk

    This can't be for real?!

    Loving the SEO work though, Emma.
  • esimpsesimps Settling In Nicely Registered Posts: 15
    Check out my new website www.cheapestaccountant.co.uk Prices start from 99p for sole traders and £1.99 for Ltd companies.

    :001_smile:

    Now that is cheap! :001_smile:
  • esimpsesimps Settling In Nicely Registered Posts: 15
    www.cheaperaccountant.co.uk

    This can't be for real?!

    Loving the SEO work though, Emma.

    Thanks. The company is very real and we're very popular with our small business clients.
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