As the online face of your business, we can all agree that your accounting firm's website deserves meticulous attention in its design and functionality.
But what if we told you that the design and performance of your website doesn't really come down to the website itself, but rather the platform it's built on?
9 times out of 10, this is the case.
We can't tell you how many websites we've taken over that simply weren't "marketable" due to the limitations of the website builder.
That's why one of the most important choices you make when it comes to starting your website is choosing the website builder itself.
In today's post, we're going to cover which website builders you should consider for your accounting website and which ones to stay away from.
Before we get started, there are things to keep in mind when considering your next website builder:
- How easy is it to use?
- How will I manage content?
- How much flexibility do I have to make changes?
- How fast will the website be?
- Will the platform hinder my ability to generate leads?
And most importantly…
- Does this website builder provide excellent SEO functionality?
We recommend looking for a website builder that is simple to use, easy to maintain, and one that offers excellent search engine optimization (SEO) for rankings.
Here is our simple but in-depth review of the 3 website builders for accounting firms we recommend. (And the one we don't!)
Let's jump in.
1. Website Builder For Accountants: Webflow
Webflow merits the #1 spot for the best accounting website builder for two major reasons. First, it offers the highest level of customization without requiring you to know how to code.
Webflow uses a visual editor, which lets you use drag & drop functionality to work all the elements required to build an intuitive website.
As you design, Webflow automatically generates the website code as you go.
How cool, right?
Secondly, Webflow offers advanced SEO features not seen in other builders:
- Directions for easy-to-implement schema markup for local businesses & blogs
- Automatic sitemaps, which help search engines find and index your web pages
- The ability to customize Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, URLs, alt tags, and other metadata
- Responsiveness out of the box - meaning your site will be mobile-friendly
Here are some other important Webflow features to consider:
The design element of Webflow is one of our favorite features of the platform. Webflow comes with hundreds, if not thousands, of crowdsourced templates that make designing your website a breeze.
The best part is most Webflow templates are built on modern web development best practices, meaning you don't need to worry about whether you're doing it right. Simply swap in your branding to have your very own professionally created website without the blood, sweat and tears of traditional website development.
The platform will cost you $20 a month for the basic CMS site (content management system) with 3 content editors, up to 100 pages, 200GB of CDN bandwidth. There are also more expensive Business and Enterprise options if your firm requires it.
Ease of Use
Despite its high-level performance, Webflow is very easy to use. While you will want to hire a website designer for the initial set-up, maintenance from that point onwards couldn't be easier.
With Webflow, you won't spend gobs of money every time you decide to change your website, or simply want to add an additional page.
Webflow also takes care of other important steps such as security, versioning (for backup), updates, and more, meaning you can stop worrying about the maintenance side of things.
As a SaaS website builder platform, Webflow offers the fastest hosting we have seen. You can get load speeds of approximately 1s, which is made possible by the use of Amazon's world-class AWS cloud services.
Webflow Cons and Verdict:
Because Webflow is the best new website builder on the block, Webflow-specific developers are charging a premium for their skill. Finding a reasonably affordable Webflow developer to get your website up and going may be tough. (Unless you use Markology of course.)
Its lack of live chat or phone support can also keep you stuck for hours.
Overall, however, Webflow is a powerful platform with top performance and hosting capabilities. It enables you to create really cool websites and make changes on the fly. Better yet, it's built with cutting edge technology, you won't have to change your website again for years to come.
We give it a 5/5.
2. Website Builder For Accountants: Duda
Duda is a unique choice because it was designed specifically for professional agencies and companies.
In fact, it's one of marketing agencies' best kept secrets.
Duda enables agencies to build premium sites quickly and easily, even allowing you to import content from existing sites.
But while Duda was built for agencies, you don't need to be an agency to reap the benefits of the platform.
Like Webflow, Duda relies on an intuitive visual editor for easy website design. You can set your new website up and running quickly with pre-built sections like testimonials, FAQs, pricing plans, etc.
In fact, its drag-and-drop visual editor makes even Webflow look difficult. With Webflow, you will need a base level knowledge of coding to get started. With Duda, you can get by with having zero coding experience at all.
Duda also comes with tons of inbuilt and customizable templates.
While we don't love the template options as much as Webflow, there are still pretty great options to choose from.
Other important features which Duda offers include:
Fast AWS-Powered Hosting
Duda is hosted on Amazon Web Services. That's why it offers fast and easily scalable hosting, as well as near-perfect uptimes. As with Webflow, all you need to do is purchase a custom domain and Duda takes care of the rest.
Duda comes with an in-built set of powerful SEO functionality, including:
- Responsive design and templates
- Google PageSpeed optimization - this is important!
- You can customize alt titles, metadata, URLs, and meta descriptions
- Inbuilt 301 redirects and sitemaps
- It comes inbuilt with Local Business Schema for local SEO business setup.
Duda's pricing plans were created to benefit agencies, or companies wanting to create more than one website. However, it still remains competitive for single business users, with individual websites starting at $22 a month for a Team Plan. As with Webflow, this price includes hosting and maintenance.
Duda Cons and Verdict:
We love Duda for its easy of use and hassle-free maintenance. It is the best builder on the market in terms of ease-of-use and SEO functionality. You'll never have to worry about your website being too slow or negatively impacting search results. There is a reason why marketing agencies love it.
However, in-depth customization is not the platform's strong suit. In fact, if the widget or design style you want is not already built into Duda's platform, it can be quite complex to build.
Additionally, the pre-made templates are not as engaging or innovative as Webflow's. When using Duda, we usually start from scratch. Therefore, if a complex website is what you are after, you might want to consider our #3 choice below.
We give it a 4/5.
3. Website Builder For Accountants: Wordpress
Last but not least, let's talk about Wordpress. This is a website builder that everyone should be familiar with.
The power of WordPress as a website platform for accountants is its powerful customization options, robust CMS, and immense flexibility. However, it is fast losing popularity because of its complexity.
Here at Markology, we only use Wordpress on rare occasions, simply because there are better options out there when it comes to to SEO-functionality, ease-of-use, and hosting.
Let's break down the features:
When it comes to design, the sky is really the limit with Wordpress. However, you will definitely require an experienced developer to create and maintain your site for you. Every time you need to add a new page or change up design, you'll need the help of the developer. As you can imagine, it can become costly and time-consuming to maintain.
Unlike hosted SaaS platforms like Webflow, WordPress requires you to take care of your own hosting, security, updating, backups, and more. This can be a headache for some business owners who aren't familiar with these topics. Additionally, you won't get the lightning fast speed that comes with Webflow and Duda with any of the Wordpress hosting options.
WordPress pricing is also hard to predict. You can easily spend tens of thousands upfront on complex development, but you can also spend as little as $2.95 a month for hosting and use free templates, plugins, and themes to get a basic site running. It really comes down to how you use Wordpress and the hosting you choose.
We're not Wordpress bashers—even if it may seem that way. WordPress is perfect for those who need a highly customized, complex site with lots of functionality, pages, and integrations.
However, accountants just don't need it. The customizations that come with Wordpress aren't worth the headaches, especially when there are better options available these days. They can easily slow down your website and kill SEO.
If you're an accountant in need of a new website, we strongly recommend going with one of the first two on our list, unless there is a unique reason not to.
We give it a 3/5.
What NOT to Use As a Website Builder for Accounting Firms
Now that we've covered our top 3 recommendations for website builders, let's talk about what we don't recommend.
For any reason...
Choose a templated website company that's marketed as "made for accountants".
It's the worst builder you can choose if you're planning to grow your visibility online and attract new clients.
There are many reasons why we advise against these types of companies, but here are the main ones to know:
- These platforms offer zero flexibility and customization options - you are stuck with a very restrictive platform with little to no room for development changes. This is a nightmare for marketing campaigns and best practice User Experience.
- You don't own the website; their business model has you more or less leasing the site! Popular in the 1990s, It astounds us that this operating model is still around in 2021. You want to own the content on your website... it's yours!
- Horrible for SEO. Despite some of these services offering completely custom services, SEO remains a big weakness for them. They simply don't have the functionality built into their platform to get you to the top of Google. Don't fall for any company who says otherwise.
- The templates and content you get are all painfully generic. It put users off from the first point of interaction. Remember, your website is the first impression you give clients online. You want to make it memorable.
- You have limited ability to make site changes in the future. If you'd like to add interactive guides, e-Books, landing pages and more, you simply won't be able to. In fact, we know that most marketing agencies simply won't work with you.
If it sounds like we're being harsh, it's because we are. Many of these companies are out to make a quick buck with little to no care put into your business.
Like every other small business, you should build a website on a cutting-edge platform and hire expert marketers to help grow your business. Not ex-accountants.
If you have a question about your website builder that we haven't covered here today, feel free to send us an email anytime. We're always happy to help.
Until next time!