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  1. #26
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    Maybe I'm missing the point of the thread - apologies if I am. If your client is an accountant, it's entirely possible that a website is just not a good tool to gain custom. Accountants and other similar professional service providers need to pound the phones and network with other local business people to gain a client base. A website is never going to get them their customers. Professional service providers thrive on personal and business relationships, which don't come from promotion via the web.
    In this respect, the website could be great - there may be no problems at all with it. It could be that the website is just a marker, a place where a potential client can go to find out more about the guy who came to see them, or called them, or gave them his business card.
    If he was offering something like custom printed t-shirts with the photo of your choice, then I would say yes, absolutely, the web is the way to go. For an accountant though, I would consider the website as nothing more than a supporting tool, a presence and place for people to go to find their phone number etc.

  2. #27
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    Agree with cmdweb. An accountant (or any professional) is someone you have to trust. Meeting that person is the least you need before you can build a little trust. Or hearing from a friend that he is a good accountant. You don't just google for an accountant and go with the first few results. Finding an accountant is not the same as finding a second-hand $30 widget. At least that's what's my opinion is.

    Certainly being number one for a certain search term can bring you traffic and clients. But as said before, you're competing in a difficult competitive market. Do you know how well the website is ranking for different search terms? Does it end up in the first results? If the website isn't anywhere near the first page, it is - practically - invisible.

    Not to say the website is not important. It is! But in the process above, the website is something which should reaffirm the potential client that the accountant is a professional. So the accountant meets a few people, talks to them briefly and makes a good impression. Hands out his business card (again, nicely designed and professionally printed). Only then might the potential clients visit the website to reaffirm what they already learned about the accountant.

    So in a sense I (partly) disagree with a previous poster that word-of-mouth is not important and it's everything about advertising. I'd say there is no better advertising then word-of-mouth. However, this process takes time. After talking to someone and handing out a business card it might take weeks, months or even longer before that person follows up. Or it goes like this: the accountant makes a good impression on someone (person A). That person then talks to someone else a year later (person B). Person B needs an accountant. Person A remembers the accountant: "wait, last year I met an accountant who seemed OK. Let me see if I can find his business card".

    Of course, you can't be sitting around waiting for this process to happen. It will be hard work. And advertising in all different kinds of ways could play a role in this process. And the website, its content and design are important. But in the end the website is only a (small) part of the total.

  3. #28
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    No one had said that word of mouth is not important. But with many if not practically all products and services, advertising is needed.

    Many, many, MANY who have tried free methods, like also message boards, have found out the hard way.

    A lot of brick and mortar and online businesses have bit the dust.

  4. #29
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    To get any meaningful feedback you will have to post a link to the site. If that leads to any inappropriate requests for information you can simply refuse to answer them. But all the info on the site is already public.

    Who knows, maybe someone reading this forum lives in the area and is looking for an accountant.

    Have you made a Google Places entry for his office (linking to the site)?

    Or on any of the many business search sites. I often come across sites while looking for something that have the "Is this your business" link to add/correct information.

    Has he joined his local chamber of commerce? or other business / neighborhood associations.

    Is he a good speaker? He could put together targeted programs for various groups. Clubs/Societies/Associations are always looking for speakers. You could even mention it on his site that he is available to speak to groups.

    What about the guerrilla marketing technique of slipping business cards into appropriate topic books at local bookstores and libraries.

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleDee View Post
    How in the world do you get people to visit your website and then get those same people to return with their friends?!
    Dear Debbie, there is good news and bad news.
    The good news is that the answer and solution are both simple. And that is not just rethoric, I have improved the traffic to my website dramatically on a complete zero budget approach.
    The bad news is that you probably won't like the answer.

    People will come ( and keep coming ) if you offer:
    Something of interest
    Something new
    Something helful

    The conclusion of zero traffic is either a matter of lack of interesting content, lack of ranking on common search terms, or both.

  6. #31
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    cmdweb is about right.

    My father, retired now, was an accountant for all of his working life, always self-employed. He never advertised. Not even a website. Yet he sometimes had to turn away potential clients. All of his clients came from a combination of contacts, friends, relatives, and existing clients. And damn hard work every day.

    The point being, in my roundabout way, is that maybe this is the kind of profession that does not necessarily need to rely on a website or advertising if other things (the old school way, you could say) are done right.

    I admit, though, that this may mean telling your client bad news. Maybe he should learn not to rely on the website (beyond what cmdweb wrote) if it turns out that it just isn't going to be a magic bullet.

    You haven't mentioned anything about his closest competitors: what do they do right that he doesn't? Are their websites better/different/more popular or equally ignored? Surely, his competitors' strategies could give some clue, if you can find something out about them?

    But, I'm not a marketer, web dev, or anything like that, so I'm just voicing some thoughts in case they help.

  7. #32
    SitePoint Enthusiast WebOutGateway's Avatar
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    On the internet content is king. Contents can make or break your website, so it's important that your contents are unique and timely. Though you have said that your problem is not an SEO issue, I guess you still need to apply SEO in your copywriting. Optimizing your content helps your site to get found by search engines and your target audience.

  8. #33
    SitePoint Guru dojo's Avatar
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    Debbie,you have almost 1000 replies here. PUT HIS LINK IN YOUR SIGNATURE, it will help a lot. I've never had a client who was reluctant for me to promote his link. Come on, you're not posting code, though the entire world uses HTML/CSS, I doubt his site is made differently. You're posting his link. PROMOTING it. My clients are thrilled when I promote their site for few weeks at least, until it's getting the initial visitors.

    Forum posting may be good or may be not. If you're using the forums just to promote, then yes, it's a problem. But he or whoever is handling the promotion can register in few relevant forums and POST NORMALLY, with the link in the signature. Over the 10 years I've run my sites the best promotion came from forums. I post replies and new threads, try to be a good member and also promote my link in the signature.

    Nothing happens out of the blue sky. I started a new site 1 month ago and it had 4-5 visits a day. Now it's at 50 and steadily growing. And I actually have more sites that can promote that link and have used some of them. It's slow work, but you need to be consistent and not give up.

    We'd like to see the site actually, so that we can give you more ideas. If the client is wary to let you leave the link here, then I'd just let them enjoy having 10 visitors/ day. It's not normal to not want to have your link posted. We're actually giving FREE advice here, so your client doesn't have any obligation. But we might give some good pointers to save his site

  9. #34
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    dojo,

    All valid points, but a few things...

    1.) My client's website has been taken down for now, so there is nothing to show.

    2.) I've had some threats online, so I don't feel overly inclined to post my website or client's website here.

    (Take that as a compliment in a way that I fear some psycho super-hack out there is waiting to trash my website...)

    3.) In my free time I'm trying to build a "template" that is neutral and that I'd be more willing to post.

    Thanks,


    Debbie

  10. #35
    om nom nom nom Stomme poes's Avatar
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    I've had some threats online,
    Aw. Not from here I hope??

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmdweb View Post

    If your client is an accountant, it's entirely possible that a website is just not a good tool to gain custom. Accountants and other similar professional service providers need to pound the phones and network with other local business people to gain a client base. A website is never going to get them their customers.
    With all due respect, that is just utter nonsense.
    I would look at a website from a local accountant, but he would get an earful if he bothered me on the phone.
    There is no reason why an accountant could not get clients from a good website. In fact, I can not think of any business that could not benefit from web presence.

  12. #37
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    Aw. Not from here I hope??
    Not from here, but I have been stalked from forums before, and I have a slight fear that someone could be following me around online here.

    With all of the news of hackers in the news, and the standard "M.O." of geeks online, I've never been too crazy about putting up my websites or things that would let people find me in the real world.

    Most people here on SitePoint are great, but all it takes is one lonely person with a personal vendetta, and BAMM!!



    Debbie

  13. #38
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benbob View Post
    With all due respect, that is just utter nonsense.
    I would look at a website from a local accountant, but he would get an earful if he bothered me on the phone.
    There is no reason why an accountant could not get clients from a good website. In fact, I can not think of any business that could not benefit from web presence.
    I tend to agree.

    Besides, if you look at all of the financial websites out there, I think accounting and finance is one of the best professions to be online!


    Debbie

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleDee View Post
    Most people here on SitePoint are great, but all it takes is one lonely person with a personal vendetta, and BAMM!!
    I've had to deal with that more than once on a gaming website I maintain. Gamers (the pen and paper variety and your miniatures wargamers in particular) are a bit of an obsessive breed...

    Though it's funny, quite often it's like George Carlins bit about "just plain guys from Wisconsin"... there seems to be something about that state of the union when it comes to Internet (and real life) stalkers and/or repeat offense hackers.

    I was actually shocked to find out three different people from said region were actually... well, three different people from different towns in that regard. (I originally had them down as one single ban) until I met them in person at a gaming convention.

    Though that's why up until very recently I didn't hand out my real name online and ONLY went by the "deathshadow" moniker. I still get a bit... nervous when people use my real first name.

  15. #40
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    First off you can not expect things to happen overnight. Give it some time.
    And maybe you need to add more interesting content to the site. If no one is interested, then you need to come up with a different plan.
    What about doing some sort of contest? You would not have to spend big bucks on it, but that may draw people in.

  16. #41
    SitePoint Enthusiast cmsfan's Avatar
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    Make your site interactive.
    Do something so your visitors can click to give there opinion or let htem win something.
    Make a tell a frend script
    make a forum so they can ask questions.
    Make news.
    Make pages where you realy tell something new, no one told before.

  17. #42
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    This question was posted back in May. Please check the original date of threads and do not resurrect dead threads from the Graveyard. Let them RIP.

    Thread Closed.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown


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