Broadly speaking, creative agencies for accountants can be divided into two types. One provides bespoke website designs for accountants, whilst the second provides template designs.
As an accountant, this is one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to take when embarking on a website design project. Which type of agency – and which type of website – is right for you?
In this article, we’re going to outline some of the advantages and disadvantages of template accountant websites. We’ll then go on to explain why we think the bespoke option is almost always the best way for you to go (no surprises here!).
#1 Accountant Web Templates
Even bespoke website design agencies like ourselves tend to use WordPress as the foundation for their build. Within WordPress itself, there are literally thousands of web templates for accountants to choose from – many of them free.
All you need to do is select the theme you want, customise the text a bit, get your accountant website hosted somewhere, and you’re ready to go. So what are the pros and cons here?
- Low cost. As already mentioned, this option is cheap and many aspects of your project (e.g. the theme) can be entirely free. For accountants on a shoestring budget (startup one-man-bands) this can be a tempting option.
- Fast. It isn’t out of the question to get a basic website like this up and running in one or two days. If speed is of the essence, then a web template for accountants might be the route for your to go.
- Some creative flexibility. Some of the web templates you find on WordPress will offer a degree of customisation. Generally, the more you pay for a theme, the more customisation capabilities you will be given.
- Responsive design. Most web templates available to accountants these days are built to be responsive to mobile and tablet devices. Some older, less supported templates will not be, however. So it’s important to check before purchasing it.
- Nothing special. Remember, the most attractive templates on WordPress and other platforms tend to be the most popular. So, if you find a web template that you think will work well in the accounting sector, the chances are quite a few other accountants will be using it as well. Templates, in other words, make it very difficult for accountants to differentiate themselves.
- Easy to identify. Accounting websites based on a template or theme are usually very easy for users to spot when they arrive on them. You can almost always tell when something has been bought off the shelf in the world of website design. This might not matter so much for smaller businesses and startups. Yet for larger, more established accounting firms, you will likely want to avoid this perception.
- Often slow. How fast your accountant website loads is vitally important, not only for users to have a good experience but also for SEO purposes. Sometimes, the way a WordPress theme has been constructed can dramatically slow your website down. Whether this will happen is not something you can easily determine just by looking at the theme and its reviews, prior to buying or selecting it.
- Might not be appropriate. Website design is terrifically important, and goes beyond simply looking pretty. It’s not enough for an accountant’s website to just look attractive. It needs to deliver results in the form of traffic, engagement and conversions. Many WordPress templates are OK for personal blogs, but not fit for this kind of purpose.
- Vulnerable. You cannot always tell how secure a WordPress template will be, or how compatible it will be with your other software platforms (e.g. your CRM). This could expose accounting websites to hackers, viruses and spam. In addition, might also struggle to get plugins and APIs to work properly. You are also unlikely to get much support when things like this go wrong, as most templates are made for free. The developers therefore often have little monetary incentive to help you.
#2 Bespoke Accountant Websites
The other route to go instead of website templates is a bespoke website design. This is what we do here at AccountantLift, and here is why we think this approach is generally a much better option for accountants compared to the template option above.
Customised to your business.
This offers a great advantages over web templates, as a bespoke website design will not need to be “shoehorned” into your accounting brand or your goals for the project. You are not so limited by the intrinsic capabilities of a preset theme. All of this helps to create a much smoother, more enjoyable creative process (assuming, of course, you have good working chemistry with your agency).
More unique, higher-quality perception.
If you work with a competent, experienced website designer specialising in accounting websites, then the end result of your website design is far more likely to look unique and project higher quality. Just as people can tell when a website is off-the-shelf, they can also quickly tell when a website has been hand-crafted. That has a big subconscious affect on your target audience, causing them to think: “Wow, if they took that much care on their website, they’re probably going to take care of me!”
Faster & more secure.
Because this accountant website was built especially for you, there is no inherent redundancy in it. This means there is far less likelihood that it will be vulnerable to big security risks, or slow website loading speeds.
Since this website has been built according to your specifications, it will therefore work much more effectively with your other programmes and software through integrations and APIs. Contact forms and CRM integrations, for instance, are almost certainly going to work more effectively in a bespoke site compared to a web template.