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Your website may be 84 years old in Internet Time

Nov 14, 2014

If I ask how old your dog is, and you tell me she’s 13 years old, we would probably both agree when you say “but that’s like 91 human years”.

It’s a fairly simplistic way of understanding a dog’s “true” age, since they don’t live for 80 or 90 years, like humans do.internet_time

Well, when it comes to your website, my rough estimate is that you should multiply the number of years since you had it built by about 21 years.  That’s my ‘internet time’ multiplier.

So if your website was built, for example, 4 years ago….well, it’s 84 years old in internet time.

Yes, I made it up. You won’t find stats or research or pretty graphs to prove it (but I could create an infographic in about ten minutes that might help you believe it).

But it’s based on my experience of building and researching websites, and my understanding of how incredibly, lightning-fast the digital world is changing.  I just barely get my head around some SEO tips and Google changes its algorithms. Again. (It’s currently on something called Penguin 3.0.)  Or one-page-websites are all the rage, and then we discover maybe they aren’t that effective.

Some things do stay the same. I still – after many years of advising it – encourage you to blog. Regularly. Daily would be best, but failing that you or your firm should be blogging once a week.  If you’d been doing it since I originally told you to, you’d be getting far more leads than you know what to do with.

But back to your website.

Is your accountancy firm website over 100 years old?

Here’s why your website which has been around for 5 or 6 years could be well past the 100-year mark:

  • The website capabilities available today just weren’t there when it was built.
  • The expectations of prospects coming to your website change drastically, and if you don’t keep up you’re missing business.  What do your visitors expect to see on the top right hand corner? Where do they look for social media links? What kinds of things do they like to download, or follow, or view? Guaranteed there are new technologies available that were not there even six months ago.
  • Not just your competitors, but other professional service firms are utilising their websites better, and so yours stands out negatively.  One of the biggest mistakes accountants make is comparing yourself to your own accountancy firm competitors. If most of their sites are rubbish, yours could look amazing by comparison. But that doesn’t mean it is amazing.  Compare it instead to a good graphic designer’s site, or someone whose site is ‘young’ in internet time.
  • Wordiness is out, visual is in.  The only place you want to be super-wordy is on your blog, in videos, in white papers or ebooks or shareable content.  Not on your home page or the landing pages giving the usual spiel about your services.
  • Your own business has changed in that time. Many accountants think that their own business doesn’t really change massively in a few years’ time – but it’s more and more true that it does.  And since your accountancy business has changed, your website should be reflecting that (not who you were several years ago, or 80 years in internet time).
  • Your clients have changed in that time. You’ve taken on new ones, lost some, perhaps even sacked a few. But you’ve got more case studies, better testimonials, rave reviews.  Those should be featured on your website (there are a variety of ways to do this – the 27 Content Ideas give you some guidance here).

Finally, remember that the amount you spent on your (perhaps 63 year old) website is a sunk cost.

You’re an accountant, you understand a sunk cost. You spent it, it’s gone, and explaining how much you spent four years ago is not going to make your prospects suddenly more alert and attentive to the site you have.

So what do you do?

You have three options:

  1. Update the website you have now
  2. Get a new website built
  3. Think about it for a while and then do nothing.

Obviously I do not recommend option 3.  But how do you know if you’re at option 1 or 2?

Option 1: Update the website you have now

This is for you if you’d like to step up your online marketing a bit but are not ready for a website-sized investment.

The only thing I will say here is that you might spend a good bit of money on this option which you could have invested in option 2, if you did it strategically.  If you’re not sure, talk to me or to someone else you trust for strategy.  I never push a new website on someone who doesn’t want or need it. I might suggest it’s the best use of your investment at this time, but the decision is always yours to make.

Option 2: Get a new website built

This is a whole blog post in itself, but the short version is that your website is your marketing hub – not just for online marketing. It is central to every single marketing effort you make, because it either informs or follows up to those.

Here’s more on choosing a website designer for your accountancy firm website.

And have fun getting into the twenty first century!