n 2019 we looked at the websites and branding of 500 accountants across London, Essex, Kent and Hertfordshire. This is a rundown of the patterns and trends we found.
Over half of the practices that we looked at named themselves after what is presumably the founder of the firm, meaning that their company name was name-based such as Douglas Jones Accountants. Just under a quarter of practices used literal descriptive names such as Premier Accountancy and Taxation Services. Very few firms chose evocative or inventive names, but those that did often stood out for additional reasons as well such as via an interesting website or brand identity.
Brand and website colours
Most accountants chose to use blue in their logos and websites. 48% of accountants chose blue as their main brand colour, and blue and grey was the most popular choice for website colour combinations. Red and green came second and third place as popular choices for main website colours. The most popular colour combination for websites was blue/grey, blue/blue and blue/black.
The most popular colour combination for websites was blue/grey, blue/blue and blue/black.
The majority of accountants used a combination logo for the identifier element of their brand, meaning the logo contained a wordmark and a graphic device which accompanies the wordmark. The second most popular style of logo was the wordmark, which is a typographic logo taking the form of a written word. A brandmark (a graphic device or pictorial mark) was the third most popular style of logo followed by a monogram style logo (a series of letters).
Almost every accountant's website we looked at used stock photography, (as do a huge majority of businesses). Our analysis of the style of photography used on accountants websites suggested that careful consideration should be given to image choices to convey the right impression of the business. The tone of voice implied by the choice of photography suggested businesses were cheap and unremarkable, to upmarket, professional and experts in their field of practice.
Based on Google developer metrics alone, websites seemed to perform well, but consideration should be given to website security, mobile compatibility and hierarchy of information and whether the website contains calls to action. Beyond being found in search engines, the website should educate the viewer and compel them to take further action which would be achieved via clear messaging, graphic design and SEO. We found some websites lacking in graphic design best practice, with unclear and undifferentiated propositions.
Accountants that specialised their services in an industry sector or an accounting discipline were able to articulate their positioning clearly and in such a way that spoke of their differentiation. The most common positioning statement for an accountant read along the lines of: "We’re a firm of chartered accountants offering a wide range of personalised services to local businesses and individuals"
The most common positioning statement for an accountant read along the lines of: "We’re a firm of chartered accountants offering a wide range of personalised services to local businesses and individuals"
42% of accountants did not utilise Google Reviews, while for those that did, the average number of reviews was 7.5. Three accountants had amassed over 100 Google Reviews, while the most common number of reviews for accountants was 1, with 79 out of 500 practices having one Google Review.
Social Media channels
59% of websites displayed links to social media channels. The most popular channels displayed were Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin featuring on 245, 227 and 215 websites respectively. 35 practices were displaying links to YouTube, recognising the value in producing video content for their audience, and 34 were showing links to Instagram. Three companies were using WhatsApp as a way to communicate with their clients.
Blog Articles and Calls to Action
31% of accountants we looked at published original blog articles aimed specifically at the target audience. To qualify as a blog we deemed the written content to be original, and that appeared to be written specifically by the employees of the firm or their incumbent marketing agency. 36% of websites contained Calls to Action that offered valuable content such as useful resources, newsletter sign-ups or the ability to book a consultation.
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