Discussion:Advice on developing a web site?

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Discussion Forum Index --> Business Growth Community --> Advice on developing a web site?


Scottycoyote (talk|edits) said:

10 May 2010
My office has no website at all, and no email address....several of us have hotmail accounts we use but thats it.

What I would like is a very simple website, some info on our company and the ability to put tax info and updates up on it from time to time. Maybe down the road have the site do more but for now it would just be basically a presence and contact info, hours, location.

Along with that, i would like to have email addresses for all my preparers, like 10 to 15 accounts, with my employees name @ the name of my business.com or net or org. I think intuit has a web service, does anyone use it. Any other recommendations? Im fairly computer literate but im webpage dumb, so keep it simple thanks

CathysTaxes (talk|edits) said:

10 May 2010
Scotty, here are two that I did for my own businesses.

www.accountingsupportservices.com - parts currently under construction but similar to what you are looking for.

www.angelspeaks.com - I'm kinda proud of this one.

The two above were done using a Microsoft product called FrontPage (it now has another name, but it still is a simple product and you can easily obtain one of those 'For Dummies' books to help you develope it). They originally were pure HTML websites that have evolved.

FloridaTaxes (talk|edits) said:

10 May 2010
If you want something cheap try fatcow.com.

If you want something fancy with more features, such as client portals, newsletters, etc, try emochila.com or cpasitesolutions.com.

AdelEA (talk|edits) said:

10 May 2010
Scotty,

First get a domain name registered. I hear that godaddy.com is very good b/c you can register more than one domain under one account. I cannot remember exactly why that is good, but I was told that by a web designer. For emails, I use google apps. You can get it for free with less features or pay $50/user name and it has a lot of features. Currently the City of LA is using google apps. Pretty much your domain from godaddy.com will be used by google apps for emails only. You guys also get a space to share documents and such.

As for the website, actually the hardest part is the info you put on it. Based on what you said, you need a static website so decide what pages should be on it and what info should be on each page and start type all that up in a word document and save it. godaddy should have a tool for you to put together a template and fill it up with the info you wrote up in the word doc. Really, that is all you need and you can get it done on the cheap. Lastly, the paid version of google apps is really good. Their spam filter alone is worth the money.

--AdelEA 17:02, 10 May 2010 (CDT)

DublinTax (talk|edits) said:

11 May 2010
weebly.com is free hosting/self design for simple website which you can do it yourself. and you can buy a domain from godaddy.com or some others.

Jimi (talk|edits) said:

11 May 2010
Most hosts allow add on domains at little or no cost. I would recommend HostGator for your host and NamesCheap to register your domain. GoDaddy tries to upsell and nickel and dimes you. With most inexpensive hosting you are sharing the IP address. That should not be a problem with the kind of site you want.

Some posters here have said a web site is not necessary. I strongly disagree with that. Other posters have said that they get few referrals from their sites. My site has worked well for me. Don't do as I did and expect instant results.

Google wants tax info and updates and will reward you with higher rankings. However, what they want is unique content. You will not rank by just putting up the 2010 mileage rate. I wrote a page on a tax concept intended just for filler. It turned out to be unique. It has gotten hits from the California FTB. No one that visited that page has become a client. Google thinks my site is authoritative so it ranks me well when potential clients do a search.

There is a tool at Google Adwords that give the number of searches for words and phrases. Use that to pick your key words. Tax preparation vs. tax preparer are significantly different in the number of searches.

I won a copy of Front Page at the accounting show and used that for my first site. You have to do things Bill's way but it automates headers, footers, navigation etc. I think Adobe has something similar.

CathysTaxes (talk|edits) said:

11 May 2010
I use tripod.com for my websites. There's a small setup fee (it was $15.00 last time I looked) and $8.95 a month. That includes one domain name and five email accounts.

Tax Writer (talk|edits) said:

11 May 2010
Agree with Dublintax.

I currently run about 10 websites out of weeby-- they are dirt cheap and the drag-n-drop interface is so easy to use. You can register a domain through them, too-- it costs about 55 bucks for a whole year. It's the easist set-up in the world. You can use html, insert paypal buttons, a blog, or just make a basic 5-page site with your contact info. Here's one of my weebly sites: [1]

If you want more bells and whistles, you can use Microsoft Office Small Business. I have used them for my publishing company website. They are a little more difficult to learn, but you have more options-- and the domain only costs $14.95 per year, free hosting and free dedicated e-mails-- but you are limited to one website, but you can purchase multiple domains, as long as they all point to the same web address. Here's my MS Live website: [2]

Hope this helps!


Tax Writer

CathysTaxes (talk|edits) said:

11 May 2010
I forgot to mention, if you use QuickBooks, Intuit offers a low cost website for you. I believe there is also a time period where it's free.

Scottycoyote (talk|edits) said:

11 May 2010
wow thanks guys, ill start lookin thru all the recommendations. Oh and my office does use quickbooks, has anyone used intuits website? if so how does it compare?

thanks again

Global accountant (talk|edits) said:

13 May 2010
Hi

Any one has idea for copy rights and other things to keep in minds for posting any links and other resources.



Thanks

Trillium (talk|edits) said:

13 May 2010
Are you asking about this website's copyright policies, or are you asking about what policies you should implement on your own?

If it's the former, see here:

If it's the latter, you can't go wrong by posting only your own work on your website. If you wish to link to something from your own website, check the other organization's TOC/Terms of Use. Most places like getting linked to, but there are some that prohibit it.

Global accountant (talk|edits) said:

14 May 2010
Hi

I am interested to know the points to be taken care when you are creating your own web site and adding some link and resources.

Tax Writer (talk|edits) said:

14 May 2010
Global Accountant,

You can link to other websites from your own, and you can use any IRS publication as content for your website, since tax law and IRS pubs are not subject to copyright.

You cannot copy information from other websites and use it on your own, unless you have permission. You can try using a free service for content like E-Zine Articles. I've written a few open-source articles for them in the past, but the copyright remains with the author and usually you must give the author credit.


You can also purchase content on a work-for-hire basis.


I don't think that many people take these laws very seriously, but I've had to send out a cease and desist letter to one accountant this year who stole one of my old newspaper articles and slapped his name on top and then actually sold it to another newspaper! I called the newspaper editor and he was horrified that he had purchased plagiarized material.


The accountant himself never called me back, of course. But the articles all magically disappeared!


Tax Writer

Global accountant (talk|edits) said:

16 May 2010
Dear Tax Writer

Thank you very much for your guidance and suggestion.

TaxKeeper (talk|edits) said:

16 May 2010
Microsoft Office Live Small Business (http://smallbusiness.officelive.com/en-us/), has been a good site, as far as I'm concerned, to create your own website, register a domain, and create up to 100 emails with created domain name.

No........I don't work for MS, I just like how everything about it synced with my ubiquitous Office apps...and so far so good.

Lowkeyent (talk|edits) said:

3 June 2010
I recommend Go Daddy. I use them to a dedicated email with you .com, to host my website, and to register for a .com name. They also have good customer service. I never used their web design services but I believe they have that also, or outsource it. Either way pretty good company and the site's navigation is nice on the eyes.

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

4 June 2010
I am developing 3 for myself right now. You need at least 3 to appeal to different demographics. Don't worry about the content, client's never read them. The key is the opening photographs:


Website 1) To appeal to the rich: Photo A) Me lighting a hundred dollar bill and smoking it. Photo B) Me standing with shotgun next to some poor people I just evicted. Yelling at the poor people and blaming all the worlds' problems on them. The rich love this.


Website 2) To appeal to middle America: Photo A) Me standing in front of church with a wife and kids I rented for the photo shoot. All have perfect teeth and blonde hair. I am heavily air brushed. Photo B) Me at the dinner table with the same models, bossing my pretend wife around. (The point here is to make me a solid church and family man the client will trust, even though none of it's actually true: in other words just like middle America! lol).


Website 3) To appeal to the poor: Photo: (they are poor so they only get one photo): Me pushing an overwieight accident victim out of a chiropractor clinic with dollar signs superimposed over my eyes. When you move the mouse over the fat client, she exclaims: I'm rich thanks to lawyer Crow!


Woops, I forgot the website for large corporate clients:

Website 4) Photo A): Me meeting with executive of large chemical company; Photo B): Me meeting with politician to get a loophole passed to allow local dumping; Photo C): Photo (taken at midnight) of me and the chemical company executive supervising the dumping of highly toxic chemicals into a pristine blue lake, often used by families on weekends.

When you move your mouse over the executive he is heard to say: "Job well done lawyer Crow. I must have you and the politican down to my house at Palm Springs this weekend".

CathysTaxes (talk|edits) said:

4 June 2010
Well Crow, those web sites sound great :) Let me know when you publish them, I'll make sure to spread the word.

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

4 June 2010
I think I have a crop of winners. I don't know which I like best: helping the executive dump toxic chemicals, or helping the poor accident victim get justice.

I love the challange of marketing!

PeteEA (talk|edits) said:

7 June 2010
I use ClientWhys as my website provider and love it. $50 a month for a nice looking website, pre-written articles, and a monthly e-mail newsletter. They do all the work for you- why learn web design when you can study the new health care act instead!

AdelEA (talk|edits) said:

9 June 2010
Pete,

I checked ClientWhys and it looks pretty interesting. Can you customize the articles by topic or you have to take what they give you? I'm wondering if I want to target a certain market with my website if I could pick articles that be of interest to that particular market.

--AdelEA 09:10, 9 June 2010 (CDT)

PeteEA (talk|edits) said:

15 June 2010
Yes- they let you choose which articles you want to send each month from a pre-written list. You can also customize it to 1040 / business clients etc.

Wahoo (talk|edits) said:

16 June 2010
Are these things generic enough that your clients can tell that you aren't giving them the personal touch? Or is it just my insiders and sceptical view?

I am currently using a godaddy template and received an email from another local firm saying that we were using the same site design. That is what happens with templates. I currently have someone working on a true site for us and generate twice monthly newsletters via mailchimp. It takes me a couple of hours to create each one but it is totally crafted to what I want. Of all the research I have done, it seems that Search Engine Optimization SEO optimization is the most important aspect of your site and web presence.

Adam

Sapcpa (talk|edits) said:

17 June 2010
Wahoo, you are exactly right on SEO. You can have the best designed, absolutely beautiful site on Earth, and have no traffic. OTOH, a simple, even ugly site can get lots of hits and make money. I've done a lot of research on SEO, and it's pretty complex and something you have to work at and stay on top of. If you put a nice site up, and don't do the SEO, it will just add to overhead and contribute nothing.

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