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The Specialists in CPA Marketing

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June 2019

How to Choose a Website Developer

Ten Key Questions to Ask

Website Development

If your firm needs to update your website, it can be a daunting task sorting through the numerous website development vendors. How do you know which to choose? Here are 10 key questions to ask:

  1. What is their experience level? There are many newcomer wanna-be website developers. Don't become their experiment. A qualified website developer should have many years of experience and at least 100 websites developed. This experience helps the developer in myriad ways to avoid problems and quickly resolve issues, instead of learning on your dime.
  1. Do they have extensive experience working with CPAs? Once you've narrowed down the list based on minimal experience requirements, the major hurdle is finding a developer that actually understands CPA firms. This is the biggest complaint CPA firms have about website developers - most don't understand accounting and finance, much less CPA firms, so they require hand-holding and daily management to make sure they get the website done right. Isn't that their job? These developers are no more than order-takers who must be told exactly what to do at every step. If you've been through this drama, you know how much time you've wasted and you'll never want to do it again.
  1. Do they have internal staff that can write the content? We've found that 90% of our clients don't like writing about themselves (individually), and most prefer to have help in writing the firm's marketing content. Very few website developers have this in-house expertise; most source it to a freelance writer, which can cause delays, miscommunication and often result in an end-product that doesn't represent your firm.
  1. Do they offer branding expertise? Will the website look similar to your other marketing materials? Or will it look very different and contrast your branding? Does it incorporate other key elements of your firm's brand (i.e., branding is the combination of name, words, symbols or design that identifies your company and it's products/services and differentiates it from the competition)?
  1. Do they know how to position your firm in the market? Marketing professionals know how to identify what your target market wants and how to best position your firm. This is done in combination with your branding campaign and involves sophisticated strategic marketing expertise.
  1. Are their designs modern and attractive to your target market? Of course, you'll want a design that is mobile-friendly (i.e., "mobile responsive"), looks contemporary and offers up-to-date technology. Another key factor is that the design is right for your market; not too surprisingly, many website developers try to convince you to use a website template that they designed for other industries (e.g., retail, construction, manufacturing, etc.) - which are entirely inappropriate for CPA firms.
  1. Can they customize the design to meet your needs? Or do they offer a small number of templates, so that your website looks like many others using the same design? Instead of a hugely expensive fully-custom programmed website, do they offer alternatives to tailor the website design to your firm's specific requirements?
  1. Who will supervise your project? It can be very frustrating working with someone who isn't involved hands-on with programming your website. Or they are sub-contracting to another firm several time zones away. Or you communicate your desires clearly but the draft isn't anything like what you requested. Instead, work with a website development firm that has a local team, speaks your language, and can quickly respond to your requests.
  1. What is their turnaround time? Did you know that many website developers require over 6 months to build and launch your website? Choose a developer that can complete your project within 60-90 days (of course, as long as you are available to quickly respond to any questions).
  1. Is the work done domestically or overseas? If you don't ask this question, you may find out the hard way (after you've hired the firm) that the underlying reason with the problems in developing your website the way want it are that it is being programmed through sub-contractor vendors on the other side of the world. This can result in slow turnaround, poor communication, and overall frustration with the project. Instead, work with a website development firm that does all programming domestically, preferably on the West Coast (being in the same time zone helps in minimizing delays).

Using this list, you should be able to identify a website developer that meets your firm's needs. At the same time, this can help you to avoid hiring a firm that is costly, time-consuming and designs an inadequate website.

At The Specialists in CPA Marketing, we focus on developing websites that are visually attractive, rich in useful and interesting content, designed with logical navigation, and built around fundamental marketing concepts. Click here to learn more about our website development services. Our assistance includes site design, text writing, graphic design, marketing strategy, and integration with other marketing programs, such as social media. Contact us to discuss building your firm's new website!

Business Development Training

Service Profile of the Month

Business Development Training

Do your CPAs, both partners and staff, need to improve their skills in generating new business? If so, The Specialists in CPA Marketing's "Business Development Training for CPAs" may be the solution for your firm. This program is designed specifically for CPAs and the business development challenges they encounter.

Day-Long Training or Short Workshops

We offer numerous course options, which can either be done as a "One-Day Comprehensive Training Program" or a 2-3 hour "Periodic Workshop" training session(s). You may select from any of the topics below. For Periodic Workshops, we suggest monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly training.


All training is lead by Kevin W. Brown, M.B.A. Each session is designed around an extensive handout package that includes useful action steps, checklists, forms and worksheets, helping your CPAs to learn and apply key rainmaking and practice development concepts. Q&A is encouraged and, depending on the topic, role-playing and discussion groups are used. The presentation will be held at your offices. Time length for the Periodic Workshops is designed to be 2-3 hours.

Training Topics

  • Marketing for CPAs
  • Essential Rainmaker Skills
  • Personal Branding: Raising Your Profile
  • How to Optimize Your Referral/Networking Relationships
  • Maximizing Involvement in Professional & Community Organizations
  • Developing Your Own Personal Marketing Plan
  • Social Media and Digital Marketing
  • Professional Selling Skills for CPAs
  • How to Use Business Presentations to Gain Referrals and Clients
  • Cross-Selling & How to Obtain More Business from Your Clients
  • Keys to Effective Client Service

Contact us with your questions and to book this dynamic series of workshops.

Speaking Engagements

Does your organization need a speaker for an event in 2019? If so, contact us and to see if Mr. Brown is available. Topics include:

  • Marketing Strategy
  • Internet/Digital Marketing
  • Business Development
  • Branding
  • Advertising, Publicity and Public Relations

Specialists in CPA Marketing



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The Specialists in CPA Marketing.
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