It wasn’t that long ago that accounting firms – and nearly everyone else – were rebuilding their websites to be responsive, so they were easy to read and accessible regardless of the device used to access the site. Now it is time to take that one step further and make your website ADA compliant.
While you don’t HAVE to do this yet since there is no law that says your site must be accessible to people with disabilities, there are a lot of good reasons to do so.
- Inclusive brand reputation: There is a lot of talk about diversity, equity and inclusion happening in firms across the country right now. This is a relatively easy and solid way to demonstrate your company’s commitment to serving everyone. Not only does making your website ADA compliant make your site easier to navigate and use for those with disabilities, but it also shows everyone who visits your site that you care and have made the investment toward a more inclusive community and thoughtful client service.
- Additional traffic: You want people to come to your site, right? Did you know that 26% of American adults have some sort of disability? In fact, globally, there are more than 2 billion people who suffer from blindness or visual impairment. Add to that the 5-15% of Americans who have dyslexia and other conditions that impact reading ability, and you are removing a lot of potential clients from seeing and hearing what you have to say.
- Better overall functionality: Layout, navigation and keyword/phrase selection all have a big impact on the usability of all websites. As you review these and other components of your site, you are likely to find accessibility issues that affect all visitors, not just those with disabilities. It’s simply a smart practice to eliminate any barriers you can and enhance your website’s functionality for everyone who comes by.
- Improved SEO: Many of the steps you take to make your website ADA compliant will also bolster its SEO performance. Search engines love sites with well-crafted ALT text and detailed image descriptions, and just doing this puts you well on your way to ADA compliance too. So, while you’re giving everyone easier access to your site’s content, you are also showing up in more searches and reaching wider audiences.
- Reduced legal risks: As I mentioned, this isn’t a requirement but there have been quite a few companies sued over the fact that their site wasn’t accessible. While most lawsuits have been against e-commerce sites so far, the costs associated with making and keeping your site compliant are minuscule compared to the potential financial – and reputational – ramifications of fighting a lawsuit, whether you win or not. While it is impossible to guarantee you won’t be sued, making your website ADA compliant can minimize the risk and demonstrate that you are putting your best foot forward.
Your firm’s website is your most important marketing tool. It should be well-branded, function smoothly and identify your differentiators. Why not also make it so everyone who wants to learn more about your firm can easily? If you want to discuss what is involved, or simply have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author:
Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk (like rustic without the “t”) is the founder and owner of bbr companies llc where she provides strategic marketing planning, outsourced CMO-level services and DEI training/consulting for professional services firms. Many firms can benefit from the input of a seasoned, experienced strategic marketer, but don’t need or want to invest in that resource full-time. This way business leaders can focus on what they do best with the knowledge that their marketing (and often their marketing team) is being managed by an expert with their strategic plan always in mind. She can be reached at email@example.com.