Put a good idea in the hands of CPAs, and they’ll find innovative ways to make it even better. That’s exactly what’s happening right now with the new .cpa web domain.
When .cpa was launched in fall of 2020, there were plenty of good reasons for firms to take notice. For starters, it’s a practical way to enhance client trust – when clients see a firm with a .cpa domain they know it’s a firm they can trust rather than some questionable fly-by-night operation. That’s because only individually-licensed CPAs and licensed CPA firms can obtain a .cpa domain through a verification process managed by CPA.com, a subsidiary of the AICPA. There’s also the issue of security: When firms adopt the .cpa domain, they’re better able to protect firm and client data from phishing and other security threats, since top-level domains like .cpa are more resistant to fraud than the less-regulated, more commonly used .com.
And then there are the brand benefits. When it comes to using the .cpa domain to support their brand and marketing strategies, firms have been steadily innovating, creating new opportunities and advantages that weren’t immediately obvious. As a result, in only a short time the profession has seen a host of new domain strategies take flight – and they’re just getting started.
If you’re wondering whether your firm should make the move to a .cpa domain, here are some domain-based brand strategies (in addition to the benefits of heightened security and trust) that your peers in the profession are already putting to work.
“Let’s use this as an opportunity to rebrand”
Rebranding is perhaps the most obvious opportunity presented by the .cpa domain. If your firm feels tethered to a name or web address that it had outgrown, but couldn’t find a better option in the overcrowded realm of .com domains, the .cpa domain allows the firm to start fresh. Stuck with JonesCPA.com even though Jones retired five years ago? This is a rare chance to get the website address that fits the firm’s present and future ambitions.
“We need a shorter domain!”
As the internet matured, all the good domains were quickly snatched up. If you wanted to own the JonesCPA.com address, it was probably already held by some other Jones CPA, or by a squatter who bought it in the hopes of selling it at a higher price. This led to some very long domains that are virtually impossible for clients to remember. The .cpa domain offers the opportunity for firms to secure shorter, more memorable domains – a simple and effective boost to your brand and marketing efforts. That’s why Texas-based DWG CPA jumped at the opportunity to secure the dwg.cpa url, which is easy for clients and prospects to remember and supports the firm’s branding efforts.
“Over ten years ago, we secured dwgcpatx.com for our newly launched firm,” said Managing Director Darrell Groves, CPA, CGMA. “But as our firm grew and matured over the years, it became clear that our domain name was just too long and hard to remember. When we thought about the value of marketing our firm, and of having a shorter url, it didn’t take us long to decide we needed to make the move to a .cpa domain,” he said.
“Let’s target specific markets with our domain”
Specialization continues to grow in importance as a tool for firms to distinguish themselves from the competition and tap into a deep well of clients. For example, some firms focus on serving the restaurant industry, or manufacturers. Others specialize in certain types of services – taxes, SOC audits, or client accounting services (CAS), to name only a few. Some focus on segments such as startups. Some firms distinguish by geography and are looking to market themselves within specific towns, regions, or states. Many firms have already started to adopt domain names that reflect their specific niche, making it easier for clients to find them in online searches and reinforcing their commitment to specific markets. Acosta Tax & Advisory’s MiamiBeach.cpa is one example of this hyper-targeted strategy in action, helping the firm appear prominently in the online search results of prospective clients looking for a CPA in the area. Another is SOCAudit.cpa. Guess what they specialize in?
Firms can even heighten the impact of these urls through a multiple domain strategy. By leveraging website redirects, they can advertise market-specific or geotargeted url’s that stand out from the competition and then redirect web browsers to a primary website. This enables firms to have a primary website, such as Cromer.cpa, but to advertise catchy, branded domains such as TaxGuru.cpa or BayArea.cpa, while not having to manage multiple websites.
Even if building a website isn't a top priority, as often happens with sole proprietors or small firms, it's still vital to be accessible when prospective clients turn to the internet to find a business. Now, with the launch of the .cpa starter site, firms that buy a .cpa domain can take advantage of a free, one-page website that makes it easy for clients to find them online.
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The .CPA domain hasn’t been available for very long, so right now is the best time to secure your firm’s top pick. It’s easy to do – just visit Domains.cpa. You’ll find all the details you need to inform your decision, including a whitepaper, case studies, and video interviews with leaders at firms who have already made the switch. In these short videos, these leaders share their tips and best practices for transitioning to a .cpa URL.