- Kevin Davenport
- Feb 16, 2014
As an insurance agent, it’s so very tempting to put up a website on your own to promote your insurance agency. You know it, and we know it. Further, there are a hundred “turn-key” sites that will help you put a website together that looks pretty darn good — Drag it. Drop it. Forget it. So why hire someone else – or (gasp!) a team of other people to design your agency’s website? Isn’t it too expensive? Who really needs a website dream team? After all, every other insurance agency on the planet has a website now. How hard can it be?
Let’s start with the essentials of good website design. What elements does your agency’s website really need to be successful? Here are a few:
It’s absolutely necessary that your insurance agency’s website match your corporate branding strategy. From your agency’s logo to your tagline to the colors displayed throughout your office, your website needs to be part of the bigger picture. When people see your name, you want them to recognize you. When they come across your insurance agency’s website online, you want them to recognize you. It’s all about building an identity with your agency website.
A marketing guru can help you through the branding process and even make it fun. He or she will be able to point out situations that might conflict with your branding strategies and will know how to best capture the attention of both your current clients and potential customers with a great website design.
High quality graphics
Without good graphic design, your insurance agency’s website will not only not stop traffic, but it will be overlooked in favor of your agency’s competitors. Your new site should look as though you are on top of your game, and dated images and photos you have taken with your iPhone don’t measure up to professional quality graphics created by someone who focuses only on that piece of the puzzle.
Graphics need to be designed by someone who is creative, artistic, and knows your subject matter—in this case, insurance for your specific industry. A clear understanding of what you do, combined with a graphic artist’s expert eye will make your website stand out over the competition, and will bring more clients to your door.
The artist captures the folks you want to see your agency’s website and draws them in for a closer look. He or she is focused on the aesthetic character of your site, and makes sure you are always putting your best foot forward with your online look.
This is the element that is too often overlooked when it comes to web design. In fact, most people who do web design don’t even offer content writing services. The truth is, you need good content about the insurance industry and your company specifically to bring people to your website. Content should be well optimized for key words that your potential clients might search in Google or Yahoo, and it should also give some added value for the human beings who read that content from your site. Your objective is to teach them something or give them some information they didn’t have about the insurance industry or your agency before they came to your site. Good content gives you expert status, and with it, brings in business.
A great content writer will understand all the intricacies of the mathematical formula (or algorithm) that is used to rank your site in relation to insurance agency competitors on the web, as well as how to tell the world more about what you can do for them and why they can’t live without your products and services.
A lot of people have heard of HTML, or hypertext markup language, but even more haven’t. As a website owner, you need to know that HTML is a sort of organizational system for how your web content is seen by the search engines. It allows programmers to add graphic elements to your site that search engines can “read” and it helps link pages on the web to other pages on the web – creating this amazing network we all call the internet.
If the code isn’t well written, things get a little crazy. Sometimes your site won’t connect to a page you wanted to link to, sometimes your user will get errors when they try to navigate your site, but the most likely scenario is that if your insurance agency’s site is not well-coded, visitors will never find it in the first place. Clean code leads to higher rankings in the search engines and can help carry a link for your site higher on the list when someone searches Google or Yahoo.
There are a number of programs, including WordPress, that help designers with HTML coding, and you want to be assured that the team who will be managing your site has an expert to deal with that program (i.e WordPress)—and keeps up to date about new programs that hit the market. Can you learn how to best build a site with WordPress? Sure, but it isn’t an overnight process—and you do have an insurance agency to market.
A great website design team will have someone around who knows HTML inside and out, and can use the chosen program to put your site together, while understanding a program’s limitations and being able to correct any problems by rewriting code when necessary.
A back end system to back you up
Think of your backend system as a “back office.” It allows you to track clients’ and potential clients’ movements around your site, gathers information you can use for call backs and marketing, helps you manage orders, contact the appropriate customers at the appropriate times, access information about claims, etc. A back-end system should be designed to suit your business, and your insurance agency’s backend will look nothing at all like that of a restaurant or a retail store.
It’s important to find the right person to create and implement that backend design. A great control person will tailor the fit and work with you to develop the reports and gather the statistics you need to help your insurance agency succeed.
Alright, so –if you’re still with me—what you need to create a stellar website is:
- a marketing expert who can provide amazing branding options for your insurance agency website
- a graphic artist with cutting edge talent to keep your website looking its best and put the competition to shame
- a content writer that knows how to write for both the people who will find your site and the search engines that rank it to be found on Google, Yahoo, Bing, or other search engines
- an expert coder to help translate those amazing graphics and content pieces so that they work well within the parameters of the world wide web
- a control person who can configure the perfect back-end system to meet your needs day in and day out, and make changes to accommodate your insurance agency as it grows and evolves –
Congratulations do-it-yourselfers! You have just added five people to your team just to handle your website!
Wait! Too much? Yes, well it really is. Chances are your small to medium sized insurance agency doesn’t have the budget for one—much less five–folks to handle your website needs. Would having a dream team around to handle your website be ideal? Of course, but how?
Choose a website design firm that works specially with folks from your industry to create the best web presence possible, and reap the benefits of having all five experts on your side and working together to create a website that is sure to make you proud and improve your business. Ask some questions. Find out whether the team you hire is a group of experts who work well together and complement each other’s talents, then take advantage of that dream team to build and manage your dream website.