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Insurance Agency Websites – So Your Nephew Builds Websites?

Insurance Agency Websites…why you should run in the other direction now, and other online business truths

We’ve built websites for years, and—of course—like many other businesses, we solicit work from the people who can use our services, in this case for insurance agencies.  As with any sales program, some folks who we seek out as potential clients for our web design business  have objections that we need to overcome in order to build a good working relationship and help them build their brands online.  One of those objections seems to come up again and again.  It usually comes in the form of, “My nephew/golf partner/college roommate/next-door-neighbor /etc. builds websites.  I’ll just let him take care of it.”

The truth about insurance agency website designers

It’s true that there are some brilliant and affordable website designers out there who freelance to make extra money or to help out their friends or neighbors.  Some of them bring a lot to the table and can make your website nothing less than phenomenal.

Now—and I want you to say this aloud–These people are insanely RARE.  It is much more likely that your nephew/golf partner/college roommate/next-door-neighbor /etc. has some casual experience using a simple website creation service from a high school elective course– or had some free time one night and built a blog online with freeware– and now thinks:  It’s pretty easy, this web design stuff, so why not?

While the sites your friend created may not look too bad to the uninformed eye, and may even provide all the information an average business owner thinks he or she needs to put out to the public, there are a lot of really important factors that come into play when building websites for insurance agencies to make them truly successful, and hiring an experienced web designer for your new or established agency can save you lots and lots of time, energy, money, and headaches in the long run.

Sometimes, people who have hired their nephews/golf partners/college roommates/next-door-neighbors /etc. contact us for help after their initial agency website is built and online.  Here are some of the things they say:

Help!  No one can find my agency’s website!

This complaint is so common it’s not even funny.  Too many people today expect to launch an agency website and climb to the top of Google instantaneously.  If you sell insurance in Portland, OR, and someone types, “Portland Insurance” into the search engine, of course you want to appear first in the results.  Unfortunately, a pretty website made by a novice won’t take you to the top of the search engine results anytime soon.  You’ll be lucky to land on page 8 or 9 if you own a common business, like an insurance agency, in a major city.  What you need is help from experienced web design professionals who handle insurance agency design, that know how to get you the results you want and can explain the process to you.

While we won’t touch on all of the pieces of this puzzle now, there are a lot of things that go into getting your insurance agency’s website noticed like

  • The number and types of businesses you link to (and that link to you)
  • The age of your agency’s site
  • The content on your website
  • How images are tagged for search engines to recognize
  • The colors you use on your homepage

These factors vary depending on the search engine that potential clients of your agency use and how heavily each factor is weighted can change far too often.  It’s a lot to learn, and it takes time and practice and continual research to get it just right… and it’s important for you and your insurance agency that you get it right from the start.  A badly built site can hurt you more than it can help you and your business.  You wouldn’t hire a mechanic to fill your tooth, so don’t hire your buddy-who’s-great-with-computers to build an independent agency website you’re going to depend on to help you build a customer base in your community.

I can’t get in touch with my web designer and I need to make some changes.

Congratulations, you have a beautiful new website for your insurance agency.  Your business has grown.  You are adding new customers every single day!  Unfortunately, your pricing structure has changed and people are complaining that they can no longer purchase what you promise online—or you’ve added new products and services that people can’t read about on your agency’s website.  It might even be that the lovely winter landscape photo that appears across your screen looks a little bit too cold for your liking nowadays, and you’d like to warm things up a bit with a summer-friendly photo.  Whatever changes you want to make, you’d better be able to get in touch with the person who has the keys to the kingdom… that’s right, your agency’s web designer!

It’s not uncommon for people to tell us the person who designed an original agency site doesn’t have time to return their phone calls, is on vacation right now, or –even worse—has moved and left no contact information.

If an individual designed your website, ask yourself this:  What if  <insert the web designer’s first name here>  died tomorrow?  Would I still control my insurance agency’s domain name?  Is there someone around who has access to my website files?  Has my web designer given instructions to someone else that can help me with my agency website going forward?  If you don’t know, you need to rethink your choice of web designer, and quickly.

I need a special form/button for my online store/graphic effect and my designer can’t seem to figure it out.

So you’ve been out surfing the web and you see something cool on another insurance agency’s website that would surely work well for your business.  The other site has a button to help people donate to a local charity, or a great form with perfect questions to gain information about potential clients, or perhaps even some wonderful download that attracts new customers like magic.  You need that…. and oops, your nephew/golf partner/college roommate/next-door-neighbor /etc.  doesn’t know how to make it happen.  If you’re lucky, he or she will do some research and come up with a solution for your agency, but understand that research takes lots of time and his or her next golf game or rock concert may be a higher priority than the widget you need to make your site great.  More often than not, these novice designers will let you know that whatever it is –they just can’t do it.  Sorry.

My insurance website is looking dated.

Every website needs a facelift now and then.  If your agency’s site looks exactly as it did in 2007, you’re in trouble.  A novice website designer is less likely to keep the look of your site up to date and you know as well as we do that your clients are going to notice.  You don’t want clients to wonder why you can’t afford a decent website or why your competitors’ sites look so cutting-edge and yours is tired and dated.  You need to give the impression of a successful business –and successful business people will tell you that even if it’s a myth, an impressive look is a self-perpetuating prophecy.  The better your insurance agency looks online, the better people will think you are at what you do and the more business you will get.

None of my insurance customers even know I am online.

If you have existing insurance clients who are not engaging with your agency’s website, you are leaving money on the table.  You want the folks who already know you to be in the loop about your newest insurance product offerings and latest community endeavors.  You want them to see your accomplishments as an agent and refer their friends and family for each and every insurance need.  You need to be reaching out to them, and you needed to start yesterday!  Does your complete branding concept include your agency’s website?  Is your website built to involve them in your business?  Is it interactive and informational?  If not, it’s time to reconsider what having a website is all about.

If you don’t have a website yet, these are the things that you need to consider when choosing a website designer or a web design company for your insurance agency.

  1. Make the right choice from the beginning and you’ll grow your business stronger and better.  Choose poorly and you’ll pay for the mistake.
  2. If you are facing these website design problems, or others, on your existing agency website, you aren’t alone, and with some time and attention, they can be remedied.
Shawn WIlmoth Fishing for Insurance Agency Website Customers

Shawn WIlmoth Fishing for Insurance Agency Website Customers

Go ahead, take your nephew out for pizza or fishing… while you’re enjoying a day on the water, we’ll be putting together a great site for your insurance agency website that you can be proud of.

The photo to the right is me fishing.  Even a guy who creates insurance websites needs a little rest and relaxation!

Learn more about our website designs here and about our pricing as well. Read more of my posts about google search engine ranking on my website shawnwilmoth.com Also learn what a beast the google search engine is and why it is important to respect it’s power for your insurance website.