This post is part of a series sponsored by FMG Suite.
In just the last decade, websites have revolutionized the way insurance agents find new clients, conduct business, and build their professional presence. The lack of a website just five years ago may not have made a difference, but today a website defines an insurance agent’s legitimacy. 78% of Internet users conduct product research online before making a purchase. People expect to be able to find everything and anyone online, which means a business without a website can be a cause for concern. And in today’s Internet-obsessed age where design and user experience are critical influencers, having a poorly designed and outdated website can be even more detrimental than not having a website at all.
Many experts agree that a website should be updated every two to three years. As website trends and design best practices are constantly evolving, the three-year mark is typically when a website starts to show its age. If you’re like most insurance agents, your website is the last thing on your mind. You spend a chunk of your marketing dollars to keep your website running, but you aren’t actively using it. Your website is covered in figurative spider webs and, as a result, you may not be receiving many, if any, referrals from it.
Ask yourself this: “Is my website working as hard as I am?” If not, it’s time to kick it into gear. Here are four essentials do’s and don’ts for a website design that generates leads:
- Don’t over-complicate. Do make it simpler.
It can be easy to fall into the trap of “more is better,” but when it comes to web design, this isn’t the case. Website design simplicity doesn’t translate to boring design or elementary coding. Rather, a minimalist website eliminates unnecessary and extraneous information. There aren’t confusing navigation tabs, long breadcrumb trails to hidden pages, and a cluttered sidebar or homepage. Rather than overwhelm your visitor, you want to guide them to where you want them to go. Focus on using minimal (yet relevant) content, high-quality images, a simple navigation, and a few select attention-grabbing links or call-to-action boxes.
- Don’t rely solely on images. Do incorporate video.
Just a decade ago, adding video to a website was a luxury. Today, it’s essential for every site. Video has a profound impact on the average time a visitor spends on your website. Why? It slows down your website visitor. Their mind isn’t deciding whether your website is a worthy place to spend time; they are too busy watching the video. It should come as no surprise then that the average user spends 88% more time on a website with video. Video also attracts 300% more monthly website visitors and results in a 157% increase in organic traffic from search engines. Video doesn’t just modernize your website; it also increases traffic and leads.
- Don’t write a novel. Do make scanning easy.
After spending months of your time and energy crafting your website, you are probably hoping that visitors will read every single word. Because of this, you may be tempted to write long, lengthy paragraphs about your practice. While these sections are full of great information, generally visitors are just going to be scanning the content. Use headers, subheads, and bullet points throughout your content to break up longer sections and save the extended prose for your autobiography.
- Don’t think solely about computers. Do make your site mobile-responsive.
While the rise of website domination originated on the PC, it is now being taken over by mobile traffic. 25% of Americans only use mobile devices to access the Internet, with nine out of 10 mobile searches leading to action and 70% of mobile searches leading to action within one hour. It’s important for your website to be easy to navigate both on a computer and a mobile device. If your website hasn’t been updated in the last two years, it may be mobile friendly, but it’s likely not mobile responsive. Mobile-friendly means that your site doesn’t have any Flash animation and, while it can be accessed on a device, it may have limited usability. Mobile-responsive means your site changes in size and layout based on the device on which a user is viewing it, making it easy for anyone to navigate.
- Don’t let your visitors get lost. Do encourage them to take action.
We’ve all been sucked into the black hole of the Internet: watch one video and two hours later you’ve watched every recommended video on YouTube. The truth is, the Internet is full of information and it is easy to lose track of what you set out to do. Make it easy for your visitors to make an appointment with you, follow you on social media, or read your latest blog article by providing an abundance of form fills and social buttons. We suggest having a “Contact Us” option on every page of your website. Keep the forms straight-forward with limited required information — a name, email, and phone number — and your guests will be more likely to fill it out.
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