How to Create a Successful Website
We often talk about the importance of having an up-to-date website. Surprisingly, only 64% of small businesses have a website. In today’s digital world, a website is crucial to spreading brand awareness and growing your business.
Essentially, your website is your digital front door—one of the main ways your prospects find you and determine if they should reach out.
Keep in mind, 81% of shoppers research online prior to purchasing. So, the more you can connect with your audience online from the start, the better your chances are of meeting and converting them.
There are 3 major benefits life and health insurance agencies find with a website:
- Sharing who you are and what you do (I.e.: your brand)
- Connecting with your audience
- Generating leads
A website gives you the opportunity to open the lines of communication with your prospects and collect their information at their peak interest in your services.
How To Start a Website
Before you start the process of creating your website, you need to define your website’s purpose. You need to decide:
- Why are you creating this website?
- What are you hoping to achieve?
- What are your S.M.A.R.T. Goals for your website?
The next step is ensuring that the domain you want is available.
What is a website domain?
Study.com explains it as:
A web domain is an actual presence on the Internet, such as a web page. A web domain name is a substitute that replaces the Internet Protocol (IP) address. For example, we can replace the IP address 126.96.36.199 with a domain name such as www.study.com.
Your domain name should be your company name or directly related to your brand in some way. The more unique your company name, the better chance you have of the domain being available.
Fit Small Business identifies these as the 6 steps to helping your business obtain a domain:
- Choose your registrar or web hosting service. Some options are Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Bluehost.
- Search for a domain name. This is an availability checker to ensure the domain you want is available for purchase. It’s best to have a couple of ideas in mind in case your top option is already spoken for.
- Fill out the forms. These forms ask for both personal information and contact details for the public “WHOIS” database. This database helps users research companies to ensure they’re both legitimate and trustworthy and is a step we recommend during any vendor research process.
- Pay for your domain. These prices will vary, especially depending on the web host or registrar you use.
- Link your domain and website. Using the domain manager, connect your domain to your website; this will require entering host server information if you haven’t purchased your domain and web hosting from the same provider. If you don’t have the website yet set up, you can wait on this step. We’ll discuss the host server information shortly.
- Confirm your domain is live. You must complete Step 5 before you can start this step.
Fit Small Business also points out that once you make a registered domain, you will usually receive a professional email address. This adds even more credibility to your company. However, this can vary, so be sure to read the fine print with the web hosting service or registrar you choose.
How do I create a website?
The domain is the first step, after that you need to actually build the website. There are two options you can choose:
- Build your own on a website-building platform (Ex: Wix, Squarespace, or WordPress)
- Contract with a company that specializes in web design and development
There are pros and cons to both. Let’s look at them.
Building Your Own
|You can usually purchase a domain name through the website builder when you sign up for their web hosting plans.
||It can be time-consuming.
|You have complete control on the back-end for updates and changes.
||It can look “cookie-cutter” as there are only a set number of layouts, designs, and styles available. These are what are known as “templated websites”.
|It’s relatively inexpensive as all expenses are in-house (I.e. your time or the time of your employees).
||It may lack the creativity and customization of a professionally-built website.
|You can leverage your creative mind and instinct.
||It could lack the latest in content and SEO trends to help your website rank on search engines.
Contracting with a Company
|They’re experts in taking your ideas and turning them into reality.
||Can be costly; Thomas Digital estimates professionally-designed websites can start at $5,000 and go up from there.
|They’re efficient at design and development, so the turn around could be shorter.
||You may not have access to the back-end to do your own updates (although the best have their own Content Management Systems you’d be given access to). This means you’ll have to reach out to the company to perform these updates which can cost.
|They offer custom-created websites that are unique and tailored to your company’s needs.
|They can usually connect you with experts in other fields like content creation, SEO, and more to make your website the most successful it can be.
|They generally have access to professional stock images or photographers to use on your website.
There is no “right answer” but what makes the most sense for your company. Some agencies may find they’re too small for a contracted web designer, and thus will opt to build their own. However, others may find they’re losing money in employee time and lost revenue opportunities by continually managing their own.
Do your due diligence, and research both options thoroughly. Interview a few companies to see if their partnership is the right fit for you. If you do choose to go with a company, using a local one can make a big difference as they’ll likely be knowledgeable about the best practices in advertising to your local audience.
How to Design a Website
There are some key components you’ll want to keep in mind when designing a successful website:
- It should have a simple, easy-to-navigate design
- It should be responsive
- It should have your contact information
- It should have at least one lead form
Design & Text
When it comes to websites (and many other digital spaces) less is more. Instead of cramming your website full of images, wordy text, and bright colors, opt for a simpler design.
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
Not only does a simpler design look cleaner to your prospect’s eye, but it also helps to reduce load time for your page—which is crucial since 47% of people expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. The design may not seem like a big deal, but 48% of people cited it as the #1 factor in determining the credibility of a business.
To help you achieve a simpler design, here are some tips:
- Minimize color use. Stick to two main colors and one-to-two secondary colors. Try keeping one of your main colors as a neutral. (Example: a secondary color for links)
- Stay away from bright and neon colors. Although they attract attention, neon colors can be harsh to the eye and decrease readability.
- Quality text over quantity of text. Give your prospects the tip of the iceberg: who you are, what you do, what sets you apart. Capture their attention, then show them the rest in your ongoing conversations.
- Use problem-resolution-focused text. Which problems are your prospects and clients facing? How do you help them overcome those specific problems?
- Optimize your images. Optimized images are a smaller file size, thus they load faster. Kinsta put together a complete guide to help you optimize your images.
Responsive & Mobile-Friendly
When designing your website, ensure that your website is responsive. Check out the difference in the image below:
Source | Developers.Google
On the left is a regular, non-responsive website whereas the left is a responsive one. A responsive website means that it’s optimized to function best on whatever device you use. The design is often similar but not necessarily the exact same. That way your audience can effectively navigate your website regardless if they’re on their phone, a tablet, computer, etc.
This is crucial for websites as the statistics for mobile internet browsing keep increasing. In fact, by 2025, 72% of the world will only use their phones to access the internet.
Responsive design is a must-have for today’s world—judgments on a company’s credibility are 75% based on the company’s website design. For more about going mobile, check out our blog How to Become a Mobile Life & Health Insurance Agency.
Contact Information & Availability
Another crucial element to your website is opening the channels of communication between you and your audience. Your website provides your audience with the chance to “meet” you and decide if you’d be the right partner for them.
If they decide they like you and you have no form of communication listed, they’ll continue on to the next viable option.
The contact information you should provide is:
- A phone number—extra points for one that is monitored constantly throughout the day
- An address
- Working hours
- Social profile links—tip: only link them if they’re both monitored and used regularly
To take your contact information a step further, register your company’s location with Google Maps. After doing so, your company can pop up on the right-hand side of desktop browsers with all of your contact information at-the-ready. Here’s an example of Sams/Hockaday & Associates’ Google My Business:
Source | Google
They even have a link of setting appointments in addition to their hours, phone number, and address. This is crucial for new prospects visiting your site as it gives them the necessary direction of what to do next.
To learn more about the steps to setting up your Google My Business, check out this blog from Spinutech.
Earlier, we listed gathering leads as one of the major benefits of having a website. To do so, you must have a lead form on your site. And it’s best to have it linked to your agency management system (AMS).
A lead form is a field-directed form that gathers information from visitors to your webpage that you can then use to contact them and understand their needs. The sweet spot is around 4 fields of information.
With 4 fields, you can gather their name, email, phone number, and type of insurance they’re looking for. Any more than 4 and your lead form may start to feel a bit too daunting for your audience to fill out.
We identified these 4 tips to help you optimize your lead forms for conversion:
- Keep the number of form fields to around 4. Use as few form fields as possible to increase the likelihood of conversion.
- Place your form above the fold. Keep your lead form near the top of your webpage to increase the chance of visibility. When information is displayed above the fold it is seen 102% more than the information below the fold.
- Only ask for necessary information, or make it optional. The sweet spot for form fields is 4, but if you need to gather more information, make those fields optional. For example, you could require name and email address, but make phone number optional.
- Make your form responsive. We just discussed the importance of responsiveness for your website, but it’s also crucial to have your form be responsive. If it’s not and someone looks at your page from a mobile device, it could potentially cut off your form or make it a headache to fill out with all of the scrolling. Both of which you don’t want.
Using a customizable lead form gives you the flexibility to determine what information you want to capture and how the lead form looks overall. In AgencyBloc, you can connect your customizable lead form to Automated Workflows that notify you instantly when leads come in so you can work them immediately.
Source | AgencyBloc
Remember, agent responsiveness matters.
If you connect with a web lead within 5 minutes, you’re 9x more likely to convert them, and 50% of consumers choose the first salesperson to make contact.
A website is your opportunity to create a connection, but if you’re not prepared to be responsive, then that connection is completely lost. The automation connected to your website is essential to ensure you are responsive and working leads immediately. Without the automation, your website loses its conversion capability and competitive edge.
To Sum Up...
Your website is your agency’s digital front that allows you to connect with your audience where they are: online. Without a website, you risk losing out on those 81% of shoppers doing online research before making a decision.
The insurance industry is a relationship-driven industry and highly relies on making personal connections. A website just gives you another tool in your arsenal to connect with and convert clients and grow your book of business.
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