An insurance agency website is an extremely important aspect of agency and broker image, branding, sales and marketing. It’s often the first opportunity for agents to convey their professionalism and present or reinforce their value proposition. Insurance agency websites should reflect the quality of their respective organization, whether the agency is general, P&C or Benefits centric. This realization has been much more of an evolution than a revolution, as many agencies and brokers, especially smaller agencies, took many years to invest in their internet marketing initiatives, including their websites.
Agency owners and executives are now realizing that their websites are integral to their success, a destination for almost every prospect, client, employee and new hire. The days are coming to a close when you might hear an agency owner say, “We do business the old fashioned way, selling by referrals only, and our website isn’t important.” Today, this anachronistic sentiment is rarely spoken. Agents now embrace online payments, customer portals including employee self service portals, integrated blogs, online newsletters, resource pages with PDF fulfillment, important external links, updates on everything from Hours of Service to PPACA Compliance, and inbound insurance agency marketing initiatives to increase their top line growth.
There are many types of websites and website platforms available to agents and brokers. These range from simplistic build your own template sites, to HTML/PHP sites, to integrated platforms and one of the best options, open source websites with content management systems. Content Management Systems have varying connotation, but simply said, it allows agents to make most of their edits without requiring coding experience. Of course, when it comes to the Internet, the only constant is change, and with the advent of portable devices rapidly becoming a pervasive aspect for Internet searches, agencies must now ensure their website properly formats for all mobile devices, including smart phones, tablets and laptops. There are two main approaches to this implementation challenge, Responsive Web Design and Adaptive Web Design. A simplistic definition of each follows.
- Responsive Web Design (RWD): Coding approach will result in website fluidly changing to fit any screen or device size.
- Adaptive Web Design (AWD): This approach utilizes many components of progressive enhancement (PE) to define the set of design methods focusing on the user instead of the browser. Leveraging a predefined set of layout sizes, AWD adapts to the detected device.
Both methodologies allow websites to be properly viewed in all mobile devices. The approaches differ in that RWD relies on flexible and fluid grids, whereas AWD relies on predefined screen sizes. The takeaway here is that agents wishing to ensure their future success should invest in a current, branded and professional website, and further, agencies must be certain that their websites correctly format for mobile devices. If an agency is thinking about updating their website, or if they are in the process of building a new website, they need a solution which provides RWD or AWD based code.
Author: Alan Blume