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5 things every agent's website should have

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Think about the last time you had to find a local barber, repair person or handyman.

Where did you start? Did you ask friends and neighbors for referrals? Or do a quick Google search? If you started with referrals, did you still take a look at the website or Yelp page of the recommended merchant before hiring them?

The way people look for and evaluate insurance agents and advisors are no different – particularly among millennials. That means agents need to have a strong Web presence like never before – and a key element of that presence is having a prominent agent-specific footprint online.

Yes, some prospects may go to a firm’s corporate website based on an ad they saw or because of brand recognition, and they may fill out a contact form. But far more prospects want to find a local resource – backed by a reputable company name – with whom they feel they can develop a relationship and trust to know them and their needs.

So how can agent websites better attract and retain clients and prospects in an increasingly digital world? Below are five things every agent website should have:

1. Quality content:

What do your visitors find when they visit your website? Are there just a phone number, address and bio?

Do they find information on your experience and your approach to client relationships? Even better, do they find tools and resources to help them feel smarter about their own financial future?

Providing relevant, high quality content establishes one’s credibility and will help visitors quickly understand why you are the advisor with whom they should build a relationship.

2. Dynamic content:

While a library of quality content provides value to online visitors, regularly updating your website content will keep prospects and clients coming back while also ensuring that the information is timely and relevant.

Search engines also prioritize sites that frequently update their content (one resource can be found here) by crawling and indexing them more frequently, which increases your chances of being discovered.

One simple starting point is to include a feed of social media updates on your website – or better yet, a section of dynamic content like a blog, gallery or article feed that’s frequently refreshed.

3. Relevant keywords:

It’s important to understand which keywords are most important for your target audience and to incorporate them throughout your agent website. Think about what your client would search for – it might not be what you may initially believe. Fortunately, vendors and tools, such as this one, can make the use of keywords easier, but it all starts with consistency in which keywords you use across the site.

4. Mobile optimization:

In 2016, your website needs to be optimized for mobile. There are few online experiences more frustrating than clicking a link on your phone and going to a full desktop site that doesn’t display properly on a mobile device. And search engines know this; Google now prioritizes sites that are optimized for mobile in search results, meaning websites that are not mobile-optimized may experience a decrease in search traffic.

Fortunately, there is a host of readily-available tools and resources, like this one, that make it easier than ever to create a mobile-optimized website that displays properly on both mobile and desktop.

5. Local knowledge

Your strongest asset is your local presence. While they may be digitally savvy, consumers still want to meet face-to-face with their agent or advisor and build a personal relationship, so your website needs to reflect your local knowledge and community service.

You should have a way to share high quality and timely local information that demonstrates your knowledge about topics that are relevant to the people in your community. Corporate websites may occasionally bring in leads from prospects who fill out forms, but those who find your local site and value your local experience and presence will be far likelier to become lasting clients.

Agents who don’t optimize their websites risk missing out on key opportunities to attract and retain clients and prospects who are looking to engage with them. Your website must go beyond simply serving as a digital business card. When done well, a strong agent website can fuel your pipeline, strengthen relationships and grow business.

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