How to design an agency website with user experience in mind

Agencies that don't focus on one specific area risk losing potential or current customers

How to design an agency website with user experience in mind


By Alicja Grzadkowska

User experience (UX) is defined as a person’s emotions and attitudes when they’re using a specific product. In the case of insurance agency websites, UX is shaped by how a site is perceived by the user and whether it provided value, as well as if it was easy to use, among other factors.

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For agencies, UX is important to keep in mind when designing websites because, said Becky Schroeder, chief marketing officer at Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC), “No matter how nice your website looks, if the person on the other end struggles to find the information they’re looking for, or it takes too long and it’s a frustrating process, they will leave and go to a website that provides a better experience.”

As a result, agency websites that don’t focus on user experience risk losing a potential or current customer.

Another significant reason for why user experience is so important is that Google has made user experience a ranking factor, which means if an agency’s website provides a poor user experience, they may start to rank further down in the search results. In fact, Google has provided a blueprint to evaluate user experience with their Core Web Vitals, which are a set of real-world, user-centered metrics that measure key aspects of the user experience.

“It’s a way for you to know what Google is measuring, and you can identify, by using those metrics, what areas you need to work on and then measure your improvement,” said Schroeder.

The three main search signals for page experience are as follows:

  • Largest Contentful Paint, which measures the load speed of a web page’s main content. A page should load within 2.5 seconds of when it first started loading.
  • First Input Delay, which measures the responsiveness and quantifies the experience of interacting with the page. To provide a good user experience, pages should have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift, which measures the visual stability of the page.

Core Web Vitals can get quite technical, so agents who want to better understand these metrics can turn to ITC’s related resources for help. If agencies have a website provider who they have an ongoing relationship with, Schroeder encourages them to reach out to that provider and talk to them about their website’s UX and identify whether a redesign or refresh is needed.

For now, however, Schroeder outlined some of the key focus areas for agencies that want to ensure that their websites are taking UX into account.

First off, the website’s navigation tools need to be easy to use and simple to understand.

“Navigation is not a place to get creative and different in the terminology that you are using or the way you have it organized, because familiarity is going to make it simple and easy for the consumer,” said the ITC expert. “You want to organize your website around the way your audience thinks, and is already searching and interacting with your website.”

Agencies can use Google Analytics to identify the pages on their websites that are most visited, and make sure that those appear in the main navigation and are easy for someone to get to if they land on a different page.

Considering whether the content that appears on an agency’s website provides good UX is likewise important. There are two ways agents need to think about their content from this perspective, explained Schroeder.

For one, “It’s about the content itself, and the value in the information that you’re providing to your audience. Are you answering their questions, and did they find that piece of content helpful?” she said. “The second way you want to approach your content in terms of user experience is the format. You should make sure that you’re using headers and sub-headers, bullets, short sentences, and short paragraphs. You don’t want a big block of text because people aren’t going to stay [on the website], if the text is not broken up and formatted in a way that’s easy for them to read.”

Finally, any buttons need to be designed with UX in mind. Agencies should be aligning the text of their buttons or calls-to-action with the destination that they are linking to. For example, they don’t want to put ‘Request a Quote’ on a button that links to an informational page. Additionally, for quote forms, the best experience for consumers is to use an online comparative rater or a widget to provide live rates, because consumers today expect to get a rate for their policy immediately.

“I know there are many agencies out there who will be wary of providing a live quote right on their website, because they might think it’s replacing them or they’re worried about being taken out of the conversation with the client,” said Schroeder. “But in our data … we see many consumers using that online rater to get a live rate and at the end, they want to talk to an agent to confirm the coverage that they’re buying before they actually bind the policy.”

After all, consumers aren’t buying a plane ticket – they’re purchasing a policy that could have significant financial implications, so they are looking for that professional advice before they buy.

However, depending on the lines of business an agency focuses on, they may not be able to provide live quoting on their website, which means they will need a quote form. If that’s the case, they need to make that form as short as possible.

“The minimal amount of questions that you can ask on the forum is ideal,” recommended Schroeder. “All you need to get a lead off a website for a quote is a name, phone number, email address, and maybe a business name for commercial insurance, so that you can call them and get the rest of that information to provide a quote.”

When it comes to quote forms, agencies need to be setting expectations and following through on their promises, in terms of when the user can expect to hear from them. Schroeder advises agencies to shorten that response timeframe because the longer it takes to follow up, the less likely it is that an agent will sell that policy, according to the law of diminishing intent.

“The more time that passes between when they’ve indicated that there’s a need and when you actually talk to them, it drastically diminishes your chances of making that sale,” said Schroeder.

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