404: Blog Entry Not Found

404 error messagePicture this: A customer is on the side of the road after a car wreck. They log into your agency website from their mobile device. They navigate to the claims portal and tap their carrier of choice. A message pops up.

404: Page not found.

You've seen this error message before online. It appears because whatever you're looking for moved or changed. Isn't it annoying?

In the case of an insurance agent's website, it's a good way to lose a customer. In the example above, that customer will wonder if they can trust your website in the case of a future accident.

So, how do 404s happen, and how can you fix them? Take a look below to find out.

Carriers Change Their Website Structure

It's your responsibility to stay on top of the links on your website. That includes links on your carrier related pages. You could have a payment page or a claims page with carrier links.

Unfortunately, these links can break after a carrier changes something on its end.

For example, carriers may change website hosts. This can result in minor changes in URL structure, such as replacing a dash with an underscore. These changes can prevent the link on your website from working.

Another common cause for broken carrier links is mergers. Take Allied, for instance. They merged with Nationwide. Now, the login page you access from the Allied home page says www.nationwide.com.

In these cases, there is a grace period where the old URL will forward to the new one. Keep an eye out for news and press releases that signal the impending change.

Updating Your Content Can Lead to Broken Links

Adding links to your website is good for SEO. But, any small typo can break a link. Copy and paste is your friend in these cases. If you are typing the URL out, be careful not to miss a character.

If you decide to reorganize some pages on your website, that could break links too. If you delete an old blog post, make sure it's not linked from elsewhere on your website.

Links can also lead to forms on your insurance website. But, what if you stop selling a line of business and turn off that form? The link won't go away, but if the form is turned off, it will no longer be accessible. If someone clicks on the link, they'll be greeted with a 404.

Always remember to update any hyperlinks if you update your content and forms.

Broken Links Can Break Pictures Too

A close cousin of the 404 error page is the broken image link. Broken image links are more obvious to website visitors than regular broken links.

Broken images also show you don't care about maintaining your website. That is even worse than a 404, in my humble opinion.

Here's what you need to remember: Any time you move an image in your image library, you have to change the file path on your website link.

For example, you could move an image to a new folder in your Insurance Website Builder photo library. That will break the image link because the location of the image file, or the path, changed.

To fix the broken image link, you must update the image path through the Site Content Editor.

In most cases, a little attention to detail can prevent most broken links on websites. It wouldn't hurt to go through your website periodically. Click around to make sure everything is working as it should.

Do you have any questions or comments? Leave us know below!

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