Our Spidersnet Learning Hub is full of marketing advice as well as insights into customer care. We have guides on social media for car dealers, search engine optimisation and much more. However, today we are focussing on what we do best, automotive web design. That’s right, this is the first in a number of guides to car dealer websites and what they require.
If you run a car dealership then a website is essential. But that isn’t enough. You also need to ensure that your website is well equipped to help you sell cars! As previously mentioned, we have a huge range of marketing guides, all of which are aimed at helping you drive customers to your website. However, if your site itself is not up to task then you will merely put potential customers off choosing your dealership next time they need a car.
This guide is basically a list of all of the essential aspects that we feel all car dealers websites should have. If you aren’t a current Spidersnet customer, or you’re on one of our old platforms, then we’d advise you to seriously consider purchasing a brand new Spidersnet Infinity website, as they include all of these features and plenty more. To find out more about Spidersnet websites, click here now.
Responsive web design
In this day and age, there are very few things as important as responsive design. More people than ever are browsing the web on mobile devices, so it’s crucial that your website is able to function perfectly on a smartphone or tablet. Here at Spidersnet we recently analysed all of our automotive dealer websites – of which we power over 450 – and we discovered that around 60% of users on these sites were using mobiles and tablets. That is an awful lot of people who are now relying on your website being fully functional on any device.
But why is responsive design so important?
As you can see from the statistics above, if over half of your users are browsing your website on a mobile device, you really do want to ensure that they’re able to use your website properly. A mobile-unfriendly website will be clunky to use and at times won’t allow a mobile user the same functionality as someone browsing on a desktop or laptop.
If someone does land on your website whilst on their mobile device and your site isn’t mobile-friendly, then they will no doubt leave with a poor first impression of your business. This may even lead to them never coming back. Make sure that you make a perfect first impression and ensure that your website is fully responsive. Responsive design essentially means that your website will adapt and morph to fit into whatever screen it’s being viewed on.
An example of how a nice responsive website will look on different screen sizes.
Responsive design is also good for SEO
As well as being essential for your customers, allowing you to offer your services to anyone no matter what device they’re on, having a mobile-friendly website also has SEO benefits. Earlier this year Google made some significant changes to its algorithm, which significantly effected how sites rank for people searching on mobile. Therefore, dealerships with mobile-friendly websites are at an advantage when it comes to ranking high up for specific search terms, over their mobile-unfriendly competitors. Read the following guide to find out more – What is a Google Algorithm?
As well as knowing that your website works nicely on any device, you also want to ensure that it features all of your dealership’s relevant information. When someone is browsing your site they should have easy access to all of your contact details so they know how to get hold of you if they need to.
We would always recommend having your contact phone number in the top corner of every page of your website. Consumers these days are
almost expecting to see your contact number in this location, so to make it easy for them, and keep up with everyone else on the web.
Location and address
You will want to ensure that any potential customers are able to find where you are. If they see some cars that they like on your website, and want to pop along and take one out for a test drive then that will be much easier if they know where you’re located. We always ensure that our dealers are displaying their full address on their website, but it is also a very good idea to ensure that you have a Google Map showing exactly where your dealership is.
Another important piece of information to include in your dealership’s website is your opening hours. You want to make it as easy for your potential customers to come and visit you as possible, and letting them know when you’re open for business is just another helping hand. Whilst most people aren’t averse to getting in touch in order to find out when you’re open, by removing this step you are making it more simple for people to make it down.
Email address or contact form
If someone is on your site and needs to get in touch for some reason then it’is also a good idea to either have a contact form or your email address listed somewhere. Putting your contact number may be enough for some people, but others may wish to send you an email instead.
Having all of your relevant information on your website is not just good for your users, but it can also have a positive SEO impact on your website. Online citations are a great way to boost your dealership’s rankings in local search results pages – which are most definitely important to most car dealerships. And in order to ensure that your citations work effectively, it is vital that your correct contact details are also listed on your website. Citations are very useful and easy to implement, even for people with limited knowledge of SEO. Read our guide to business citations today to find out more!
Relevant landing pages are another important aspect of a car dealer website. This is even more vital for dealers who are selling a range of different vehicles. If you have all of your stock listed on one page then this can be a pain for your users to scroll through, so having them split by manufacturer or category can make your website more user friendly.
Easier to browse
If you are selling Fords, Vauxhalls and Peugeots then having an individual landing page for each is really important. This way, your users are able to browse the manufacturer that suits them best. User experience is vital, and ensuring that your potential customers are able to view the stock they’re after, with ease, makes your business feel more professional. You can also have landing pages for new and used stock, separately, further allowing your users to search more specifically for what they’re in need of.
Surprise surprise there are some fantastic SEO benefits to having specific landing pages. In fact, the SEO benefits are actually as important (if not more) than the user benefits. Let’s take the Ford, Vauxhall and Peugeots example above. If you are selling a number of cars made by each of these manufacturers, you’ll want to rank highly for local searches for these makes of car. For example, if you’re based in Sussex then you’ll want to rank for the following search terms (as well as other similar variants of these search terms):
‘Fords for Sale Sussex’
‘Vauxhalls for Sale Sussex’
‘Peugeots for Sale Sussex’
If you have landing pages for all three of these, and they are tagged properly with title tags that match the search terms, then you are drastically increasing your chances of ranking for the above terms. We see so many dealerships who make one of these two drastic mistakes:
- Too many dealers simply don’t have the right landing pages
This leads to them missing out on plenty of traffic from the specific search terms listed above. This drives us crazy as it is a huge mistake and is easily solved. Here at Spidersnet we encourage all of our dealers to create specific landing pages where necessary.
- Too many dealers have the right landing pages with the wrong title tags
You wouldn’t believe how many dealers do have the correct landing pages, but are missing out on traffic from search engines due to them using the wrong title tags. We have written an entire guide to meta tags, which will go into much more detail on this matter. However, in brief, if you are selling used Fords in Sussex and have a landing page, then the title tag of this landing page should be ‘Used Fords Cars for Sale Sussex’. It should ALWAYS include the manufacturer, the fact that the car is new or used and vitally, the location as well!
Vehicle enquiry forms
This may sound a bit obvious, but it’s important that you have enquiry forms on your ad details pages. If someone likes the look of a car on your website, it should be as easy as possible for them to contact you. Some may give you a call, but others will find it easier to fill in an enquiry form.
This helps people get in touch to declare their interest in a specific car you have and it allows them to ask you questions if they need anything cleared up before popping down to your showroom to take a look.
Plenty of images
When browsing cars online, consumers want to see plenty of pictures. Don’t just upload one image of the car on your forecourt, make sure you’re taking a range of pictures of all aspects of the car. You will want one of the front, one of the back, one of each side and a couple of other angles too. You’ll also want to take a number of close ups and pictures of the interior.
We see far too many car adverts online that have just one single photograph, and it frustrates us. That’s why, here at Spidersnet our platform allows our dealers to upload up to 20 pictures of each car they advertise, or if they have opted for our Elite package – an unlimited number of images!
Prestige Diesels are a Spidersnet client who really make the most of the photos on their website. The pictures they take are top quality and they make sure they upload plenty!
Automated stock feeds
Automated stock feeds aren’t necessarily useful for customers browsing your website, but they do make your life much easier. If you advertise your stock on third party websites, such as Autotrader, Ebay, Motors.co.uk etc, then an automated stock feed will post your cars to these sites for you, saving you plenty of time and effort.
Here at Spidersnet we appreciate that plenty of car dealers have arrangements with third party site and that is why we can feed stock to a huge range of these for a small added cost. If you are currently uploading all of your stock to all of these different sites separately, one car at a time, then these automatic stock feeds will revolutionise the way you advertise your cars online.
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