Automotive web design – The essential features of a car dealer website

by | Oct 8, 2015

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 focusing 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, then we’d advise you to seriously consider purchasing a Spidersnet 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. Most people use their mobiles to browse the web, so it’s crucial that your website is able to function perfectly on a smartphone or tablet. This shift in consumer behaviour has meant that Google now actively punish websites that are not 100% responsive, and as we all know, 80% of automotive searches start with Google. Not having a responsive website could have a detrimental effect on your bottom line. Want to learn more about Google and their search algorithms? Read the following guide to find out more – What is a Google Algorithm?  

 

Relevant information

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.

 

Contact number

We would always recommend having your contact phone number in the footer of your website, this means it will appear on every page. 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 Map showing exactly where your dealership is.

 

 

Opening hours

Another important piece of information to include on 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’s 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.

SEO benefits

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!

 

Landing pages

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. 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.  

 

 

SEO benefits

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 Aston Martin example as seen in the above picture. If you are selling a number of cars made by this manufacturer, you’ll want to rank highly for local searches for this make 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):

‘Aston Martins for Sale Sussex’

‘Used Aston Martin cars for Sale Sussex’

If you have landing pages for all of the manufacturers you sell, and they are tagged properly with title tags that match the search terms, then you are drastically increasing your chances of ranking high on search engines. 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 an unlimited number of images!

 

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.