Most dealers say their website is their highest converting tool. However, in my role as a CarGurus account manager, I often see a one-size-fits-all approach to dealership websites. They’re missing any personality or wow factor, and they can be difficult to use. Together, these website issues don’t make me want to explore the inventory on the site or submit a lead for a vehicle that fits my search.
There are plenty of ways to optimize your website for shoppers though, whether you maintain your website in house, or you rely on a website host to keep it up to date. Here are three things we suggest doing to improve your website.
1. Optimize your site for mobile
Make sure that mobile optimization is a top priority when updating your website. Consumers are shopping on multiple platforms—desktop, tablet, and mobile—and you need to offer a consistent experience across all of them.
There are a couple of key things you can do to make sure car shoppers have a good experience on your website, no matter what platform they’re searching on. First, make sure it has responsive web design. This means your website should automatically resize itself according to the measurements of the viewer’s screen. And second, you should take a look at your page load times across all platforms. Longer load times will affect your quality score because you’ll see higher bounce rates.
Google pushes mobile-optimized websites to the top of search results because they’re better quality websites. Making these improvements will not only boost your quality rating, but they’ll also allow your site to be seen by more shoppers and help with any SEO and paid search campaigns you run.
2. Offer a clean, easy-to-use design
Consumers spend more time on websites that allow a dealership’s personality to shine through. And they’re also more likely to stay on a site that’s easy to navigate. Does your site currently allow consumers to search using a text search? Can they shop by price? These are some popular ways that consumers search for vehicles, so keep them in mind as you optimize your site.
Another design aspect that will drive more leads is having multiple calls to action for consumers to choose from. This can include pre-approval form fill, text, email, or schedule a test drive. No matter what calls to action you choose to include, make sure that the shopper is taken to a thank you page after completing an action. This will allow Google Analytics or your website host to quantify and track the success of that event.
3. Identify the data you want from your website and implement the technology to get it
Your website—and the plug-ins you use on it—should provide lots of data that you can learn from and use as you adjust your digital marketing strategy. For example, many dealers look for data on conversions from calls to action, as well as leads segmented by type–service, parts, or sales. Many dealerships also like to see their geographic audience so they can target certain regions more effectively with paid search campaigns.
After considering what kind of data you’d like to get from your website, implement technology that will help you get it and facilitate more sales. One of the most common ways to get additional info is by using widgets like text and chat, which many dealers choose. An important plug-in to consider is one for finance applications which can push a customer’s data directly into a credit portal or online retailing tools where he or she could buy a car online.
Through improved mobile optimization, design, and integration you should see better performance results from your website traffic.