Advertising and social media, if done correctly, can produce incredible results for your business. At some point or another, many business owners choose to build a custom website to accompany and promote their products and services. There are many DIY or industry-focused website providers available to get you started—and full-service marketing partners to improve and grow your digital presence, once those sites are live.
Regardless of which route you take, be sure to analyze your website’s appearance at a glance. First impressions count, and when someone visits a webpage, you want them to stick around, without making a hasty exit from annoying pop-up advertisements, crammed text, broken URL links or poor graphics.
The key to producing a refined business website and getting the attention of your customers and social media followers is by selecting a template or theme that is modern, concise and most importantly, user-friendly. Minimalist themes are becoming increasingly popular, as the extra whitespace trains the reader’s eye to flow effortlessly across the page, without straining or lingering too long on run-on paragraphs. Typography and fonts should be clear and in a colour that is visible and legible. Avoid using creative cursives or bubble fonts, and make the print large enough so that it is compatible across mobile, tablet and desktop platforms. So, what else can you do to make sure your business is getting the attention it deserves?
Who are you as a brand? What is your purpose? What are you trying to sell to your customers? Your company’s mandate should be recognizable immediately upon entering your website. If you’re an independent auto dealer, whether you have a car as your logo or not, your customers should know immediately who and what you are as a business.
Making your contact information visible and easy to find is one of the most important features for any business website. Even if your graphics are incredible, if there’s no accessible CTA (call to action), you’ll most likely lose out on valuable customers who intended to use your services. Placing your business’s telephone number and social media accounts in the header or footer of your website lets your visitors know how to get in touch for additional information or service.
The minute somebody visits your website, they arrive with a purpose in mind. Whatever they’re looking for should be easy to find at the touch of a button, without having to maneuver through random sub-categories and links. Implementing an easy search tool, like a navigation bar on your homepage that separates your services under one umbrella is a great way to add user-friendly features to any business website. (Remember: Not every page needs to be in your menu. Six items, MAX!)
Adding visual interest to any website catches the attention of your audience, and says a lot about your business as a brand. Make sure that the images you use on your website reflect the core values of the business, and whenever possible, use original content rather than stock photography.
Want your customers to remember your business? Then highlight only your company’s best-selling features like premium used cars or luxury and exotic vehicles. Studies have shown that readers remember only small quantities of information before passing onto the next page, so if you want to leave a good impression, include language that illustrates the who, what and how of your company in language that is simple and understandable.
Offering free exclusive services for subscribers or repeat customers, is a great way to attract more consumers to your website. For example, if your business has a monthly newsletter and you’re an automotive dealer, perhaps offering subscribers access to a free tire change is an incentive to keep them returning the following month. When you create an environment of exclusivity that comes with perks and real value, you cultivate a more personal relationship with your customers.
According to recent statistics, more online traffic in Canada stems from mobile devices than it does from a desktop computer. Nothing is worse than designing a beautiful website that looks great from your desktop, but is a downright mess on your smartphone or tablet. When designing your website, you need to be sure that it’s functional across multiple platforms, while ensuring a user-friendly experience, or you run the risk of losing many online shoppers.
Blogging is becoming more and more popular for business websites as a means for owners to share a more personal side of the company with their consumers. While the website is a great place to promote your services, creating a blog lets you keep your customers up-to-date on industry news, topics of interest, and any potential contests, events or promotions offered by the business. A blog is also a great way for your customers to know more about you and your staff, while feeling more connected to your company as a whole. Pro Tip: If you're looking to get started, may we recommend these 24 Car Dealer Blog ideas to jumpstart those creative juices?
As a business owner, unless you’ve got a one-of-a-kind invention, chances are somebody, somewhere, is already selling your product in the exact same industry. While there’s no way around this, one of the best things you can do before creating your business website is to take a good, long look at your biggest competitors, and take note of what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. Is it working? Could it be better? How? Brainstorm the ways in which you can leverage an alternative and focus on standing out. With so many new tools, design layouts and incredible features, there’s never been a better time to push creative boundaries and show your consumers why your business is better than the rest.
It sounds obvious, but it’s surprising just how many dealerships can make the mistake of paying for a website platform that doesn’t directly speak to or acknowledge the needs of your consumers. Who is your target audience? Why are they visiting your web page, and why should they come back? Understanding your demographics is crucial during the design process, as it’s largely part of what makes a visitor a customer. By making your website interactive and responsive, it’s much easier to convert your customers to your brand, and keep them away from your competitors.
Before you start building your website, remember the basics: acknowledge and understand your clients, check out the competition and start building a website that speaks to your brand, your services and your business values. With these helpful suggestions in mind, you’re sure to stand out!
Christine Hogg is a deadline driven content writer for FlexDealer who comes armed with an Honours B.A in Journalism. When she’s not drinking lattes and typing away furiously at the keyboard, you can find her practicing photography, enjoying Toronto’s downtown core, or looking for the best all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant.