This article originally appeared in the May edition of OPE Business
If you had the chance to hire someone who doesn’t take days off, requires no benefits and was responsible for bringing in the lion’s share of customers to your door, I imagine most business owners would do that in a heartbeat. Clearly, that person doesn’t exist, but your website – the digital front door of your dealership – does all of those things and more. Why then do so many dealers take a “set it and forget it” attitude toward their web presence?
Here are the five things you should be doing to make sure your website is truly working for you and your dealership.
- Keep it Updated
This may seem rudimentary, but websites get stale and need to be updated. Your best-sellers from last year, may not be your best-sellers this year. Featuring zero-turns on your homepage in the dead of winter when your dealership is in Northern Minnesota might cause a disconnect with your customers. More importantly, search engines like Google value content freshness. Keeping your website updated with proper hours, services and catalog information signals to your customers and to Google that you are committed to providing a superior user experience.
- Design Matters
You know what they say about first impressions right? Site design is not an area to skimp. In fact, a whopping 75% of consumers admit that they judge a business’ credibility on the quality of their website design. Showcasing your professionalism is important for every interaction a potential customer has with your business and for many, the customer journey begins when they find your website. In 2021, a poorly designed website is worse than not having a website at all. For dealers, that means you need to have full product catalogs, complete with high quality product images and multiple calls to action to capture user info.
- Make it Snappy
When I first start building websites around 1997 or so, internet speeds were, shall we say, a bit slower than they are today. The general rule of thumb back then was shoot for an average load time of 8.8 seconds for best user experience. Today, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less! If you want to see how quickly your website loads, head on over to google.com and search for “Page Speed Insights” and you’ll be able to see exactly how Google measures your website performance.
- Mobile is important, but don’t ignore desktop
Almost 56% of global web traffic comes from mobile devices, a trend that’s largely gone unchanged since 2017. For dealerships, we’re still seeing a larger percentage of traffic coming from desktop computers and tablets than the national average for other businesses. The reason for this is because lawn and ag equipment is many times a heavily researched purchase decision due the price and financing implications involved. Users will come back to your website over and over to compare models, promotions and financing offers and in our experience, a good amount of that research is still done on desktop devices.
- Commit to SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Building a website isn’t like Field of Dreams. “If you build it, they will come” has no bearing on the Internet. When you consider that 92% of all website traffic comes from the first page of Google results, you can see how important it is to commit to making sure your name and your brand can be found at the top of search results. It’s not enough to just show up #1 when a customer Googles your business name – that’s what Google Maps/Google My Business is for. The hard part is making sure a customer that doesn’t know you or has never been exposed to your brand can find you easily when searching for things like “lawnmower repair near me” or “Cub Cadet dealer Bardstown KY”. While some technical assistance may be required for long-term SEO efforts, if you want to start making an impact right away with your own SEO efforts, commit to creating content that can be added to your website. This content can take the form of manufacturer specific landing pages or by blogging frequently about your service offerings and promotions. Remember, Google prioritizes freshness and it craves original content. In a world where all of your competitors might be using the same website provider, with same content and the same designs, a little extra effort on your part or direction from a professional, might just be the little bump your dealership needs to outshine the rest.
Like anything else, if you put time and effort and resources into your web presence, the benefit to your dealership is nearly immeasurable. It is the #1 most essential tool you’ll ever utilize for your business so show it some love and it will love you back.
If your business is struggling to be found or your competitors are seemingly EVERYWHERE, we can help. Contact us to talk about SEO for OPE Dealerships & Landscapers.