5 Reason Why Your Dealership’s Website Isn’t Working

One: Your Search Engine Optimization Program Isn’t Bringing in Traffic

“If you build it, they will come” worked for Wayne and Garth in Waynes World but it doesn’t work for websites. You need a steady stream of website visitors to make your website even remotely worthwhile. But how do you get that steady stream of visitors to your site? Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Here are just a few quick things you should be looking for that are detrimental to your websites SEO health:

Content – Content is one of the top ranking factors for Google. The better the content, the better Google ranks you and the more engaged your website visitors will be.

  • Do you have content on your site that is relevant to what your customers are looking for?
  • Does your content answer the questions they have about the car buying process, service scheduling, or the technology in your newest models?
  • Does your content read clearly so your customers can understand it?

If the answer is no to any of these questions you should start to refocus on creating new content copy for your website.

Backlinks – The internet runs on the premise that one site will link to another. This is why the number of backlinks and the quality of those backlinks matter to Google when determining your websites rank in the search engine results.

  • Is anyone linking to your site?
  • Are you doing anything buzzworthy to give other sites a reason to link to you?
  • Are you talking about your expertise in industry blogs that are linking back to your site?

IF not, you definitely want to consider a few digital PR campaigns to get your dealership out there and linked to.

Technical SEO – I know. You run a car dealership, not a web development company. So these are questions you are going to want to ask your current website developer to make sure your technical SEO is looking good.

  • Is your average site load speed under 3 seconds?
  • Is your robots.txt file configured correctly to allow Google and other search engines to crawl it?
  • Do you have 404 errors on your site?

If your web developer answers no to any of these questions have him resolve them IMMEDIATELY.

Two: Your Main Navigation is a Mess

Your main navigation is the map to your website for your visitors. Like any map, it should have the major virtual roadways your customers are looking to travel down to reach their destination. This menu not only needs to have these roadways, but it also needs to be organized and streamlined. Here are a few website navigation best practices that your website should already have in place.

Have No More Than Seven Menu Items – Yes you can have too many menu items. Your menu should take visitors to the pages they NEED in order to make a decision in the vehicle buying/service process.

Use Descriptive Menu Title Names – Letting people know exactly what they are finding when they hit a navigation button will lead to a higher click through rate, which ultimately leads to visitors finding the information they need, which gets them one step closer to becoming a customer!

Never Go More Than Three Levels Deep – Make sure that any primary source of information is no more than 3 clicks away from the home page.

Brand Logo Navigates to the Homepage – Think of your logo as a “take me home” beacon. If a visitor gets lost on your site and wants to go back to the home page, more often than not they will click on your logo to get there. Don’t let them get lost!

Three: You Don’t Have Calls-to-Action

Any good salesman knows you always ask for the sale. The same goes for on-site conversions. When your site has no calls-to-action your site wont convert visitors, and when your site doesn’t convert visitors it means your lead pipeline dries up. Here are a few tips to help improve your dealership website’s call to action:

Ask for a Specific Action – Guide the visitor to the action you want them to take.

Use Images – Images are a great way to break up blocks of text. They immediately grab the reader’s attention which means it’s an excellent time to ask for the action you want them to take.

Use Contrasting Colors – Contrasting colors are a great way to ensure your calls-to-action stand out among the rest of your website page.

Use In-Text Calls-to-Action – Using clickable in-text call to actions is a great way to get visitors to perform a simple click through using both “Ask for a Specific Action and “Use Contracting Colors”

Four: Your Lead Capturing Forms Are Horrible

Congrats! Your call-to-action changes worked and now you are getting visitors to your lead form, but no one is filling them out. There are many reasons why you are not seeing people fill out your forms. Here are some of the top reasons:

You are Asking for Too Much Information – Only ask for what you need. I know you would love to have as much data as you can about your potential customers, but people really hate giving up personal information. Especially if they feel they don’t have to.

Nothing Happens – Make sure your lead capturing forms actually work. You wouldn’t believe how many forms on the web just don’t work. Always include a backup contact email or a way for the user to contact a webmaster if they receive an error message.

Five: Your Inventory Feed is Broken

Your inventory is the bread and butter of every dealership, especially for pre-owned inventory. If your website isn’t feeding your inventory correctly, then your visitors won’t know what you have in stock, which will cause them to look elsewhere. Always make sure your inventory feed is pulling correctly from your vendor and is displayed correctly in your site. Here are a few tips for your inventory feed:

Make Sure You Have an Image – Car buyers are visual buyers. They like to be able to look at what they are buying before they buy it. Making sure you have images for every vehicle in your inventory is paramount in making the sale.

Give Only Relevant Information – Don’t clutter your inventory feed with unnecessary information. Keep it simple and use the individual VDP page to lay out all the details of the vehicle.

Make Sure it is Current – Make sure your inventory list is current. There is no easier way to drive a customer away than not having the car that your website says you have.


Don’t let your broken website keep you down. Apply some of the tips above to help improve your dealership’s website. If you need help figuring all of this out, or aren’t sure where to start, reach out to FullThrottle now to get your website in drive again.

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-Charles Bodner

Charles is a PR Coordinator at FullThrottle


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