1. Remove Pop-Ups/Fly-Overs/Distractions
Hey, don’t you hate pop-ups? We do too. But beyond the initial reaction of “[Expletive deleted]! That’s annoying,” poorly-used pop-ups can also damage website credibility, appearance, and end up losing sales. If you want to know more, we wrote a whole article about how much damage pop-ups can do.
2. Be Tasteful and Strategic With Your Use of Color
This one should be a no-brainer, but all too often, it gets ignored. Dealerships tend to have a couple thematic colors and do well with decorating their storefronts, and yet it’s a common problem for their websites to go all-out on colors and patterns. Good websites use colors to highlight, emphasize, and enhance, not drown out content or distract users.
Normally we’d remove the name of a bad example (we’re not trying to embarrass anyone, after all), but Ling’s Cars is famous (or infamous) for their over-the-top website. This craziness of colors works for Ling’s Cars, but we’d never recommend it.
Below is an example of what we would recommend. A tasteful and uncomplicated color scheme gives a professional look to Sam Pack Ford’s site.
3. Use White Space to Emphasize Key Features and Functions
Alright, sure we just talked about colors, but the lack of colors is pretty important too. White space gives the impression of cleanliness, organization, and allows the emphasis on important pieces to be focused. Like art museums with their stark white walls, a website should employ a certain about of whitespace in order to showcase the masterpieces.
4. Spruce Up (Or Tone Down) Your CTAs
Remember those “CLICK NOW” buttons that used to pop up in those old early-internet flash ads? Do exactly the opposite of those. CTAs should be attractive, pleasant, and should politely invite the shopper to take the next step. They shouldn’t be obtrusive or pushy. Clicking them should feel good, and they should change shade, color, or text style when interacted with. But the line is drawn at flashing, jumping up and down, or screaming (just like in public). This also means being sparing with the number of CTAs. Too many CTAs is like many people talking at once: the messages will be lost in all the noise.
We tried to count the number of CTAs on this page and lost count. In fact, so many have been piled on that they actually overlap. Even for veterans of 90’s websites, looking at too many overlapping CTAs is asking to get a headache.
Good CTAs look professional and feel satisfactory to click. Take a look at Thompsons Toyota’s CTAs, which direct the eye to the desired actions without distraction.
5. Choose Fonts For Readability, Not Fanciness
This is almost one of those things that should go without saying, but unfortunately, we have to say it, because some websites still make this mistake. Fonts should be chosen to be clean, simple, and easy to read on all screen sizes. Fonts that are too fancy are tiring to read, and people looking for quick information about a car aren’t going to bother struggling through it.
6. Use Stock Photos Sparingly
Dealers aren’t not selling imaginary cars, so they shouldn’t include pictures of cars they don’t have. Pretty simple. But honestly, pictures of actual cars, as well as pictures of the actual dealership, and actual employees, help users form an emotional connection to the business. If you’re not totally convinced, here’s a study about a moving company that replaced their stock photos with real ones. Spoiler: conversions went up.
This was meant to be just a “don’t use stock photos” image, but right as we took the picture, the chat window popped up (not for the first time either, so it works for our first tip as well. Stock photos don’t make the car real for the shopper, and they’re boring to look at. And annoying pop-ups like this one (which, by the way, floats across the page), don’t look trustworthy or incline the shopper to stick around.
7. Every Page Is A Landing Page
Design every page with the essential elements. The reality of the web today is that not all traffic goes directly to the homepage. Key information needs to be present on every page – or at least the ones getting most traffic – and each page needs to represent a dealership’s professionalism and brand in subtle ways. This seems like a lot of work, but it’s a good thing. Users going directly to deeper-site pages means they’re getting the info they want sooner, and that benefits everyone.
8. Don’t Set Out Without a Plan
As our final word of advice, we have to say, it pays to have a plan. All of the above are ways to change your website to be more attractive, usable, and generate more sales, but the best way to make these changes is all at the same time. Have a plan, a vision for the site. Should it generate more leads, get more traffic, have a smaller bounce rate, more conversions? A plan for website design should work to address these.
Hire The Dealership Website CXperts To Do It
We don’t want to brag too much in a blog post. Honestly, we write these for the benefit of the auto industry. To make sure good information and good ideas get spread. But we’d be kinda dumb not to plug ourselves in our own post about something we do so well. But don’t take our word for it. Check out our CX website page and see for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.