Here’s a silly question for dealers and managers: Do you ever look at your website and think it’s stale or boring? Of course you do – nearly every day – that’s why it’s a silly question.
Believing your website is stale or boring is natural; but, making changes because of this belief often kills your conversions.
Think about it: You visit your website multiple times a day. Each time you do, you see the same homepage, the same images, the same menu items, the same layout, and the same drop-ins and pop-ups. How boring!
Your website is stale and boring to you. It’s stale and boring to your team. But – and this is an important but – it’s not stale or boring to your customers. You see, they simply don’t visit your site often enough to have an opinion about its relative freshness. Besides, do you think other (non-dealership) websites you visit are stale or boring? Chances are you do not.
Attract & Convert
Your dealership site has just two primary goals: Attract and convert. That is, your website is there to attract visitors and then convert those visitors into customers. Everything else about your site either supports those two goals or it’s fluff.
Understanding this, you should embrace a “boring” website that attracts and converts over a “fresh” site that does not. Moreover, any changes you consider making should only be driven by the desire to improve your website’s ability to attract and/or convert. This is called a strategy; and your yearning to make something “fresh” should play no role in the decision unless it supports this strategy.
Unfortunately for nearly every dealer and manager reading this, you’re often too close to things like your dealership’s website to make sound decisions. Changing your website or website provider is a major decision that should never evolve from your opinion that it’s become stale. What you find boring might be a traffic- and lead-driving machine.
What Does Everyone Want?
When reviewing possible changes to your website, it’s important to understand that the visitor is looking for information and you’re looking to convert that visitor into a customer. Boring – you’re likely to discover – might be good for information gathering and lead generation; while lots of cool, spinning, web effects might be bad.
Whenever a dealer laments to me about their “boring” website, I’m reminded of the embarrassing effects dealers were incorporating a decade ago. Back then, most dealers believed that to convert visitors into buyers, they needed to have the absolute coolest sites on the World Wide Web. Many were adding everything from online games to autoplay music to their webpages just because they could.
For most, it took less than a week to realize that their employees were the only ones playing the online games and the autoplay audio was driving away visitors.
I understand that changes to your website are going to happen; however, when you do this to improve its ability to attract and/or convert, be sure to make only small changes that you can track and measure before and after. This way, if your traffic or conversions decline, you can easily revert to where you were before you made the alterations.
Of course, some changes aren’t so small that reverting to an earlier iteration is possible. For example, when you switch website providers there is no going back. Therefore, I strongly caution dealers to weigh the reasons for the desired change against their goals and to ensure the proposed switch aligns with their strategies.
If you recall the last time you switched website providers, you know this invariably leads to unintended and unwelcome consequences. These can include everything from “404 Errors” (because the new company screwed up) to drops in search rankings (because you have a new website) to lost continuity in tracking (because the new company wants to use their Google Analytics account) to actual lost leads (because someone fat-fingered your lead delivery address).
So much can and does go wrong when you make these changes that doing so because you think your site is boring is nonsensical. Every dealer’s website has just two goals: attract visitors and convert those visitors into customers. If this means a boring site, then so be it. The top dealers in the country don’t change their sites because they’re boring; they understand their website is only boring to them.