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Friday, August 25, 2006

Best Features for Your Auto Dealer Website

One thing I've realized recently about website design in the automotive industry is that there seem to be an almost unlimited number of features available. If someone thinks it will benefit a car dealer, it will be made. Unfortunately, I've noticed that some of these features are practically force-fed to the dealers gathering info on the best features for their own website design. How many times have you been to an auto dealer site and as soon as you pull up the home page you hear a virtual "person" talking to you? My first instinct is a frantic "where is the button to stop this make-believe man or woman from interrupting my search?". Similar to flash intro pages on sites. It's been said that the "skip intro" button is the most widely used across those sites.

If you're just getting started shopping around for a web design company to handle your car dealer site you've probably realized one thing already. There are a ton of companies out there. Several major players exist in the market, and even more smaller players. Just look at these search results on MSN and you'll see there are (at the time of this post) over 161,000 results for "independent auto dealer websites). Good, bad, and everything in between. Most offer the core features you'll need for your site, and then each company seems to have their own "secondary" products that are available.

My advice to anyone looking for decent web design, especially for an auto dealer website, is to focus on the features you need. I'm a believer in keeping things simple; if it works, don't change it. There are of course things that can increase dealership profits on the online side of things, just make sure if you're spending money on these things that they actually provide a significant return on your investment.

It's always worthwhile to ask the companies you check out how much customization they're willing to do. If they have features in their packages that you just don't see yourself using, ask for a price without those features. If you're looking for cheap web design, my advice is to shop around, narrow it down to 2-3 companies that you're confident can handle your account, and see what each is willing to do to earn your business. No great secrets here, just like if you were buying a car you'd shop a few dealerships and not spend extra money on a convertible when you don't like the sun.

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