Do Websites Even Matter?

Stan Sher
In your situation you have options to save a lot of money and still have an effective website. The content of a website will always matter. I believe that a website is your virtual showroom.
Brian Miller
Brad, I completely agree with Stan on this one. Yes it matters! As a small business owner you have had to take a more "hands on" approach to many new things, your website should be one too. Speaking as a former small business owner, and someone who has had many friends in the industry break out and open their own lot, that transition can be challenging. Working at a franchise dealer we become accustomed to certain technologies that are sold (often at a premium) to them. The reality is there are may options out there that are a little less automated , less money and are ultimately more customizable. Bottom line, don’t give up on that web site! Look around, and not just and to common ones that cater to franchise dealers. Don’t be afraid to take a chance with a smaller firm (after a little research) or even consider doing all or part of your web site in house with the help of a techie friend.
Russ Chandler
How about a website with a 3rd party that has all the tools of the big website providers for 7k per year. Also a mostly custom design for no start up cost. Message me for details.
Eric Miltsch
Brad - I would seriously consider exploring these lower cost options, but - and it's a key point, you also need to weigh the cost of your time to service and support needed for the site. Do you want to just be the owner or are you prepared to to also add another title? "Part-time free-lance web designer" :) Definitely a great question - let's talk about it more at President's Club!
Brad Hensley
Eric, you nailed it. That is my consistent struggle. For some reason in my mind, I am just thinking about saving 15k per year but my team all knows about the third party and how to use it. It works somewhat seamless in "our system" buuuuuttttt it's 15k per year. It's a strange paradigm for me. I sat behind a desk for 10 years and pushed this website ordeal but now I barely even log in to it which goes to say I probably need to add 10 hours a week for trouble shooting & maintenance. Since I posted this, I checked out the vender ratings because I have been with two third party companies since we launched the web based marketing (in 2006). The company that I am currently with is the lowest rated vendor on Drivingsales which is very eye opening. I am going to start digging more today. I greatly appreciate everyone's feedback!
Jared Hamilton
Brad, you could invest in some lower cost options, like WordPress and then as you hire your engineers to build the custom Wordpress plugins that you need, you could offer them to other dealers as premium plugins in the WP marketplace. IT would help you recoup some of your dev costs. There are some automotive wp plugins, but i think that market is way underserved at the moment.

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