Building your own dealership site.

Jared Hamilton
I had a debate with a dealer once because he felt it was best for dealers to outsource a coder and build their own website. My argument against it was to hire one of the website companies who specialize in building sites for dealers. My reasoning was that it takes a special focus on engineering to build a great site, and to keep up on the technology trends, tools, plugins and SEO that it takes to build and manage a great site. A dealership doesnt need this distraction, a dealership should focus on selling cars and leave the technology up to the technology people. Find good partners and nurture the relationship. Thats my advice.
Steven Richards
I agree. For most dealers, partnering with a dealer website company is going to be your best bet. It's unlikely that most dealerships will need to develop their websites in-house. If you have a large/complex enough online operation to merit in-house development, be prepared to spend a significant amount of money on it. When it comes to web developers, you get what you pay for. Find good talent; people who live and breathe technology are going to give you a better product.
Jared Hamilton
Not to mention the time suck of having to manage a technology R&D team while trying to run a store. You would also loose all the advantages of scale that the big companies have. All in all I dong thing it a good bet for most dealerships.
Tom White Jr.
Still disagree with you, but we can agree to disagree... The challenge with ALMOST all of the automotive website vendors is that they build websites that look pretty much alike. I would rather have a different "look and feel" even if that means losing some SEO impact (although I would debate that because SEO is NOT the rocket science many make it out to be)... While it very well may be a "time suck," for some advanced dealers I believe building and maintaining one's own sites makes really good sense... Just sayin'
Arnold Tijerina
I'm stuck in the middle here. I agree with Tom in that everyone's website seems to always look the same (or very similar) and that, if you are able and have the staff, to build and manage your own website you would see monetary savings BUT I also agree with Jared in that if you DON'T have the staff with the "know-how", you're probably better off hiring a company to do it. I've seen some dealer websites that they created themselves (either truly by themselves or hired out as a one-time thing) and they looked horrible. You have to be unique and the website has to be pleasant to look at with easy navigation. If you can do that on your own, why not?
Tracy Myers
Great subject matter Tom. If you want a black and white answer, I think that it would be great for dealers to take creative control of their websites and maintain it themselves. The "cookie cutter" template based websites that MOST automotive website vendors have been shoving down dealers throats for years have resulted in a "same is lame" mentality from consumers as well. However, I'll say that the majority of dealers aren't ready to tackle a project as big as building their own website. Heck...most dealers don't even do a good job of maintaining their big box website that was created by an automotive website vendor. Just go to 10 dealer websites and click on the "SPECIALS" tab to see what I mean. 7 of 10 will say "No Specials Available". A sad but true fact.

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