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Original Post

Website Design

I have noticed a small percentage of dealers move away from using vendors to build and host their websites. In fact they either have it custom built for a large cum of money or hire people in-house to build and manage their website. What approach seems better? What are the benefits of doing it in-house versus use a vendor?

Apr 7, 2013

Stan, No two dealer's are the same, neither should their web site options be. As someone who built custom web sites for years, I can tell you first hand that a custom web site can really have a positive impact. As for dealer's doing it in-house, we will see more of that in the years to come (sorry Cobalt and Dealer.com). With advanced CMS tools like Joomla, Wordpress and Dropal for example, their is so much more flexibility. I will be posting an article on this subject in the week to come about a new inventory tool that turns one CMS into a trun-key solution, saving a dealers thousand a year and opening the door to tools they have never had before.

Apr 7, 2013

Stan, great question.

We had a custom website at Auction Direct that absolutely rocked. The individuality of the site was a huge contributor to the unique experience we offered.

Benefits? Greater control, faster response time and total design freedom. Plus, customers loved the appearance so much more than typical dealership websites.

It's a difficult move; the right people and support are critical. I would recommend any dealership consider the options.

Apr 8, 2013

We are one of those dealers who moved away from a vendor website to custom in-house. It gives us 100% flexibility, quick updates, ongoing A/B testing, and design/interface/SEO improvements, and overall a unique experience vs other dealer's' sites. For us it also offered cost savings in the end even with my salary factored in.

The biggest drawback on taking on a website in-house or custom would be once that person or team leaves, you run major risks of failure. There are very few good designers/developers with understanding of the automotive sales industry, it's like other industries, but its very unique. Having that knowledge of how the automotive industry works and how all pieces and tools are tied together is what makes a success.

Another drawback is the inventory plugin/display. I've found some out of the box plugins for WordPress and Joomla, but most still needed custom work and knowledge to fully integrate with other vendor tools. DealerTrend (now CarDealerPress) offers a great WordPress solution that was easy to customize VLP/VDP (with PHP knowledge) or they offer 3 good VLP/VDP designs out of the box.

We use a custom theme built and custom designed inventory VLP/VDP built on WordPress. This is a great easy-to-use platform and it would be what I recommend to dealers trying to go custom.

http://www.andersonautogroup.com

Apr 26, 2013

Chad, your spot on. In-house is not for everyone, but far more dealers should look into this option. <br>
Carpub is another great plugin for Joomla to consider. The pug-in is a great example of a solution coded for the industry and seamlessly integrates with Cargigi's ADAM system updating throughout the day automatically. It woks with single point dealers and even small groups with all of the configurations you can image (it's even programmed to send leads via XML ADF). The display loads fast and is a responsive layout allow a single display to fit all devices. Here is an example of this tool in action: http://www.landroversolon.com<br>
The site you posted looks fantastic!

Apr 30, 2013

I enjoy hearing how different dealers are using the different platforms. Thanks for all of the comments.

May 4, 2013

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