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It’s easy to follow the trends. There is such an abundance of information out there regarding the latest strategies and techniques in marketing that companies will often hop on bandwagons and ride them until they show signs of slowing down. Responsive website design falls into this category.
We saw the signs that Google and other technology companies were putting out back in 2012 and quickly decided that this was the future of car dealer websites. However, our research showed that the technology had to be perfected before it would make sense in our industry because dealer websites are built differently than just about any other type of website on the internet. Speed counts. Quality makes a difference. Following the basic premise of responsive website design is not enough to make it valid for car dealers.
In case you’re unfamiliar with responsive website design (RWD), here’s a quick explanation. With RWD, websites are coded to fit appropriately based upon the device, screen size, and screen orientation. Unlike adaptive or mobile websites, responsive websites present a uniform style and functionality on mobile devices, tablets, and desktops, making them ideal for the car business which requires multiple website visits before customers come in to make a purchase.
The challenge is that there is so much content in the form of images, videos, buttons, and widgets on a dealer’s website that serving them all through a 3G internet connection can be challenging. This is why some companies have stayed with mobile sites. We have solved this challenge with our responsive websites, but not everyone who is pushing their responsive technology has taken this into account.
Speed is extremely important when it comes to both SEO and user experience. Making a website responsive is easy. Making it load at appropriate speeds across all devices is more difficult, which is why dealers should use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to get a feel for whether or not a responsive solution is properly built to handle all internet speeds.
There’s more to it than speed, though. A huge part of creating the proper user experience is making sure that the interface on a mobile device operates to take advantage of the small screen. There are advantages to having everything consolidated into the palms of our hands. We can be more focused on each individual component rather than missing the trees for the forest as is often the case with a busy desktop website. As we discussed on our blog, there are important things that must be taken into consideration with responsive websites and how website visitors can interact with them on their smartphones.
Most companies in our space are heading in the direction of responsive website design because it’s the way that websites should operate, particularly in the automotive industry. However, don’t fall into the trap of believing that any old responsive website will do the trick. We’ve done the research. We’ve identified the pitfalls and we’ve figured out how to make responsive websites work in our industry. We might not be the only ones, but there are plenty out there that fall short. Be aware.