I work for a GM dealership and paying attention to my website, and website provider was something that I gave little thought to... even though my leads and my income came DIRECTLY from these two things. Once CDK dissolved it's clause with GM, and I became immersed in this world of chose me vs the other guy, I began to notice quickly a lot of what was working on our website, and what wasn't...
Here are the top takeaways I learned that is key to having your website stand out in the crowd.
Always, always go mobile-first
You never think about it as your sitting at your desk, staring at your website a hundred times a day how few people actually aren't doing this. So close out of your website editor, and go to your mobile-first website editor. Your customer is likely sitting on their lunch break researching their next car on their iPhone, or laying on their couch with their tablet... few people are actually loading up their desktop nowadays. 51% of people look up what they need to on their mobile device, 45% use their tablets, which leaves a lowly 4% using a desktop computer. So why are you making changes using your desktop view?
Don't ever make them SEARCH for that SEARCH bar...
Get it? But seriously. If your search bar isn't front and center at the top of EVERY page, you're doing something wrong. No one wants to keep searching for the back button to search for something new. Today's world is all about quick and easy. Make sure it's the quickest, and easiest to search something on your website.
Lose all the junk
What may seem important to you, or driving leads on your home page is probably annoying your customer. Why is it showing me your new car inventory in four different places? This is wasted real estate. Your homepage can be flashy, and have all the information in the world on it, as long as it's easy to use, and it doesn't take you longer than a minute to scroll through the whole page. Less is more.
Speaking of less is more...
All those dropdowns underneath your main page headings? STRIKE THEM. Well maybe not all of them... but having ten different pages under each header is confusing, and annoying to your customer. As much as you want to have the flashiest website with the most information and most pages possible... you really, really don't need it. Cut the junk. Have simple pages.
Make sure your VDP's are accurate, informative, and answer the question. Gone are the days of being vague to drive leads. You'll actually get more if all your info is out in the open, and if your customer can see it all upfront. List the features, CarFax, and any other need to know info clearly. When it comes to images and videos if you got 'em flaunt 'em. THIS is where you want to overload your website... with images, 360 spins, videos, etc. Have the customer see the vehicle before they buy them... and clearly.
A link to real human connection always sets you apart. A "staff page" introducing your customers with photos, bios, and why to shop from you always offers a real-life connection you can't beat.