Time for a Website Checkup?

Building a website design plan that delivers more quality leads. What should you focus on?

New customers today can reach your website in a variety of ways including your social channels, search engines, map and vehicle listings, and word of mouth. It is reported that as high as 85% of all car purchases were researched online prior to reaching out to the dealer. And on top of all of that, new customers are using their smart phones or tablets the most to learn about your business.

So, what does that mean? I think we all realize that our BHPH websites need to be optimized. But how? And where should you start? Besides making your website quicker, stronger for search, and more mobile friendly, what other improvements should you make?

First, as a main goal, let’s say that we want more quality leads. There are a lot of actions you can take to improve your website to accomplish that. So, I thought I would break it down by the website visitor’s journey and just like any plan – let’s tackle the highest impact issues first.

The first ½ second: First Impressions are critcal

You have exactly one half of 1 second to make a good first impression on your website. Ready? … Start. Ok, times up.

In the time needed to snap your fingers or in a blink of an eye, a snap judgement was made about your website and thus your business. That quick opinion is all the visitor needs to determine if they stay on your site or leave. With smart phones and tablets, it takes just a quick swipe of a finger across the screen to exit.

94% of your site’s first impression success is related to it’s design. Studies of website visitor behavior found that it’s visual appeal has the biggest influence on your brand. A positive first impression leads to higher satisfaction and interaction while a negative impression is practically irreversible. In other words, “you never get a second chance.”

In addition, 75% of new website visitors admit to making snap judgements of the company’s credibility based on their website design. This is a critical statistic to think about. In less than one second, 3 out of every 4 new visitors determined if they would explore your business more based on the way your website looks.

So, be honest, is your website and the way it looks getting enough of your attention? In the BHPH business, a lead can be worth thousands of dollars. How much money is left on the table, if new visitors just swipe your website away before you were even able to explain the great service you provide?

The next 8 seconds: Your Website’s Purpose

If your website passed the first visual test and sparks the visitor’s interest, your business will be rewarded with an additional 8 seconds on average to help them understand what you do.

8 seconds goes by pretty quick, and you will need a website design plan to maximize the time with the visitor.

Did you know? – That the more links on your website, the lower “conversion” rate tends to be. A site with 3 to 4 links will outperform one with 8 to 9 links. Distractions to the visitor will lose sight on the goal or purpose of the site.

“Conversion” is an action the visitor takes to contact you or follow your site’s purpose. For BHPH, a great conversion action is one in which the visitor completes a finance application and submits it with the intent to getting approved.

A good website design plan will typically be focused on one goal. In this example, the completion of a finance application. In order to drive results, your content should either provide benefits to completing the goal or problems that the goal resolves for the visitor. Every path leads to the goal.

What are you selling and why should the visitor care?

Within 8 seconds, the visitor is going to absorb your content and messaging. All of it should be focused at increasing the likelihood of conversion. In order to do this, website designers deploy a method called the “aspirational mirror.”

What you need to know as a dealer, is that photos of people increase conversion over 100%. Visitors relate to the emotion component like happiness or elation. It reflects to what they want to get from you or achieve by completing the goal.

The same effect happens with exploiting the negatives in pictures of people. For example, a picture of a person feeling bad about their credit. The message in the picture helps empathize with the visitor’s hope to resolve their financial issues by filling out the credit application and getting a car from you.

The “aspirational mirror” builds trust with your audience and leads to believable action.

Testimonials, Ratings and Forms: Reduce the Friction to move forward

Believable action is critical for the visitor who has just a few seconds to decide on moving forward with your business. Placing good testimonials and ratings in the journey can act as push towards action. There is safety in numbers and if other people say it was good, then the visitor is more likely to go through with it.

Testimonials and ratings should be a priority for you to gather. Facebook and Google My Business are the best sources for good recommendations and volume. Make sure your website pulls them in and organizes the content to create a picture of strength. The likelihood of a good experience, like others have had, will smooth the pathway to completing the website goal.

Also, a key component to reduce friction, is the form that the visitors use to complete the application. The key here is that the customer needs to see the form upfront and above the fold on your website. The willingness to complete the form is decided quickly and based on the perceived effort to fill it out. Get just enough of what you need from the customer to further the conversation and approval process.


A few steps in the right direction can make a big difference in your website’s performance and the number of quality leads. These were just a few things to get you started. I recommend a renewed effort to understanding your website and how its performing. These steps will go a long way to building a better website design plan that will deliver more quality leads.

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