Car Dealership Websites

Get the Most Out of Your Homepage

Get the Most Out of Your Homepage Part 1

The Internet is a big place. It can be scary, it can be offensive, and it can be weird. But it can also be the best way to connect with a customer base that might never even know you exist. The key is your homepage. 

You’re going to need to make it sing. 

The first step is making it abundantly clear to anyone who visits your site who you are and what you do. Sounds basic, right? It’s shocking how many companies get that precisely wrong. Imagine that no one has heard of you, and that a visitor somehow landed on your homepage by mistake. Think of the quickest, cleanest, easiest way to explain who you are. Cut it all down to the basics. In the movie business, they have what’s called the “elevator pitch.” Essentially, the idea is that you get into an elevator and there’s Steven Spielberg. You have the duration of that elevator ride to sell him on your movie. You cut out every extraneous detail, smooth over every subplot, and tell him only the most interesting, relevant facts. Are you the cheapest dealership on the market? Are you a fixed price shop? Do you offer great deals on trade-ins? What makes your dealership uniquely you? Now convey that on your homepage. 

Homepage Design by DealerOn

You only get one chance to make a first impression with your dealership website.

Remember, your homepage doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Your site speaks directly to your customers. When designing your homepage, think about what they want. Put yourself in the heads of a person from your community who is in the market for a new or used vehicle. What are their concerns? Is the area suffering from a bad local economy? If so, price might be the top concern. Is it a rural location that puts a lot of wear-and-tear on the vehicle? Highlight the service section. 

What makes your dealership uniquely you? Now convey that on your homepage. 

But even more than that, think about what sort of impression you want to convey. Colors are keyed to certain emotions. Blue, for example, has a calming, professional look. If you’re marketing cars to families, that might be a good color to base your site around. Or are you marketing sports cars to single guys primarily? Go with red and black, aggressive, masculine colors that can show in a subtle way that your dealership wants to put them in a fast car. Or maybe luxury cars are your stock in trade? Think about a design in metallic silver with white. That color scheme screams luxury. Or, more accurately, it purrs luxury over a flute of fine champagne. 

So once you’ve set the stage, you want to make certain this thing is user friendly, and your two major concerns there are what your users are on and where they want to go. For the first, make certain the site is optimized for whatever device your user happens to be browsing on. The most obvious are laptops and smartphones, but who knows what someone might have. Just because a person likes browsing on their tablet like a maniac doesn’t mean they aren’t a potential customer who deserves a good experience.  

For the second, ensure your users know where to go next. Sounds simple, right? It’s not. The goal is to show the user exactly what is expected of them. Make the search bar obvious. Have the menus be easy to find. There’s nothing like losing a customer who can’t navigate your home page. 

While all of that might sound overwhelming, it’s not. There are plenty of companies out there (hint, hint) who are more than happy to do it for you. Maybe that’s the best homepage practice of all. 

10 Takeaways From the 2020 Local Customer Review Survey

Takeaways from the 2020 local customer review survey

The Local Customer Review Survey of 2020 has a wealth of information. Weve gleaned 10 things for you to keep in mind. 


For the past decade, the Local Customer Review Survey has sought to illuminate the ways in which customers use online reviews to choose which businesses to patronize. While any information gleaned from 2020, this most unusual of years, will have to come with an asterisk, its still important to look at which trends continued, and which are outliers. If nothing else, 2020 showed an increased reliance on the internet to shop, which is a trend that will only continue. 

  1. More customers are searching online for businesses, but not many more 

93% of all respondents searched online for a local business, with 34% searching every day. Unsurprisingly, these numbers are up from previous years, but not overwhelmingly so. People who searched for businesses every day were 33% in 2019 and 27% in 2018, so its a safe bet that this is part of a trend.  

  1. More customers are reading online reviews

Consumers reading online reviews has gone up in the decade since the Local Customer Review Survey has started. This year continued the trend, up from 81% last year to 87% this year. Online reviews continue to be an important part of any business. 

  1. Customers are using mobile devices to read reviews

This is another continuation of an overall trend away from desktops as the primary online shopping device. The numbers this year might be slightly juiced from users being away from work desktops, but the trend, especially in the automotive industry, was already heading to mobile devices. 

  1. COVID is unsurprisingly a huge concern

While COVID is hopefully something we wont have to live with too much longer, it will still be a factor well into 2021. 17% of respondents have said they have written negative reviews for businesses specifically for perceived lapses in COVID-related safety measures. 67% said they would outright refuse to go to a business whose reviews stated they were not taking proper COVID precautions. On the flip side, 22% of customers have specifically written presumably positive reviews to help local businesses. 

  1. Online reviews continue to be a major factor in the decision-making process

94% of respondents said positive reviews were more likely to get them to patronize a business, 92% said negative reviews make them less likely (and raising a few questions about that 2% in the middle), and 79% said that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. All of these are up from the previous year, but not so much so that the pandemic appears to be the sole cause. 

  1. This applies to directly to car dealerships

The automotive industry is only behind restaurants, hotels, and the medical industry in terms of how important online reviews are for customers. We have a Wednesday Workshop on the subject of getting more reviews for precisely this reason. 

  1. Star rating is the single most important part of any review

If a user is only glancing at reviews, they might not read past the star rating. Thats partially what its there for, providing an at-a-glance impression though forgoing any nuance. The most important aspect of any review is the star rating, and 48% of users said they wouldnt use a business with fewer than 4 stars.  

  1. Recent reviews are more valuable

While a solid bank of reviews helps establish your business as legitimate, a whopping 73% of customers only pay attention to reviews written in the past month. This means that getting reviews needs to be a constant process. 

  1. More people are reviewing local businesses

This year, the amount of customers leaving reviews took a big leap, likely because of the realities of the pandemic. 72% of respondents have written a review of a local business, which is 8% higher than the previous year. Therefore, this isnt a stat to rely on, but it should keep increasing gradually. 

  1. Google My Business is the most used

Heres a weird factoid: respondents rated Better Business Bureau as most trusted, but GMB as the most used. I suspect the discrepancy is due to GMB being easier to find, coming naturally with any Google search that turns up a business. We have blogs and Wednesday Workshops about GMB, so look for those for more information on how to utilize this valuable and free resource. 

The Local Customer Review Survey for 2020 should be taken in context, but for the most part, its showing an acceleration of trends already in place.