Common online mistakes to avoid

Repairers who think it’s job done because their website is mobile-friendly could be missing out.

Dragon2000 has analysed hundreds of bodyshops websites and found common mistakes that could turn potential customers away and hurt their Google rankings.

The main problem areas are poor content, cheap template designs that do not stand out, social media icons on the homepage that have no links, very little or no contact information, and poor navigation making it difficult for consumers to find what they are looking for.

Mark Kelland, commercial manager, Dragon2000, said, ‘The bottom line is garages are losing potential new customers as a result of a bad websites. All too often, consumers will leave garage websites if they can’t find what they are looking for quickly; if it is difficult to navigate; or if it is slow to use.

‘When redesigning a website, garages need to keep the potential customer in mind and ensure that it is simple and easy to navigate. They should avoid unusual fonts and flash animations as they just irritate visitors, taking too long to load.

‘There are a number of factors that can cause a website to operate slowly which will cause visitors to leave. If a website provider is using a cheap hosting service, this could mean sharing the host server resources with countless other websites which will affect speed.  They are also more at risk of downtime than a well-established, hosting provider with robust support and recovery plans.

‘Extra-large images should be avoided, along with excessive coding as it can also take longer than necessary to load. Template sites in particular can suffer with this, due to their nature of having all available features included in their code.  Invariably the code is not cleansed and optimised for each individual site, regardless of which features are actually in use on the site.

‘Garages may be tempted buy cheap template websites, which will feature the same layout and library images of vehicles as their competitors. As customers can visit many garage sites, via online advertising portals, having a site that looks the same as their competitors can confuse customers and mean garages are less likely to stand out and capture booking enquiries.’

Meanwhile, Dragon2000 has also highlighted the key failings of dealer websites.

Social sharing: Social media icons on garages’ websites that are sharing links in disguise should be avoided. These tend to be on template type websites where a set of social icons such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are included, but they have not been linked to the garages own profiles, or the dealer doesn’t use social media.

Keyword stuffing: ‘Keyword stuffing’ refers to the practice of loading a webpage with keywords to try to manipulate a site’s Google rankings.

Content: Google wants sites to focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context – site content should be aimed at the user of the site and not search engines, as the rankings will improve as a result.

Poor Navigation: If your navigation bar is poorly arranged, too small to read, too big to fit one line, or anything else that isn’t easy or convenient, then it needs to be fixed.

Website enquiry handling: Garages must offer a range of contact mechanisms and ensure they are captured and actioned.