Building Your New Website

website being constructed

We’ve just finished our new website and I thought I’d write some thoughts for those of you out there that are currently in the process of updating or creating your own websites.

Create a beta site

When you creating your new site, first create a beta site so that you can make any changes and tweaks before it goes live on the internet. Whenever you make a new site there are always obstacles, but if you use a beta site, you can make sure that your new site functions exactly the way you want before any of your customers use it.

Even after you have your new site up and running, you should keep a beta site up. That way you can try out different extensions, apps, layouts etc. and decide if you want to keep them.


If you’ve been reading and researching about web search trends, you know that both consumers and search engines are hungry for video. This is especially good for auto dealers, because cars make for great videos! If you sold flooring or shipping supplies, it would be much more difficult to create compelling video.

Video take a lot of bandwidth, but thanks to youtube, vimeo and other video sites that’s no longer a problem. Simple go to your youtube channel (you do have a youtube channel, right…) and copy the embed code from the video page. You can just paste that code in and display a video or you can make it display in a shadow box, whichever works better for you site.

Privacy policy and terms of use

Whether you’re building a new site or not, you need to be sure that your privacy policy and terms of use are up-to-date and accurate. The rules for privacy policies and terms of use have tightened in the last few years, especially for those of you in California or if you sell in California. There are various privacy and terms of use generators online that can create your forms for you, but a couple words of caution. First, as a retailer, there are important language and policies that you must have and they can vary by state, so even if your policy looks good, be sure to have a lawyer review it to make sure that everything is included and worded correctly. Second, these policy generators often included embedded links hidden in the policies they generate for you. There’s nothing illegal about the links, but as a matter of appearances, you shouldn’t have advertising links in your policies.

Ask your viewers

Once you’ve got your new site up, ask for your customers input. Do they want more inventory? Would you benefit from an online chat solution? Do they want to hear more about your store and employees? If you don’t ask, you won’t know. A survey on your homepage is a good way to get opinions, or you could send emails to people who submitted leads and ask them what they like and didn’t like about your new site.

Be proud

You’ve got new site, it looks great, so tell everyone about it! Mention your new site on your social media, point out that you have a new site in your offline marketing, shout it from the roof tops! You’ve got a great new site, make sure that everyone knows it.

Michael Bowen


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