You Site’s Load Time is Costing You Sales. Here’s what to do about it.
The length of time it takes to load your website directly affects your business, every second of every day. A beacon for your dealership amongst a sea of information and competition, your website is always open to today’s evolving consumer. But are there any cars on the lot?
Your website should be a pristine reflection of your dealership, complete with prompt service and proper merchandising. However, if pages on your site are taking longer than 3 seconds to load, customers are leaving. It’s like standing around in the showroom without anyone saying hello. Or looking at a window sticker that’s been ripped apart but still stuck to the car.
The point is: treat your website like the extension of your business – it truly is in 2014. Customers are more informed and impatient than ever before. Meanwhile, many auto dealership sites are slower than ever before. Seething with redundant links and crawling with sluggish widgets, it’s probably a good thing that the sites are drowning in a sea of pop-up and under forms too. Sure, few people go through with actually purchasing a car online at this point in time, but you better believe that almost every customer that walks onto your lot has already visited your website.
Hopefully it loaded quickly for them, with few pauses and interruptions. If not, would they say something? Maybe, but most likely not. More likely, they end up a couple towns over, talking with the guys whose website loaded in a flash and displayed all the information and imagery the customer needed to outline their options during that late night research hour or during their lunch break.
A solution isn’t to sweep it under the rug, hoping it will work itself out – it’s to plan for the future AND optimize for the now.
So what can be done to improve site speed?
Images are a great place to start. Even the highest quality images can be optimized as < 70kB jpegs. Additionally, all these widgets and pop-ups take time to load, precious seconds on any device but especially on mobile- where I bet 50% of your online traffic is coming from overall. Reallocate that widget portion of the budget to creating high-quality HTML content about your dealership’s offerings and its role in the community. It will load faster and make you more of an authority on the topics you write about – a great benefit when it comes to organic search.
In the short term, focus on reducing the site clutter. The long-term – articulate clear paths to conversion based on diverse customer segments.
Remember- your website IS your dealership. Give the same attention to detail and planning that you do to your showroom to your website.
For more website strategies, tips and best practices, check out this free webinar replay, Why Your Dealership Is Losing Money If Your Automotive Website Is NOT Responsive!
All the best,
Alex Giebel is the Director of Digital Marketing and Web Merchandising at Stream Companies, a Philadelphia area advertising agency.