Top 5 Automotive Website Design Tips

Top 5 Tips for Automotive Website Design

Could your automotive website use a major upgrade? Maybe the site design needs updating to a more modern and user-friendly layout, or it’s simply not helping your dealership reach its full potential.

Either way, there are plenty of automotive web design best practices to utilize when revamping your site to boost its appeal and performance.

Today, we’re covering the top tips for automotive websites, along with the common website design mistakes you should work to avoid.

Consider these automotive web design tips to enhance the user experience (UX) and attract more leads, conversions and sales!

1. Ensure Your Site Is Easy to Navigate

Your website’s navigation is one of the most critical factors regarding how visitors interact with your site and business online. If you’re looking to improve your automotive website’s UX, you could certainly start by taking a close look at its navigation.

Is your site’s menu easy and intuitive to navigate? Is it optimized for all shoppers? In other words, can visitors find what they’re looking for within the navigation menu, regardless of where they are in the purchase process?

Some visitors may know exactly what new car model they’re after and want to get to that model’s inventory quickly. Still, other shoppers may be in the initial stage of their search and seek a more broad view of your inventory, where they can narrow down their options gradually.

Regardless of how you organize links within the navigation, you’ll want to keep all potential customers in mind. Don’t forget to display your dealership’s finance application, service scheduler, specials and other popular pages prominently within the menu!

Keep the following automotive website navigation best practices in mind as you look to improve your site’s user experience:

  • Minimize menu clutter
  • Utilize dropdowns to formulate a navigation funnel
  • Make navigation titles clear and concise
  • Include a search bar
  • Ensure menu items are easy to read on mobile devices

2. Optimize the Space Above the Fold

Navigation is the main way visitors interact with your website; that’s why it’s always front and center. Likewise, you should ensure that your automotive dealership or service center’s top vehicles, pages and services are also quick to locate online.

The important calls to action or CTAs on your site should always be above the fold on any given page. This is another automotive web design best practice because it helps ensure that visitors won’t have to dig to find what they’re after.

In short, are you prominently displaying links like your new inventory, used car specials, credit application and contact information? If not, you might want to get started: it’s one simple way to improve automotive website UX.

3. Make It Mobile-Friendly

Car shoppers are increasingly starting their searches on mobile devices, which is why it’s more crucial than ever that your site is mobile-friendly. This doesn’t mean your website simply has to look good on an iPhone: it also needs to operate as seamlessly on a mobile screen as a desktop.

Mobile navigation is a major factor when designing a car dealership or service center website that converts mobile visitors into customers. If your site’s menu is too difficult to navigate on a mobile device, shoppers will likely become frustrated and bounce, leaving for another site and business.

With a responsive website and NAV 2.0 from fusionZONE, you can help ensure your automotive site is ready for mobile shoppers.

Our mobile-first approach to automotive web design and navigation means that you can spend less time optimizing your site and more time fielding online leads and converting them into sales. Contact our team to learn more!

4. Utilize Custom Images and Content

Looking beyond the overall website design, the way you use graphics and content on your site also matters.

Stock images and generic content not only look bad, but they also negatively affect consumer confidence. Plus, duplicate content and content not optimized for search engines can hold your website back in organic search.

Utilizing unique vehicle images over stock model graphics is always the way to go. The same goes for custom content tailored around your dealership.

Custom graphics and unique content can help:

  • Improve the look and feel of your website
  • Enhance your search engine optimization or SEO efforts
  • Differentiate your website and dealership from the competition
  • Build consumer confidence in your business
  • Help convert more visitors into customers

How do you ensure that your automotive website’s menu, links and content are easy to read and navigate? Let’s take a look.

5. Keep It Simple and Clean

Last on our list of automotive web design best practices is a clean and simple layout. From the navigation and calls to action above the fold to the graphics, content and lead forms throughout the rest of a page, you’ll want to provide an intuitive shopping experience at every turn.

You can create a clean and simple website design by utilizing white space, breaking up content into smaller, more digestible portions and using high-quality graphics to separate content sections and calls to action.

Often, less is more in the world of automotive web design. After all, the main goal of your website should be to cater to visitors and customers with detailed information about your business, products and services.

If your site is confusing to navigate or not mobile-friendly, you could lose more online shoppers than you’ll gain.

Don’t miss our blog post, 7 Tips to Improve Your Automotive Website’s User Experience, for even more ways to turn site visitors into customers.

Want even more automotive web design tips and common website design mistakes to avoid? Then reach out to the fusionZONE team.

We’ve been designing high-performance automotive websites for dealers and service centers for many years, and we will gladly assist with your site’s needs!

Tips to Improve Your Automotive Website’s User Experience

User experience is one of the most vital components to consider when designing a website. After all, the user is the reason why your website exists.

If you’re trying to attract potential customers to your business online, you’ll want to consider our top tips for improving your website’s user experience.

In this installment of the fusionZONE blog, we cover automotive web design best practices, but these seven tips can apply to websites in any industry.

Let’s get started with one of the most critical components of providing a pleasant user experience.

1. Keep It Simple

Developing a clean, simple and intuitive website design helps visitors reach their goals.

If your site’s design is overloaded with text, graphics, calls to action, menu items and pop-ups, you risk losing your audience even before they fully interact with your dealership online.

It’s not uncommon for website visitors to encounter too many options — and too much going on — when they arrive at a dealership’s homepage or landing page. When faced with a confusing or complex website layout, visitors tend to bounce from the site and start shopping elsewhere, somewhere they feel more comfortable and in control.

2. Keep It Consistent

Have you ever visited a website that feels like different designers and developers built its various pages? This phenomenon can lead to a less-than-stellar visitor experience, one where the site may even lose credibility through its inconsistency.

But consistent design goes far beyond merely a site’s design elements, such as its use of colors, fonts and graphics. Many elements go into a consistent website design, from the internal linking structure and website navigation bar design to page layouts and lead form designs.

It’s imperative to maintain a consistent user flow throughout your automotive website. So no matter if a visitor is shopping the latest new car models on your lot or scheduling an appointment at your service center, they’ll encounter similar and familiar steps along the way to reaching their goal.

Creating a consistent design across your site helps visitors feel at home, which means more time on site, more interaction with your business and a better chance of converting site visits into leads and sales.

3. Use Design Elements to Separate Page Sections

Do you have a lot of quality content and information about your business on your site? That’s great, but you’ll want to make sure that visitors can digest the info easily.

One way to accomplish this is to utilize design elements to separate content into smaller sections. On your dealership homepage, you could start with a few calls to action with links to popular products and services, such as your new inventory, used inventory and schedule service page.

Below the fold, you can create another design element and section that highlights the latest car models available at your dealership, followed by separate sections detailing the reasons to buy and service at your business.

Maybe you even want to highlight each of your dealership’s departments, covering a mix of online and on-site services you offer.

Using design elements and white space to break down content into bite-sized sections is especially important on pages with extensive text and graphics.

4. Practice Responsive Design

Is your website mobile-friendly?

The best way to test this out is to visit your website on a mobile device, pretend that you are a first-time visitor, and navigate through the site with different objectives in mind. If you find that it’s more difficult or less intuitive than you initially thought, then it’s time to implement responsive design.

Responsive website designs render well on all devices and browsers. So whether a user is viewing your site on a smartphone, tablet or PC monitor the size of a television screen, the website navigation and content will display consistently.

Since smaller screens have far less visual real estate than a desktop computer’s display monitor, the user experience and site functionality can diminish if you don’t utilize responsive design.

For instance, many common website navigation mistakes on mobile devices can be attributed to simply not considering smaller screen sizes when developing the website.

5. Consider Page Speed

Page speed certainly matters to the user experience, and it matters in Google’s search rankings, too. Plugins, pop-ups and third-party apps can slow your page load speed to a crawl, so you’ll want to use these elements as sparingly as possible.

Many factors are at play when optimizing your site’s page speed for a pleasant user experience, but much of it boils down to our first point: keep it simple.

6. Utilize Intuitive Navigation

Your website’s menu is the chief way visitors navigate your site, so the type of website navigation you employ plays a big factor in the overall user experience.

What are some website navigation best practices? Or how do you know if there is good navigation on a website?

Well, going back to responsive design, you’ll first want to ensure that visitors across all devices and browsers can easily move through your site via the website navigation menu.

Current site navigation trends certainly favor a simpler approach to menu design, one that is free from clutter or unnecessary or duplicate links, and one that is highly responsive for mobile visitors.

7. Audit Your Menu & Content Regularly

The task of developing an excellent user experience is never done. That’s why performing routine audits of your site design is so important.

Having outdated content or graphics is never a good look to visitors, nor is having broken links on pages or in the navigation. Updating content, graphics, links and other elements is crucial, and so is auditing your website navigation menu.

Using the example of a test run, you can visit your website on various devices, browse the navigation menu and look for any areas of confusion or redundancy.

See how long it takes you to reach certain pages or goals on your website by simply using the navigation bar. If you struggle at all, assume that visitors and customers less familiar with your site and services will have a tougher time with the navigation.

If you’re looking for ways to improve website navigation or would like a second opinion on your dealer site’s navigation bar, reach out to fusionZONE. We specialize in developing high-performance websites for car dealerships, auto repair shops and dealers in the powersports and commercial vehicle industries.

The fusionZONE team has developed NAV 2.0, the future of website navigation. Contact us for a tour and test drive of our latest responsive, mobile-friendly navigation!

When it comes to marketing your business, you know you need a website, but what exactly does that entail? As you start to research website design, you might begin hearing terms like PPC, leads, SERP rankings. When all you want to do is take some inventory photos, load the pictures to your website, and sell the cars, it can all feel overwhelming. The reality is, when designing a website, there is a lot to consider.

Think about your own experience when searching the internet. What do you like? What do you dislike? What makes you buy something, and what makes you close the window in frustration before the page even loads? From the speed it takes to load the page to the colors used on the page, a lot of subtle choices in the recipe of the website create an excellent experience.

Here at fusionZONE Automotive, we make it our priority to stay on top of current expectations and tactics so you don’t have to. You want a website that works and is easy to use. That’s where we come in. Here are some of the most common mistakes web builders make and how we avoid them.

1. Create An Experience

When designing the physical layout of your showroom, you’ve probably thought long and hard about your customer’s experience. How your customers are greeted upon arrival, how your signage appears, and how potential buyers are toured through your inventory all create an experience. Maybe the pastries and coffee are carefully laid out and chosen to help customers enjoy their time at your dealership. Your website needs to be equally organized.

If a little is good, then more is better, and the most is best. Or is it? Have you ever gone to a website only to be visually overwhelmed? There’s simply too much going on. A common instinct is to try and tell everybody everything at once. The result is telling nobody a thing. A clean and visually appealing website will create a feeling of comfort with which people will want to engage. Your customers will feel assured that a quick scan of the page will allow them to find what they’re searching for.

2. Don’t Forget To Read Goldilocks

Just as having too much going on can overwhelm visitors, offering too little can frustrate visitors. Like all elements of design, web design is about balance. Your website needs to offer a simple design that is intuitive and inspires confidence. Think about the web pages you like and why. When you visit your website, do you get the same experience? If you aren’t sure, ask a friend who’s never used your site to sit next to you and search for your product. Watch them navigate various pages and see what struggles they encounter.

User experience is something we often overlook or don’t know how to measure. If you owned a restaurant, you could stand at the door and watch people as they dine, seeing that their food comes out on time and staff is readily available to assist them. Just because you have a website doesn’t mean you can’t follow the same concept. Implement a chat agent to greet users. Use a heat map to analyze website traffic. As more users interact with your website, make sure the pages offer just the right amount of ambiance and information.

3. Pay Attention to CTAs and Limit Pop Ups

We’ve all experienced it. We’ve pulled up a website. We’re looking at a picture or reading an article when suddenly — a pop up appears on the page with a discount offer or a form to sign up for a newsletter. We haven’t even bought anything yet, and we’re being inundated with ads and opportunities to learn more. Unfortunately, having a strong call to action and building an online community through a regular newsletter are important marketing tools. So, what do we do?

As is often the case, timing is everything. Give website visitors a few minutes to get situated. Just as you would invite them in the door and offer them a comfortable place to sit or something cold to drink in person, allow website visitors to become familiar with your website before you ask them to sign up for a newsletter. Once they’ve been introduced to your business and found what they’re looking for, they’ll be more likely to seek another positive experience with your business and save on their next visit by subscribing to your newsletter.

4. Looks Could Kill Your Business

The layout of content on the page, what the content says, and the use of white space is key to the overall performance of your website. When building your website, you’ve probably been hearing a lot about SEO and how important it is to your business’s success. The first thing to do is define SEO. “SEO” stands for search engine optimization, which means optimizing your website to show on search results pages (ideally, near the top). Essentially, when someone searches Google you or businesses like yours, do you pop up? (For more on SEO, check out this video.)

The text on the various pages of your website needs to be informative, appealing to the eye, and strategically written to help Google find you. A common instinct is to stuff sentences with extra words to help Google rankings (known as “keyword stuffing”), resulting in content that is hard to read. Just as it’s easy to overwhelm visitors with pop-ups and bombard them with images, you can also overwhelm with the words on the page and even risk sounding unnatural. The content also needs to be updated regularly to keep you fresh and relevant.

By considering and understanding these four elements of successful website design, you can provide an experience that your customers will enjoy and keep them coming back to your dealership for all of their automotive needs for miles to come.

 

Understanding Color Psychology Influence

Whether it’s painting your house, buying a car, or designing your website, color plays an essential factor. We all have favorite colors, but have you ever wondered why?

In addition to looking a certain way, colors make us feel a certain way. This is important when designing marketing materials for your business. How your customers feel will impact their behavior, buying habits, and impression of your brand.

So, what colors should you choose when marketing your business? Continue reading to discover how color psychology can impact the success of your marketing and, thus, the success of your business.

The Theory Behind Color Psychology

We all know red and green make us think of Christmas, but do you know why?

When trying to understand how color impacts your marketing materials’ delivery, the first concept to grasp is primary colors vs. secondary colors vs. tertiary colors:

  • The primary colors are red, blue, and yellow.
  • Secondary colors are the colors derived from mixing primary colors. Anybody who’s ever used a “yellow and blue make green” knows that.
  • Tertiary colors are a hyphenate created by combining a primary color and a secondary color. For instance, red-orange or yellow-green.

Within all colors, there are tints, shades, tones, and contrast. The color wheel below demonstrates what we mean.

Basic color wheel and associated temperatures

So, now that we’re familiar with these terms, what colors should you use when designing your next marketing campaign?

Knowing What Creates Contrast

Contrast isn’t just a difference in color; it is also a difference in tone. In fashion, you’d never wear a brown belt with black shoes because, while different, these colors have little contrast with each other.

By mixing colors and contrast, you can create content that is visually appealing and easy to read. The goal is to attract potential customers and deliver your message.

You can deliver effective marketing by choosing two or three simple color combinations that offer a mix of high and low contrasting tones. The color wheel above can help you choose those colors.

Color Opposites Attract

Blue and orange, yellow and purple, and the aforementioned red and green are opposites. When it comes to readability, the importance of color pairing should be considered in the product itself.

For instance, many watch companies use blue and orange when designing their timepieces because blue and orange are opposites. A blue face with orange hands creates an attractive design and easy readability, so the wearer doesn’t have to struggle to tell the time.

But is there balance?

In the case of the watch, we can picture a blue circle with two little orange lines. Blue is the dominant color, while the orange gives us a visual break. Our eyes naturally look for a second color. As marketers, you get to decide what you want that secondary color to tell the viewer.

What Do All the Colors Mean

Now that you know how to pick opposite colors and use contrast to your advantage, let’s take a look at how our brains interpret specific colors. The question we’re asking here is, why is Valentine’s Day red?

Red is a powerful color that conveys many emotions. From Valentine’s Day to horror movies, red quickly gets attention because it elicits powerful reactions of love and fear. Use this powerful color strategically and sparingly.

While red is powerful and yellow is friendly, orange is a warm mix. Orange is a very soothing color with effective usage energy drinks on the sporting event sidelines, vitamin bottles, and board games.

Green often connects us to nature, an overall sense of wellness, and makes us think of growth in both plants and wealth. Blue evokes a feeling of trust and dependability. Blue is often found in hospitals, spas, and fitness studios because of its soothing nature.

The color blue is also used on the Facebook website and marketing materials because the founder of the social media juggernaut, Mark Zuckerberg, is red-green colorblind (colorblindness is yet another important factor to consider when designing an effective marketing campaign based around color).

Brown is comforting and used in home furnishings. Gold is the color of luxury. Black is for professional attire and limos. White can represent purity and cleanliness.

Every color has a connotation, whether we’re consciously aware or not.

Using Word and Color Combinations To Convey Your Message

Are you trying to convey trust or speed? Courage or reliability? After you decide what your company stands for, you can choose the colors that deliver that message the best. From there, implement the strategies outlined above when drafting some snappy headlines for your campaign.

The chart below shows how all these ideas come together to help you convey the message you want to deliver.

Colors and word association

Know Your Demo

Men and women are different and experience colors differently. By knowing the demographics who shop your brand, you can deliver effective color-based marketing content.

Men typically like blue, green, and red, while women usually like blue, green, and purple. If women are the biggest consumer of your product, you could be better off using a little more purple and a little less red.

Women also see a greater spectrum of differentiation in a single color than men do. This point was hit home by Meryl Streep’s character in “The Devil Wears Prada,” when she lectured Anne Hathaway’s character about the color cerulean. Where women might see cerulean, turquoise, or teal, men generally see blue… Just blue.

To summarize, we all have preconceived notions of what colors mean and how they affect us. Couches are most often brown for a reason. Firetrucks are red so they can stand out. By thinking of how color connects to emotion, we can direct the consumer to our brand by delivering the most effective message possible.

If you’d like further assistance with your website UX and layout strategy, contact the fusionZONE team.