4 Ways to Make Your Mobile Site Better, According to Google Best Practices

In the latest article from  Google Best Practices, Google gave 4 Tips for a Frictionless Mobile Experience. Not all of their tips necessarily apply to the automotive industry, but these are 4 simple ways to make your mobile site better.

Woman using tablet at night, visiting a mobile site

Make it Responsive

Even in 2017, there is a chance your site may not be truly responsive. In order for your site to be responsive, it must automatically adapt to every screen size: desktop, tablet, mobile, and every variation in between. Here is a quick and easy tool you can use to see if your site is responsive or just mobile-friendly.

Make it Quick

We have all visited (and left) sites that took too long to load. Find out what your load time is on both mobile and desktop with Google’s Page Insights Tool.

Make it Pop-Up Free

Pop-ups are to a website as retail employees are to a clothing store. If you are like me, you want to get in the store, get what you are looking for, and get out. Having someone approach me to let me know what the deals are can be helpful, but the more I am approached with offers the harder it makes it for me to just get in and get out. The same is true for pop-ups. I know you want to let them know about everything you have to offer, but the more things you have popping up on their screen, the harder it is for them to get to the ‘Schedule A Test Drive” form.

Make it Easy

Google titles this section Reduce buying friction, and provides ways for advertisers to make the checkout process as easy as possible. Right now this doesn’t completely apply to the auto industry, but I’m sure if you look there is friction in your buying process.

For example, how often do you check that the urls on your ads direct users to the right landing page? Are any of the links on your site broken? When was the last time you secret-shopped your own site to make sure your users aren’t running into any errors? These types of things can create friction in the buying process and make it more difficult for shoppers to get what they are looking for.

 

Mobile Site Speed Matters. Are you up to speed?

Consumers and search engines have a certain level of expectation for mobile site speed and performance. If your site has problems that go unchecked, it can have a big impact. We have all visited a mobile site that has taken too long to load, got impatient, and left.

Modern Car Speedometer, representing mobile site speed

According to Akamai’s recent Consumer Web Performance Expectations survey, nearly half of all consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less; and according to DoubleClick by Google, despite major advancements in network speeds, most mobile sites don’t measure up. Google data also shows that the average load time for auto sites in the U.S. is 9 seconds; things like third party scripts, images and videos can increase your site’s load time. And don’t get us wrong, it would be silly to remove important things like Chat, vehicle walkarounds, and high quality images just to shave off a second of load time – I would rather wait an extra second and have a better user experience – but if your site is taking longer than the average 9 seconds, you may need to fix some things.

Web pages and customer expectations are evolving, which means it is increasingly important to do occasional website audits. Audits also empower you to manage and continually optimize the user experience. Audits should include finding page errors, checking site speed, looking for faulty links and incorrect page redirects.

How can you improve your mobile speed?
  • Look for ways to optimize your websites content for mobile devices. File sizes can substantially influence loading times.
  • Try and make sure the site elements load in the most efficient order possible, and be sure that the first things people see on the site are ready quickly. Make sure to keep monitoring your site’s mobile speed to continually improve your users mobile experience.
  • Try targeting fewer server requests to optimize load time. If you can ensure only the necessary requests are going through to your mobile site then you are going to create a much smoother and more pleasant mobile experience for your audience.

Start taking steps to improve your sites mobile speed, it does require some daily effort, but is worth the extra attention!

Not-Too-Late New Year’s Resolutions for Your Website

Every year when January rolls around you vow to get in shape, save money, or spend more time with loved ones. But what goals do you set for your website? In the spirit of new beginnings, Strathcom has come up with some resolutions to tidy up your website and make your dealership the best it can be in 2015.

Here are our five picks for best site improvement resolutions for the year ahead and how to achieve them:

 1. Technical Clean Sweep

There are always some pesky technical pieces that need to be checked and updated, so keep this list handy for next year:

  • Copyright date in the footer
  • Your “About Us” page: Is the map correct? Are key staff names, bios, and phone numbers updated?
  • Meta Data: Are your page titles and descriptions the right length? (55 and 115 characters, respectively)
  • Dead or Broken Links? Try running a link checker on the site to identify any link issues that need to be addressed.
  • Browser Test: Try using the website on different web browsers like Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, and Firefox.
  • Lead Testing: Ever heard of eating your own dog food? Test out all your lead forms as a customer would. This is a good way to root out any problems.

2. Content Audit

Your website is an investment and the content is its most valuable currency. Some things to look for:

  • Current Model Year Info: Ensure all your landing pages reflect the latest model year information, videos, and images.
  • Inventory Update: Have you updated the descriptions for last year’s inventory? What about clearout pricing and incentives?
  • Irrelevent Pages: Check Google Analytics and determine the most visited pages. Consider adding links to less visited pages, or perhaps deleting them altogether if they don’t serve your brand or marketing goals.
  • Blog: When was your last post? Is your blog being kept up to date and being used to its full potential?
  • Duplicate Content: Use a service like Siteliner to check your site for duplicate content that could be hurting your SEO efforts. Ensure only the most relevant keywords are being used.

 3. Domains

You probably already own a domain or two for your website, but did you know about these practices?

  • Renew your domains for as long as possible: Usually it’s cheaper that way, plus search engines favor long-term sites so it’s an additional SEO boost.
  • Ensure URL redirects are done: Make sure all variations of the same domain point to the same place (.ca, .com, .net should all point to your primary domain).
  • Your primary domain should be your oldest: Use a domain age checker to see which is your oldest domain and make the most of its rank authority.
  • Buy negative domains: Purchase any domains related to your brand, even the negative ones. Buying your own equivalent to mydealershipsucks.com can save a lot of headaches in the long run in case a competitor or irate customer decides to buy it instead.

 4. UX Performance

Whenever you talk about websites, you need to consider the user experience. Whether it’s through slick graphics or excellent content, the user is really the one you should please—not yourself. Some items to check to keep your users happy:

  • Homepage: This is huge. Your homepage should be interesting and inviting while relating the primary objective of the website—to sell cars. Before making any large changes, consult your data. It might not be necessary to do a complete overhaul; usually, a small tweak like changing colors or adding a new graphic can give it a boost.
  • Relevancy: Old content can become frustrating if it becomes out of date or inaccurate. It should be revised, archived, or removed.
  • Make data a priority: If you don’t have user tracking on your site, now is the perfect time to add it. Incorporate heat mapping, or click Scrolling Tools to really see how your customers engage with your site.

5. Sitespeed

Sluggish website performance is terrible for SEO. How quickly does your site load? Could it be speedier?

  • Use Google Page Speed Insights to find what slows your site down. Sometimes, simple changes can improve your load speed. If you have a score over 70 then you’re doing well, but aim for 80s.

 

There you have it! Some quick and easy things you can do right now to start 2015 off in the right direction for your dealership.