GUEST BLOG: Spring Cleaning: Getting the Most From Your Dealership Website

Posted By: Kent Lewis Dealer Education,

Since I first presented at the NATDA Trailer Show in 2013, I immediately bonded with the people. While I have helped brands grow digitally since 1996, including auto, boat and RV dealerships, the trailer world was new to me. Over the next decade, I familiarized myself with trailer dealership marketing challenges and opportunities. More recently, I have had the opportunity to work with a handful of dealers across our fine nation and realized there are commonalities regarding how dealer websites are built and marketed. This article focuses on five best practices to consider when refreshing your dealership website for 2024 and beyond. 


Re-Define Your Goals and Objectives 

While the primary objective of trailer dealer websites is to sell trailers, I have found many of the dealerships I have audited have missed opportunities to enhance value. For example, many dealerships lack ecommerce functionality or the ability to book trailer service. Other dealers do not offer used or rental trailers and even fewer offer parts for sale online. If revenue generation is an objective for the website, ensure your website is empowered to provide sales, parts, and service. There are also other constituents to consider when reviewing your website, including recruiting employees via a dedicated careers page. By clearly (re)defining your website objectives, you’ll have a solid foundation to guide updates to the website, or even inform a full website redesign. 


Audit Your Existing Site  

I’ve found that the best way to maximize your website investment is to benchmark your site against competing dealerships. I have personally audited more than twenty dealer websites and have identified opportunities to enhance the site to compete more effectively on a regional scale. Even if your website is hosted by one of the major dealer platforms like TrailerFunnel, Trailer Central, or Dealer Spike, there are opportunities to revise navigation, add content, and increase credibility via internal and external linking. Your audit should include a review of site architecture, navigation, product pages, forms, and dealer information pages. Identify what is working well and what needs improvement, informed by a review of competitor websites.  


Revisit or Create a Content Strategy 

Content is king, and Spring is an ideal time to review and enhance your content strategy. Identify which content is still relevant and which should be updated or removed to enhance SEO, user experience, and conversions. Based on my audits of dealers, most websites lack high-performing, SEO-friendly content such as FAQs and a blog. Consider using ChatGPT and similar AI tools to inform and refine content, rather than create new content based on existing content pulled from industry websites.  


Optimize for Organic Search 

Maintaining or improving your search engine ranking is essential. Complete or update keyword research, ensure that your site’s structure is SEO-friendly, and implement search engine optimization (SEO) best practices. Most importantly, ensure keywords are in each page title tag (to boost visibility in search results) and the meta description tags are compelling (to maximize clicks). Additional SEO efforts include optimizing internal links, image ALT tags, and improving page load times. Additional code-centric elements for improved SEO include properly implemented robots text, XML sitemap and schema markup. To further boost credibility and rankings, consider investing in link building strategies. 


Optimize for Social Media 

Due to the mass adoption of social media platforms, dealers should integrate social elements into the website. Start by claiming and optimizing profiles on the big nine social platforms (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Threads, TikTok, Alignable, and X/Twitter). Once each profile is populated with content, incorporate links to each profile within your website template. Ensure all pages of your site are shareable to the two to three most popular social platforms to maximize citations and traffic. Lastly, integrate a social media feed (typically Instagram) into the website to send Google a signal that the site is updated regularly. 


By considering the factors outlined above and adhering to best practices, you’ll be well situation to increase the return on your current and future investment in your website. 

About Kent Lewis:

Lewis is a digital pioneer and entrepreneur who regularly speaks, writes and is frequently quoted by industry media. As Chief Evangelist of FreeGren, he specializes in connecting area businesses with job candidates and building careers via education. Previously Chief Marketing Officer at Deksia, Lewis was responsible for the overall strategic direction of marketing and thought leadership. As President & Founder of Anvil Media, Inc., his responsibilities included managing operations, marketing and sales. Under his leadership over 22 years, Anvil accumulated the following awards and recognition:

  • Inc. 5000: Fastest growing private companies in America
  • Oregon Business Magazine: 100 Best Places to Work
  • Portland Business Journal: Oregon’s Most Admired Companies
  • Portland Business Journal: Fastest Growing Private 100 Companies
  • Portland Business Journal: Corporate Philanthropy Awards winner

Guest posts and comments represent the diversity of opinion within the light to medium-duty trailer industry. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the North American Trailer Dealers Association who shall not be held liable for any inaccuracies presented.