Your shop may have a website, but it's losing you customers
You've made the steps to reach more customers for your auto repair shop, so you got a local web designer, enlisted the help of a design agency, or took the time to design a website yourself.
Your customers can now find you online with a quick search, however, there's one problem...
Is your website any good?
You may think, "Of course it is! My customers can see it, why change it?" But what do your customers think? Sure they can see your website, but what about it keeps them reading, makes them schedule and appointment, or hop in their car to visit your shop?
This can be a hard question for most auto mechanics. It's clear what your customers want when they get their car repaired or maintained, you've heard it, I've heard it, we've all heard it.
"I want an honest mechanic that won't won't rip me off!"
"I want my car repaired quick!"
"Do you offer this service? I want it!""
"I want my mechanic to buy me an ice cream sundae!"
Ok, I made the last one up, but you get the catch. We know what our customers usually want, but is that what our website is showing them? A bad website can leave an instant stain on your reputation, in fact, it takes just 50 milliseconds for your customer to make a judgement on your business from your website.
Still aren't convinced your website matters that much?
Take a look at these statistics:
46% of consumers base their buying decisions on a website's visual appeal and aesthetics.
88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.
75% of consumers admit to making judgements on a company’s credibility based on the company’s website design.
2/3 of people would rather look at something well designed rather than poorly designed for 15 minutes.
Convinced your website is important to your business now? Good, you should be, it could be losing you customers.
What is a good website and a bad website? I'm glad you asked, take a look below:
Here's 7 things your website needs to get that positive first impression from your customer
If you don't have these, you should consider redesigning your website either by yourself, or with someone else.
Pssst! If you don't have a website, here's a really easy way to set one up!
Which one are you more likely to take seriously?
1. Modern design - The aspect ratio
A study found 94% of a website's criticism was design related
Since your visitors are only taking milliseconds to get a first impression of your website, it's important to make the general design- colors, alignment, text, look modern.
What can I do? If your website looks like it was from 2002, you have a problem. Make sure the images are recent and clear, and the fonts are modern. Whenever I see a website that still usues the Comic Sans font, I instantly hit the back button and go somewhere else.
Another factor to consider are aspect ratios. An aspect ratio is a way of measuring a websites length and width. If your website uses the 3:4 aspect ratio, it sends a message to your users that you're outdated and shouldn't be taken seriously.
A 16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratio is what you should aim for modern design.
A guide to aspect ratios:
Can you believe it? These 2 are the same site!
2. Mobile Friendly - How it looks on the phone
85% of adults think your website's mobile version should look the same, if not better than the desktop version.
Ever been to a website on your mobile phone where you have to pinch and zoom or slide? If this is your website, you could be losing 85% of your visitors the second they hit the page.
Is my website mobile friendly? Your auto body or repair website is not mobile friendly if some content displayed in your desktop version is missing when you view it on your phone, or if you have to pinch and zoom to view it. Check with Google to find out whether you're website is mobile friendly.
A useful infographic to see if your website is mobile friendly or not:
3. Content and layout
35% of people will leave a website if the content or layout are unattractive.
The content and how it's arranged is highly important to your customers. For example, If you have a section on dent repair, don't pile the information in one big paragraph or block of text, spread it out into smaller paragraphs.
The navigation menu at the top of your website is also a factor in the content of your website, take a look at a screenshot of an auto body shop that specializes in... almost everything, below:
Look dad! It's a bird! It's a plane! it's a... giant dropdown menu!
Yikes! I would quickly exit if I saw that! As you can see, this website made its dropdown menu a little overkill. A potential customer would have a hard time going through all of that.
What can I do? If you have a dropdown menu, a good rule of thumb is to never have more than 5 dropdowns in the menu, too many dropdowns makes navigation difficult for the visitor. Another good rule of thumb to follow is to only limit each paragraph to 5 sentences, studies show that visitors only spend 5.59 seconds viewing text on a website, so it's important split up your paragraphs.
It's not only how the content is arranged that's always the issue: the amount and quality matters too, which brings us on to the next subject...
4. Information and content - What your customers read
Although website design is important, what the customer reads matters too.
Let's cut to the chase, if your competitors offer better services than you and your customers see it on their website, you can bet who they're going to for repairs or maintenance. If Bob's auto repair shop offers dent repairs, shuttle service, towing, winter tires deals, and free ice cream, while John's collision service only offers dent repair, it's obvious who gets the most customers.
Chances are, the info on your website is losing you customers, good info isn't just describing your shop and services, good info is putting emphasis on how you're different from the tens of other small auto shops littered accross your city. Maybe you have coupons, better deals, or offer repairs no one else offers, you need to put that on your site!
Content such as reviews and testimonials are big players in who gets the customers. You may have reviews on Google maps, Facebook, or Yellow pages, but none of these can beat having them on your website.
We meet by accident, you leave satisfied
Stony Mountain Repair offers the best dent repair in town. Big dents, small dents, we can repair them all without the hassle of paint or finish! Coming in for engine tuning or maintenance? No problem, we do those too. We won't charge you extra when you don't need it, and we guarantee all work, just check out our reviews!
Stony Mountain Repair has been proudly in business for 12 years. We offer many services:
- Dent repair
- Engine tuning
5. SSL Encryption - The green padlock
43% of people abandon sites that say "Not secure" at the top searchbar.
In the information age we live in, the importance of security is stronger than ever. Phishing sites, viruses, identity theft, your customer doesn't want to meet these when they're looking for their local auto mechanic.
Because of this, some websites display a "secure" notification, along with a green padlock at the top. This has become the standard for website trust and security, search engines and visitors take you far less seriously without them. Meaning less customers for you.
When your website does not have the "secure" symbol, one of 2 things will happen:
1. Google will pop up a red not secure warning, 43% of people who see this will leave the site.
2. There will be a not secure warning, but it does not alert the user and isn't red.
91% of the time, websites without the green padlock will put up a big intrusive warning:
It doesn't matter if you're not a malicious site, Google will treat you like one! Source
What can I do? Most SSL services that give you a secure site cost money. However, Cloudflare offers it for free, no strings attached. It's a pretty useful tool for not only the green padlock, but also other security features. (not affiliated with Cloudflare)
6. Get rid of Adobe Flash
Adobe Flash was once used all over the web, now it's fallen from grace
Your customers nowadays aren't used to manually letting their browser run Flash to load a website. This means that when your customers see the "Allow this website to run Flash?" notification, they'll hit the back button and go to to your competitor. Flash was once widely used, but it's an outdated practice now, so ditch the flash, your visitors will thank you for it, which means more of them will become customers and come to your shop.
No, I'm not using Flash, this is just an image.
What can I do? Get rid anything that requires Flash on your site, you may need a web designer to do this for you if you don't know code yourself.
7. Speed matters!
47% of people will leave a website if it takes longer than 2 seconds to load
It turns into a white button if you stare at it long enough
47%, let that sink in for a moment...
You're missing out on almost half of your potiential customers if your site can't load in that instant!
What can I do? Test your website speed here. Although for a full speed optimization, it's best you have someone redesign your website to optimize everything, you can do a few things yourself too. For example:
Compress your images. It's easy for Google to load your page and text, but images are more cumbersome to load, I managed to speed up a client's website from 6 seconds to 2.3 seconds just by compressing one of his large images. If you have control over website images, I strongly suggest you go and compress them yourself now at Compress Jpeg, it can make a big difference.
If you don't have control over your site images you can speed it up in other ways, such as getting a better hosting provider.
8. Putting it all together
Nowadays, when people spend most of their time online: online games, dating, shopping, appointment booking, it's important to have your website be the best of your business. After all, you don't want to lose 94% of your customers.
A bad website doesn't stay online, it can carry over and tarnish the reputation of your business and drive people away from it. At that point, you're better off without a website!
But don't worry, with a bit of help, anyone can improve their website. It doesn't matter if you have one or all of the problems described in this list; there is always room for improvement.
Published by Richard Gao
I do website inspections for free, just email me at [email protected] and I'll do a website inspection and give you free tips for improvement. If you like what you see we can start your redesign right away!