Category Archives: Website Projects

Some of Dmac Media’s recent work.

Used Car Sales Web Designers

Selling Cars Online – The Digital Future

 

An inviting, well designed, website with easy functionality is a must for all car salesmen/motor dealers in these digital times when the go-to instinct of all shrewd millennials is to reach for the smartphone before every purchase. Everything from a simple falafel sandwich to a high end Hybrid car is accessed and assessed online prior to purchase.  Car buyers too, are increasingly researching, comparing and buying on the net.

 

The latest online research indicates that Millennials (defined as those young up and coming customers) are overwhelmingly open to buying cars online. Over a third of those who took part in a Trustpilot survey on the digital future of car buying, said they would research and purchase their new vehicle online.  It is no surprise that online research is already a feature in potential car purchases with over 71% of potential car- buyers doing online searches before they purchase (Consumer Association). But despite the online searching, there was still a reluctance for a full purchase online, and as consumer trends change, this too, will become a reality for many motor traders.

 

This change to a digital future for car sales, demonstrates the need for auto retailers to digitally transform and update their online presence. This includes improving the company website, improving your presence on third party websites and engaging on social media in a more meaningful way. The clever car dealer must start thinking that the internet is not just an extension of the car salesroom or the garage forecourt, it is the gateway to potential buyers.    Third-party sites are the now the most popular starting point for car shopping (used by 78% of potential car buyers). It is essential to have an impressive presence on sites like Carzone and Done Deal to attract the car browsing public.

 

The Society of Irish Motor Industry recommend that consumers research online in advance of buying a car and then go on to buy locally for the best deal.

 

We can’t emphasis enough the importance the importance of doing your research when buying a car particularly a second-hand car you need to be well informed as you are not the original owner.

 

They even offer their own website, www. beepbeep.ie as a good start for second hand purchases, as it displays cars from SIMI members, with car history checks already completed.  It is only one of many third party sites available for the buyer to peruse.  Check out which ones offer you, the trade the best deal and have the most traffic, and make sure you are visible, visited and updated regularly.

 

According to the Motor trade publication, Autotrader, 71% of car shoppers will spend a lot of time researching car prices online, before test driving. Just under two thirds of prospective car buyers will find the actual car they want listed for sale on motor trader websites.  Car buyers will also use online searches to compare different models and prices. They will seek the current value and expert reviews on cars and even use detailed video test drives prior to visiting a car show room. Finally they use the internet to locate a car dealer locally or to get dealer info and reviews.

 

Motor Traders need to embrace the digital age.

 

 

Trustpilot, the consumer review site has important message:    “For those seeking to appeal to Millennials, the message is clear – build a compelling digital experience that provides access to the buying and service experiences of others. By doing so you’ll appeal on their terms, as our research clearly shows this segment is ready to buy online. The winners in the industry will be those that embrace change and transformation.”

 

At Dmac Media, drawing on our years of experience in providing outstanding websites and digital marketing expertise to the motor industry, we put it in more simple terms.  The website of a successful motor trader needs to be sleek, classy with an ease of functionality. Your potential client will view it on a number of devices including smartphones.   The buyer wants to see featured cars with video, imagery and the increasingly popular 360 spins. They also expect access to finance applications and simple contact methods.  A car that lacks detail is a huge turnoff!  Not just for that car but for brand.

 

With projected new car sales for 2018 expected to be in the region of 125,000, and considering the vibrant trade in second hand vehicles, it is vital for the independent motor trader not to get left behind in the world of online car sales.  Social media, third party sites and your own amazing website are all part of keeping up with the online trends. Embrace the future and start forward thinking with a website revamp and a digital marketing strategy that will ultimately increase your footfall and sales.

 

More Useful Links

6 Top Social Media Tips for Car Dealers

 

25 Amazing Statistics on How Consumers Shop for Cars

 

 

Web Designers - I need a new website

Is your website like a grumpy salesperson?

How many times have you found yourself getting irritated while trying to
complete a process online?  Booking flights, hotels, buying a product? Well if you struggle to complete a task on a website the good news is you are not to blame.

 

Jakob Nielsen,  arguably the first and definitely the leading expert on website
usability has said that a bad website is like a grumpy salesperson.  Meaning it actively drives customers away from it by frustrating or irritating them.  If a website is difficult to understand or use it is the fault of the designer or company not the user.

 

We often design websites around our experience or understanding of our products and this is usually bad news for users.  The worst sin of all is to assume everyone uses the website the way you do.  Remember you are not your customer, they have different experiences, needs and understanding of your services or products.  You need to consider your website from their perspective.

 

When you do that, the all important questions are:

 

  1. Are all menus consistent throughout the site?
  2. Are the main sections or functions (like product search) obvious?
  3. Are you bombarding them with everything at once, or are you giving them relevant information one piece at a time?
  4. Do you know what your visitors are trying to achieve and why it maters to them?

 

If we are honest, most of us will not have a definitive answers, it will be more of a gut feeling.  So how do you diagnose a bad website?  Well it might be common sense but unfortunately it is not that common.

 

Ask your users!

Conducting a Usability study

 


This is actually a lot simpler than most people imagine.  It consists of gathering a small group of people (normally 5-6) in a room with a range of devices (Smart Phones, Tablets, Laptops)  and asking them to carry out specific tasks.  While they are carrying out the tasks you observe and record there behavior and reactions.  Do not listen to what they say but watch what they do (thanks again to Mr Nielsen for that tip)

 

An important caveat here is that the users you gather should relate to your ideal customer or user.  If you are not sure who that is you should check out our research options here but in short they are the people you expect to use your website to buy from, or learn about you.

 

The specific tasks you set your users is up to you but you are looking at there behaviour and assessing 5 key aspects:

Learnability:

How easy is it for users to accomplish basic tasks the first time they encounter the website?

Efficiency

Once users are familiar with the website, how quickly can they perform tasks?

Memorability

When users return to the website after a period of not using it, how easily can they reestablish proficiency?

Errors

How many errors do users make, how severe are these errors, and how easily can they recover from the errors?

Satisfaction

How pleasant is it to use the website? remember, the more relaxed and comfortable your user, the more likely they are to convert.

 

 

Studying the results of your tests through the prism of these pointers will give you a very clear idea of what you need to improve on and what is all ready working well.  Once you have made improvements to the way users experience your website the most important thing to do next is…

 

Ask your users again!

 

The best way to ensure your results keep getting better is to test, tweak and test again.  This should never stop.  As the intelligence, technology and attitudes of your users keeps evolving.  So should you.

 

This article is giving you the briefest outline of something called usability which is vital to User interface Design (UI), which in turn is a major aspect of User Experience (UX)  I have intentionally left these buzzwords until the end of this article because a lot of you out there have a negative reaction when you hear them.

 

You assume that it is either too complicated or too costly but as you can see from the simple steps above it is very easy for any business to start listening to how their customers feel about interacting with them.

 

If you feel like you need a bit more help on this then why not get in touch and we can start a conversation.

 

 

How Much Should I Spend on a Website

How Much Should A Website Cost?

 

This is most common question anyone in the web design industry gets asked and if you know web designers you know it is not always a straightforward answer.  Compare it to asking a car sales man how much a car costs.  It all depends on what you want the car to do.  To get an accurate quote on a website you need to give the web designer or company more details.

 

I am writing this article in the hope that it will give you some insights on how to effectively budget for your website.  In the interest of full disclosure, I have a small bias because I work for one of the best website development companies in the known universe!  I will try and keep my ego in check and give you information based on my experience in the web design industry over the last 10 years.

 

To understand website costing you need to look at three questions:

  1. What do websites cost?
  2. What can I afford?
  3. What is my priority?

 

What do websites cost

If you carry out even the most basic research you will find that website costs vary wildly depending on where you look and it is not always clear what the difference in the result is.  To help dispel some of the mist around this you can break it down into four broad categories.

 

D.I.Y Websites €0 – €500

Platforms like wordpress.com, Weebly & Squarespace offer you the option of do it yourself web design.  If you have some technical or design experience it can be a great low cost options.  As with all DIY projects the results can look fantastic or frightening depending on the skill set you have.  Most of these platforms come with preset themes that may well suit your needs and require little else other than your content.

 

Assisted D.I.Y. Websites €500 – €1500

For the less brave but still budget sensitive they can engage a professional to set up a WordPress theme and tweak it to suit your requirements.  This normally leaves you with a great looking site that you then must populate yourself with your own content. This can be a real winner for small business or start ups as there is minimal outlay and you have an experienced developer on hand.  A word of warning though:  Your professional works based on billable hours (or should do) so you need to know how much of their time you are getting as some of these projects can creep which can lead to a fractious relationship between you and your developer which is no good for anybody.  Always ask what the hourly or day rate is and then cost in terms of time.  It is fairer to both of you.

 

Professional Website €1500 – €3000

This is where a lot of web designers like to work.  Still a reasonable cost but more time to do more.  Believe it or not web designers like to create beautiful work and if they have the right budget they normally do just that.   As with the previous option make sure you know the time rates for your web development company and agree a reasonable timeline at the outset.  This price range is perfect for standard business websites or simple ecommerce systems.  If you need your site to go a little further or do a little more it is usually possible to evolve or build onto this type of site.  If you need it bespoke from the start then you need to look at the next step up.

 

Bespoke Web Development €3000 + €?????

Ok so this can be real blank-cheque territory so if you are going down this road you should either a) have plenty of experience with websites or b) have someone who does.  Most bespoke sites are completely reworked or remodeled within their first year because clients are rarely right about what is important for their customers.  Starting small and growing big is a much safer option.  However, if you are committed then here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Create and sign off on a functional spec.  Make sure everything you want the site to do for you and for your visitors is down in black & white.
  2. Create graphics before you start building.  You should see and sign off on images of what the key pages of the site will look like before committing to the build.  This limits the misinterpretations of developers.
  3. Agree a timetable for every key stage and stick to it.
  4. Agree rates for additional work.  It is hard to think of everything and extras normally cost extra so get a clear idea of what the rates day/hourly rates are for work over and above the spec.

free-audit

 

What can I afford?

Now that you know the kind of costs that are out there you can start to focus on the real question:  What can I afford?  To answer this, you need to know a few things:

 

How long will this website last?  Websites generally have a technical shelf life of 3-5 years.  If you consider the pace at which the web design industry moves you will realise that nobody can predict where we will be in three years.  There is chance that your website will be as good in three years as it is today but it is more likely that something significant will have changed in security standards or user experience.  If you are shopping around now you should be looking at your website spend as something that will last for the next 3-5 years (similarities here again to car buying).

 

How much revenue will it generate?  Deciding what to invest in a website should be considered in terms of what the website is going to create.  How many new leads or sales or what is the potential revenue you are expecting (top tip: be conservative!)  Once you have an estimate on this, your new website development should fall between 5-10% of the gross profit on those sales.

 

Let’s look at two scenarios:

 

Website 1 is a business website with no ecommerce engine.  It generates 4 leads every week with at least one of those leads converting to a sale every month.  If the average value of the sale is €400 and the cost of sales (what you spent on the product) is €110; then your gross profit is €290; 10% of this is €29 so over three years this website will generate an estimated €1044 (€29 x 36 months) This puts you firmly into the assisted DIY bracket.

 

Website 2 is an ecommerce website generating 25 orders a day.  The average order value is €48 with a gross profit of €10; That gives you a gross profit over three years of €273,750; 5% of this total is €13,687 which puts you into the bespoke price range.

 

The point I am making here is that you should look at your budget as a percentage of your gross profits as this gives you a sense of what a reasonable budget is.  This is probably something your accountant has already told you.

 

dmac-media-on-trustpilot

 

What is my priority?

My decisive point for this post is that once you have all the figures, you need to decide what the priority is.  You can only spend two things in business and that is time or money.  I have found that there is a balance between these when it comes to web design.  The more of one you spend the less of the other.  You need to decide how important the website is to your business and act accordingly.   You may have lots of free time and very little money which means you are going to be a master of DIY or alternatively you might have a budget and no time so the professional is your best route.

 

Hopefully you have gained some useful insights in pricing your next website revamp but if you are like me and have just skimmed this article let me give you all the above in a neat little cliché:

 

There are three options for pricing any job:

  1. Fast
  2. Right
  3. Cheap

You only get to choose 2.

 

 

Choosing the Right Domain Name

Choosing your domain name is as important as choosing your business name.

This is the name that leads to your website and so, careful consideration should be used when deciding which name or names to purchase.  A domain name is the unique URL or address of a website that defines itself from every other website on the World Wide Web. For example, we are Dmac Media Ltd and our domain names are   www.dmacmedia.com, www.dmacmedia.ie and www.ecommercewebsites.ie.

 

 

Here are some top tips to choosing and registering when buying a domain name.

 

  • Keep it Simple: Choose a name as close to that of your business brand as possible. It is confusing if your business name is different than that of your domain name. This is especially true if running an ecommerce website. So, if you trade as Flynn the Plumbing Contractor, then flynnplumbing.ie is an obvious choice of name.  Check out availability of domain names on any number of ‘Who Is’ sites including  whois.net, whois.com and whoisdomaintools.com
  • Keep it Short: The shorter the domain name the easier it is to type with less chance of misspelling. So don’t be tempted to include everything in the name.  com is not going to get you more traffic. Simple and short.
  • Use Keywords: Consider who will be searching for a website such as yours. Do you offer something unique which people may Google?   For example, Buycordlessdrills.com, headphonerepairs.ie or cakedecoration.com and adding these names as ‘aliases’ on your website to increase traffic and ultimately, business.
  • Don’t use slang, text-speak, numbers or dashes: Referring back to the keeping it simple motto, do not be tempted to use anything too complicated and remember that not everyone searching for your business is an up to speed techie millennial. Some people still struggle to navigate, so make it easy for them to find you.
  • Consider your Geographical Area: This is a Ronseal moment. It does exactly what it says on the tin. Donegalpharmacy.ie, thisiscavan.ie, strandhillsurf.eu. You can see how easily these web addresses will pop up for potential clients with a simple search.
  • Do your Homework: Check that you are not inadvertently using a registered trademark, copyrighted or being used by another company.
  • Buy a few options: If you can afford to, buy a number of computations of your domain name, including mis-spellings. Dogwalking.ie, dogwalkers.ie, dogwalkers.com, dogwalker.ie etc… This will reduce the competition and increase the number of website hits.

Finally, if you’re ideal domain name is already registered to another business, do not despair.  There are domain auction services that can help you get the domain name you’re interested in  even if it is already in use.  It is likely that it will cost more than the regular domain registration, but if you really feel that it will enhance your business, you may consider it a worthy outlay.

Start Small – Grow Big

“A Great Philosophy for Building a Business Online”

When I started working for Dmac Media Ltd nearly 5 years ago I frequently heard my boss telling customers “Start Small Grow Big”. I thought this was crazy, he was basically telling customers “Put some of that money back in your pocket, we don’t need it all”

This seemed contrary to all I knew about selling. I’d been a self employed business man for 25 years at this point and up-selling was ingrained in me. Continue reading