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Website Planning 101: For Car Dealerships

April 3, 2024

In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for any business, including car dealerships. A well-designed and optimized website can attract potential customers, showcase your inventory, and ultimately drive sales. However, creating a successful car dealership website requires careful planning and execution.

In this article, we’ll discuss the website planning process for car dealerships, including steps to follow and tools to use to ensure a successful online presence.

Why is Website Planning Important for Car Dealerships?

A website is often the first point of contact for potential customers, and it’s essential to make a good first impression. A well-planned website can help you stand out from your competitors, showcase your inventory, and provide a seamless user experience. Here are some key reasons why website planning is crucial for car dealerships:

Website Security

Website security tools

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Car dealerships handle sensitive information, such as customer data and financial transactions, making them a prime target for cyber attacks. A website planning process should include measures to ensure website security, such as using SSL certificates, implementing firewalls, and regularly updating software. These security measures not only protect your dealership and customers but also build trust and credibility with potential buyers.

Website Optimization

A well-designed website should be optimized for search engines to increase visibility and attract potential customers. This process, known as search engine optimization (SEO), involves using keywords, meta descriptions, and other techniques to improve your website’s ranking on search engine results pages. A website planning process should include steps to optimize your website for automotive SEO, such as conducting keyword research and creating relevant and engaging content.

Marketing and Sales Collaboration

A successful website planning process involves collaboration between marketing and sales teams. Marketing teams can provide valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences, which can inform website design and content. Sales teams can also provide feedback on common customer questions and objections, which can be addressed on the website. This collaboration ensures that the website is aligned with the dealership’s overall sales and marketing goals.

Website Planning Guide for Car Dealerships

Now that we understand the importance of website planning for car dealerships, let’s dive into the steps you should follow to create a successful website.

Step 1: Define Your Goals and Target Audience

Before you start designing your website, it’s crucial to define your goals and target audience. Are you looking to increase sales, generate leads, or improve brand awareness? Who is your target audience, and what are their preferences and behaviors? Understanding these factors will help you create a website that resonates with your target audience and achieves your goals.

Step 2: Choose a Domain Name and Secure It

Website domain security

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Your domain name is your website’s address, and it’s essential to choose a name that is easy to remember and reflects your dealership’s brand. Once you’ve chosen a domain name, it’s crucial to secure it to prevent others from using it.

Pro Tip- The .dealer extension is a perfect example. By incorporating this extension into your dealership's name, you can instantly convey professionalism and credibility to your customers. 

For instance, names like "LuxuryAuto.dealer" or "FamilyCar.dealer" can help you stand out in search engine results and establish trust with online shoppers.

Register your domain at an discounted rate at Porkbun Today!

Step 3: Select a Website Platform and Design

There are various website platforms available, such as WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace. These platforms offer templates and drag-and-drop features that make it easy to design a website without any coding knowledge. When choosing a platform, consider factors such as ease of use, customization options, and integration with other tools.

When designing your website, keep in mind your target audience and their preferences. For example, if your target audience is tech-savvy, you may want to incorporate more advanced features and a modern design. If your target audience is older, a simpler and more user-friendly design may be more effective.

Step 4: Create Engaging and Relevant Content

Content is a crucial aspect of any website, and it’s essential to create engaging and relevant content that resonates with your target audience. This includes product descriptions, blog posts, and customer reviews. Use keywords and meta descriptions to optimize your content for search engines and attract potential customers.

Step 5: Integrate Website Security Tools

Website security tools

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As mentioned earlier, website security is crucial for car dealerships. Integrating security tools such as SSL certificates, firewalls, and malware scanners can protect your website and customer data from cyber attacks. These tools also provide peace of mind for potential customers, knowing that their information is safe when browsing your website.

Step 6: Optimize for Mobile Devices

With the rise of mobile usage, it’s crucial to ensure that your website is optimized for mobile devices. This includes using responsive design, which adjusts the layout of your website based on the device it’s being viewed on. Mobile optimization is also a factor in SEO, as search engines prioritize mobile-friendly websites in their rankings.

Step 7: Test and Launch Your Website

Before launching your website, it’s essential to test it thoroughly to ensure that all features are working correctly and there are no bugs or errors. This includes testing on different devices and browsers to ensure a seamless user experience. Once you’re satisfied with the website, it’s time to launch it and start promoting it to potential customers.

Tools for Website Planning and Design

Designer sketching Wireframes

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Creating a successful car dealership website requires the use of various tools and resources. Here are some tools that can help you with the website planning and design process:

Google Analytics

Google Analytics, a tool offered by Google free of charge, is an incredibly valuable resource for website owners. By using this tool, individuals can gain in-depth insights into the traffic their website receives as well as the behaviors of its users. This information is essential for tracking the effectiveness of a website and can be used to make informed, data-driven decisions on how best to improve its performance.

With Google Analytics, website owners have access to a wide range of metrics and reports that can help them better understand their audience and optimize their online presence. In short, Google Analytics is an indispensable tool for anyone looking to maximize the success of their website.


Canva is an innovative and user-friendly graphic design platform that provides users with a wide range of templates and convenient drag-and-drop features, allowing them to easily create high-quality and professional-looking graphics for their websites.

With its intuitive interface and extensive library of design elements, Canva is a valuable tool for individuals and businesses looking to enhance the visual appeal of their online content. Whether you need eye-catching banners, engaging social media posts, or captivating visual elements for your website, Canva has everything you need to bring your creative visions to life.


Kompyte is a competitive intelligence tool that can help you stay ahead of your competitors. It provides real-time insights into your competitors’ website changes, SEO strategies, and marketing efforts, allowing you to adjust your website and marketing strategies accordingly.


A well-designed and optimized website is crucial for the success of any car dealership. By following a website planning process and using the right tools, you can create a website that attracts potential customers, showcases your inventory, and drives sales. Remember to regularly review and update your website to stay ahead of the competition and meet the changing needs of your target audience

Ready to Make the Switch?

If you're ready to give your car dealership an edge in the competitive automotive market, consider switching to a .dealer domain for your website.

It's a simple and effective way to stand out, boost your SEO, and target your local market. With a .dealer domain, your dealership will be on the fast track to success.

Get the domain for dealers!