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Really debating running my own managed dealer website. Who's running their own dealer website or con

Discussion in 'Websites, SEO, SEM, Display, Social, Marketing' started by kcar, Dec 8, 2011.

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  1. kcar

    kcar
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    Can't get work done with a managed service, turn around time isn't fast enough, and the third party they use for coding and development is always off with design.. all this for a surprisingly high price tag. And not to mention the restrictions and things that won't work with managed setups.. I have the money, the design and development experience and track record for non-dealer sites, and everything else in between to do my own.. Yet I keep holding it off? (Also the only thing I'll pay for monthly is the inventory software, going to run an iframe or mostly likely going to install it on my server and send out change requests while still have feeds.) Pretty much have ALL of it planned out, and am confident this route would go absolutely fine, but yet it's somewhat of a big jump. Everything's done, designed, etc.

    Anyways, So who here is running their own dealer website? Post some examples, so I can feel more confident about making the switch.. Talk to me about what you love and dislike about doing this? Tom White Jr. I know you are out there with Suzuki of Wichita, and running your own site, how has that worked out?

    :goodbye:
     
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  3. kcar

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  4. Chris Cachor

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    kcar, if you're going to do your own thing, I wouldn't iframe your inventory in. Have it become a part of your actual application.
     
  5. joe.pistell

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    I'm simply planning a makeover of my indie site.

    Without exaggeration, I'll have 400 hours in research
    and data collection to present a consensed scope of work
    to outline where I want to the new design to go.
     
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  6. joe.pistell

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    P.S. SEO IS DEAD.
     
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  7. tomwhitejr

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    I'm, for the most part, going to defer to Joe on this topic. Yes, we manage our own website... No, we wouldn't change a thing about that; however, it is not something I would recommend - there are just too many good automotive website providers out there. Let's take SEO out of the equation - and it's not dead (sorry Joe), but that's a whole separate topic...

    The main challenge with doing this yourself is the inventory. As Kershner stated to me the other day, iFrame is SO 1999... Are there alternatives to iFrame? Sure, but "they ain't easy." Joe is right that doing it yourself will involve 100's and even 1000's of hours of research before you even factor in the programming time. You can throw up a wordpress site and call it good, but the bottom line is that you need a site that converts.

    My site, suzukiofwichita.com converts, but it converts because my in-store experience matches my virtual experience. Simply putting up a good website will not take the place of having an amazing customer experience once the prospect hits your lot.

    I struggle daily with the iFrame and coming up with better solutions. The time-suck that managing your own site presents is truly otherworldly. It just isn't for the faint of heart and can and probably will cause you more problems/challenges than it's worth.

    Now for the pros - having your own site (done well) will completely differentiate you from all of your other competitors. This alone is reason enough to try it in my opinion. I realize I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth, but you have to understand both sides in order to make a decision that's right for you. I employ one full time developer at $5000 a month and spend countless $1000's on outsourcing and freelancing work that he is unable to do himself. To me, it's a good deal... To many GM's and DP's - they would think I am absolutely nuts.

    I'm happy to spend some time on the phone talking about the pros and cons with you. You know where to find me...

    Anyway... my two cents (even if they make little to no sense)...
     
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  8. kcar

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    I am really really against the whole iFrame idea, not only is it bad for SEO, it's just bad practice in general.. It's a key part of the site, as it should be.. Working with an inventory provider right now who may let me run their software on my owner servers, if not I'll figure it out before making any changes. Might end up having them use part of the sub-domain and using it on their servers, if that's even possible.. We'll see.
     
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  9. kcar

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    [​IMG]

    Great read! I've gone through about 30-40 automotive website providers, all of which just don't meet my specific needs. They come close, but none can deliver exactly what I both want and need. As far as programming goes, not ready to sit down and develop an inventory software by myself yet. You have a solid point about customer experience and conversions, I bet that's a huge motivating factor for visitors to commit. Still have plenty of time to do some thinking so I think I'll do just that, already running a very similar template close to my custom one, so we'll see how it goes for now. Also thanks for the advice and the offer, I may take you up on that and give you a call sometime!
     
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  10. JamieS

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    We just put up our in-house website. After over a year of constant support ticket maintenance we finally pulled the plug on our third party. It has been a lot of hard work, A LOT of hard work, and it's still a work in progress. As much work as it is (and WILL be), we feel better about really owning and controlling what we have, instead of throwing money to somebody else for something that isn't truly ours. We hired two web developers to put their best foot forward in a couple months time and went with who we felt more comfortable with. Now that one is a full time staffer that also works hand-in-hand with our programmer, myself, and the ownership. Next steps are mobile site, Android app, and itunes app!
     
  11. joe.pistell

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    If you think you want to DIY, read Tom White's words over and over and over again.

    DIY = IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT

    That $60k developer has strengths (and weaknesses). Hire this person wrong and it'll handicap your upside and balloon your budget.

    If your GM is not ALL IN, then your life is going to be miserable.

    For those that want to DIY, I'll ask you a question. Have you failed yet? If you haven't made your best effort and had at least one giant "oh shit" moment, then BEWARE!! You haven't tried yet! WARNING! Your imagination of the task ahead and reality are worlds apart. Your mistakes are waiting for you to arrive.
     
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