Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for elements and functions that are critical for paid search advertising (SEM) to get dropped somewhere during the Web Site redesign process. We usually see this with phone numbers, trust signals, tracking codes, thank-you pages and forms.
- Phone numbers
Sometimes the dealer’s phone number, which was prominently displayed at the top of every old web page, is absent from new pages. Or, if it’s still present, it’s smaller in size and more difficult to spot.
Phone images is typically at the top portion of a dealer’s new webpage. But where did the phone number go? Originally, it had a prominent position at the top of every page. But now, users have to click the “contact us” button to find it. Why force visitors to take this extra step? Customers become habitual and it takes time for them to adjust to a new design and process.
- Trust signals
Other times, the phone number will remain but trust signals are removed. Elements such as testimonials, certification badges and affiliations are either missing or only present on select pages.
Why do we care about phone numbers and trust signals as digital marketing professionals? Because they have an important role to play in paid search. Making it more difficult for prospects to call you or removing elements that give prospects the confidence to do business with you will negatively impact SEM efforts.
Additionally, we care about these elements being present on every page because we cannot assume that new prospects will start on your home page. They might start on a product page, inventory page, etc. So we need phone numbers and trust signals to be present on ALL PAGES, too.
- Tracking codes
Tracking codes return data that allow us to know exactly what’s going on with an account. We use the data to direct and refine search engine marketing campaigns for our dealers.
Without data from tracking codes, we are essentially running accounts blindfolded. Yes, we can still make decisions based on our experience and knowledge, but those decisions will always be our best guesses. With tracking data, we can make decisions based on what is actually happening.
Which codes are we currently most concerned about?
- Remarketing code:As the name suggests, we need remarketing code to run remarketing campaigns.
- Website call metrics code:We use website call tracking tags to track PPC visitors who call you once they land on your website
We can see how these codes might get removed or corrupted in the course of redesigning a website. But at the same time, the impact of losing these codes is very real.
The sooner the problem is spotted, the sooner it can be corrected. But often, it is not caught until the marketing team looks at its data and realizes something is off.
- Thank-you pages
Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for website redesigns to do away with thank-you pages. These are pages that are returned to users after a contact form is submitted, confirming that the message has been sent.
Instead, visitors get a single thank-you line that appears on the contact page. There are a few problems with this approach. First, it may leave visitors wondering whether their message went through. That single line of text is easy to miss.
Second, it’s a lost opportunity. Thank-you pages are a great place to put additional content to further engage visitors.
Third, we often use thank-you pages as a place to put tracking code. With no thank-you page, we have to resort to event tracking, which isn’t as simple as adding codes to thank-you pages and can sometimes lead to errors.
Some website redesigns do away with contact forms entirely and replace them with email address links. This isn’t good.
Using email links seems like an outdated approach. Technically, we can still track these links via event tracking. But this can get tricky, and we sometimes run into technical issues.
Even when things go bad with website redesigns, we can usually get back on track relatively quickly if we are aware of the issues and the web design team is responsive.
Sometimes, problems are ongoing. For example, we have one dealer where the developer does a backend refresh regularly. Every single time, our tracking code gets stripped from the web pages. Needless to say, this gets old real fast, but we stay on it until it is properly updated.
And sometimes, we see website design issues on the horizon. For example, one of our SEM dealerships redesigned their site last month. When we saw the new site, we were surprised to see it was HTTP and not HTTPS. We raised this issue with the designer, pointing to the announcement that Chrome will start adding “not secure” warnings to non-HTTPS pages.
We just want our J.D. Byrider dealers to know that our entire team is hyper focused on helping resolve these issues and working with corporate to get your GOJDB lead volume closer to the numbers that make all of us breathe a little easier.
In the meantime, please know that all of your advertising efforts are still working. Your leads might not be articulating in the way we have become accustomed to receiving them, but they will get to you. Advertising is always an outreach to your customers that you are open for business and capable of getting them the financing and vehicle they need. All of your impressions, clicks and full court digital press remains in place.
If you need any “extra” creative, quick turnaround on a promotion to run in social space our team is here to turn it around lightning fast. Feel free to reach out to myself, Brad White or Bryson Hartranft if you have any questions or a further explanation on what we are doing to help your dealership during this transition.