website navigation best practices

Website Navigation Best Practices for Car Dealerships

In the automotive industry, the website user experience, including website navigation can make or break a new car sale.

Let’s say Honda, Nissan, or Kia was running ads for a new vehicle and your dealership has that vehicle on the car lot. A potential buyer sees the ad while browsing the web and gains interest in the vehicle. They grab their phone, do a search for “Honda dealership near me”, and find your website. What is their visit like? How was the user experience? Does your website guide them down the path to eventually purchasing? Did you follow website navigation best practices?

It’s important to keep in mind the users behavior, search intent, and overall experience. A proper user experience is imperative to the generation of the lead. It is usually the difference between good service and bad service regardless of the industry.

7 User Experience Tips for Better Website Engagement

Want to listen to this content while on-the-go or simply prefer video content? We’ve got you covered! Check out the video below where Mike and Charles tackle the combination of user experience and website navigation in the automotive industry.

1. Provide Helpful Internal Links

Take a moment to think about what the average user searches when researching a vehicle. Based on those searches, what helpful links on your website could you provide to make their search best suited to their needs? Website links such as financing, test drive videos, and reviews are all helpful links that can be used to help drive the user to a make a purchase. Additionally, you may want to link to the OEM, and other resources that will guide the user in their search. Providing resourceful links across your ads and website pages is a great tool for boosting your SEO, but remember to only include what is necessary. Too many links could result in information overload for the user, you’ll want to make sure that each link has a specific purpose/intent for the user.

Bonus Tip: It’s important to remember that links are different than call to actions (CTAs). These types of internal links should aim to inform the user, while the CTA urges to user to perform a desired action such as schedule a test drive, speak with a representative, or fill out a form.  

2. Improve the Content Flow

Improving your content flow overtime allows for your website to stay updated regularly which is helpful for SEO, but also works to continually provide your users with a seamless experience; and it all begins with a content audit. With a content audit, it’s best to start with your website pages that receive the most traffic. You can utilize tools like Google Analytics and DashThis to determine important website metrics such as the number of impressions and clicks. More importantly, you can learn which pages lead to a purchase/new car. This is where the customer journey comes into play.

For example, a website visitor could land on your home page from a Google search for “Honda dealership near me” or a similar search term. From the home page, they may visit your search page and begin looking at vehicles. After selecting a vehicle, they’ll end up on that vehicle page. With this basic level of understanding about your website traffic, you can improve the way your content flows and cater it to the user experience. Once the visitor is on the vehicle page, we continue to guide them with call to actions like schedule a test drive, or get financing. The content should guide the website visitor down the path you want them to take.

Keep in mind that most of these actions will likely be taken with the swipe and tap of the user’s thumb, on their mobile device. Using buttons and strategic links makes this process easier.

3. Limit Plug-ins and Pop Ups

Remember how we said that too many resource links could result in information overload for the user? The same case applies here. 

You want to provide a helpful experience to the user. When the website has too many distractions, it can become intrusive. It is similar to dining at a restaurant and interacting with your waiter. A good waiter will observe from a distance and then provide service when the time is right. They’ll wait until your cup is almost empty before refilling. They won’t interrupt you mid-bite to ask you a question. Your website user experience should be similar. We all hate random newsletter subscription pop-ups. These additional website features can help with conversions when used properly. Overuse will deter website visitors from engaging and slow your website down which is detrimental to your search engine optimization.

4. Simplify Your Navigation

When discussing user experience, it usually starts with website navigation. This is the main website menu that accesses most if not all of the pages on your website. Good website navigation works to provide a seamless experience for the user while also allowing accessibility for all users. Ideally, users should be able to easily locate pages across your site. You’ll want to group similar pages together within your menu. Here it’s important to think about how the average user would search or navigate across your site and then tailor your menu to best suit those actions.

Additionally, you’ll want a navigation menu that is compatible across all devices, this includes mobile, desktop, tablet, etc. Your users will more than likely be on a mobile device when accessing your website. Expandable menus, sub-menus, and the like can become a hassle when using your fingers and thumbs. Try to experiment with different menu types across all your devices and groups to see which type works best.

5. Audit Your Menu Regularly

While on the subject of navigation, be sure to audit your menus. Some websites may have a few different menus. A top menu, main menu, sidebar menu, footer menu, and more. These menus will contain pages that may need to be adjusted. 

If your menu includes event pages that would promote upcoming events, be sure its updated. If you all aren’t having events, remove the page. Update the about page, or history page, with the latest company information. Be sure to present content by order of importance. When auditing the menu, you’re checking to make sure that the pages are accurate, up to date, and there are no broken links. The flow of pages is consistent with the overall goal you want to reach.

6. Focus on Speed

The speed of the website has a direct impact on the user experience. Ultimately, if a website takes too long to load, users are likely to become frustrated and leave, thus leading to a higher bounce rate and an overall lower search engine ranking. When testing your website speed, keep the following questions in mind:

  • How fast does this website load?
  • Are there any items on the website such as images or graphics that take long to load?
  • How quickly can I navigate through it?
  • How long does it take me to find what I’m looking for?
  • Did it guide me down the path I needed to take? 

Positive answers to those questions will inherently mean that the website user experience is great. We can’t move on from speed without mentioning Google. Page speed is so important to ranking that they have tools and services that audit how fast your website is, and what could make it faster. Page speed and user experience are key factors to improving search engine rankings.

7. Use Video Content

Video content is a fast and simple way to share information with your website visitors. It generally results in more engagement than just plain text and when considering giving the user the best experience, we know video is the primary tool. 

In the automotive industry, walk-around videos, test drive videos, and even testimonial videos can definitely boost the user experience. Especially with the ever-growing amount of online shoppers. These types of videos can further encourage the user to take action and ultimately make a purchase.


In short, the website user experience is directly affected by the navigation. Be sure to follow website navigation best practices such as optimizing on a continual basis, focusing on website speed, utilizing video content, and providing helpful links when improving your user experience. Website navigation is best when users can seamlessly locate all items across your site. Once users land on your site, you’ll want to have engaging content that will keep them on the site and hopefully lead them to make a purchase. 

Ready to take the next step in boosting your dealership’s online presence? Contact our team today!

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