You're here because you want to build a repair shop website and you need to build one asap.
Not to worry, you're right on time as these last two years have shown the world the power of virtual selling.
That's right, folks. Covid 19 accelerated the move to a virtual setting where even auto repair technicians are rushing to build a repair shop website.
Why Build an Auto Repair Shop Website now?
Content is king. If you don't have a website for your shop or you do but the site needs upkeep, the following information can be valuable.
If your shop relies on repeat customers and or referrals, that's fantastic. It means you're doing what you can to grow your business. But what if I told you that your website with the right amount of content can be your brand ambassador while you sleep?
Here are 6 quick steps to build an awesome auto repair shop website.
Step #1 - Find the Right Domain Name
This step is rather simple and even fun. You first start off by jotting down potential website names.
Go to godaddy.com
On the top left-hand side, you have the option to search for a domain.
We recommend something with the .com suffix as it's easier to remember.
The cost of these domain names varies. Because let's say for instance you want to buy 'therepairshop.com' or 'mikesrepairshop.com. These are names that will likely not be available and if they are, will be too expensive.
You don't need thousands of dollars to buy a domain name. A domain name is like creating your email back in the day. If you didn't find Mikejones@gmail.com you didn't give up. You'd add variations until you found something that was easy to remember and catchy.
Step #2 - Hosting for your Auto Repair Shop Website
Think of hosting like taxes or rent. You buy a domain (property) but just because you own the land, doesn't mean Uncle Sam doesn't want his piece.
Once you buy your domain name or place it on the internet, you're going to need to pay for the land it lives on.
All sites' information lives on servers all over the world. Huge computers holding billions of websites, yours included.
We like using the same company for both domain and hosting but if you're looking for something a bit more affordable, we also recommend Siteground.
Endorsed directly by Wordpress (more on them later), Siteground is a more affordable option and easier to use.
So choose a plan (we recommend the basic plan), register your domain name, and just fill out your information.
Pick your data center in the US because I assume your repair shop is in the US and serving US clients.
Confirm that you agree with the terms and conditions, pay for hosting and you're ready to go.
Once this is completed, log into your Siteground dashboard, select Wordpress and add the email and password you will use to log into your content management system. Click finish and you will now have a live site.
What is Wordpress?
Now that you know what a domain and hosting is, next you will hear about a platform called Wordpress.
Wordpress is a content management system (CMS) where site owners store their site's information. Content in the form of text, videos, images, etc will live on this CMS and you will have full access to it.
Step #3 - Build our Your Sitemap
Don't worry, it's not as complicated as it sounds. A sitemap is a structure with which you will plan out what your site looks like.
In layman's terms, a sitemap will tell the designer and programmer what pages you want on your site.
For this, we're going to be using a cool (and free) tool called Dynalist. Dynalist is a free outlining app where you can jot down the structure of a site.
Here's an example of what a Dynalist structure looks like for this pet supplies website -
Here they've set up their main menu options along with subpages for these respective categories. Sign up to Dynalist using your Gmail account and get started.
Step #4 - Wordpress and How to Navigate
If you've found most steps on this list simple so far, this one will be quite fun.
There are many content management systems that are used on the internet but over 40% of the internet uses Wordpress. This is mainly due to Wordpress' user-friendliness and tons of plugins you can download to customize your site.
To log into your Wordpress account you're going to take your domain name and add 'wp-admin' to it. For example if your domain is www.repairshopny.com just add ‘wp-admin’ to the end of it.
When you open that URL, you're going to be able to use the email you added on Siteground a few steps ago and the password.
Once you're logged in, you'll see a screen like this -
The first thing we're going to do is navigate around the dashboard, become familiar with its interface. Everything you need will be on the left hand black sidebar.
Once that has been done we're going to want to remove the 'www' from your website, no one really uses this anymore.
Hover over to where it says settings, then click on general.
Delete the 'www.' where it says Wordpress address and site address. Also, while you're at it, add an 's' after the HTTP like so.
Adding an 's' means your site is secure and users information is encrypted.
While we work on your site we need to make sure Google doesn't index into its list of sites. Why? Because we will be making a ton of updates to it and it isn't good to tell Google the site is ready until it actually is.
To tell Google to hold off on indexing it, hover over to where it says Settings, then Reading. Once there, check off the box that says 'discourage search engines', and voila!
Lastly, we recommend going to where it says 'Pages', create a new page and just call this page 'Home'. Once you do this, hit publish and head back to where it says 'Settings', 'Reading' and select your homepage.
Step #5 - Fiverr and Photography
As much as I'd like to instruct you on the fine craft of web design and development, do you really have the time?
Shop owners are clever and artistic in other ways and we would prefer you invest your time on creating the content for the site. Not the design aspect.
This is why there's a site called Fiverr. A place where freelance designers and developers offer their services for a fraction of the price that agencies charge.
Create an account, browse through the site and search for someone who can create a simple layout for a Wordpress site. As well as migrate it to your current empty Wordpress site.
Expect to pay anywhere from $300-$600 and look for only the best reviewed freelancers.
Make sure you're very specific on the type of website you want. You don't need to be an expert but if you've done your research, you've probably stumbled on websites you would like to emulate. Send the graphic designer these examples as well as the sitemap you've created.
The turnaround time for a project like this can be about 5-7 business days so be sure you send them all the information they need plus extra.
While you're looking for example websites and putting this all together. Make sure you have a local photographer take pictures of your shop and team in action.
Nothing screams real deal more than real content. You don't want to have that website that relies 100% on stock photography. The pictures should reflect your shop's mission, vision as well as the services you offer.
Be sure to send all this to the graphic designer as well.
Step #6 - Content is King for your Repair Shop Website
Your site is going to need content, lots of content.
This content will come in the form of videos and images but the most important will be your written content.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is as popular as ever and applying its best practices is how you're going to get leads and prospects onto your site.
In this article we discuss SEO best practices but in the meantime, let's just focus on writing content.
Here are the pages no Auto Repair Shop website can do without.
- About Us
- Meet our team
The homepage is a place where you'll have a main image or rotating banner that highlights your main services.
We then recommend you write your own about us page and add a blurb to the homepage. This lets visitors know why they should choose you.
Next you should have a services section on your homepage that speaks of what you specialize in with pictures of your staff on the job.
Your contact page will contain additional information as well as a map, email and phone number. Last but not least a meet our team section gives that human touch to every website. Letting your customers know you're still real people running a customer first repair shop.
All of this will go on your homepage as well as have internal pages that speak about it in depth.
Getting Started with your Auto Repair Shop Website
The last few steps I know sound complicated but it's quite simple. It's a matter of becoming familiar with the platforms we've recommended and knowing what you like.
Before you write anything down we recommend looking for auto repair shop websites you like. This could be competitors, big shops or any website in general. Try and look for the colors, layouts and pictures you like.
If you have all of this it's easier to know what you want and what type of site you want to create for your shop.
The next article is going to focus more on SEO and the importance of an active blog. For this lesson we recommend writing most of the content yourself. Not only to save a bit of money but this way you become familiar with Wordpress and the style of writing you want to show.
If you feel this article and steps might be too time-consuming and too much to add to your plate, we have the solution.
Here at JMC we offer a create your auto repair shop website program. Here our team of writers and designers will work with you to do the heavy lifting for you. We will create your website, write the content and in a few weeks you'll have your very own up and running website!
Contact us today to learn more!