Last week we talked about questions you can ask a 3rd party inventory provider to (hopefully) get more traffic to your website. But what about your website tools, like a trade provider, chat provider, or service scheduler? Here’s some questions we can ask those tool providers to see how well they’ll fit in with our website and our marketing stack.
One of the key areas we want to focus on is performance. A slow tool can degrade the performance of your entire website. Asking your provider these basic questions can make sure that you have a vendor who’s taking performance into consideration.
- How have you worked to optimize your tool? They should be saying things like script minification (ie: removing all the white space from a script before it’s run), looking at browser calls, optimizing images, and many other technical website optimization techniques. They should be able to answer this question easily, and having an answer is sometimes more important than what the answer is.
- Are any of your scripts render blocking? What does that mean? It means, “do any of their scripts need to be run before the rest of my page can be generated?” This is a major penalty in Google Page Speed.
- Do you have an efficient cache policy? When customers return to your website it’s not necessary to load all the images they already loaded. Having an efficient cache policy means they don’t need to reload images or scripts every time they hit a website.
- Are any images you provide optimized and lazy loaded? Optimizing images can reduce their size, and the total time needed to load the page; and lazy loading loads from the top down ensuring that images above the fold are loaded before images below the fold.
- How does your tool affect page speed? Ask them directly, and then verify it. If you do use their tool, run a page speed before and after installation.
- What pages will your tool be on? Does the script need to be on other pages beside the page it’s on? If you’re running a service scheduler there’s probably not a good reason to have that script fire on every single page. Meanwhile, with a chat tool, it might make sense for the chat to load on every page. This will be tool-specific. In addition to performance, we want to ask some basic security questions. For example…
- What user data will be extracting from my customer?
- Will you be using that to remarket my customer?
- Can anyone else buy that data and remarket to my customers?
- Are they storing my customer data? Where? Is it encrypted?
- Are they transporting our customer data?
- Is there a data security policy? Does it match our dealer data security policy?
You all have a dealership data security policy, right?
- Does your tool have any outside dependencies?
- Is there any code being written by someone outside of your company that your tool needs to function? If so, what are you doing to make sure that code is secure?
- How often do you update your tool? Do you have a secure updating process?
- Do you have any problems with your update process and my website provider?
And like, with anything, we also want to ask accountability questions…
- What mechanisms are available to track utilization of your tool? Do you have a dashboard or report?
- Do you currently send events into Google Analytics, or any other analytics program?
- Are you Google Analytics 4 (GA4) compatible?
- Has your company ever had an outside security evaluation performed on your tool? Can we see it?
- Are you aware of any conflicts or issues with any other tool providers? Do we have any of those tool providers?
- Does your tool work natively on both Android and iOS?
By asking these basic questions that highlight performance, security, and accountability we can ensure (i) that we’re on the same page with our website tool vendor (ii) that they meet the vision we have for our tool providers, and (iii) that they will not interfere with any other tools or our business processes.
Next week is the episode I’ve been waiting for. Tune in for a list of questions you should be asking your PPC provider to make sure you’re not just lighting your dealership’s money on fire.