Professional Community for Automotive Marketers, Car Dealers, OEM and Suppliers
written by Brian Pasch
I’ve said this before, but what a difference a year can make. I just finished a two hour webinar presentation of the new BZ Results platform called Virtual Dealership 2.0 and I am very excited with the platforms openess and new user interface. @BZ_Results
When Mike McKenzie, Supervisor of Web Design, said that it was a ground up rebuild, he was not joking. @mike_mckenzie
This blog post is not a full review of their SEO architecture and search strengths; that will come when we publish the 2010 ASMA Awards and white-paper on October 13, 2010. That said, BZ customers who are on their old platform should know that some great changes are on the way. One of the customers that is using their new platform is Seeger Toyota.
The BZ Results Virtual Dealership 2.0 is a powerful platform that allows dealers to create a fully customized website using simple drag and drop widgets, similar to how WordPress works. Dealers can select from a number of “layouts” ( as shown above) and then within each layout, they can pick a theme. Think of themes as the color palettes and textures that your website can use.
For any layout and theme, dealers are presented with a number of universal widgets within the base build and dealers can create as many custom widgets as they like. These widgets are CSS aware so that when they are dropped on to a page, they blend into the color palette and theme.
Widget examples are Contact Forms, Maps, Videos, Slideshows, Text Boxes, Inventory Lists, Search Boxes, Specials, Twitter Feeds, RSS Feeds, etc.. Critical widgets like inventory listing modules can be configured to the nth degree. This will allow dealers and marketing professionals to create landing pages that can meet any business need. The widgets for inventory had many customizable features that will make creating PPC landing pages very easy.
The process of customizing any existing page or adding a new page is straightforward and all pages can be edited for their SEO Titles, META descriptions and permalinks. This represents a new attitude in BZ Results which once felt that they had to do everything for the dealer. I like the fact that I can help a BZ customer directly with a custom on-site SEO strategies which in the past I could not do.
Today, their new platform is built on empowering the dealer to create a customized customer experience. If the dealer doesn’t have the skills to customize their site, Mike reminded me that BZ has staff to do that work for the dealer.
Another nice feature was that dealers can create their own custom forms, slide-shows, change navigational menus, and even microsites. Yes, the new platform will launch new microsites on a new domain or sub-domain with simple tools. This will keep all content and technology under one control panel. (Now BZ is gunning at me!)
As part of the new site architecture, BZ customers can store all their digital assets in a library that can be used in the future. You can see from the Assets list on the right, that BZ has made sure that dealers can easily create, store and reuse their digital assets.
Dealers can also store common external and internet links in the asset libary (see Links on right) to use within their websites or as part of their content writing strategies.
I liked this feature especially when dealers rely on third party website partners that have cryptic links that may change over time. By storing the link in the asset library, external links can be edited in one central place and be updated site-wide.
Another cool feature is that these assets can have a start and end date so that coupons, incentives and web pages can start on a predetermined schedule.
The new BZ automotive website platform is best described as “empowering”. The system is a dramatic change from a closed platform for design and SEO to very open.
The design team at BZ has leaped ahead of many competitors in the marketplace on design and flexibility. It will be interesting to see how the site indexes as well as being subjected to our search criteria.
In the meantime, if I was a BZ Results customer under a long contract, you should be calling to get your site upgraded.
Entry posted on Tuesday, August 24th, 2010 and filed under BZ Results.
[end of original article]