The perfect machine dealer website

As a professional machine dealer you should have your own website in 2020. Otherwise your company will no longer appear up-to-date, potential customers might even think that the seller is a fraud. Distinguish yourself directly from the black sheep on the market. Your website is the best way to make a good first impression. Because over 80% of all prospective customers inform themselves online about your business partners before buying.

How should my website be structured?

The most important part of your website is the home page. Every visitor must be able to find all information about your company as well as your products and services here at a glance. Besides the home page you need an overview of your offered machines as well as detailed pages about them. If you have your machines on stock, it is useful to describe how to get to the location. This can be combined with a contact page. Create buyer confidence with an “About us” page. Furthermore, you are – at least in some countries – legally obliged to provide an imprint and a privacy policy.

Important: Visitors will only skim your website! Therefore use headlines and highlight important keywords. Form short sentences and work with meaningful pictures or infographics. In addition, bullet points are more likely to be read than continuous text.

What belongs on the home page?

  • A short info about your company, your products and your services
  • Contact details (your address, telephone number) and a link to the respective contact person in your company (with picture, extension and e-mail address)
  • A link to your machine list
  • A seal of approval (e.g. the Machineseeker trust mark)

What doesn’t belong on the home page?

  • Large, meaningless images, especially in sliders
  • Music and animations
  • An upstream welcome page
  • Pop-Ups

How do I present my machines?

The front page of your machine list should contain an overview of all your offers. Machines of which categories do you offer? For each category, link an overview page with information and offers for this product category.

You should have a separate detail page for each machine, whose structure can be based on the advertisement detail pages of Machineseeker. This means in particular that the following information can be found in a structured manner:

  • Several photos in good quality
  • Category (e.g. in form of a breadcrumb navigation)
  • Manufacturer
  • Model
  • Machine type
  • Year of manufacture
  • Brief description
  • Own reference number
  • The contact details of the respective contact person
  • A contact form

Keep the descriptions consistent in any case! Do not confuse your customers and search engines with changing names. For a structured presentation of the data you will find a paragraph at the end of this article, which goes into detail about the technical implementation.

How do I introduce my company?

Information about your company helps to gain the trust of machine buyers. Give your company a face on the “About us” page. Introduce the company management. Go into the history and values of your company. Show that you are a reliable partner. Use customer references, customer voices and media mentions. You can introduce your team members and contacts either here or on a separate team/contact page.

What belongs on a contact/directions page?

Make it as easy as possible for prospective customer to contact your company. To do this, you should provide the respective contact persons with telephone number and e-mail address. If the responsible contact persons are often out of office, give the mobile phone numbers. Also provide a contact form. That way, buyers can write to you without having to leave the site.

Your address should not only be displayed as text, but also visualized with the help of a map. Also describe the way from the nearest motorway or country road.

Practical tip: Use pictures of your contact persons. This makes the site more personal and creates trust.

How should I design my website?

Consult a professional (freelancer, agency) who knows something about website design. Nowadays, a contemporary design is essential in order not to appear unprofessional. Every 5 to 10 years you should also carry out a so-called relaunch and adapt your design and technology to the current conditions. Especially important in this context is the keyword responsive design. Your website should look and function well on all end devices (desktop, smartphone, tablet). In Europe, half of all visitors now come from mobile devices such as smartphones.

How do I promote my social media channels?

If you actively operate a Facebook page, a Twitter account or a YouTube channel, then link to them. Use appropriate icons for this purpose. Attention! If you uploaded 2 videos to YouTube 5 years ago, you should not set a link. Social media only looks credible if you use it regularly and permanently.

Which safety measures should I take?

Make sure to encrypt your website using SSL. You can recognize this by the “https://” at the beginning of the URL. Https has been mandatory since the GDPR came into force as soon as personal data is transferred. In addition, the widespread chrome browser marks unencrypted websites as “not secure”. Let’s Encrypt offers the necessary certificates free of charge and is integrated at many hosters.

If you use a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, make sure you always use the latest version. This applies both to the CMS itself and to the plug-ins used. In this way you can ensure that hackers cannot exploit any known security holes of old versions.

Make regular backups of your website. Many hosting providers offer automatic back-ups free of charge or for a small extra charge. This ensures that you can quickly and easily update your site in the event of unwanted changes, a hard drive failure, or a hacker attack.

Never use the same password for your website and your email address. Good passwords are long and consist of letters as well as numbers and special characters. Set up a separate access for each employee.

How do I optimize my site for search engines like Google?

In addition to the data quality already mentioned, there are over 200 ranking factors whose exact weighting nobody knows except Google itself. Search engines always try to offer the best possible user experience. Therefore, do not optimize content primarily for search engines but for your (potential) customers.

Since search engines nowadays can only understand text – and accordingly no images or videos – it is important that you prepare all relevant information in text form. Accordingly, refrain from writing information in images. Your content should be detailed – but not artificially inflated.

Furthermore, your texts should be optimized for keywords relevant to your company. Keywords are the terms that are entered by users in search engines. A typical search term would be “edge banding machine berlin”. These keywords should appear in the text in a meaningful way. When selecting the keywords for which you want to optimize your pages, you should take a close look at your competitors and additionally use keyword tools (e.g. keywordtool.io). It is unrealistic as a small trader to get on the first page for the term “used machines”. Large platforms like Machineseeker have structural advantages here. Therefore it is often useful to focus on keywords with local reference.

Attention: Keyword spamming (unnecessary repetition of keywords) is punished nowadays.

The most important keyword is your company name. If your website is not found for this keyword, many machine buyers will think that you don’t have a website at all. Create a detailed Google My Business entry including pictures and company logo for your company. This way your company will be displayed even more prominently.

Practical tip: With the operator “site:yourdomain.com” you can check which pages of your website Google already knows.

What is structured data and why is it important?

Ideally you use HTML tags. These make machine searches much easier and ensure that Google, for example, understands your website better and can rank it higher in the search results list. You can solve this by using meta tags, for example:

<meta name=“manufacturer“ content=“Siemens“>

<meta name=“model“ content=“Simatic S7“>

Individual creatable: <meta name=“[INDICATION]“ content=“[CHARACTERISTIC]“>

Alternatively, you can label HTML elements that contain information about the ad with HTML classes and/or IDs. For example:

Code Display on website
<p class=“manufacturer“>Siemens</p>

Siemens

<div class=“manufacturer“>
<p>Siemens</p>
</div>

Siemens

<table class=“product-details“>
<tr>
<td>Manufacturer</td>
<td id=“manufacturer“>Siemens</td>
</tr>
….
</table>
Manufacturer Siemens

The description should be plausible. Accordingly, you should not insert information in marked places where it has no semantic reference. Negative example:

Code Display on website
<div class=“product-details“>
<p id=“construction-year“>2013 – Reference number M12345</p>
</div>

2013 – Reference number M12345

The element is marked as year of manufacture information, but also contains other information (here a reference number).

Which legal requirements do I have to meet?

Please note that the following information does not constitute legal advice. To cover all legal risks, you should consult a specialist lawyer if necessary. The information is based on German law and might vary from country to country.

Imprint

According to the Telemediengesetz (TMG) §5 you are obliged to provide an imprint. Like the data protection declaration, this must be accessible from every page with one click. The imprint must contain the following information:

  • First name and surname of the sole proprietor or the authorized representative(s) in the case of legal entities (e.g. managing director of a GmbH)
  • For legal entities and commercial partnerships, the legal form
  • Summonable address (no post office box)
  • E-mail address
  • Phone number
  • Your commercial register number and the competent register court, if you are registered
  • Your sales tax ID

Privacy policy

Also according to the TMG (§13) you need a privacy policy. The absence of such a declaration, as well as a violation of the obligation to provide an imprint, is subject to warning and can be punished by the authorities. Since the entry into force of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the requirements for processing personal data have become more stringent. Personal data includes not only obvious details such as names and dates of birth, but also technical information necessary for visiting the website, such as the IP address. The data protection declaration must contain the following information:

  • Name and contact details of the person responsible and, if applicable, his representative
  • If applicable, the contact details of the data protection supervisor
  • Legal basis and purpose of the data processing
  • Legitimate interests on the basis of which personal data are processed without explicit consent
  • Recipient of data, e.g. your tax adviser but also Google, if you integrate a Google Maps map or use Google Analytics
  • Information of the transfer of data to third countries
  • Duration of storage of personal data
  • Information on the rights of the persons concerned according to articles 15-21 GDPR
  • Reference to the right of appeal to a supervisory authority
  • Information on the obligation to provide personal data for the conclusion of a contract

Practical tip: Use one of the many free online generators for the creation of the imprint and privacy policy.

Use of external images and texts

Only use texts and images for which you have the necessary rights of use. Often photos and texts are taken from manufacturers or other dealers. This is illegal without the explicit consent of the rights holders and can lead to claims for damages. It is always better to use your own and authentic pictures.