Cars.com rolled out a new website this week, folding the outdated Kicking Tires blog into a news section on the Cars.com host site.
“The people interested in our news are now getting the full Cars.com experience, ” said managing editor David Thomas. “It’s been well over a year in the making.”
It’s a significant and necessary improvement in the ever-changing digital landscape. Instead of having two distinct urls, visitors go to cars.com to find everything from the inventory search that greets the user on the top of the page, to the latest in-depth expert reviews, videos and ad campaigns.
The Kicking Tires blog was the most active part of the coverage of Cars.com, with a handful of posts daily that included everything from photo galleries of the latest auto debuts to breaking industry news. The Kickingtires.com url now automatically redirects to The list-based structure of the blog was outdated and visually congested. Hyperlinks teemed in the content, leaving the menu bar at the top as the primary source of navigation into the Cars.com site.
The new site is visually neater, with large images and delineated sections that enable users to easily plumb the exhaustive resources on the site.
“The goals are to reduce the bounce rate, increase user time on our site and how deep they get into it, ” Thomas said.
They’re still working out the kinks and, as someone who has gone through a similar makeover in the last year, I can expect they’ll be tweaking the site continuously. The commenting function is still in development, but the social media buttons appear to be working fine. There is some white space on the site that will likely be filled with ads, and the old menu bar at the top has been tucked into a drop down in the upper right corner that remains open on the entire page unless you click on it to condense it again.
The site design is in service to what all digital platforms are after: one dynamic, responsive site that configures to every device, from smartphones to tablets to PCs.
While Cars.com wouldn’t release metrics data, the redesign is a sleek overhaul that greatly improves on the user experience.