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Last updated : 1/11/2008

Your key to the auto scene in South Africa

Our News - Current

This page sets out, in descending date order, the latest developments on this website or anything else which is important for our regular visitors.

We will always welcome feedback, and any suggestions and sites that you feel we have omitted.

The current link count of our Directory on Cars has gown to over 4010  links and the Directory on Bikes to over 661 links.

Statistics for the site are being updated weekly so to view this data, please click here.

To view news for the year 2007 please click here .

Date 01 December 2008

Well at least we managed to achieve over 70,000 page views for the second month in a row, but as predicted we have noted a shift in traffic patterns, with a distinct increase in interest with regard to trailer hire, caravans and other holiday related matters.

Well that's another year gone so its time to wish you all compliments of the season and for those of you who will be traveling over the festive season please drive carefully, be patient and considerate. 

See you online in the new year.

Date 01 November 2008

16% growth in October sees us achieve over 70,000 page views in the month of October. This is fantastic and we thank all our regular visitors and supporters. If we continue with this growth we will reach over 100,000 page views in three months, but we expect a drop in traffic over the festive season, so we await the results with eager anticipation.

So in the interim book your trailer or caravan hire before its too late in the season.

Date 01 October 2008

In September 2008, 12 months after we launched Auto Start, we achieved over 60,000 page views in the month. This raises the question as to how we compare to other sites?

We have links to 9 regional and 23 national online vehicle sale sites and within the automotive industry, it is this single area that generates the most internet traffic. Of these specialized online vehicles sale sites, there are some that out perform our traffic levels. Our target market is to promote the individual Vehicle Dealer and all the various service providers, spares and accessory suppliers that provide support services to the Automotive Industry in  South Africa, and in this area of specialization, we have yet to find another dedicated automotive directory that has higher levels of traffic than Auto Start.

With this sort of traffic volume, it is now becoming increasing difficult to track visitor activity, as we did when we first launched the site. However, we are sticking to the task and hope to continue to bring you the results. 

Some of our popular pages are getting close to 1000 visits a month, while some of our clients listed on the least popular pages are getting 50 visits a month.  I think this is pretty good going and the important question is, does your website achieve the required objectives of converting a visit into a sale or at least stimulate the interest of the visitor sufficiently, to secure a potential customer?

Having spent the amount of time on the internet reviewing one automotive website after the next, we have acquired an appreciation for good websites and what can be done to improve websites. So if you need a free,  quick and objective overview of your website? Take advantage of this offer and contact us now.

Date 01 September 2008

Well we are one year old today and for the second month in a row we have achieved over 50000 page views in the month.

I think it worth mentioning again the importance of managing your website and monitoring who is referring traffic to your website. It is obvious from our statistics that very few website owners are doing this. We monitor this as well as how users are navigating to various pages on our website. This info helps establish what improvements can be made to direct visitors to the required information and what visitors are in fact interested in and searching for and why they are visiting your website in the first place.

Date 30 July 2008

Traffic continues to improve and positioning on local and international searches is excellent. In a search for importers of engine and gearbox which was an actual search effected by an international user, we are ranked 1st in the world. Not terribly significant to those listed on the page, but a good sign as to the standing and volume of traffic Google are directing to Auto Start, which helps us achieve our consistent growth to 54500 page views for the month of August 2008.

Second news item of the month is that we have created a Poll so that we can record some statistics on the demographics of visitors to Auto Start. This type of data is required to assist in the marketing of the site. We would appreciate it if visitors could take the time to complete the details, which are totally anonymous.

Lastly we made a start on the section we have been planning for some time on the process, steps and tools one needs to manage a website. Lots of work but from we what we have seen, is currently not available in any single reference source on the internet. So this should be interesting reading. Now just to find the time.

Thanks to our regular visitors for their continued support.

Date 30 June 2008

Well, half the year has come and gone! Being in contact with a lot of people in the auto trade, it is obvious that things are certainly very difficult for the industry. First we had the new Credit Act, followed by steel price increases of 60%, exchange rates that went the wrong way for importers but which was of some good news for exporters, and then came the fuel price and interest rate hikes.

The good news is that Auto Start is achieving its main objective in helping to promote automotive businesses, by making your automotive web sites more visible on the internet. Although in June, we noticed a decline in our rate of growth from 43600 page views in May to just 47950 in June, an increase of only 10%, we are still happy with the progress, under the circumstances.

In these difficult times we can offer a cost effective solution to the promotion of your automotive business on the internet. All it takes in one call.   Take a look at our services page for more detail.

Date 15 June 2008

The changes we did in the first week in June, seem to have the desired effect, from the users point of view and no negative effects have been noted from search engine results to date.

Having settled these issues, we are now seriously working hard to publish our directory on Trucks which will include Agricultural Tractors, equipment and implements, Construction and civil engineering equipment, Industrial Equipment ( Forklifts, standby plants etc. ) Trucks, heavy commercial trailers, busses, special vehicles, and all the various type of repair services and parts suppliers for the sectors described above.

Date 8 June 2008

This week decided to give the site a new look, which can be regarded as stage 1 of the process and despite extensive testing, I hope there are no major errors.

Decided to take this step as the result of work that we have been doing on an application that users can run on their desktop, to publish and update websites and which can be used without any previous experience in creating WebPages. This is certainly a major project, but think the end result will be great and will certainly ease problems for web site owners who need to update there websites regularly with new content. Although we are specifically targeting a solution for the automotive industry and specifically used car dealers and Scrap Yards, it will not be difficult to create versions for other industries as well.

Date 31 May 2008

A major change in business objectives has occurred, as a result of the poor response to our original proposed method of working. This, despite phenomenal growth in traffic to Auto Start, which saw total page views for April 2008 growing from 33625 to over 43650 in May 2008. Growth rates have consistently averaged over 20% for the last 4 months.

So we will be providing links to other automotive websites as a free service, and will only charge for banner links. Secondly we will continue to create and host digicards, all of those which we are hosting, are all doing well. The third element will be the creation of websites and corporate logo's and branding for the automotive industry. For a full analysis of services we are offering please refer to our services page.

In order to make up the shortfall in income, we will be relying on corporate sponsorship and banner adverts, and page sponsors, which will be dealt with by Internet AdSales on our behalf.

As a result of these changes in emphasis, we will no longer commit part of our revenue to the promotion of Auto Start in the printed media, as with the growth rates we are achieving, we believe the site can stand on its own merits.

This allows us to immediately proceed with the addition of new information, including listings in the form of name, addresses and contact numbers of business that do not have websites. This improves the service we offer consumers and visitors to our site.

Date 30 April 2008

Earlier in the month we were anticipating 35000 pages views for the month of April, but forgot the number of public holidays, on which traffic volumes are normally a lot lower. However, we are very happy with the 33625 pages views we finally achieved and believe this continues to reflect good growth. The fact that we managed to achieve this despite Google dropping 60 of our pages and dropping our position on a number of other pages, for most of the month, only serves as added encouragement.

Especially satisfying are those businesses that have contacted us to express their satisfaction to the fantastic response they have had, since being listed in Auto Start. This really makes our efforts worth while.

We have made some big decisions this month, one of which is that we will no longer be actively looking for links other than in areas where traffic and interest are low. We will, however, obviously create any new links, on request. Secondly, we are still working on the heavy commercial directory and Visi~Web which is a software tool that we are developing that will facilitate the creation of a website and interface directly with internal stock records and hopefully with the major online car sale websites. This software will be suitable for auto dealers, bike dealers, scrap yards, and others in the Automotive Industry. We will keep you updated on progress, but will be happy to respond to an queries at this time.

Once again we thank you for your support and love hearing from you all. Trying to assist, in solving your problems is a nice break from our daily routine of managing the site and gives us new insights as to the type of problems you encounter.

Date 13 April 2008

Nothing to comment on this week, except that we found a few more AC Cobras for sale, which we have listed in Kits cars for Sale.

Date 30 March 2008

Well thought it was time to take stock of where we were.

Performance to date has been in line with expectations, in that we are listed 1st for a number of searches and within the top 10 or top 20 for a large percentage of others. To date we have not pushed for high rankings on pre-owned dealers although we are addressing the search queries for car dealers in specific suburbs.

In this regard, we feel it is important for car dealers to promote their brand name. The need for users to be able to track down a specific vehicle make or model obliviously exists, and we do not intend addressing this area, other than providing the links to those websites that do, namely:

Online Pre-owned Vehicles where we have links to 18 websites.

Online Pre-owned Vehicles (Regional) where we have links to 5 websites.

So we we feel we provide the easy access to Dealers in a specific area, enabling users to preview and decide which Dealers they would like to visit.

Maybe we are too honest or too conservative, but we have a good laugh when we come across websites that professes to be the best or the number 1 choice for area they are addressing. Advertising rates are based on user volumes of 30,000 to 50,000 hits a month. Further research shows that the site in question has nowhere near that sort of volume and only has very limited content.

But I am digressing. How effective is Auto Start at providing a service to users looking for information and to website owners looking for traffic. Well we are approaching 30 000 pages views a month and this was achieved with minimal advertising, in only 7 months. We feel that we have reached the point that we have achieved significant volumes and content. It is particularly heart warning to know that Auto Start is being used as a source of reference for market surveys, trade promotion and foreign exporters, looking for opportunities in South Africa. 

There are more than 14 000 employers in the Automotive Industry and obviously a number of suppliers to the industry who are not included in this number. Of this total potential, the majority do have websites, but who would benefit from exposure on the internet. Out the outset we designed our site to be able to deal with this volume, so we are confident that the future prospects are very good, from this point of view as well.

From a price competitive point of view, how do our services compare to traditional advertising, which would include telephone directories - Yellow Pages, magazines, and classified ad newspapers.  On average our annual costs would not even equate to an advert for one week, in one of the above traditional mediums. However, most importantly is the availability and accessibility of information on the internet, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.

To all our users, both casual and regular visitors, thank you for your support.

Date 9 March 2008

This week we found a new manufacturer of a Lotus 7 replica. Schenck Motorsport based at Killarney Race Track are producing the SCHENOYE 7. As they did not have a website we created a page for them. The interesting aspect of their operation is that they will sell the Schenoye in any stage of completion, as agreed with the prospective buyer. I think this is a grate idea as it allows those who are mechanically inclined to source and recondition their own parts as required, and to build the car over a period of time, as finances allow.

The truck directory has hit a technical snag, and we are working on how best to resolve the issue.

Otherwise things are progressing well, and we seem to be continuing a steady growth in visitors.

Date 2 March 2008

The motoring news and press release section as mentioned last week has gone live this week, with Press releases being either published or links have been created if the media release was already published on the relevant website. Must say I found it quite an educational and interesting process, and I am sure we have yet lots to learn.

The bulk of these news releases are contained on our page "Index to news on New car releases"

Date 24 February 2008

Got a couple of new ideas this week. One of which was to launch a press release section for the Automotive Industry in South Africa. So if you have any news and would like us to publish the press release for you, please forward the article and we will oblige. Yes .. its a free service.

The second was to may be offer to advertise business premises that are for rent, for sale or being developed which are particularly suitable for automotive showrooms or workshops etc. This will require us to approach business to secure their cooperation.

Date 9 February 2008

On Saturday I took the day off and went to Killarney for the day where the International Historic Racing was being hosted on the  9/10th February 2008. Apart from being very interesting it was good to get away from the PC for the day.

Last week we promised to report on two new websites that we found. The first is GPSA in Olifantsfontein who have all steel Hummer and Jeep replicas available in kit form or fully assembled. The second site turned out to be a dead end.

Hopefully we will have more news next week.

Date 2 February 2008

 Well the first month on 2008 has bitten the dust...scary how time flies.

Our site stats have been updated for January and reflects a nice steady growth over the 5 months we have been running. Search results have continued to be good and where we are listed in the top 10 in the majority of cases. However, the analysis of search results and search terms used and the correctness of the logical page that should be returned, is time consuming and often the search engine logic to arrive at the relevant page, is difficult to fathom. This situation is not unique to our site and is often caused by users not understanding the effect of the way the search term is worded.

In this process we pick up some sites that we may have missed to date. However, we are also reaching the stage where the volume of traffic is exceeding our ability to do this analysis in such detail. So if your are in the automotive industry and you are thinking about a website or have a website that needs promotion, please feel free to contact us for free advice and assistance

This week we found two new very interesting sites, and we will report on them in due course after we have clarified some facts with the website owners.

Date 26 January 2008

Not much progress was made in the last two weeks due to family commitments. So now its back to the grind stone.

General traffic and results achieved on search engines has continued to improve and is satisfying.

One aspect that was an interesting observation is the volume of websites that are marketing generators on the internet. Obviously there is a major interest from consumers at this time, but never the less, the use of the internet to market these products is, I think, significant and the trend is exceeds traditional marketing methods.

New Features.

It was interesting to note that our Index to Upcoming Vehicle Auctions in South Africa, which lists auction dates for the various cities in South Africa, immediately started getting hits. Still needs a bit of development but we hope you will find this useful to keep track of upcoming vehicle auctions.

Second feature that needs some work is "Specials" that are on offer. We need to do some marketing on this aspects so that we create some interest on new specials that are available from time to time.

Clients and potential clients should note that these are free services that we are offering.

Date 13 January 2008

Well 2008 kicked of very well with a new record in daily visitors. Lets hope we keep it up.

Statistics for the site for the period September to December 2007 have been published and will be updated in the first week of each month.
To view this data, please click here.

Interesting Trends

We are noting a significant number of searches that are area related and this makes sense as users desire relative websites to be returned from any searches they perform. Yet amazingly there are still websites out there that do not reflect their address or even the town or postal code where they operate from. Am I unique in expecting this information as a prerequisite? I certainly would never purchases anything online unless I firstly knew what I was buying and secondly, from whom I was buying and this would be more than just a web address.

The second trend noted is the number of searches for a specific telephone number. Obviously the user has the number and is looking for a matching website. If one thinks about it there is nothing more specific to return the exact info required.

However both these trends require that the address and telephone contact number are exposed to search engines and should not therefore, be hidden away in images or on a single page that is unlikely to be indexed by a search engine.

Quality of South African websites.

The poor technical quality of South African websites, is a bit frightening. A high percentage of the websites that we deal with have technical errors which are enough to severely detract from the website featuring as it should in search engines results.

We have therefore, decided to write a program that will perform various checks and report results, into an excel table which we can then email to the client, so that they can request corrective action from their web designers.

This does however reflect poorly on the quality control checks that these web designers are applying to their work, for which they are charging their clients. Maybe its a case of "cheap is not always cost effective"

Progress On Truck Directory

It's coming along as we continue to work on it. One thing we are considering is although "Trucks" is a short and sweet description it does not really convey the nature of the content very well, when the content covers heavy commercial trucks, trailers, tractors, forklifts, earthmoving plant and equipment, bush clearing equipment, lawn preparation equipment etc., just to mention a few of the categories.

New Features.

This week we added an Index to Upcoming Vehicle Auctions in South Africa, which lists auction dates for the various cities in South Africa. Still needs a bit of development but we hope you will find this useful to keep track of upcoming vehicle auctions.

 

That's it for now

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