When our team launched CarExpert back in April, we never anticipated this level of rapid growth and engagement. In our first month we reached over 100,000 unique readers (Google Analytics), then 220,000 in May, an incredible 674,000 in June, followed by 880,000 in July.
The audience growth took all of us by surprise, mainly because we launched our initial website in a form that is referred to as a ‘minimum viable product’, or MVP. The idea was to allow us to start publishing content and reconnecting with readers, using a basic version 1.0 site. This was to give us time until we built up a whole new architecture and backbone that will see us execute our vision for CarExpert for the coming years.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the start of that vision which begins today with the launch of CarExpert Version 2.0.
So what’s new? The bits you can’t see are vast. We have a whole new site architecture and backend that enables us to rapidly build and deploy new features going forward, and there will be plenty of those coming up.
From a visual perspective, we have made some fundamental design changes to how the site looks, feels and behaves. Feel free to explore them for yourself and let us know what you think. We will also be focusing a lot more on rich digital content embeds going forward and you will see that as time goes on.
We took a risk and went dark with our initial V1.0 website to differentiate ourselves from the horde of other publishers and the response was (almost) entirely positive. However, we also listened to a lot of your feedback around giving an option for light mode and have now brought in that choice. There is a little button on the top right of the menu that will allow you to change colour schemes.
For those using iOS, MacOSX and other operating systems that support native dark and light mode, our website will automatically adjust to whatever you have already set in your device. So you might see a light version in the morning when you wake up and then if you’re browsing before bed, it will be dark.
To the left side of that magical colour changing switch you will see the magnifying glass search button that will bring you to our new search feature. Here you will have the ability to search exactly what you’re after using both free text and filters. From make, model, to author and even content type. As our content bank continues to grow, we anticipate you will find that feature to be immensely useful.
As Car Experts, we get asked over and over again what vehicle we would recommend based on people’s unique criteria. To better facilitate that process and to establish our intent on helping consumers on a more personal level going forward, we have created a members area that starts with the ASK AN EXPERT section you will now find in our menu.
This allows car buyers to ask us questions about what car they should buy or questions about their existing car, or general automotive enquiries. This will allow for better grouping of similar questions and also allow others to eventually benefit from those asking similar questions.
Perhaps the section that has the biggest depth is our new BROWSE CARS page that brings manufacturer- and model-level landing pages. Using these showroom style pages, you can find everything you need to know about a certain manufacturer or a specific model in the one place.
If you go deeper and travel into the variant level pages, you will find a super in-detail data layer presented coherently for those of us that just need to know every final detail of a specific car. You can also find those in-depth variant pages quicker using the CAR SPECIFICATIONS page also found in the menu.
We have also launched our LAP TIMES section, which will be a constant showcase of cars (and their rankings) that former WRC driver and CarExpert investor and performance editor, Chris Atkinson, has put around Queensland Raceway. That page will be host to the entire performance section and going forward we anticipate putting at least four cars a month through their paces on track.
We will soon be releasing as many of these lap times as possible with a full-fledged video. In addition to the lap times, we will also be capturing 0-100km/h, 60-120km/h, and 100-0km/h figures from now on.
To emphasise some other sections of the automotive landscape that we feel are more important now than ever, we have broken out technology and electric vehicles into their own pages. This will give those of you that are interested in those categories an easier way to access the content.
With future versions of the website coming before the end of the year, we will add owner reviews to the members section, our top picks in each category, and a whole list of other new and exciting features.
Our primary and unwavering goal is, and always has been, to be the best digital publisher in Australia.
Nonetheless, from the outset of starting this business, the team knew that CarExpert would be far more than just a digital publisher. We have a five-year roadmap and we are well and truly on course to execute a very different vision to traditional auto publishers, that will see us exist in the real world (more on that in 2021).
You will have noticed by now that we have no display advertising in the traditional form. There is good reason for that. For consumers, it’s our belief that trust can’t exist when display advertising and review-based content appear on the same page. For manufacturers (or advertisers), put simply, we don’t believe that traditional advertising works.
When car advertising and car content coexist, it comes at the cost of your trust, or worst still, sponsored content that provides nothing of value to a genuine consumer. Here at CarExpert, we trade on the values of consumer trust and we exist primarily to help facilitate the process of connecting new car buyers with the right choice, with impartial content.
So we’ve created a unique solution that doesn’t compromise trust in our content, and delivers car companies active in-market car buyers looking to purchase their next new car. Going forward you may see relevant text links inside articles that will give you the option to book test drives and find out more about certain vehicles. These are native links and are meant to be as unobtrusive as can be, and actually help further facilitate the car buying process.
Once again, thank you all for joining us on this journey so far. It has been an incredibly exciting and challenging process to bring CarExpert to life but your constant feedback and emails keeps us well and truly pumped to bring great content day in day out. From all of us here, the launch of CarExpert Version 2.0 is merely the real beginning for our business and we can assure you that we are only just getting started.
Please leave all feedback relating to the new site changes in the comments below.