The Carlover Blog

Helping you find your next used car

Car Dealerships to Open 1st June

Car dealerships are set to open on 1st June it has been announced. Prime Minister Boris Johnston will hold a cabinet meeting later today (25th May) to finalise details.

See Prime Minister Boris Johnstones update on outdoor markets and car dealerships re-opening from 1st June.


We hope you are all continuing to stay safe. This weeks announcement comes from John Loughrey on COVID-19, getting back to business again and how we’re continuing to help our customers generate more leads.

Take care and we’ll see you next week with another update!

How is your dealer website performing?

With the UK Government announcing a 3-week extension to the lockdown, we’ve created a series of “level up” articles on ways you can keep busy and prepare for a strong comeback once the motor trade gets back to business. In todays final episode, we talk about the importance of a great dealer website.

I’ve been building websites and apps for almost 15 years now. It was a hobby I started as a teenager (nerd!) that later turned into a career. So today, I’m using my experience to share some hints and tips on how you can evaluate your dealer website to help build a stronger web presence.

Episode 4 – How is Your dealer Website Performing?

How is your dealer website performing?

Are Websites Important Anymore?

Many dealerships have asked me this question, so I thought I’d begin this article by providing some of my own thoughts on it.

It’s a question I’ve never been asked before founding Carlover. Although the majority of your leads are likely to come from elsewhere, this does not mean that your website isn’t important. In fact, it actually makes your dealer website more important!

Remember that your dealer website is the main digital representation of you and your business. Potential customers will use this to gauge whether you are legitimate, trustworthy and a business that they’re comfortable doing business with.

Your website also plays a central part in any current or future marketing activities you do. For example vehicle remarketing on Google and Facebook. Your website is the place you want to drive users to, even from social media.

The recipe for a great website goes much deeper than just the aesthetical look and feel. It needs to perform and meet modern web standards. These are all things that help your website get better results on search engines such as Google.

So let’s have a look at things you can do to gauge your websites affectiveness and how to improve them.

Put Your dealer Website to The Test

put your car dealer website to the test
SEOptimer is a free online tool for evaluating websites

Lots of free tools exist online that you can use to determine how good the technical aspects of your website are. This is extremely important as these are the same factors that search engines such as Google use to determine your rankings. It also plays a major part in how a visitor interacts with your website (for example, how fast your website loads and how well it performs on mobile).

An example of one of these free tools is SEOptimer.

Simply go to, add your website URL and click the ‘Audit’ button. SEOptimer will quickly analyse your website and provide you with a detailed report on its findings.

Although there is lots of technical jargon in there for nerds such as myself, it will give you a high level score and categorised breakdown of how well your site has scored.

This is a perfect and simple way to understand how good your website actually is.

Tip: Your score doesn't have to perfect. It's about building a solid foundation that you can iterate and improve on over time.

I’ve done an audit, How do Improve my score?

how you can improve your website audit results

Improving your score will require the assitance of your web developer. It’s a technical process but any good developer can make the required changes. Sometimes this isn’t possible with some of the larger website hosts so if you can’t get help, get in touch and we will happily help.

That’s not to say that you can’t do anything yourself. Below are a few things you can do for free to improve your existing website.

Simple things you can do to improve rankings & Search visibility

how you can make simple changes to improve visibility on Google

refresh and add new content

When was the last time you refreshed your content? Google loves fresh content and will promote your site through its rankings if you provide fresh, plentiful content.

If you decide to refresh your content think about including keywords that potential customers will be searching for such as ‘Used Cars Belfast’, ‘Cars for sale in Belfast’ and including manufacturer keywords also. Rich content such as this will help Google understand what you offer as a business and rank search results accordingly.

Tip: Google likes to see pages with a minimum of at least 300 words! Use Microsoft word or an online word counter to make sure you have at least this on each of your pages.

generate more BackLinks

Backlinks are exactly what they suggest, links to your site from other websites. Backlinks actually weight your search results quite heavily so making sure as many other websites link to you is very important.

Try and get your website linked to from as many sources as you can. Think about social media, blogs, forums, news articles, classifieds, charties and local football teams that you support etc.

get a Google MyBusiness Page

Many of you don’t have a Google MyBusiness page yet. This is an easy way to get better visibilty on Google search results. You’ll get a Google MyBusiness page with details on your dealership such as your address, opening hours and reviews.

It’s free to set up and only takes a few minutes. To verify your business address Google will send a letter to that address with an activation code to complete your registration.

Great Websites are Built through Iteration

As a footnote, it’s important to know that a good website will look and function well when it’s built. However, a great website is achieved through continuous improvement.

You don’t need to make changes everyday, but coming back and regularly reviewing how your site looks, your content and audit results will help keep your website fresh and engaging. It will also open your eyes to opportunities that exist in doing more business online. Such as finance and social media targeted advertisng as a way to gain more quality enquiries.

With COVID-19 having such an impact on our industry, your digital presence has never been so important. Invest in your digital presence and prepare to flourish when things get back to normal.

If you want to chat anything website related, get in touch. We’d be happy to chat about our dealer websites and how we can help you advertise online.

I hope you’ve found this series useful. Check back next week for a new series of video how-to’s!

MOT Exemptions Extended in NI for a year


Northern Ireland drivers are set to benefit from a years extension on their MOT exemptions due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic in NI.

Infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon has said today that it would not be possible to accomodate the backlog of MOT tests as well as conduct business as normal at test centres.

Nichola Mallon has stated…

I have decided the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) will continue to issue temporary exemption certificates (TECs) to those vehicles, private cars, goods vehicles, trailers or motorcycles until their normal MOT date.

This means a vehicle will get an exemption for one year which will bring it back into the system when there is capacity to test it.

She also stated that drivers will now apply for their MOT as normal next year.

Customers will no longer have to book a test that they know they will never attend and pay over money only for it to be returned to them in a refund some weeks later

Should the current lockdown restrictions continue, Ms Mallon has also stated that the DVA could potentially lose £8.6 million in revenue from MOT testing fees.

Drivers have also been urged to remember that they are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of their vehicles to keep them in a roadworthy condition.

This comes after an already difficult year for the DVA after cracks discovered in vehicles lifts late last year forced the cancellation of thousands of MOT tests in January.

You can. keep up-to-date on all the latest DVA developments on the NIDirect website.

Facebook Tips to Gain More Enquiries

With the UK Government announcing a 3-week extension to the lockdown, we’ve created a series of “level up” articles on ways you can keep busy and prepare for a strong comeback once the motor trade gets back to business. Today we’re talking about Facebook for used car dealerships.

Episode 3 – FAcebook Tips to Gain More Enquiries

Facebook for Usec Car Dealers

Has there ever been a better time to review your Facebook presence and connect with more customers? With the ongoing pandemic and lockdown restrictions still in place, we’re seeing an uptake in online activity. Not just on Carlover, but right across the internet.

So, why not use this to your advantage and implement some simple changes that will up your social media game, build a bigger following and gain more enquiries.

#1 Keep it Regular

Post Regularly

Providing great content for your audience is how you’ll warm new customers, encourage them to engage with you and ultimately make an enquiry.

Posting regularly plays a major part in achieving this. It will build familiarity with your brand and also trust. Even if they’re not actively looking to purchase a vehicle, you want to position yourself in their minds for when they are. Remember, your audience will quickly forget you exist if you stop engaging with them!

#2 Quality Content

Write Quality Content

I don’t know what to post about!


This is a statement I hear all the time. The fact is, you have more to talk about than you think! The most obvious is all the beautiful cars you have in stock. And what about those extra services you offer such as servicing and repairs?

Cycle through and use these as your ‘base’ content. You can even go back through older stock that you’ve posted previously and re-post them. Keep in mind that peoples social media memory is relatively short and not everybody will have seen your post the first time.

Now, you have basic content that can be generated on a regular basis. Easy!

Also look at how you can improve your photos and introduce video to your posts. These two elements will massively influence the engagement you get from your audience, particularly video.

Check out our other articles on how to take better photos and shoot video on a budget. If you haven’t seen these articles you should definitely have a look: –

You don’t always have to be selling something to your audience. In fact, we find people engage better with content that isn’t selling them something. Have a think about what else you can post that people will find useful.

Still unsure of what to post? Here’s a couple of ideas to get you started: –

  • Industry related news & events
  • Local news from your area
  • Charities you’re involved with
  • What you’re doing during COVID-19
  • Your story (how your dealership came to be)

Be informative and helpful. Most of all, don’t be reluctant to let your personality shine through on your posts. Remember, people engage with people so have fun with it! The objective here is to build trust between you and the used car buyers of Northern Ireland. This type of content delivered on a personal level will gain trust and give your audience a reason to come back to you.

#3 Tidy Up That Facebook Page!

Tidy Up Your Facebook Page

How you present your dealership on Facebook speaks volumes to potential customers looking to purchase a used vehicle from you.

Make sure your Facebook Page looks the best it can be. Incomplete profile information and poor quality cover/profile photos will have a negative impact on how your used car dealership is perceived. You don’t want to put off potential car buyers by not showing how good you actually are!

Fixing these things is pretty straight forward. However, if you don’t know how to do this yourself, simply drop us an email and we’ll give you a helping hand.

#4 Try Something New – Facebook Stories?

Facebook Stories

If you’re doing all the above already and want to try something new, why not try your hand at Facebook Stories? Stories are more likely to be seen by your followers and have a much higher engagement rate. Using video here will work best but you can also post images too.

Tip: You can overlay text, graphics and sound that will help your stories stand out from the rest.

I hope you’ve found this article useful. Check back next week for the final episode in this series. In the meantime, why not check some of our brilliant automated social media features that you could be using today.

01.05.20 | An Update From One of Our Founders

We hope you are continuing to stay safe. This weeks announcement comes from one of our founders Dave Henderson on COVID-19, financial aid and how we’re continuing to help dealerships across Northern Ireland.

Take care and we’ll see you next week with another update.