By JJ Jorgensen
Today’s consumers perform research online before making purchase decisions. Knowing this, the importance of having a quality website for your self-storage business couldn’t be greater. When a person looks for a storage unit in your area, he could visit your website whether you’re ready or not. Think of this as a first impression. If your website is less than desirable, this initial interaction could deter him from doing business with your company. Following are some Web-design do’s and don’ts to consider.
Evaluate, Create and Update
An effective website should convince prospects you’re the right storage choice for them. It should indicate how well you run your facility as well as the caliber of the property. Poor-quality photos or inferior branding may not be a realistic reflection of your business, but to consumers they are.
Take time to evaluate your website. Does it promote your brand well? Can you consider it a reliable sales tool? Depending on your assessment, you may now be panicking. How are you going to get your website up to date or maybe even created? There are two basic options: Keep it in-house or outsource.
If you want an in-house solution, all it takes is a little research to find an affordable option. Perhaps you prefer a do-it-yourself (DIY) service. In that case, you want software that allows you to create a simple site exactly how you need it. Some services allow you to drag and drop features and items you want, which an easy way to get your website up and going. Other options have more of a blog style. Take the time to browse and find the type of software and site that fits your business and online goals. Never go with the first option; explore several solutions to ensure you’re making a smart decision.
If you don’t have the time to maintain the website in-house or you can’t find the look and feel you want, then outsourcing may be your best solution. Many companies specialize in custom designs and can turn your company around with a high-quality website. A good designer and Web company can truly make a difference. Web design is a major factor that’s sometimes overlooked; however, your branding depends on it, so you can’t afford to push it aside.
Outsourcing enables you to work with experienced people who typically can provide a better-quality site with more options than the few affordable DIY options. Outsourcing offers greater customization and the opportunity to incorporate easy-to-rent storage features directly on your site.
For self-storage operators, there are several website must-haves to help optimize the site’s positive impact on the business. Here are a few suggestions:
- Include a gallery of photos. This gives you the opportunity to show off your facility without the viewer having to visit. This is convenient for consumers and beneficial to you.
- Provide unit sizes and prices. This saves time for all parties, including the facility manager, who can now spend less time on the phone answering questions about these items. Allow viewers to ascertain if your facility is the right fit for them.
- Use quality graphics and imagery. These give life to your website, especially in regard to your gallery. Choose images that will benefit your business.
- Incorporate textures. This may come as a surprise, but textures can really help your website, providing the layered look and feel of a more modern site, which is what customers want to see.
- Use clean and simple lines. In today’s Web world, less is more. Avoid packing your site full of design elements. Stick with a sleek, modern style using clean, simple lines.
- Make a responsive and mobile-friendly design. With 70 percent of viewers coming from mobile devices, you’re almost forced to have a website that works on all device platforms. You can’t afford to be left out. A responsive website and mobile-friendly design are an absolute must.
There are also definite don’ts when it comes to self-storage Web design. Here are a few to keep in mind:
- Don’t use too much text. No one wants to have to sort through piles of information for a simple answer. Save yourself from frustrated clients.
- Don’t ignore the imagery. A website without imagery is like an information-packed document sent to you from a stranger. No one will care. Add appropriate imagery to engage users and keep them on your site.
- Don’t forget branding. Your branding is your identity and how people refer to you when you’re not around. Make sure you portray the right messages so consumers know who you are and what you stand for.
- Don’t use the wrong colors. Consult with your in-house or outsourced team to make sure you use the right colors to stay consistent with your branding. One wrong move can create an eyesore or confusion.
Once your updated website is complete, consider using a content-management system (CMS) with an easy-to-use back end, one that can be used for simple or complex websites. You need a CMS that’s intuitive and easy to update. Plugins within these systems can help reduce your website costs as well.
As you evaluate your current website and its impact on your business, keep the above points in mind. Invest in your website and you’ll begin to see the results you want.
JJ Jorgensen is founder and CEO of Bluspok, a creative marketing agency that specializes in designing and building custom websites, along with Internet marketing and branding. JJ has been involved with self-storage marketing for six years, working with operators of all sizes on their website and branding needs. For more information, call 801.960.1403, e-mail [email protected]; visit www.bluspok.com.