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Tips to Easily Create and Maintain a Quality Website for Your Self-Storage Business

Are you looking to create a quality website for your self-storage business? Here’s how a little research and planning can help you easily build and maintain one.

July 3, 2017

6 Min Read
Tips to Easily Create and Maintain a Quality Website for Your Self-Storage Business

By Jana Haecherl

Are you looking to create a quality website for your self-storage business? The shift to providing self-service tools and mobile optimization has made the process more complex, and you may be intimidated to jump into the online arena. But building a website doesn’t have to be a long, confusing or expensive procedure. Here’s some basic groundwork to help you easily create and maintain your facility’s site.

Do Your Research

If you want your website to include search engine optimization (SEO) and perform well for users, it’s important to first research your market, competition and industry website providers. Researching takes time, but it pays off greatly when it comes to creating a valuable website that generates leads and rentals.

Your Market

Researching your market requires understanding your facility’s demographics as well as your ideal customer. Market research helps you get the full scope of your prospects’ opinions, values and beliefs. It should answer these basic questions:

  • Who are your customers? Find out your average customer’s age, gender, occupation, income, lifestyle, educational attainment, household size and more.

  • What do your customers already buy? Find out what they’re already purchasing and their shopping habits. If your customers are avid online shoppers, this makes it a no-brainer for your business to offer online rentals.

To find the answers to these questions, use online market-research tools and information from your local chamber of commerce, university or college; or try a business-directory database. Your goal is to fully understand who your customers are as individuals as well as their needs and wants. Use the data you gather to make predictions and plan your website strategy.

Your Competition

By keeping a close eye on your competition, you’ll be able to plan an online strategy that helps you retain current customers and win new ones. A simple Google search is great place to start. Just type “self-storage” and your town’s name into the search box and see what’s out there. What makes the No. 1 result stand out from the rest? Which self-storage business has the most positive reviews in your area?

Next, check out your competitors’ social media pages. Often, tech-savvy businesses will have an active presence on social platforms, since Facebook is almost as popular as Google when it comes finding local businesses and information.

Don’t be afraid to ask around or mystery shop. If your customers have used self-storage before, ask where they rented previously and why they chose you this time. Explore the customer experience of using a competitor’s website and uncover the pain points. For example, if the website is slow to load or doesn’t work on mobile devices, this presents an opportunity for your business to win those mobile customers.

Website Providers

Just because your nephew has a degree in graphic design doesn’t mean he should build your website. In fact, the most cost-effective, high-performing self-storage websites are created by people in the industry who understand the unique needs of the business and can tailor your site to your storage consumer.

The website will need to work with your management software to offer seamless integration with unit prices and availability. This can be tricky if you’re working with a Web designer who doesn’t understand the storage industry.

Remember, you don’t want a high-maintenance website that requires you to update it manually whenever availability or rates change in your software. Find a Web-development company that offers software integration along with a variety of storage-specific website features, such as the ability to track online leads and accept online payments.

Set Goals

Now that you’ve done your research and know your customers, competitors and providers, you’re ready to set goals for your website. Common objectives for storage businesses are:

  • To rank on the first page of search results for self-storage in your town

  • To be optimized on mobile devices

  • To provide online rental options to new customers

  • To provide online payment and account-management options to existing customers

Your goals will depend entirely on your unique market, business strategy and budget. By having clear goals, you’ll be able to define exactly which features you need and which you can skip to save money.

Work With Professionals

From your research, you’ve probably narrowed down the Web-development companies that best align with your goals. Once you contact them, they’ll need to know the details of your business to create a website catered to you. Be prepared to answer questions about your market, goals, budget and current website (if you have one). You’ll also want to provide facility information, including address, hours and amenities.

Turnaround should be fairly quick. Most companies can provide a live, working website within two to three weeks. They should also offer support tools and answer any questions to make the process easy for you.

Track Performance

Tracking your website’s performance relative to your goals is part of its maintenance. Start tracking your search-engine ranking for various keywords and find out how many users are landing at your pages.

It’s easy to track using Google Analytics reports including conversion tracking, sales metrics and click stats. Check with your Web developer to see if it can provide analytics reporting or tools on your website, or you can simply set up a free Google Analytics account on your own. By tracking your site’s performance from month to month, you’ll be able to quickly adjust it as needed to reach your target market.

Plan for Maintenance

If properly maintained, your website can run smoothly and last for years. Keep in mind that, down the road, its foundation may need to be updated to adapt to changing technology, such as Google’s algorithm.

Keep your website up-to-date. Ensure your prices, images and content are always current. Because search engines see fresh content as an indicator of an active, legitimate website, your SEO will get a boost whenever it’s updated.

The most important information to manage is your business NAP (name, address and phone number) as well as basics such as driving directions, hours, rates, unit sizes and availability, and retail-item availability. If this information is outdated or incorrect, you can expect your share of angry customers who couldn’t find your business or were misled about your services.

When evaluating your website content and user experience, consider this: If you were a customer about to enter your credit card on this website, would you trust it? By ensuring your website’s appearance and content are well-maintained, you’ll present your business as credible and trustworthy.

A well-designed website offers a great return on investment for your business and will help your brand be found online for years to come. With the right design partner and a little research, you can create an easy-to-maintain website that ranks at the top of search results and consistently brings in new customers.

Jana Haecherl is a marketing-content writer for storEDGE, which offers a comprehensive suite of technology solutions designed specifically for the self-storage industry. She enjoys bringing technology, Web marketing, and industry news and tips to self-storage owners and managers. For more information, call 913.954.4110; visit www.storedge.com.

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