Self-storage businesses have benefited from many digital-marketing advances, but none are as critical to operational success as the company or facility website. For consumers, it’s an issue of trust. They’re far less likely to spend money with a company that doesn’t have a digital presence. A well-functioning website enhances the customer experience, creating a seamless, hassle-free process for renting a storage unit, paying rent and more.
If you’re operating self-storage without a website or using an outdated one, there’s good news: It doesn’t take much to get a new one up and running. Still, it has to drive business. Let’s examine key elements for ensuring website efficiency and tips to maintain and optimize your site for long-term performance.
A Modern Foundation
There are numerous platforms on which you can create a website such as Squarespace, Wix and Wordpress. Generally, though, these generic tools can be limited in features and scalability. In self-storage, it’s crucial to use a platform that can integrate with your facility-management software. This’ll allow you to offer online rentals and payments as well as benefit from automated inventory updates and other features that streamline operation.
Not long ago, you could get by without this kind of integration, but those days are gone. If your website doesn’t offer rental and payment capabilities, your competitors’ websites might. The longer you wait to upgrade, the harder it’ll be to measure up.
You also want to use a platform that allows your website to be mobile-friendly. It’s far more likely that your customers will discover your business using a mobile device than a desktop computer. Having a website that functions poorly on smartphones can drive away prospects, so always prioritize your mobile experience.
Here are a few other important considerations:
Domain name. This is critical. If you’re launching a new website, your domain should ideally include your facility name and the word “storage” to boost search engine optimization (SEO). If you have more than one facility, pick a name that includes a location keyword like the city, state or region in which you operate. If you’re in the process of updating an older website, it’s best to keep your established domain to help with SEO. You don’t want to change it at this point.
Theme. Think of your website theme as its “wrapper” or visual identity. It’s important to customers and should represent your company’s branding. The more cohesive the theme is between your website and physical property, the more credibility and trust you’ll gain with prospects and tenants.
When choosing colors, fonts and images to use on the website, it’s smart to use the same ones seen in your logo and general branding scheme. Just make sure the ones you choose are compliant with the American with Disabilities Act. For example, fonts should be easily legible. The easier it is for customers to read and navigate your website, the better.
Facility-location page. This is often overlooked, but your homepage is far less important than your facility-location page, which should feature unit pricing, availability and a call to rent. Ensure your location page(s) performs well on mobile and focus your SEO efforts here. Anytime you distribute links to your website, point them to your location page(s).
Maintenance and Optimization
Once you have the right foundation for your self-storage website, you need to maintain and enhance it, so it remains relevant. Here are a few suggestions to keep it functioning at an optimal level:
Content. In the world of SEO, content is king. If you have the capacity to write a blog, you should. Your SEO will be boosted by an established website with fresh, relevant content. If blogging isn’t possible, keep your Web pages regularly updated with pertinent material.
Link-building. Keeping your website fresh with keyword-rich copy is the first step to mastering SEO performance, but link-building (aka backlinking) really helps augment it. To draw visibility to your website, increase the number and quality of inbound links from other websites. This will require that you establish good relationships with reputable, outside partners.
Google My Business (GMB). Having a verified and optimized GMB listing plays an important role in your local SEO and is essential for any website. Make sure your business information (name, address, phone number, URL, hours, etc.) is accurate and matches what’s on your website. Overall, your listing needs to be as complete as possible.
Online reviews. Reviews also impact search rankings and drive website traffic. Well-written Google reviews boost your SEO.
Don’t wait. The time to create or modernize your self-storage website is now. Actually, it was a few years ago, but it isn’t too late. Focusing on the areas outlined above will put you in position to capitalize on the digital age, poised for continued success and growth.
Lillian Wright is a product manager at Storable, a supplier of cloud-based access control, management software, marketing, payment processing, website development and other services for the self-storage industry. Prior to working in self-storage, she was a successful marketer in real estate, nonprofits and event planning. At Storable, she uses her varied skillset to help businesses thrive. For more information, visit https://www.storable.com.