When you think of the perfect website, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? For me, it’s an amazing user experience, as in, how easy and pleasing your website is to use. From this perspective, the first website that comes to my mind is Amazon.com. Amazon Prime users rave about the simplicity of browsing for items, buying things, and tracking purchases on Amazon because the website is so easy to use. I can buy shampoo with just one click and it’ll be delivered to my doorstep in just a matter of days, with Amazon sending me email and text updates tracking my package every step of the way.
In order to design the perfect website for your self storage business, you’ll need to put yourself in your renters’ shoes. Marketing effectively for a self storage facility online takes the right mix of search engine knowledge, user experience expertise, integrated tools, and eye-catching design. It’s all about making things simple and easy for your renters.
We’ve published dozens of blog posts, articles, and industry editorials on search engine optimization (SEO). It’s something storage owners ask us time and time again: how can I get my self storage marketing website to rank #1 in organic (non-paid) search results? While there is no surefire way to get your website to beat out all others in search, there is a surefire way to improve your search engine ranking. Proper self storage SEO takes the work of an experienced web professional who has experience in the industry - without industry knowledge, you might be ranking for the wrong keywords and showing up in searches for tupperware storage containers or RV sales. Search engines like Google frequently update their algorithms to keep search results relevant, so web experts keep a close eye on updates (like voice search and AI assistants like Amazon’s Alexa) to stay abreast on the most recent algorithm changes and user trends. Despite the constant updates, these four indicators are consistently used by major search engines to index websites and organize search results:
High-quality content that matches users’ natural search language
Premium performance (fast page load speed)
User experience (UX)
Nailing all four of these will ensure your website not only looks great, but ranks well in search, too. With thousands of potential renters searching for “self storage near me,” local search indicators, like maps listings and reviews, are more important than ever. (For a deeper dive into each of these four search indicators, download our free ebook at the bottom of this post.)
Think renting a storage unit online can’t be as easy as shopping on Amazon? Think again! Your storage website can be functional and useful to users, allowing them to rent or reserve a unit online in just a few clicks. 2018 technology advances like AI and machine learning are raising the standards for website design and functionality - not only does your website need to provide actionable tools for users (like online reservations and pay online features), it also needs to work smoothly with search bots and AI tools like Siri.
So what does user-friendly mean for self storage website design? A user-friendly self storage marketing website is one that is easy to view on any device. Visitors to the website can easily find contact and location information for the facility, and users are able to browse available units and see prices quickly. In case they’ve never rented a unit before, the website should also include a size guide or storage unit calculator to help renters visualize the space. The website should be fast, with very few steps that get in the way of completing online reservations or unit rentals. Your goal isn’t to “wow” users with an elegant website - it’s to make it so simple to use they say, “wow, that was easy.”
Talking about creating "delightful" user experiences is actually user-hostile when it wrongly presumes that your customer wants to be emotionally involved with your service at all.— Erika Hall 🌎 (@mulegirl) May 16, 2018
Fast and invisible are often the better parts of delight.
Don’t forget that content plays a huge role in creating a user-friendly website. To make the site more helpful, you’ll need to anticipate common questions that you typically get from prospective customers and provide answers in a clear concise way on via your page and FAQ content. By understanding what renters want (and need) to know before they can feel comfortable renting a unit from you, you’ll make your website more user-friendly to support the actionable tools you already have.
If users can’t find your pricing information in eight seconds or less, the majority will leave. In self storage, rental rates and unit prices change frequently based on the facility vacancy - just like hotels. Because of the price fluctuations, it’s important that your self storage marketing website and management software work together seamlessly to show renters the most up-to-date prices on your website and increase revenue at your storage facility.
With highly-integrated technology, your website can communicate with your software’s current unit, price, occupancy, and lead information and adjust pricing and availability accordingly, even raising and lowering prices automatically based on unit availability, occupancy percentage, size, amenities, and more. If you have one facility, doing this manually would be a full-time job, even if you’re a tech-savvy entrepreneur. If you have multiple facilities, manually updating prices across all of your sites would be nearly impossible.
Pricing and rate management aren’t the only upsides to a website rich in integration: a well-integrated website can also make it easier to follow up with new renters and interested leads. When your software is working hand-in-hand with your website, forms submitted through your website will be immediately reflected in your software, making follow-up easy. You’ll also be able to see the status of lease contracts from new renters, request more information like a driver’s license or VIN, and communicate with them instantly after they rent or reserve a space from you online.
As a self storage owner, you probably don’t think about the style of your website too often, but to your website visitors, it’s the first thing they notice, and possibly their very first interaction with your brand. The overall look of your site is critical - up to 75% of user judgment about your business’s credibility is based on your website’s design. Things like website navigation, site layout, font style, and images can raise red flags for users online. By having high-quality images of your facility on your site, you’ll immediately build trust with website visitors, which is a crucial step in getting them to contact you by filling out a form or rent a unit online.
Think of it this way - when you’re looking for a hotel online, you want to quickly be able to see the hotel’s availability for the time you’re needing to stay, browse images and amenities at the hotel, and quickly find contact information to look up the location on maps or call and talk to someone right away. If the website were to have stock images of hotel spaces instead of actual images of the hotel, you’d be concerned right away and probably leave the site to look at other hotels. Even more, if the website’s layout, style, and design weren’t professionally done, that would also be a red flag and you probably would head back to search results immediately and look for another hotel.
All of this is about:— Jen Simmons (@jensimmons) September 18, 2018
If your team is *only* thinking about:
than you aren’t going to succeed.
Decades of experience proves it.
It’s about the humans, not the bots.
The experience, not the code.
Your self storage renters are no different - by working with a professional self storage website design team, you’ll be able to build an attractive, easy-to-use self storage website that helps you build trust with users online and convert more web visitors into paying renters. By creating a website that makes renting a storage unit as easy as buying books on Amazon, you’ll make it easy for potential renters to give you their business and their trust online.
Want more like this? Download our free ebook to learn everything you need to know about creating a high-performing self storage website, no computer science degree required.
Thanks for reading! If you liked this blog post, you may also like: A simple plan for measuring your storage brand’s marketing effectiveness, The 6 videos your storage business needs to win customers online, and How to succeed in an over-saturated self storage market.