If you’re new to running a self storage business, you’re probably feeling a little overwhelmed by your ever-growing to-do list. Between city zoning, branding your biz, storage building construction, market research, and creating your online presence, you have a lot on your plate. You know you need a website, but with all the ever-changing information out there, where do you start?

Take a calming breath. Creating a new business website is actually simpler than you think! You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to make a search engine optimized, mobile responsive website, but you certainly don’t want to just DIY it using a cheap platform over the weekend. I recently wrote an article for the Inside Self Storage (ISS) blog on creating creating a high quality website. Here’s a quick summary of our top five tips for setting up a new website that generates leads, brings in customers, and won’t give you a headache in the future:

  1. Do some research.
  2. Set goals for your website.
  3. Work with a professional web design company.
  4. Start tracking your website’s performance.
  5. Plan for maintenance.

Grab your laptop and start researching. It's super important to thoroughly research your market and competition before creating a website.

1. Do some research

Pour yourself a cup of coffee, grab a snack, and pull up a comfy chair, because research is undoubtedly the most time-consuming part of the process. Give yourself plenty of time to research your market and competitors before setting goals for your website. Your marketing needs are largely based on two things:

  1. Who your customers are and what they want in a self storage business
  2. What your competitors are doing online

This is where secret shopping your competition comes in. You can make this part fun by involving your whole family. Check out competitors’ websites and ask your secret shopping crew what stands out the most to them, what they liked most, and what they didn’t like. After you’ve done some research on your market, you can start researching self storage website providers! Go with your gut during your preliminary research. Make a list of your favorites, then evaluate them with your marketing goals (step two!).

2. Set goals for your website

I love making lists, and goal-setting. Hopefully you do, too, because it’s time to make another list of your goals. Since you’ve done your market research and you know what you can get from a self storage website provider, now you can set goals and decide what you’ll need from your website to effectively market your business online.

Need a little help with goal-setting? Start simple. You’ll definitely want your storage business’s website to be optimized for mobile devices, and you’ll probably want to provide online move-ins to new customers. Based on your business’s amenities, you can make even more specific goals. For example, you might want your business to rank on the first page for “self storage in your town name,” or if you are planning on specializing in RV, boat, and vehicle storage, then maybe you’d want to rank for “RV storage in your town name.” Maybe you want to rank highly in search results for both of these queries. It all depends on the scope of your business and your marketing goals.

When you work with a professional web design company, you'll get a more efficient website that can last the test of time. It's worth the investment!

3. Work with a professional web design company

We may be a little biased, but we recommend storEDGE. Why? We have website layouts for businesses of all sizes, whether you’re a family-owned business with one small facility, or a large brand with dozens of facilities in cities all over the country, and we design websites that integrate seamlessly with our facility management software, so online rentals are updated in your software in real-time.

Looking at other options? No matter who you work with, be prepared to answer questions about your business, your marketing goals, your market, and your budget. Make sure they’re legitimate by checking out references and similar websites they’ve designed. Expect a relatively quick turnaround time (within a few weeks) and high-quality onboarding to get you comfortable using and running the website.

4. Start tracking your website’s performance

Your website is alive and out there for all of the world to see! Now it’s time to start tracking your website’s performance to see the true value of your site. A crummy website isn’t going to help you bring in leads and convert customers, so this step is very important. You can routinely assess your website’s value by looking at the number of leads your website brings in, search ranking, click-through stats, and conversion metrics.

Talk to your web designer to get set up with performance tracking tools, or check out some of our past blog posts for tips on how to check your website’s search ranking and how to assess your website’s ROI.

5. Plan for maintenance

Last but not least, it’s important that you’re able to update your website as your business grows and changes. Undoubtedly, the most important thing to keep current on your website is your business’s N.A.P. information, which stands for name, address, and phone number, but also includes basic information like driving directions, hours, rates, unit sizes, unit availability, and retail item availability. If this information is outdated, you can expect a drop in search ranking, as well as frustrated customers who couldn’t find your business or get in touch with you.

Even if your N.A.P. information is correct, you’ll want to routinely update your website’s content to keep it fresh to boost your search ranking. Curious how fresh content affects your website’s search ranking? Read this blog post we wrote on web content and search ranking.

If you want more like this, check out the full article on the ISS blog or download our ebook on the most common web design mistakes! (Psst: It’s free.)

Click here to download our free ebook on the 7 deadly sins of web design.

Thanks for reading! If you liked this article, you may also like: How to Create and Set Up Social Media Accounts for Your Storage Business, Does This Affect My Rankings? 5 SEO Myths You’re Better Off Ignoring, and How to Capture High Quality Property Photos With Your iPhone.