Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Most self storage facility owners would do just about anything to increase customer traffic, convert more leads, and boost their organic search rankings. And while original content, keywords, and meta tags can do wonders to enhance your SEO, there’s one major, often overlooked factor that contributes to your site’s rankings: user experience, or how easy or pleasing your website is to use for self storage seekers online. It makes sense that clear, crisp photos and helpful videos would boost your site’s overall user experience. What’s easier (or more pleasing) than looking at a nice picture?
As a self storage owner, you can easily boost user experience on your website by including high-quality images and videos of your storage facility. Adding great images is a simple and effective way you can improve your site’s user experience and, at the same time, give your SEO a bump. In this post, we cover the basic rules and benefits of adding photos to your storage facility website. Let’s get started!
Google clearly believes that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Rather than telling users exactly what your sign looks like with two paragraphs of copy, just take a great picture! By adding articles to your self storage website, you’ll be able to illustrate your content and provide helpful visuals to users.
However, search engine bots can’t “see” images - they rely on the image’s file name, captions, alt text, and title texts. You’ll also need to ensure that your images are the right file size, responsive, and scalable so that your website still loads quickly on any device.
When adding images to your self storage website, take these factors into account:
Images should pertain directly to the content on your site. This sounds pretty straightforward, but gearing your visual content toward the written content on your website is important. For example, if your content discusses the benefits of your climate-controlled units, then providing a picture of those units would be ideal.
Write and include alt text descriptions and image title tags. Alt text description and title tags are designed for the visually impaired, providing a brief sketch of your images that can be read out by a program. They are also crawled by search engine bots and are therefore important to helping your site’s ranking. But don’t stuff your tags with keywords - just describe the image the same way you would describe it someone who can’t see it.
Use smart file names. Don’t forget to name your images something that pertains to the image or your website. For example, if your image is a picture of your climate controlled storage building, it should be clear in the file name - that means renaming files that are a jibberish of letters and numbers, like “DSC9120,” to something that describes the picture’s main subject, like “climate-controlled-building.”
Work with web experts. Knowing that file size, page load times, and responsive design is important to SEO is not enough - you’ve got to be able to apply this knowledge to your site. By working with an expert web marketing team, you’ll be able to add high-quality images to your site in a way that keeps your website functional and fast for users on all devices.
Including images is always better than no images at all. You certainly want to add the best quality images on your website as possible, but if you don’t have a high-resolution camera or the money to pay a photographer, then uploading images from your phone or a basic camera is more valuable than not including images on your site.
Beyond pleasing the search engine bots as they index your site, images also provide you an opportunity to please your human users and decrease your bounce rate. Bounce rate is measured by analyzing the number of users who return to the search results without viewing any further pages on a website. A high bounce rate is bad: it means users are taking one look at your site and fleeing back to search results to find a better looking site. When you have great images, your website can engage users to click through your pages, thereby helping to decrease your site’s bounce rate.
SEO experts have found that, if users are given images to look at, they will remain on a site for a longer period of time. Adding images to your site kills two birds with one stone: It betters both your users’ experience and your ranking by decreasing bounce rate.
Useful, high-quality images will attract more visitors to your site by increasing your site’s SEO value and decreasing your bounce rate. That much is clear. But did you know that your site’s increased user engagement can also result in longer visit times for users, allowing you more time to sell your product through both the content and the images? If your goal is to facilitate an online move-in or reservation through your site, you’ll want users to hang out there as long as possible. Your images help to tell the story of your facility and explain the services your business offers by providing easy-to-scan information.
Garnering more views to your site, which means more chances to convert.
Increasing user engagement, which means users spend more time on your site.
Decreasing bounce rate, which means more traffic and higher rankings.
Forming a link between customer and company, which means users are more likely to choose your services.
If you’ve ever read a children’s book, you know how important images are. Why? Because images help tell the story! Just like in a children’s book, images help tell the story of your website’s services and create a sense of trust between your business and your client. Crip and clear images can help show users just how clean, secure, and well-maintained your facility is, which all work toward the end goal of converting a potential lead into a paying customer.
For best results, you’ll want to use the highest quality, highest resolution photographs you can get your hands on. In today’s age of Instagram and social media influencers, online users notice the quality of your images first and foremost. Because quality heavily influences their decision to purchase, you’ll want to use the highest quality images you can. Here are some more benefits to using high-quality photos on your site:
They fit well into modern web design. Large, relevant, high-resolution photos are an integral part of putting together a well-formulated website that gets results.
They further the promotion of your facility and brand. Having a collection of nice, professional-looking images makes it easy to repurpose images for use around your office, on brochures, or in other online directories like Yelp, Google My Business, and more.
They bring continuity to your social media accounts. Adding your images to all of your social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, can further increase your online presence.
Now what? Where can you get these high-quality, high-resolution photographs of your facility and its features? The good news is, you probably already have a high quality camera, and it’s in your back pocket. Today’s smartphones can take killer pictures, and with these tips, you’ll be able to snag web-worthy images of your facility with your iPhone.
If photography isn’t your thing, you may want to find an affordable, professional photographer (or a friend with a DSLR camera) who can help you get some great shots. They’ll have the necessary knowledge of lighting, angles, and color to make your facility look immaculate. Plus, they’ll provide you with edited, digital copies of the images in whatever format you need. Sometimes, your web service provider will have a staff photographer whose fee is included in the cost of your website. Check with your provider to see if they offer these integrated services.
No matter where you get your images, your first goal should be to provide the best user experience on your website that you can. Images will absolutely help you do that. With the right images, original content, and SEO knowledge, you’ll bring in more leads, boost conversions, and see higher rankings.
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Thanks for reading! If you liked this blog post, you may also like: 10 ways self storage businesses should be using video (with examples!), How to capture high quality property photos with your iPhone, and Why videos are more powerful than photos in storage unit marketing.