This is the right way to design your self-storage web site to maximise conversions
When looking for a website that combines an appealing design with fast loading times and the right content, self-storage operators sometimes forget the most important element: Are visitors turning into paying tenants? Customer conversion should be a priority at every step of the web design process. Let’s examine some important principles and steps to maximize the effectiveness of your website.
Mistakes to Avoid
To avoid website design mistakes, the first thing you need to know is what they are. Here are some common mistakes I see in the self storage industry.
No clear way to convert. Again, customer conversion should be the focus of your efforts. Many self storage websites are so scattered with their layout and messages that it is easy for users to get lost. When someone lands on your website, you want their interactions and experiences to lead to a positive outcome. Think of it as a funnel. You want to purposely get visitors down a path that encourages them to rent a unit from you.
No understanding of the buyer’s journey. Ask yourself thoughtful questions about how your current tenants got to your facility and what customers value when renting storage space. Once you’ve built that awareness, check that your website is effectively communicating the key information people use in their decisions. The buyer’s journey is sometimes different when considering location, demographics, service offerings, etc. So be flexible but be aware when approaching this information.
Content overload or bones too bare. Self-storage websites often contain insane amounts of content or so little information that they seem incomplete or irrelevant. Both problems are frustrating for visitors. Strive for a happy medium that offers quality over quantity and lets customers know about the items that matter most to them.
Now that you know what to avoid, let’s see how to turn a website into a conversion tool, examine design elements, create content, and make adjustments in a timely manner.
Function and design
An effective self-storage website should have solid engineering, eye-pleasing style, and a great user experience. These are the foundations for success. Now let’s dig a little deeper:
Page speed. One of your main goals should be to prioritize page speed. You cannot afford to have a website that loads content or pages slowly because visitors get frustrated and switch to a competitor. In addition, Google’s ranking algorithm takes into account page speed and load times when displaying search results. These are important elements for website performance. So don’t ignore them.
Security. In order for tenants to rent units or pay their bills online, your website must have a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate and secure payment processing. This is critical to your business. So make sure it is buttoned properly. Most self storage management software companies take care of the security obligations in their payment portals. However, a quick phone call or email to your supplier’s support team to check your status is a good idea.
Responsiveness. A mobile-friendly website is vital. Now that more than 50 percent of all web traffic comes from mobile devices, the first thing Google will do is index and prioritize the mobile version of your website. This goes back to the buyer’s journey. When customers are looking for storage, they are most likely reaching for their phone for a quick search. You can also check reviews and visit your website for more information. If your website looks and performs badly on mobile, you are at a disadvantage.
Look and feel. Your website should look professional and clean. Some people may fall in love with all of the little details, but I recommend mistaking the simplicity side. Renting a device should be a quick and easy process, and this is how your website should feel as customers navigate its pages. Your focus should be on a simple design and strong layout that acts as a user roadmap. Here are a few quick tips:
- Don’t create too many pages. Instead, focus on the core information.
- Don’t clutter your pages with too many design elements.
- Make the navigation tabs clearly visible. You should stand out.
- Use multiple call-to-action buttons to make it easy for visitors to rent a unit, call the facility, or whatever your call-to-action may be.
Color scheme. This should tend towards simplicity too, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Choose colors that work well together and contrast well with the website background. Using all bright colors is a no-go. Instead, focus on balance and use colors that pop without being overwhelming or distracting.
Customer conversion. To ensure that your website is set up to effectively convert visitors into customers, you need to define what “conversion” means for your self-storage operations. Some operators do not rent units online at all and rely on phone calls and emails to close deals. Some use online forms to be contacted and then contact the customer to complete the rental. Make sure you can track your leads and conversions, whichever suits your style.
I suggest you proceed in a varied and balanced way. It’s best to have multiple ways to convert customers from your website, but prioritize online rentals and phone calls. Also, make sure that your conversion process is quick and easy. People tend to be lazy. Creating too many steps to fill out a rental form or rental process will only stop you from converting.
The biggest mistake with conversions is not keeping track of your data. This information is vital to your marketing efforts and starts with your website. Set up Google Analytics and goal achievements for your website so you can properly monitor performance. This gives clarity about what is going right with your website and what needs improvement.
When it comes to web content, keep things clean and simple. This is often easier said than done, but here are a few things to keep in mind:
Photos. Every time you land on a website, one of the first things you generally see is a large header image. With self-storage, real estate photos can leave a strong impression on your web visitors. How to make sure it’s positive:
- People want to see what the property looks like. Take a variety of photos and choose one that has a lot of information like location, entry points, cleanliness, etc.
- There’s nothing worse than grainy or blurry website images. Make sure that any graphics you use are of high resolution. Most smartphones take great pictures these days.
- Do not exaggerate. Most viewers don’t want to see a 30-picture slideshow of your facility. Take good photos and only add a few to the high traffic areas of your website.
Copy. The rest of your content is the text that people will read. Concentrate on the most important functions, device types and rental prices and keep personal things to a minimum. Adding a local touch is great, but most visitors don’t want to read your life story. Remember that all content on the website should be related to the buyer’s journey. It has to create value in the company or support the user’s decision-making process. When creating content, ask yourself, “Does this add value to my website and do viewers need to know?”
Most website visitors will be looking for unit prices and availability. Make your search easier by placing them at the top of the home page. If you do this comfortably, you will improve the overall experience. Use lists or bullets to consolidate content as this will keep things simple and clean. Consumers want important information to be listed rather than buried in paragraphs of text.
Page presentation. Similar to the other elements of your website, keep this simple and straightforward. There should be no more than three to five sections of content per page. These don’t have to be novels. Highlight your core information and make sure it leads to a conversion. Keep it clean and legible.
Building a website and marketing strategy is not a concept to pin down and forget which is why tracking and analytics are so important. If you’re not following leads or immersed in your site data, it can be difficult to determine where to make adjustments to increase conversions, or even to realize that website performance is the problem.
An essential part of a healthy marketing plan is to be consistent and make changes in a timely manner. Check the website’s performance at least every three months. This will raise awareness and allow you to improve your conversion rate. Some of the most important areas to watch out for include website traffic and your goal achievement. Using correlation analysis, you can identify trends over time to determine what is “normal” compared to a problem that needs fixing.
There are more advanced things you can do, but these are the critical ones. By building a well-designed self-storage website and making timely adjustments as needed, you will improve your marketing strategy, ensure your facility stays relevant, and convert more prospects into tenants.
Ken Turley is the chief marketing officer at Easy Storage Solutions, a provider of web-based management software for small to medium-sized self-storage operations. Through search engine optimization and online marketing, his team enables companies to increase their visibility and achieve their marketing goals. Ken has years of experience in the field and has helped hundreds of self storage companies of all sizes. For more information send an email [email protected].