Your Go-to-Guide for Self-Storage Website Design

What makes a great self-storage website design?  Having won the Internet Marketing Association’s “Best in Class” award for our Hampshire Self Storage website design with a near-perfect score, we feel confident in our insights – so we thought we’d share our top tips with you.

THE FUNDAMENTALS 

Here are the fundamentals to setting up a website that will attract and convert customers.

WHY ARE WE HERE?

In life, as in anything, the way to get the right answer is to ask the right question.  So the first thing to ask yourself about your website is, “What’s the business goal of the site?” What do you want the consumer to do on the site?  Call you? Drive in? Reserve their unit right on the site?

Determine your business goals and make sure the message on every page helps achieve that.  So, for example, if your number one goal is to get  them to call you,  look at the size of your phone number and where you’ve placed it on your webpage.  Is it in the top right corner, where 90% of all web users look for it?  Is it big and easily read?  And does it have a clear call to action next to it?  “Call toll free!”  “Call now for storage advice from our experts!”  “Call now! Se habla espanol!”  If you want them to call, ask them to call – and make it easy.

CONSIDER YOUR CUSTOMER

Who is your customer? What do they want? Is it who you think it is? Is it who you want? One of the first tasks we undertook in redesign was to create a persona of the ideal customer.  The most profitable, least troublesome customer, and the one we were best at serving.  What were the characteristics and qualities?  We decided to go after women householders in their late 20s and up. As a third generation storage company with high-end locations and the kind of features – climate control, security, etc. — that appeals to women, we had the assets to focus on this core customer.

Then we asked, what are her core concerns? Our research showed that “select a size” pages had the highest traffic.  Clearly, that’s a big question for users.  But how you present the information should differ depending on your audience. Many self-storage websites show boxes with dimensions – the perfect way to show sizes to dimensional thinkers — like men.  If that’s your core customer, stick to it. But guess what? For many self-storage companies, the target customer is more likely to be a linear thinker — a woman.  A linear thinker makes lists — she  knows exactly how much stuff is in her home, and she wants to see how many and what kind of things that each unit can hold.  So for example, instead of “medium unit”, we showed her how much stuff the hunt can hold — about one bedroom of furnishings. That makes it easy for a linear thinker to calculate their needs.

We also followed the maxim of successful webdesign: “No unguided actions.”  That means you want to tell the visitor exactly what steps to take, and make it easy for them to take them.  The more 1-2-3 your process looks on your website, the more likely your visitor is to trust you and give you their business.  So as you are designing your site and determine what information goes where, think through the sales process.  What questions do customers ask first?  Unit sizes? Hours of access? Security?  Moving services?  The information should reflect their concerns in order.

GATHER EVIDENCE – ALWAYS

You know you should be collecting data.  You know you should be transparent about it.  You know you should be polite about it.  But when should you do it? Wait until the customer has a reason to give it to you. On the home page? Never.  You ask when the customer indicates a strong interest. For example, when she clicks on a size.  Then you give her a reason to give her information to you– You could say, “Questions? Our managers are happy to answer.” or “If you don’t see what you need, we’re happy to notify you of the next availability.”  Whenever you ask a visitor for information, be clear why you are asking for it, and what it obligates them to do.  If you’re going to send them an email, include your privacy policy message.  If it means a salesperson will follow up by phone, say so.  If there’s no obligation, let them know that, too.  Users visit several sites in their search for solutions, so make sure you ask for personal information only at the right time.

Here’s another snafu to look out for: Do you take payments information from credit cards? Make sure you are compliant with all current requirements relating to the storage of credit card information.  If you are not, you are liable for any incidents.  As with the email, be sure your language makes it clear what will happen once they give you the info, for example, “This reserves your space. We will NOT charge your card until a contract is signed.”  Or if you’re taking payments, make sure you have security messages that reassure them you are taking every precaution.

USE THE RIGHT TOOLS

With the constant changes in Search Engine Optimization, the best advice is to make sure your site structure is correct — and then focus on delivering meaningful and helpful content to your audience. Keep in mind that Google doesn’t answer questions — Google tells you who they think has the answer you are looking for.  So if you want to rank, you have to show Google that you have great answers and that they pertain to the topic.

CONTACT US
These are just a few of the things to consider, but we hope they answer some of your key questions and get you thinking in the right direction.  If you want to know more, we’re happy to talk.