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January 17, 2023
Choosing a self storage website can completely change the success of your business.
Can your website get clicks? And once it gets clicks, can it convert those visitors into rentals?
In this post, we’ll outline the questions you should be asking your self storage website developers before you commit yourself to a long-term contract!
When you’re hiring web developers, you’re looking for someone to be the subject expert. You don’t have time to learn the ins and outs of building a self storage website.
But how do you know which team to hire? When a tech-savvy salesperson starts throwing out terms, it’s hard to keep track of what’s helpful and what isn’t.
That doesn’t mean you have to learn how to code your own website, but you do need to know how to separate the parts of a website that will benefit you and those that only sound good.
Your self storage website should get your potential tenants as close as possible to signing a lease. Depending on the way your property management software can do, you may not be able to go all the way to securing a rental online, but you can get close!
If your website can’t fully integrate with your property management software, you can let potential renters reserve a self storage unit at your facility. Make sure the website will gather contact information and take payments if possible so you can reach out to a customer and finish the deal.
Not every self storage website design company can integrate with property management software - which is necessary for online rentals. Just because the websites can offer online rentals doesn’t mean they will with yours.
Be sure to ask whether your new website will be able to work with the API (Application Programming Interface) of your PMS. StoragePug websites can integrate with the most commonly used PMS, but even we can’t talk to all of them. Be sure that “rent units online” applies to your business!
Self storage software is supposed to make your life easier. It saves you time, automates repetitive tasks, and frees you up to do more important, more difficult tasks. Of course, running any software is going to provide your input, but the goal is to find software that needs you as little as possible.
If you’re going to have to push a button every time a tenant tries to rent or pay, you’re not getting the full benefit of automation. For some functions, you may want to have direct control - for example, when sending review requests - but be sure you know ahead of time what parts of your new website will require your input.
Again, software and automation are here to make your job easier - the same goes for your customers. Whatever website you have should make their experience with your simpler and faster. Installing an app can get in the way of that.
Some apps are worth the hassle! Specifically, many self storage operators use an app with their smart storage units for a variety of reasons. Some things can only be done with an app - but make sure that renting a unit on your website and paying your bills doesn’t require one. Don’t put any more steps between your customers and your service than are absolutely necessary.
Marketing experts have differing opinions on the right answer for this one. Some think that ongoing Search Engine Optimization is the only way to go - meaning they constantly tweak things or add content. I find that ongoing SEO isn’t necessary and can sometimes be counter-productive.
Any website you pay for should have an SEO strategy. If you get a self storage specific website, they should know the appropriate self storage keywords and how to position them. This is one of the things you’re paying for. However, constantly changing your SEO may not be a good use of your money. Read more about self storage SEO services here.
This is a great question for any service you’re thinking of hiring. A fellow self storage operator can give you the highlights of working with a certain company, as well as any pain points they encountered.
On top of that, do some browsing on your own. Test out their websites. Click around and see how easy it is to find prices, available units, or even rent one. Do some Google searches around your area to see how your potential website will rank.
Most self storage website designers will be more than happy to make revisions to your website - but some limit the number of requests you can make before they start charging fees. Even if they won’t ever charge revision fees, you don’t want the process to be a pain.
At some point, you’ll need to update your hours, your features, facility pictures, or something. You want to be working with people you don’t mind getting in touch with, and with someone who will respond to your revisions quickly. After all, having inaccurate information on your website can really damage your customers' experience.
If you’re on a tight budget, a simple website may be your best bet. But if you’re looking to upgrade your self storage management chops, high-tier websites can offer a lot. Self storage analytics, including web traffic, occupancy rates, income reports, and others, can give you the information you need to make the right decisions.
These business-management features aren’t any good if you don’t end up using them, so be sure that the features will be intuitive enough that you actually use them. Also, if you’re willing to commit the time to learn how to use these features, be sure they’re worth the effort. That means they need to provide you actionable information.
No matter how good your research is, you may end up paying for a website that doesn’t quite measure up to your standards. Ask your self storage website designers what the process is like if you’re not happy. Are you going to be locked into a contract where you’re paying them for years regardless? Or will you be able to cancel the agreement?
No matter how confident you are that you’re choosing the right website, you don’t want to be locked in a long-term contract.
If you’re ever not sure why you would want a certain feature or how much it would be worth, come back to this final question. Every pixel of your website should be helping you fill up your storage facility with paying customers.
SEO, marketing, facility upgrades, automation - all of it should be geared towards providing a great customer experience, which in turn will provide you with satisfied customers that rent for years and tell their friends to rent with you. Once you hit that point, you’ll be able to keep your business running strong for a long time.
There you have it! Ten questions to ask a self storage website designer before you purchase a new website. There are many more you’ll want to cover, of course, but these are a great starting place to put the service in context.
Of course, we think our websites are by far the best choice - but for some of you, there may be options that fit your needs better! We'd love to talk about your new website and show you why our sites look great and perform even better.
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