Get Your Storage Facility Online
March 15, 2021
Establish credibility and boost business by getting your facility online. Today, 96% of Americans own a cellphone, thus increasing the amount of web and app-based users. Learn how to improving your online presence with business listing sites and a website so that more people in your area can find you.
Online business listings are usually free to use and offer many benefits to business owners. Although there are many sources available, I’ll be listing a few commonly used ones.
Provide a Complete Listing
Provide a complete and accurate listing by including as much information as possible. It’s also helpful to provide photos of your facility, inside and out. This shows what potential customers can expect.
Leveraging Customer Reviews
Most listing services allow users to leave star-ratings with or without a written review. A good practice is to respond to reviews promptly and politely. Responding to both good and bad reviews show that you care about your business. It’s also a chance to clear the air with an unhappy customer.
Google My Business
Google is a widely used search engine that also provides built-in tools for businesses. With the My Business portal, you can add and verify your business listing, then access your listing from a computer or app to update information about your business at any time.
Business listings will show up in the right column of Google:
Click the link below to get started. Their guide is easy to use and will help you find out if your business is already listed or if you need to add your business.
Get Started: https://www.google.com/business/
iPhone or iPad App: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/google-my-business/id853371601
Android App: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.vega&hl=en_US&gl=US
Bing Places for Business
Microsoft Bing is another search engine that has become popular in recent years and yielded about a quarter of search queries in 2020. There are many reasons why people prefer Bing, making it a platform for businesses to consider when listing their storage facilities online.
Business listings will show up in the main column of Bing like this:
Click the link below to get started. If you already have a listing, you will be asked to authenticate your business with various login options. If you do not already have an account, it will give you the option to import data from your Google My Business account or start from scratch.
Get Started: https://www.bingplaces.com/
iPhone or iPad App: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/bing-places/id1437035833
Android App: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.microsoft.android.bingplaces&hl=en_US&gl=US
Yelp for business
Yelp is a good and service business listing site with 142 million unique visitors each month. It’s used to search for home and local services, restaurants, fitness, beauty, and more.
Yelp is a great source for bringing traffic to your business with website clicks, phone calls, and map navigation. The Yelp for Owners dashboard collects and reports this data to you.
Free features available in the owner dashboard include covid update banner, upload photos, and videos, check-in offers, and update business information at any time.
Paid features include ads and Yelp Connect where businesses can upload video stories (think of Instagram of Facebook stories).
Get Started: https://biz.yelp.com
iPhone or iPad App: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/yelp-for-business/id936983378
Android App: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.yelp.android.biz&hl=en_US&gl=US
Having a website for your storage facility is just as important as your physical storefront in today’s technology age. The great news is that it is so much easier to create a website today more than ever. There are great options for small businesses to build their own websites that range from FREE up to $18/mo for a Business subscription.
Tip 1 – Do your research: The supply and demand for a user-friendly website builder are high. While starting with any builder is easy, it will quickly become an investment of your time.
Tip 2 – Do you need eCommerce?: Many website host/builders offer an eCommerce for business option. This is typically used for selling and tracking retail. You likely WON’T need this as your management software already tracks merchandise sales and processes payments directly.
Tip 3 – Review the pricing plans: When looking into paid plans, review the features included. Even when their plan is named “Business” sometimes the “Personal” plan will include everything you need.
Tip 4 – if you’re going to pay for anything, pay for a custom domain: Sometimes, a basic paid plan will include a custom domain.
Free domains will look something like this:
A paid custom domain looks like this:
I’ll include additional tips below in regards to the provider’s usability level and relevancy to self storage businesses.
Wix is a free drag-and-drop website builder that provides various out-of-the-box themes for users to choose from. They also include marketing tools like form submissions, customer management for collecting emails to send newsletters, SEO/get found on Google, social media, and other marketing integrations.
Usability Level: Beginner
- Drag-and-Drop: add text and image elements directly from the builder’s menu anywhere onto the webpage. The user is not constricted to columns or sections.
- Builder Menu: the main side menu in the builder is intuitive. The user is able to click around, explore, and add various elements with ease.
- Media Library: user-friendly yet robust media library with folders and editing capabilities.
Wix Pricing Page: https://www.wix.com/upgrade/website
Sample Self Storage theme: https://www.wix.com/website-template/view/html/2539
Wix Owners Website & App for Mobile
App for iPhone or iPad: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/wix-owner-websites-apps/id1545924344
App for Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.wix.admin
Weebly is a free website builder provider that focuses on retail businesses. I wanted to make that clear from the start because this will be important to keep in mind when researching this service. They started out as a website builder first, then acquired by Square Inc., a Point of Sale provider widely used by small businesses in the retail and restaurant industries.
While businesses using both Weebly and Square become streamlined, their website builder is still worth mentioning for its free plan and easy-to-use builder.
Usability Level: Great for Beginners
- Simple Dashboard: the main dashboard shows the 3-step Setup Guide for getting your website published and page visits and views for the past 7 days.
- Marketing: because Weebly is sales-focused, their free plan includes tools to collect and manage leads. Upgrade to use automation and create list segments. Send 2 email campaigns with the free plan to trial.
- Themes: webpage contents easily transfer with theme changes.
Weebly Pricing Page: https://www.weebly.com/pricing
App for iPhone or iPad: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/weebly-by-square/id511158309
App for Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.weebly.android&hl=en_US&gl=US
Squarespace is a professional and solid website builder. It also offers out-of-the-box themes that users can start with to quickly build and publish a beautiful website. Users can design a website with a free trial, then it will cost to publish.
Usability Level: Great for Beginners
- Build off pages: the website builder’s main menu focuses on Navigation/Pages. While in the builder, users won’t get bogged down with complex elements and features. Click on the settings icon of each page listed to edit that page’s general, SEO, and advanced setting.
- User-friendly blocks: when building a page, users edit sections on that page by clicking “+” to add an element. Sections on a page are easily added and managed from the main builder’s menu of Navigation/Pages.
- Built-in Marketing and Analytics tools: build email campaigns, SEO checklist, turn on/off announcement bars, and see traffic data.
Squarespace Pricing Page:
App for iPhone or iPad:
App for Android:
Building a Website is Not a Small Feat
While there are many options to choose from, it’s worth the investment of your time to get your self-storage facility online.
Another important factor to consider is whether or not your self-storage management software is able to include your site’s reservations listing. For example, DomicoCloud users can either add their reservation listing directly to their website using an iFrame or provide a link from their website to the reservation’s stand-alone page.
There are even more options for building a website not listed here as these are the ones I personally have experience with. If you’re curious, you can search around online for “website Builders” to see what else is out there.
Before you start building your website, it would be helpful to create an outline of what pages you want to create. Websites don’t need to have a lot of pages to be impactful. The best websites are informative, easy to read and flow well. Also, add a personal touch by telling readers a little bit about yourself and add photos of your business.
If you found this post helpful and would like to read more about ways to boost your self storage facility’s online traffic, please subscribe above or email me directly with questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.