The self storage industry is focused on the long-term. Customers often store their belongings in self storage for extended periods of time. Committed on-site managers not only work at our facilities for an extended tenure, but often make such facilities their home (via the on-site manager’s apartment). Of course, owners invest in self storage facilities to build cash flow and generational wealth over the course of decades. Given that most self storage facilities have been around a while, many of our websites have older (and sometimes outdated) content.
Treat Your Website Like Your Facility
Your physical self storage facility requires ongoing maintenance and attention. You invest the time and money to renovate your office space. You add a new coat of paint to shield your facility from the elements, while presenting a professional appearance. You even test new technologies and innovations over the years, such as the latest kiosk or smart door technology.
Just as you invest in your physical facility, one’s website requires upgrades over the years as well. The very topic of this blog post, I look forward to exploring some of the ongoing maintenance at the Smart Self Storage website, and how we approach such projects. Remember: Your website is a digital extension of your brand. Customers are incredibly busy and rely on technology to streamline their lives. Get ready to upgrade your online presence!
Tip 1: Identify Highly-Visited Pages On Your Site
As a parent of two, I have quickly learned that prioritization is my best friend in life. While I may have a list of 10 or even 20 items I want to accomplish in any given day, I have always found that I must prioritize my top three. On a good day, if I accomplish those three, I am golden.
Business is exactly the same. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with one’s self storage website, especially if it’s been around for a long time. You may want to make changes everywhere you look. Avoid the temptation. It all begins with focus!
I personally leverage Google Analytics to quickly hone in on the pages that receive the most traffic. I always like to start where consumers are already spending their time. Why prioritize renovations on a page nobody sees?
After identifying my list of most visited pages on my website, I then explore each of them. Some of the pages are already really great – they offer fresh content, new images, and a great customer experience. Others, by contrast, need work.
I’ll give you an example. In my last website audit, I noticed that our self storage tips page received some nice traffic (after all, it’s linked to from our main homepage). And, it looked nice (great look/feel, as our entire website has been upgraded to the G5 Cloud Platform). That being said, the content itself (the actual tips) were really lacking. The article had not been updated since we published our original website many, many years ago. I quickly knew that I wanted to invest in this particular page!
Tip 2: Go “All in” on Content and Focus
Upon identifying our self storage tips page and the opportunity therein, I simultaneously identified a few other pages with high traffic and lacking content, pages that desperately need work. That said, I realized I must prioritize so I decided to put them on the back burner, until the tips page was fully renovated. By focusing on one page at a time, I knew we could truly do our best work!
The key lesson here: Do not attempt to multitask your website renovations across many pages at once, unless you have a larger marketing team. We have a (very) lean marketing team. We know that multitasking will only dilute quality, and focus has become a way of life. So, we went “all in” on our self storage tips page.
Tip 3: Write The Definitive Guide For The Topic At Hand
The entire world is uploading brand new content (articles, videos, infographics) about self storage (and just about any other topic) every minute! When it comes time to renovate your self storage website, it’s all about depth. That’s why our new self storage tips article is 2,489 words in length (or 6 pages single-spaced in Microsoft Word). We didn’t want to write “just another” self storage article. We didn’t want to just blend in with all the other content online. We wanted to write the definitive self storage tips guide.
Tip 4: Think About Content Stripes and Sections
When one is embarking on a very lengthy article, a pillar piece of content on one’s website, it’s critical to break the content into easy-to-follow sections. Think carefully about structure before writing your new article. What will be your main sections and sub-sections? How can you bullet list your tips? Can you have a different color background for each section (or even consider making your new article a multi-page series)?
Tip 5: Make It A Team Effort
Our marketing team is really lean. I knew I would not have time to re-write our self storage tips guide completely by myself. I knew we would have to divide and conquer. I decided to approach the project as follows:
- I personally identified the opportunity.
- I personally outlined the structure of the new page (sections, sub-sections, and the direction of the content).
- I hired a freelance writer (via Upwork), a native-English writer, to write the new article.
- I personally edited the article.
- I hired my marketing partner, G5, to create custom graphics (next tip) and upload the article to our website.
The key lesson here is to think about your “team”. Even if you are a team of one, you will always have other teammates via external freelancers and business partners.
Tip 6: Don’t Forget Graphics
While our new self storage tips article was jam-packed with helpful insights (it’s 2,489 words, after all), I knew that the article could be a bit overwhelming. I wanted to break up the article a bit, while making it more fun. So we produced some custom graphics (consistent with our overall branding) for the article.
Combined with content stripes and separate sections, these graphics really break up the article, making it approachable and enjoyable for any reader.
The entire process of renovating our self storage tips article spanned several months. The work itself did not take that long, obviously, but everyone involved wears multiple hats and has many priorities. We are incredibly happy with the result and feel like our next renovation (on this particular page, at least) will be very far in the future, as we went all in on this one. (It’s all about quality and writing the definitive guide.)
What’s next for our website renovations? I have my sights set on our “About Us” page. If you want an example of a pre-renovation page (to compare against our self storage tips), this is a prime example. I’m already brainstorming how I can completely transform this old page for the next decade!
As this blog post comes to an end, I challenge you to pick one page on your self storage website that receives a strong amount of traffic, but is in drastic need of some updates. Make that page your focus for the next few months and transform it into a masterpiece! You will take your online customer experience to the next level, and produce a pillar piece of content that will make your entire company proud.