Everyone knows that for a business to grow, you need to have an online presence and a large part of that is your website. The same is true for rental businesses, as...
Everyone knows that for a business to grow, you need to have an online presence and a large part of that is your website. The same is true for rental businesses, as people expect everything to be online, and you could be leaving bookings on the table if you stick to phone calls and emails. Your website will be the best way to find new customers and increase bookings.
Of course, your website won’t build itself, but it will begin to automate bookings for you when people visit it. It lets you practically be open 24/7 to accept bookings, making it more convenient for people to rent from you. This also extends to the fact they can browse your inventory, check when it’s available, and pay online, all without any contact with you or your team.
Building your own website might seem scary, but we’ve come a long way in the past decade, and there are more ways than ever to build a rental website yourself. Plus, it’s more affordable than ever, with plugins and all-in-one solutions catering to almost every aspect of running your rental business. So, let’s look at what you need to do to get your business online fast.
Before you start creating your rental website, it’s essential to set goals. Why are you building a rental website? What do you hope your rental website will look like? How will your rental website help your business grow? How much time are you willing to invest in building your website? How much can you afford to spend on your rental website?
Answering these questions will help guide the direction of your rental website and keep things on track once you get started. The first step is choosing a platform for your rental website. There are many options, but this guide will focus on WordPress, Squarespace, and Booqable’s built-in website builder, as these are the most accessible platforms for beginners.
The first step in building your rental website is choosing a website builder. They are the fastest way to create a website and require little skills to get your website up and running. Website builders are great if you don’t have any experience creating websites and can help new business owners get their companies online quickly without a big learning curve.
There are many website builders available, and each comes with its own upsides and downsides. You may have checked out some before, but even the more affordable ones have come a long way in recent years. Your best options for creating a rental website are WordPress, Squarespace, and Booqable. You should do a free trial with each to see which suits you.
Next, you need to find hosting for your rental website. Every website you have ever visited is hosted on a server somewhere in the world. So, it’s recommended to find one early to prevent any delays in launching your website later on. Of course, you shouldn’t just type “website hosting” in Google and select the first option. There are some things you need to look out for.
The ideal website hosting provider should have the following:
It will be best for you to research which hosting provider is most suitable for your budget and location. You will want to find hosting close to where you and your customers are likely to be to get the best experience. Reading reviews about hosting providers and making sure their customer service is of high quality is also a must in case you face issues down the road.
Your domain name is how customers find you online, and you can think of it as your business’s online address. It is crucial to choose a domain name that includes your business name and is easy to remember for returning visitors.
You need to get this right the first time, as changing your domain name later can be a hassle and costs extra money. The best advice for anyone struggling to choose a domain name is to keep it on-brand, short and memorable. Then, check to make sure it is available by typing it into the search bar on one of the major registrars like GoDaddy and Namecheap.
Now that you’ve got set up hosting and purchased your domain name, you can start building your rental website. WordPress and Squarespace work in similar ways, so which one you use will boil down to preference. This guide will walk you through the necessary steps to create your rental website and point out any differences in actions you need to take along the way.
WordPress and Squarespace offer hundreds of themes or templates you can install on your website. These templates will act as the starting point for your rental website and offer you a basic setup that you can customize to your liking. They are broken down into categories, with some being more suited for different businesses, so it’s best to choose one that suits you.
You should consider that themes come in many styles, so you need to choose one that matches the aesthetic you’re going for. Some themes may also have built-in features that you may or may not need, so keep an eye out for those. You should not choose a theme simply based on colors and fonts because these can easily be customized later.
Once you have selected a theme, you can start customizing it with your own images and content. While doing so, it is important to consider search engine optimization (SEO), as this will play a significant role in getting traffic. Don’t be afraid to try different themes if the one you have chosen isn’t working out exactly how you expected. It’s your website, after all.
Next, you will need to add the essential page you need for your rental website. This may differ depending on what products and services you offer, so be sure to think about what you need and take inspiration from similar businesses. Remember: the primary goal of any website is to promote your business, and you need to help visitors understand exactly what you do.
You should already have a homepage, so you can check that off the list, but here are some other essential pages you may need:
Of course, you can add as many pages as you feel necessary. You just need to make sure your website is easy to navigate and does the best job possible marketing your business. You may also want to include things such as a testimonials page and blog posts.
WordPress calls them plugins, and Squarespace calls them extensions, but they are tools that can help you get the most out of your website. They all serve different purposes, but you probably want ones that can help with your website speed and security, as well as SEO. You can add a plugin or extension by searching the catalog that each website builder offers.
For your rental website, it is essential that you add a booking system so that customers can book your products online. You’ll want a plugin with live availability and bookings. Booqable has a plugin for WordPress that allows you to add your products and other embeddable components to your website. While on Squarespace, you will have to inject some code.
You can find a guide to installing Booqable on WordPress here and Booqable on Squarespace here. Once installed, you can add product cards, a rental cart, add-to-cart buttons, calenders with live availability, and more. Products will need to be set up in your Booqable account before you can start adding them to your website.
Once your website is ready and you’re satisfied, you can connect your domain and publish it! You can find the WordPress guide for connecting your domain here or the Squarespace guide for connecting your domain here. When you’ve done this, your website will be ready for you to start marketing and getting your first visitors. Read more about this at the end.
Booqable includes a rental website builder with every subscription. This is a drag-and-drop editor that will let you build your website with a variety of sections. The website you create can serve as your rental website on your domain. It is also a much more streamlined process to launch your website without any third parties.
To get started, you will need to choose a theme. You can do this by going to your online store settings and selecting a theme. As of the time of writing, there is one theme available that is fully customizable. In the future, more themes will be added. For now, there is a basic template that gives you everything you need to get set up and ready to rent out products online.
You can add different sections, customize colors and fonts, add your text and images, and create new pages with templates. This will give you all the tools you need to get online bookings and payments. Plus, as your business grows, the website builder will grow with you, adding more advanced features and customization to get more out of your website.
Once your products are set up in Booqable, it is easy to add them to your website. You simply need to add a product section to your website and select the products you want to show on each page. You can also create collections of products to make it easy for customers to navigate your website and find exactly what they need.
In addition, you can also add pages for just about anything you want to show on your website, including product pages, a contact page, an FAQ page, an about page, policy pages, category pages, and a how it works page. Each can be created with a template you have already set up or built from scratch with a new template. You can also customize your menu to allow for easy navigation.
When you’re happy with your website, you can publish it. If you haven’t connected your domain, it will be visible at [your-company].booqable.shop. To add your custom domain to Booqable so customers can visit your rental website with your address, you need to add it in your online store settings and set up a record with your domain provider. You can see detailed instructions here.
Congratulations! You’ve built and published your rental website. It’s now time to get your first visitors, and that means marketing. There are many ways to market your website, including running Facebook Ads, adding your business to local listings, setting up your Google My Business profile, running Google Ads, and optimizing your website’s SEO.
We have a few guides you can use to get started:
Get started and see the benefits of rental software.