5 Essentials to Consider for Your HOA Website
Whether you’re ramping up to create the first website for your homeowners association or getting ready to replace an existing site, you want to ensure that you include all the functionality that your community really needs. While you’re in the planning stages, consider how these five essential elements can enhance your administrative workflow and make life easier for residents.
Number one on the list of practicality enhancements for many homeowners association administrators is the ability to accept online payments, and put an end to all the hassles of manual dues and fees collections. Nobody wants to be the “bad guy” responsible for contacting residents about late payments. Instead of an old-style approach that relies on a combination of e-mail messages, phone calls, and other communication attempts—each with its own built-in reasons for failure—why not set up online payment capabilities so resident payments funnel directly to you for easy accounting?
Of course, the homeowners association website software provider you choose must offer these capabilities in the first place, or else you’re not going to get very far toward these goals. That’s why it’s essential to investigate the features you’re offered before you sign on the dotted line. Nobody wants to build an entire website only to find out that it cannot fulfill the needs for which they established it.
Have you outgrown your file cabinet yet? No, we don’t mean to imply that your store of homeowners association documents exceeds the capacity of your office furniture, although if your community is large and active that may be the case. We’re actually talking about the fact that manual recordkeeping is so last century, and attempting to point out how the ease and convenience of digital file transmission has revolutionized the way HOAs maintain and share essential documents.
Let’s face it, between the architectural standards and HOA covenants on one hand and the board meeting minutes and vendor price quotes on the other, you have your hands full of paperwork. And every time a resident asks you for a copy of a document—or you’re required to make a specific category of information available—you have to find a way to comply.
Now that digital documents can provide faithful representations of the originals—and offer the additional advantage of protecting essential content from unauthorized changes—you’re probably eyeing the space that file cabinet occupies, and wondering what else you could put there. If your homeowners association website software provider offers you the ability to add a document repository to your site, you can upload documents, make them available either to anyone who wants to download them or to a select and limited community audience—and enable residents to retrieve information if and when they need it, with no further assistance from you.
Board members and website leadership
You almost certainly realized long ago that problem-solving frustrations increase in the face of obstacles and minimize when those obstacles disappear. That’s as true of attempts to contact homeowners association board members as it is of calls to customer service. When it’s easy to figure out whom to call about a specific problem, it’s also a lot easier to stay calm about the problem itself. That’s an excellent reason to provide information about your HOA board and other leaders directly on your website.
Some HOAs display their board rosters to the general public. Others prefer to keep that information available only to community members themselves. Regardless of which approach you prefer, the ability to display your leadership on your website—and even include contact information for board members—helps make it easy for residents to know whom to contact when they have questions or problems.
Local resources and favorites
Chances are that you and your neighbors have formulated your own private lists of contractors and vendors on whom you rely for solutions to ongoing problems. When you share that incredibly reliable plumber, awesome dog walker or pet sitter, and other favorite resources, you give your neighbors a chance to benefit from the resources you’ve accumulated. With the right homeowners association website software provider, you can build a resources page directly into your website, and enable community members to contribute their own favorites to it. Another category of local information that makes a great addition to your site: Contact information for utility providers, along with non-emergency numbers for first responders.
While you’re at it, consider adding a page for scenic attractions, historic destinations, cultural options, best-kept-secret restaurants, and a long list of other options that are common knowledge to local residents who in the know.
If you’re like most homeowners association administrators, you welcome community involvement in HOA committees—and dread the process of attempting to get people involved. Sure, you can print up and hand out some kind of introductory leaflet to residents when they move in, or go door to door—or phone call to phone call—attempting to solicit committee membership. But that’s all too likely to result in a bunch of polite “Let me think about it” responses instead of actual involvements.
To ramp up your odds of a successful engagement with your community and simplify the task of obtaining volunteers, why not engage with your neighborhoods through your homeowners association website? If you choose the right HOA website software provider, you can make some committees open for automatic acceptance of anyone who applies, limit other committees to membership by application only, and restrict still others to people whom you select and approve.
Of course, as we’ve noted, your ability to perform all these functions through your website depends on choosing the right software provider, one that understands your needs and meets them. At HOAStart, we’ve been working with homeowners associations for a long time, and we’ve built countless community websites. But rather than take our word for it, why not find out for yourself how well we can meet your needs? Sign up for our 15-day free trial, test out all our features for yourself, and see why we believe we offer you the right solution to all your HOA website software needs.