5 Ways to Fill Your HOA Website with Great Content
Whether you’re launching a website for your homeowners association to comply with state law or because you want a new venue through which to promote the advantages of your community, you need more than the bare bones of an online presence to make a lasting and positive impression on current and prospective residents. After all, even if your principal purpose is to ease the fulfillment of HOA business, your site can accomplish so much more than simply sharing covenants and explaining rules. Use these five tips to maximize the verbal and visual impact of your website—and your community.
Make it a community effort
When community leadership announced that they were looking for someone to take on responsibility for website creation, you put your hand in the air. Maybe you have a background in site development and some strong ideas about how to move the project forward. Maybe you’re the person who takes all the pictures at community events. Or maybe you’re the one to whom everyone looks for a well-written description of what’s going on in your neighborhood. Regardless of which of your strengths prompted you to volunteer for this position, you’ll quickly find that it’s easier to do a great job if you bring other people on board to share the workload.
That doesn’t mean giving everyone in your community access to the nitty gritty about community affairs, although—especially if you’re in a large development or one that includes multi-family properties—you may find that you want help to manage membership applications and other matters. But sharing the workload really does mean getting everyone involved.
If you put out a request for contributors to provide website content, you’ll quickly discover that many of your neighbors have talents you might not have known they possess. Their contributions can go a long way toward the success of your website. You’ll receive an even better response if you start asking for content long before you need it, so no one feels pressured to contribute.
Everyone loves photographs, especially if they’re good. If your homeowners association website software provider gives you the ability to add multiple photo galleries to your site, you can create individual showcases for all sorts of neighborhood activities and features.
For example, put out a call for photographers so you can make sure you’re always taking pictures at community events. Add a section for truly exceptional gardens, and ask your green-thumbed neighbors to write up some of their best stories about the landscaping they cultivate. Add some great images of your community’s amenities and scenic areas.
While you’re planning your approach to community photography, you may want to consider leaving kids out of the frame. Although some parents freely share images of their children on their social media channels, others prefer to protect their kids’ privacy, especially with pre-teens.
There’s a word for that
Most writers will tell you that there’s a big difference between being literate and being able to write. You’re bound to have writers among you, however, and they may be perfectly happy to contribute website content about your neighborhoods and the events that take place there. From feature pages about human interest stories to a formal online welcome for new residents, your website can be a great place to incorporate well-written prose.
Some communities like to sponsor writing contests, with multiple categories including fiction, poetry, and other written media. You’ll need to make arrangements with writers about the ownership of their intellectual property, but these types of initiatives can be an interesting way to add exciting content.
The list of things that your residents enjoy about living in your community includes local life and attractions. Every city or town promotes a long list of local events, destinations, memorials, monuments, parks, and recreation areas. Rather than simply post a link to a municipal website, why not craft your own local attractions pages as yet another way to promote the advantages of your area?
On a more commercial note, consider creating a page to share your residents’ referrals to vendors who have helped them out over the years. Your longer-term residents may be more than happy to provide contact information for and testimonials about the work that a favorite plumber, painter, or yard maintenance firm has provided over the years. Likewise, if your community itself has enjoyed a great relationship with a vendor or contractor, why not publicize that excellence so your residents can take advantage of it for their own properties?
It’s also helpful to build a frequently asked questions page that itemizes the who and what of community life. Include contact data for utilities, the schedule for trash and recycling pickups, information about local school districts, and emergency numbers for all sorts of eventualities, from service outages to burned-out streetlights.
From big events to small moments in history, every homeowners association holds a place in its local history—and that’s one of the most important things you can share with prospective residents. Talk about what makes your community unique and share its origins so everyone, including your own neighbors, knows these stories.
That doesn’t mean you’re preparing an application to the Guinness Book of World Records, or that your community has to be involved in major events of national significance for these historical happenings to warrant coverage on your website. Even a relatively newly constructed development has its share of interesting tales. You’ll find that when you add a retelling of these events to your website, your neighbors will thank you for sharing stories they didn’t know.
In short, make your homeowners associations website a real destination to learn all about your community, its neighborhoods, and everything that makes this a great place to live. When you build your website on flexible software from a homeowners association website provider that really knows what HOAs need from their online properties, you’ll have access to the kinds of features you need to showcase everything that makes your community exceptional.