5 Ways to Plan for a Successful HOA Website
Like business entities of all types, today’s homeowners associations develop websites to support what they do and reach the people they serve. Some states require HOAs to maintain an online presence and to use it to fulfill specific responsibilities. Whether you operate in a state that mandates HOA websites or you simply want to get ahead of the curve, plan ahead as you select a homeowners association software provider so you can make your site a productive, easy-to-use success.
If you’re not a professional website designer, you may find that you’re in over your head if you try to develop your HOA website with many of the tools that are on the market today. Yes, these professional tools can create exceptional sites, but to achieve those types of results, they also require you to know a great deal about HTML, CSS, and various aspects of page design and coding.
If that’s not you, you’re not alone. As an HOA administrator who will be responsible for selecting your community’s homeowners association website software provider as well as creating and maintaining the site, you need a software provider that makes these processes easy. At the same time, you don’t want your chosen platform to limit the aesthetic results you can achieve, or slow down the process of setting up your website.
You can’t have a useful, attractive, productive website without content. That includes everything from news items and community bulletins to the text on pages that promote your sponsors, showcase photo galleries and member directories, and enable the public to contact your HOA. While you’re researching and planning the HOA website software provider selection process, spend some time to figure out who’ll write the content for your site, and plan the tone you use so it matches the neighborhood spirit of your community. Especially if multiple people will be involved in the process, set up a content calendar so everyone involved will know what they need to do and when. On a fully featured HOA software platform, you can create that calendar directly on your website and publish it so only your content committee can see it.
No homeowners association administrator enjoys the process of providing copies of documents to residents who request them. It’s not that these requests are unreasonable – in fact, most of them are entirely necessary – but the process of providing these documents to residents can take up more time than the process appears to warrant. For example, if these documents don’t exist in digital form, you need to maintain the originals so you can copy them and mail them out. If you do have digital masters of your documents, you still need to find a way to send these copies to the people who request them.
With the right homeowners association website provider, you can skip all this old-school hassle, and set up an online document repository from which your board members, administrators and residents can download anything and everything they need at any time. Ideally, you also want your website software to enable you to restrict access to specific documents so only people with an actual need to read them or fill them out can do so.
Amenities and Events
Two important aspects of your community help it stand out as prospective residents evaluate their options in the real estate market and current residents consider the value of the neighborhood in which they live. First, amenities add immeasurable value to any HOA-governed community. Some of these amenities may be unique to the geographical area in which you’re located. For example, if you’re in a landlocked suburb, you may not be able to offer your residents boat slips or marina access. Instead, your amenities may focus on tennis courts, swimming pools, workout facilities, and other assets more suitable to your city or town.
In addition to amenities, many homeowners associations stage events for their residents—and sometimes for the public at large as well. These events can range from block parties to food truck visits, perhaps even including live entertainment, access to tennis coaches or other professionals who can enhance the value of community amenities, and other thoughtful touches that expand upon the value of living in your neighborhoods.
But ask any homeowners association administrator what they think about dealing with amenities and events, and they’ll tell you that the huge advantages of both of these elements of community life come with some disadvantages as well, especially when it’s time to organize, publicize, and manage them.
Ideally, your homeowners association website software platform can help make these activities less difficult. For example, the right platform can enable you to set up amenity reservations directly on your website, complete with pricing for those items that do require payment, and specify when residents can access these features. Likewise, your HOA website can facilitate event listings, complete with tickets and ticket sales when applicable, as well as all of the elements involved in attracting residents to these happenings.
Homeowners associations can’t function without the dues and fees that residents pay as a part of their community responsibilities. For many homeowners association administrators, the process of invoicing and collecting payments serves as one of the least-desirable, most time-consuming aspects of their administrative responsibilities. A highly functional homeowners association website that incorporates secure payment features can ease these payment complications and automate the process.
Payment processing is a sore point for most homeowners association administrators who have attempted to incorporate it into websites they built themselves. Most of the frequently used payment options send residents off your website to collect the monies owed, and then return them to your site to complete the transaction. Although this may provide all the basic functionality you need, it also raises trust issues for some residents, and it looks less professional than a fully integrated solution.
The HOAStart difference
When you choose HOAStart as your homeowners association website software provider, you get all these features and more. Our long experience in dealing with the needs of homeowners association makes it simple for us to offer you the types of features you really need, with the intuitive convenience that make HOA website software administration easy.
And you can try out our entire feature set at no charge, without providing any form of payment information or credit card details. Simply sign up for our 30-day free trial and you’ll have full access to our powerful HOA website software. When you experience the HOAStart difference for yourself, we’re confident that you’ll see why we’re the best choice for your community.