7 Tips and Tricks to Optimize Your HOAStart Website
Now that you’ve signed up with HOAStart as your homeowners association website software provider, you want to get the most out of your site-building project. Use these tips and tricks to overcome some common misconceptions and keep your site project on track.
The case of the vanishing content
I just spent an hour adding photos and text to some of my web pages. Why did my page content disappear? I came back to Site Setup today and it’s all gone.
You know what happens in a software program if you close a file without saving it. You can search every nook and cranny of your storage device without finding a single trace of that document. If you never saved it, it’s as if it never existed.
That’s essentially what’s happening on your HOAStart website. You went into Site Setup, created some pages, added some text and images to them, and came back the next day, only to discover that all your work has disappeared. The pages probably are still there, but your prose and your photos have vanished.
If you look up at the top right corner of the Site Builder window, you’ll see a button labeled “Save and Publish.” If you don’t click on that button before you leave Site Setup, nothing you’ve typed in or uploaded will remain. That’s because Site Setup assumes that if you don’t save and publish your changes, you didn’t want to preserve them.
Staging Sites, Production Sites, and you
What’s a Staging Site, and why would I want one?
“I don’t see a button labeled ‘Save and Publish’ in the Site Builder. I see two buttons, one labeled ‘Save Changes’ and the other labeled ‘Publish.’ What’s that about?””
That’s because you’re in a special version of Site Setup that’s called a Staging Site. You’ll notice that when you visit your public website, you don’t see the version of your site that appears on your Staging Site—and when you visit Site Setup, you can’t see your staging site unless you change a drop-down menu from “Currently editing: Production” to “Currently editing: Staging.”
Here’s the thing: If you visit Site Setup on a brand-new site, you’ll see a button that’s labeled “Create a Staging Site.” If you want to experiment with a different theme, you create a Staging Site and build it there. It’s like a parallel universe.
On a Staging Site, the “Save Changes” button confirms the edits you’ve made. The “Publish” button does something altogether different from “Save and Publish” on a Production Site: It turns your Staging Site into your Production Site and sends your former Production Site to the “back room,” where it’s now your Staging Site.
The mystery of the invisible calendar events
Why doesn’t my calendar page display our events or our amenity availabilities?
You build your calendar and add events to it in the Admin Dashboard, but no one can see it except you and your fellow admins—until you add a page to your website based on a Calendar template. But that’s not your last step. You need to view the calendar page, access the calendar widget controls, and select the calendar you want to display. After you’ve done that, you’ll see your events (or, in the case of an Amenities calendar, your reservations)—but only on your public website.
Public vs. private pages
On my Onboarding Form, you asked me to decide whether my pages should be public or private. What’s the difference?
Anybody with a web browser can visit your website, but when you designate some of your pages as private, nobody can see them except a registered member of your site who logs in first. Public pages are visible to anyone who visits, so save them for marketing material or content that you’re required to make available.
The incredible shrinking website
Most of my website pages have disappeared, and I can’t access my Admin Dashboard. What happened and how do I fix it?
Some communities sign up for an HOAStart website but never finish the setup process or actually pay for their site. After the invoice becomes past due, our software automatically deactivates administrative access and makes most of the website pages invisible. We do everything in our power to support communities and their leadership as they set up their sites, and we allow you a generous amount time to try out our software. But after a certain point, if we don’t hear from you, we assume you’ve made other plans. If your site lapses by accident, get in touch with us immediately, make payment arrangements, and we’ll get you back up and running right away.
Those don’t look like my documents.
I uploaded a bunch of files. Where are they? I don’t see them in Site Setup.
If you’re wondering why the Document Repository doesn’t show your actual files and folders while you’re in Site Setup, the reason is simple: To make the site-building experience as responsive and snappy as possible, we display placeholder content in certain places, including on your Document Repository and your Calendars. These pages draw the data they display from the material you set up and upload on the Admin Dashboard, not from text you create in Site Setup itself. To see your actual documents and calendars, visit the Public Site through the Admin Dashboard or access your site through its regular domain location (if you’ve registered and set up a custom domain for it).
Let’s get registered—onsite
How do I let my residents register for membership on our website?
The setting that enables your residents to register for site membership appears—appropriately enough—in the Settings section of the Admin Dashboard. The “Allow Public Registrations” toggle switch does the trick. If you turn it off, you won’t see a “Register” link on your public pages. If you turn it on, your members can apply directly on any site page.