7 Tips to Optimize Your HOA Start Community Website

7 Tips to Optimize Your HOA Start Community Website

Whether you’ve just begun setting up your homeowners association website through HOA Start or you’re fine tuning a site that you’re ready to launch, you know we’re here to help—and our extensive set of support resources give you a head start. When we asked our support professionals recently for some of questions they often hear from community Admins, these seven topped their lists. If they’re among your administrative questions, too, plug in these answers and expedite your setup process.

Where’s [that feature] on my website?

Can’t find your Calendar, custom form, Document Repository, Newsfeed, or Member Directory on your site? Remember that these features only appear when you build a page for them in Site Setup using one of the templates specifically designed for that purpose. Yes, some of these items depend on information you enter or files you upload on your Admin Dashboard, but to make them visible on your public site, you have to create the connection that brings them online. You’ll also need to attach a custom form or Calendar to a widget element on the page.

Why can’t I turn on Auto Approve so new Members automatically join without my review?

In two situations, you won’t be able to use the Auto Approve feature so prospects can fill out your Member Form and have their Memberships approved without any form of review. First, if you turn off the Auto Approve New Members toggle switch on the Member Approval screen, that deactivates the feature. Second, if you activate the Households feature, that automatically deactivates Auto Approve New Members—and in fact, the Auto Approve toggle switch disappears permanently from the Member Approval page of the Admin Dashboard.

Why can’t I make an online payment on an HOA invoice?

Three situations explain why communities contact us with this question. First, you can’t even create a dues and fees item to generate invoices if you don’t set up an account with Stripe, our built-in payment processor for acceptance of credit and debit cards. (To accept ACH debits so your Members can make online payments directly from a checking account, you also need a Plaid account, but you’ll have to sign up with Stripe first.)

Second, if you want to make online payments, you need a Payments page on your website. Yes, you can see your currently due invoices in the Payments card on My Dashboard, but if you don’t have a Payments page, the link to make a payment won’t go anywhere.

Third, you need to add a payment method before you actually pay an invoice—and each invoice uses a separate method. Even if you add the same card to every payable item, you need to add the card first and then apply it. Why didn’t we make the payment method an add-once, universal part of all your invoices? That’s simple: Many people prefer to use different credit/debit cards or bank accounts to pay different types and forms of invoices—and financial institutions often change your account number (as well as your expiration date and CVV code) each time your credit or debit card renews. This way, you can choose which card or checking account you use on a case-by-case basis. Once you set a payment method for a recurring dues item, you don’t need to set it again unless you want or need to change it.

Why don’t the documents from my Document Repository show up in the Home page Documents widget?

We created that widget to make it easy for communities to share a select few documents with the general public and still protect the privacy of the files in their Document Repository. If you want to add files to the Documents widget, upload them directly through the widget element controls in Site Setup. Additional widget element controls enable you to make these documents visible only to Members who log in, if you wish.

I’m a community Admin. Why don’t I receive e-mail notifications when Members contact us through our website?

Our HOA website software gives you the ability to set the e-mail recipients for various types of Member contact. On the Members screen, the Members Actions button includes access to the Email Management screen, on which you can designate which Admins (and Sub-admins, if your plan includes that feature) should receive system-generated email notifications for Member registrations. The settings for every custom form—including the Ticketing System—provide the ability to designate one or more email recipients on the administrative side.

So until you add yourself as an e-mail recipient, these types of notifications won’t reach your inbox.

Why aren’t all of our residents featured in our Member Directory?

Your Member Profile includes settings that enable you to determine whether your information appears in the Directory and to what extent you share your contact details. If you agree to be listed in the Directory, additional checkboxes appear so you can determine whether your street address, e-mail address, phone number, or any combination of those items, will appear along with your name. If you opt in and agree to share your address, the map on the Member Directory page includes a map tack icon that points out your location.

If you don’t opt in to share any information, you won’t appear in the Member Directory at all.

One of our residents wants to change the e-mail address associated with their account. As an Admin, I thought I could change it for them, but the field is grayed out on their Member Details. Why can’t I change it, and what do I do?

If you’ve added Member Details to the Admin Dashboard, either by building Member records one at a time through manual data entry or with a data upload that creates multiple records simultaneously, you can change the e-mail address associated with these accounts—unless and until the Member actually logs in to the website.

For security reasons, you’ll need to contact HOA Start support to change a Member’s e-mail address after they’ve logged in. We’ll be happy to take care of this for you if you create a support ticket and give us the relevant details.