If you work with an association management company that offers you access to an HOA website portal, you may think you can use it to take care of all the functions you’d otherwise create a website to handle. That’s probably not the case—and even if you decide to use property manager websites for some functions, you may not be satisfied with how they handle the full range of your online needs.
Most HOA website portals are designed to serve the management company’s needs, not yours. The company wants to set up a single website and enable multiple client communities to use it for functions such as online bill payments. The problem with that approach is that it treats each of the management company’s communities generically, with no HOA-specific content. And to serve all of the company’s properties, the HOA website portal can’t offer too many features that may not suit the lowest common denominator of these communities’ needs.
So you wind up logging in to a website that can’t provide community-specific information, beyond the bare bones of invoices and payments, and that lacks all of the community value besides its singular focus on the economic aspects of community administration.
Those are important considerations, of course, but they’re not enough to make an HOA website portal function like a true community website. By contrast, a community’s own website includes photo galleries that highlight architectural features, scenic beauty, and the neighborhood atmosphere that turns a collection of homes into a neighborhood. It shares information about community needs and developments, and even can allow residents to comment on these postings. It publicizes the special advantages of an individual HOA to attract potential residents.