Why a User-Friendly HOA Website Is a Must-Have Community Asset
Communication and a shared commitment to community values help your homeowners association thrive. Beyond the tangible assets that make up your neighborhoods, the spirit that draws your residents together shines even brighter when you strengthen and promote it through a well-designed, user-friendly homeowners association website. When you choose the right software provider and platform package, your website becomes a significant community asset, not just a way to meet legal requirements or market your HOA. To make the most of your online presence, look for these essential capabilities in the packages you evaluate for your community.
Create intuitive navigation and page structures
Some homeowners association website software providers limit you to a small number of prefabricated pages, and don’t give you the option to expand your website so you can accommodate your community’s unique features, structure, and amenities. That’s fine if that’s all you want, but for most HOAs, that’s nowhere near enough.
Ideally, you want a website software platform that enables you to create an unlimited number of pages, organize them into drop-down menus that combine related material, restrict the visibility of individual pages or page elements based on community needs, and change your site design at any time. Beyond that flexibility, you want to be able to create pages quickly, with professionally designed templates that give you versatile options for how you structure your content. And of course, you want WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) design power in a site setup feature that enables you to go from ideas to finished pages in a matter of moments.
Collect essential data with custom input
If you’ve ever been stuck with a portal as the point of input for member information, you know that a prefabricated structure like that simply can’t accommodate all the nuances and specifics that make your community and its residents unique. This definitely is a situation in which one size does not fit all. But portals, and software platforms that behave like them, assume that their vision of your needs encompasses everything you and your fellow administrators need to accomplish.
Not very likely, right? Restrictive website structures quickly become chafing entrapments.
That’s why one of the first things you should look for in a homeowners association website software platform is the ability to create and post an unlimited number of custom forms through which to collect information about new residents, ask questions and receive answers from your community at large, and accomplish anything that requires obtaining data from members.
Unify HOA information and documents
The old-fashioned file-folders-and-spreadsheets approach to accumulating and organizing HOA resident information simply won’t cut it today. No one wants to risk losing critical data, let alone lose track of the meaning and significance of that information. But if you’re still stuck with this kind of manual approach, you’re missing out.
A homeowners association website software platform that’s worth its salt enables you to upload, provide access to, and organize policies and procedures, essential documentation, and all the other facts, figures, and input that represent your covenants, options, and expectations. At the same time that you’re making this information accessible, your software needs to give you the ability to make some of these resources accessible to the public and restrict access to others as members-only assets.
Simplify invoicing and payments
It’s no secret that nobody actually enjoys paying HOA dues and fees, although everyone in your community welcomes and appreciates what those dues accomplish in terms of property values, neighborhood charm, and more. But that doesn’t mean that the process of invoicing and collecting those payments needs to be burdensome. After all, if you’re like most homeowners association administrators, you’re volunteering your time to help out your community, and anything you can do to lighten your workload while you maintain your standards of performance is a welcome advantage.
That’s where your homeowners association website software platform comes in. If you’ve considered building your own website from scratch with a popular content management system, you’ve quickly realized that the process of identifying and evaluating payment processing entities is a job in itself, one that often does not end well.
But an optimal HOA software package includes built-in secure payment processing. No more sending your residents to another site to make payments, or collecting checks, or doing any one of a number of manual processing steps that make the collections task such a chore. Instead, you simply set up your invoicing according to what you need to collect, and the software system invoices each resident appropriately so they can pay online securely.
Promote resident communication
One of the critical components of homeowners association functionality is a fluent set of lines of communication between administrators and residents and, optimally, among residents themselves. Of course, you want control of how these systems work and who can use them.
The two most popular built-in homeowners association website software platform communication components include private chat and newsfeed capabilities. Private chat enables you to dispense with the need for third-party social media sites as communication channels. A newsfeed gives you a convenient way to post important bulletins, pin enduring posts to the head of the list so they remain top of mind, and decide whether or not to allow residents to contribute their own posts and comments. Between these two communication protocols, you can promote the neighborhood spirit that makes a community a real home.
How HOA Start can make your job easier
If you’ve already guessed that the features we’ve described in this post are all part of the website software platform we provide for homeowners associations like yours, you’re right. We’ve spent years working with HOAs, learning the many ways they prefer to serve their residents, and we’ve built these features and options into our software. No need to guess how or whether our platform meets your unique needs. Just sign up for a completely free 14-day trial and test out our full feature set for yourself. We’re confident that you and your board will see how HOA Start can help you build the attractive, practical, productive website that becomes one of your community’s essential assets.