Why Neighborhood Websites are More Essential than Ever
Do you live in a neighborhood that’s governed by a homeowners association? If so, do you have a website for your neighborhood association? If you don’t, you may want to consider creating one.
Neighborhood websites are more essential now than ever before. Communities increasingly rely on the internet to communicate and stay connected.
Neighborhood websites provide central hubs for news, events, and other important information. Plus, they create greater transparency between the association and homeowners.
In some states, including Florida, have passed laws that require neighborhood associations to have HOA websites. If you want to stay within the law or improve communication in your community, here are some tips for creating a successful website for your neighborhood or HOA.
The problem with a Facebook-only approach
When it comes to neighborhood communication, some associations take a Facebook-only approach. Although Facebook can be a great tool for sharing information, it’s not ideal for everything. For example, important documents like a monthly newsletter or association bylaws are best distributed through a website, not Facebook.
A website also provides a more professional image for your neighborhood. A well-designed website gives the impression that the association is organized and has its act together. Conversely, a Facebook group can look like a hot mess, with posts all over the place.
Another downside to relying solely on Facebook is that not everyone is on social media. In fact, Facebook usage is declining among young people. A website ensures that everyone in the neighborhood can stay up to date about what’s going on, even if they’re not on Facebook.
The unique benefits of a neighborhood website
Years ago, before the advent of the all-consuming internet, most people received their news from print newspapers delivered to their doorstep each morning.
But today, most get their news and updates online—and may not even recognize that they’re doing so. Thanks to the rise of social media, we now consume news in bite-sized pieces throughout the day without even realizing it.
But although it’s essential to stay up to date on the latest news stories, community news isn’t the only reason you should have a neighborhood website. Here are some other unique benefits of having an online presence for your community.
A neighborhood website…
Enables you to share important documents and files easily
No more tracking down homeowners to deliver hard copies of documents. Now, simply post them on your website for easy access. For example, you can upload your HOA bylaws, meeting minutes, and contact information for board members, all in one place.
Makes it easy to post announcements and calendar events
With a website, it’s easy to post announcements and reminders about upcoming events. This is especially helpful when you need to share last-minute changes or cancellations. Simply log in to your website, add your updates, and all of your homeowners will be notified immediately.
Creates a sense of community
A neighborhood website provides a space for neighbors to interact online, which helps create a stronger sense of community, For example, you can add a forum where neighbors can ask questions, post classified ads, and get to know each other better.
Enhance transparency among your homeowners
When homeowners have access to information about their HOA, they are more likely to trust its leadership and feel involved in their community. A website is the perfect platform for sharing important documents and files, post announcements and add calendar events.
Tips for creating a successful neighborhood website
As you can see, building and maintaining a neighborhood website comes with a number of benefits.
But if you’re not careful, your website can become stagnant and uninviting. Use these tips to create a successful website that will engage and inform your homeowners.
1. Build a neighborhood website software with features your homeowners actually will use
When you choose website software, be sure to pick one with features that actually will be useful for your homeowners.
For example, if you want to create a sense of community, look for software that includes a forum or classified ads section. If you want to improve communications, choose software that makes it easy to post announcements and calendar events.
2. Keep your website updated with fresh content
A website is only as good as the content you put on it. If you want your homeowners to visit your website regularly, you need to keep it updated with fresh content.
Post announcements and reminders often, and be sure to upload any new documents or files as soon as they become available. Additionally, consider adding a blog to your website so you can share news and updates about your community.
3. Make your website visually appealing
Your website should be attractive and easy to navigate. Be sure to choose software with a modern design that is responsive and mobile friendly.
Your website also should be easy to use, with a clear navigation bar and search function. When you make your website visually appealing and user-friendly, you encourage homeowners to visit it often.
4. Promote your website to your homeowners
Don’t assume that all of your homeowners know about your website. You need to promote it!
Include the link to your website in all of your correspondence, and post it on any marketing materials you distribute. You also can promote your website through social media by adding a link to your profile or creating posts about upcoming events.
Build a neighborhood website your community will love
To build a thriving community, start with effective communication. A neighborhood website is a perfect platform to share important information and foster a sense of community among your homeowners.
When you follow these tips, you can create a successful website that will engage and inform your homeowners. Don’t leave your community in the Stone Age, still dependent on dated methods such as print newsletters and Facebook groups. Build your neighborhood website today!