A website is a long-term investment into a community’s operations. When a website is well-built and nurtured over time with the purpose of keeping residents informed, it can help managers and board members to build stronger relations with the community, while running it more efficiently. Residents can get access to information easily amidst their busy schedules, be more informed, and feel more connected to their community. How can you make your community website stand out from the rest, and provide residents with a central place for all information about the community? In this blog post, we go over five important tips to make your community websites more effective in engaging and informing residents.
Tip #1: Show off your community’s persona via design and content.
A website is an online representation of what a community’s mission is and what values they stand for. The community’s mission, ideals, and values are all collectively a part of their brand. For example, does your community mostly consist of high-end, luxury homes? Or, is your community a fun-loving one where managers and association leaders work with the community hands-on? Or, does your community have a vast amount of amenities and are skilled in maintaining them? High-end, luxury, fun-loving, collaborative, skillful – all of these are qualities that your community potentially imbibes. It’s important to convey those qualities through your website design and content.
Tip #2: Write in a simple manner.
One of the most essential goals for a community is to be as informative as possible because it improves operations and helps to increase resident satisfaction in the community. For your content to be informative it’s important to write in a clear and concise manner without using industry jargon. This will help residents to easily comprehend the information they are getting. Once you’ve written content for the website, send it another community leader for review.
Tip #3: Answer the questions your residents want and need to know.
Residents will browse on the community’s website for a reason. The more helpful and detailed the information on your website is, the more satisfied residents will be knowing that they can get their questions answered at any time of the day. The main purpose of any website is to provide solutions to a person or company’s problem or provide answers to a question, and it’s no different for community websites. Your community website may address the following information for residents:
- Community contact information (names, phone numbers, and email addresses) and office hours.
- Board member names and positions.
- A frequently asked questions (FAQs) page answering any questions that residents regularly ask. How can residents submit an architectural change request to be reviewed and approved by the community? How can they submit maintenance requests?
- How residents can get access to community documents, governing documents and rules, important messages and community events.
- Does your community comprise of rental properties? Provide information about those rental properties, procedures, and how to submit an application.
Tip #4: Add multimedia to your content mix.
There are many ways to tell your community’s story and one of the best ways is through multimedia in the form of videos and images. Multimedia is much more engaging and easier for residents to not only process and understand but resonate with. Furthermore, videos and images create a more personal connection than simple text does. According to Hubspot, eye-tracking studies showed that individuals pay closer attention to content that includes images and are able to retain information three days later when the image is paired with the content. Additionally, individuals are four times as likely to watch a video about a company’s product or services than to read about it and close to 77% of businesses surveyed state that videos had a direct positive impact on their business. Here are some ways to integrate multimedia into the community website:
- Add photos of your team members, community gatherings and meetings, amenities the community offers, and other areas of interest.
- Show an introduction video to your community on the home page detailing community history and culture, values and mission, the services provided, leader background, and special aspects of the community.
- Create “how to” videos to educate your residents on a variety of community-related topics or about the services the community offers.
- A simple thank you video message to your community members appreciating everyone’s contribution can strengthen the bond between the board and residents.
Tip #5: Implement responsive design.
According to comScore’s mobile usage study, approximately 65% of internet users in the United States consume information on multiple devices. For a community, this means that information must be readily available in more than one device to provide a great user experience to residents who may own different devices. A responsive website design is key to providing easily readable information to your residents, whether it be on a laptop, desktop, tablet, or mobile device of any size. Responsive design allows for flexible stretch or compression of website pages and its elements (navigation bar, text, images, and other multimedia) to fit the device it is being viewed on. Therefore, you’ll want to incorporate responsive design for compliance and to provide your residents/board members with a good user experience.
Pilera is your all-in-one community management suite for communications, work orders, help desk functionality, resident access, and more. We also offer powerful community and company websites called Pilera EasySite. What’s the best part of our websites? There’s absolutely no coding experience necessary. Our simple drag and drop functionality makes it easy to place various elements such as photo galleries, contact information, event calendars, and weather displays. EasySite also integrates with Pilera’s various modules.