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10 Design Elements Every HOA Website Needs

HOA Website Design

Can your community website make a lasting impression on residents in 10 seconds or less? Web design studies say that\’s all the time you have to impress a user before they leave your site.

Creating a professional community website can be challenging due to hard-to-use content management systems, privacy concerns, and time limitations. But if residents can\’t find what they need quickly, it can create frustration and increase incoming calls.

With websites being one of the most effective ways to keep HOA residents informed, it’s important to make website design a priority.  A well-designed website makes it easier for residents to find the community on search engines and quickly find the information they need.   In this article, you’ll learn about why it’s important to have a good website design & 10 elements every HOA website needs.

Why Good HOA Website Design Matters

Bring more prospective buyers/renters to the community

As residents are considering buying a home in an HOA, your website needs to be listed on search engines so they can learn more about the community.  A mobile-friendly website design, coupled with fresh content, can give a boost to your website’s search engine rankings (SEO).  

Increase resident satisfaction & reduce inbound calls to the office

It’s important that your HOA website be flexible enough so you can continue updating it with new information.  When residents are able to find what they’re looking for, they’re more likely to return to the site for the community’s latest updates. 

10 HOA Website Design Elements

Now that you have an understanding of how web design elements impact how your website performs and how your residents perceive the community, let\’s dive into the exact elements you need!

  1. Mobile Responsive Design
  2. Branding
  3. Navigation
  4. Private vs Public pages
  5. Page Layout
  6. Content
  7. Photos
  8. Videos
  9. Calls-to-Action
  10. Advanced Customization

1) Mobile Responsive Design

Websites with mobile-responsive design adjust text, pictures, and videos so that it fits the size of the device it’s being viewed on.  A responsive web design is a must in today\’s mobile-first world because it helps users find information quickly and encourages them to stay on your website longer. 

Pilera’s HOA website solution provides several mobile-responsive templates to improve user experience and discoverability on search. Take a look at some of Pilera\’s mobile-responsive design templates!

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2) Branding

Every HOA website needs to incorporate the community’s branding in its design.  The community’s branding should reflect its culture, how residents perceive it, and what makes it different from other communities.  You can successfully convey your community\’s culture by implementing these three branding elements:

Banner

A banner image stretches horizontally across the top of your website.  It\’s important that the banner for your community presents a positive and professional outlook of the community.  The banner should give a warm feeling to your residents when they visit your website and first see the banner.  Your banner should also be authentic.  Many communities use an actual image of their community.  Your residents are more likely to connect with an image that is real and authentic than a stock image.

Community Logo

Your community logo is an image with text and images that reflect what your community is all about.  Having a logo for your community is important because it establishes a positive connection with your residents and makes it memorable in their minds.  A good community logo is simple, memorable, and identifiable.  

Color Scheme

A color scheme is a combination of colors used for a website’s primary and secondary backgrounds and text.  Having a color scheme for your community website improves brand recognition and conveys feelings. Different colors can produce different emotions or feelings in individuals. Warm colors such as red, orange, and yellow depict optimism, excitement, and happiness. Cooler colors, such as blue and green, depict serenity and peace.

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3) Navigation/Menu

Navigation is one of the most important elements of your website.  Good navigation makes it easy for residents to find what they are looking for, whereas poorly designed navigation can frustrate and turn users away.  Your community website\’s navigation should be structured with residents in mind. How would they search for information on a website?  Where would a resident expect to find information about community activities?  Where would a board member expect to find information on community budgets? Be sure to clearly title each navigation item.  

Examples of navigation items that are common among many HOA websites include Community, Owners, Board Members, and Contact Us.  If you have a lot of information to convey to your community, you may consider creating secondary navigation, as seen in the example below. 

In Pilera, you can create primary and secondary navigations to organize pages to make it easy for residents to find what they need. 

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Watch Video: Easily add a logo and banner with Pilera\’s Community Websites

4) Create private vs. public pages

HOAs often deal with sensitive information, and board members and managers must prioritize data security and privacy when creating a website. With Pilera\’s community website, you can create private pages that are password-protected to keep your association\’s information safe. These pages are only visible when managers, board members, and residents log into the website. For example, many communities will create a private page with documents, surveys, or marketplace items restricted to board members or residents. You can create public pages for information that prospective homeowners may be interested in, such as amenities.

5) Page Layout/Formatting

Layout refers to how you structure your web pages and format your content within them.  Overall, a good page layout will enable residents to find information quickly.  When residents find information quickly, they will keep coming back to the website as they now consider it a reliable source for the latest community information.   

Each page on your website can have a unique layout to make it easy to organize and find information.  In the example below, if your home page consists of a two-column layout, the center can include an introductory message, and the sidebar can include local weather, upcoming events, or quick links.  When you create a page in Pilera, you can choose up to 3 columns to display your content in.

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6) Content

Having relevant and fresh content on your HOA website keeps your residents coming back to your website as a trusted source for the latest community information. When writing content, it’s important to take into consideration who your audience is and how they’re most likely to understand information.  Consider these tips:

  1. What are residents contacting you about?  Group their questions into topics and create a page on your HOA website for each topic. 
  2. Keep information short and to the point.
  3. Avoid using industry jargon where possible and use words that are easy to understand.
  4. Keep the tone consistent in your writing.    
  5. Make sure to continue updating the content on your website.  Search engines rank websites that update their content regularly higher than those that do not.

7) Photos

As we discussed earlier, authentic and real images help establish a connection with your residents.  To showcase what your community has to offer to your residents, you can create photo galleries for events, amenities, and common areas that residents can enjoy.

8) Videos

Videos are another great way to showcase your community’s culture to current and future prospective residents.  Be creative in the videos you create.  Here are some ideas you can implement:

  1. Talk about the community\’s goals and how board members and residents are working to achieve those goals together.
  2. What residents like the most about the community.
  3. Tutorial videos on how to navigate through the website or community portal.
  4. How-to videos to keep residents engaged on topics such as home maintenance, gardening, tips to improve the value of their home, etc.  

9) Calls-To-Action (a.k.a. CTA’s)

Call-to-actions refer to important actions that you want residents to take on your website.  In general, each page should have one clear call to action to drive a certain action.  That action could be to submit a contact us form, a work order request form, signing into the resident portal, or making a payment.  Your call to action should:

  1. Be clearly labeled – Your residents should know what to expect when they click on the CTA.
  2. Be clickable.  Your CTA can either be a button or a link.  If it’s a button, make sure the text is visible.  If the CTA is a text link, make sure to bold and underline the text.  People will not know to click on the link if it is not underlined. 
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10) Customizability (Advanced)

A significant part of web design is the ability to customize how it looks and feels.  Every HOA community is unique, and that\’s why it\’s important that your website truly captures and reflects the values of your community. That’s where advanced customization can be helpful.  If you have advanced HTML or CSS knowledge, you can customize background and text colors, header text and colors, button colors, and more. In Pilera’s Easysites, website administrators can customize the look and feel of the website with custom HTML and CSS if they want something more advanced.

Website Considerations

Now that you understand the essential elements for creating a robust website let\’s delve into another crucial aspect: cost. Several factors influence the expenses associated with building a website. Let\’s explore two key considerations:

1) Build Your Website In-House or Hire a Developer

Whether to develop your community\’s website in-house or hire a developer depends on time, experience, and budget. If there are community members with solid web design skills, delegating the task to them can be a cost-effective option. On the other hand, if your community lacks the necessary expertise or time, hiring a professional web designer becomes a viable alternative. Keep in mind that professional designers come with varying costs; simpler websites may cost $100-500, while highly customized ones can range upwards of $30,000. Factors influencing the cost include updating frequency, developer skills, customizations, and choosing between freelancers or web design agencies.

2) Type of Content Management System: HOA Specific or Generic

Selecting the right website provider for your HOA or condo association involves considering two primary categories: purpose-built software for community associations and generic mass-market CMS platforms.

Purpose-built HOA websites include many features tailored to community needs and seamlessly integrate with resident portals. Modules such as event management, document sharing, marketplace listings, and dues payments can be easily incorporated into these websites. This option proves more cost-effective compared to platforms like WordPress, where customization often requires hiring a developer.

While free website builders exist, they often suffer from drawbacks like slow loading times, intrusive advertisements, limited to no customer support, bandwidth restrictions, data ownership concerns, and limited customization capabilities. These shortcomings can frustrate residents, potentially leading to increased inquiries to the administrative office.

Additionally, evaluating the pros and cons of purpose-built HOA websites versus popular generic platforms like WordPress can provide insights into making an informed decision.

About Pilera

Good HOA website design ensures that that the site is easily findable on search engines and that your residents will have a positive experience in finding information. When you incorporate these design elements together, the website is easy to use and will be one that your residents become proud of! Pilera\’s community websites make it easy for non-technical staff to build a beautiful community website. With drag-and-drop elements, customizable content, and integration with Pilera features, your community will improve operations & resident satisfaction. Contact [email protected] to learn more or book a personalized 1:1 demo!

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