In today’s world, your online presence is the face of your company. Most of the time it’s the first thing prospective owners and residents will see before initial contact is made. First impressions are key to engaging users.
With technology advancing rapidly and Internet users expectations ever-increasing, knowing where to start and how to optimize your website can seem daunting. We’ve outlined some key topics to think about when turning your property management website into a successful avenue to growing your business, attracting the modern renter, maintaining smooth daily operations, and more!
Design & Branding
Visitors of your site want to see something that is not only pleasing to the eye, but also organized and easily navigated. Some website design must-haves include:
- A design that is clean, uncluttered, and professional-looking
- Company logo is prominent and blends with the overall look of the site
- Visitors can easily navigate and search your listings
- Images and graphics render correctly on all browsers, for both Mac and PC users
So what’s the best approach to ensuring your site has all the key elements? Property managers taking the design of their website into their own hands run the risk of becoming stressed and overwhelmed and possibly ending up with a poorly designed site. You may want to consider hiring an outside design agency or use a software program with a website package that makes designing and maintaining your site much more manageable.
Most property managers would say that effectively advertising their vacancies is the top objective of their website. So why not make it as effective and easy to update as possible? Today’s prospective renters want the entire virtual experience on their computer or mobile device, before making the decision to pursue your vacancy. This means making sure you display nice crisp photographs of your vacancies, as well as floor plans and when possible, add virtual tours of the properties and grounds. Make your life easier with a website that has built in features that allow you to easily update vacancies, upload applications, and post pictures, videos and floorplans.
Tip: Implement social media capabilities to allow more users to connect with your business and share information and listings that interest them or people they know.
Users’ expectations for online features are high, and your website should be ready to meet their expectations. Whether it be communicating with current residents, prospective renters, or owners, you should be providing online features that make their lives easier, as well as streamline your own day-to-day business operations. Prospective residents should be able to search properties easily, andapply online. Offer current residents the capability to send maintenance requests through your site, and pay their rent securely online. For owners, a successful website gives them confidence that you are marketing their properties to their full potential and attracting ideal renters.
Tip: Most people today use mobile devices to view websites. Make sure your site is optimized for mobile devices, or you may be missing out on a significant group of modern renters.
Analytics & Tracking
Tracking clicks, page views and other important activity is key to understanding how users experience and utilize your site, yet a whopping 75% of small businesses admit they do not use analytics tools to measure their site’s performance. Analytics tools can provide valuable information about your customers’ habits and needs, as well as enabling you to track the progress and reach of your website. So why do so many business owners shy away from such a tool? Some may fear the possibility of additional costs associated with it, or they think the information will be too complicated to understand. There are solutions out there that can ease these apprehensions. Some property management software options, such as AppFolio, include integration with Google Analytics making it easy to extract and analyze important data.
By now you have a snapshot of what it means to create and maintain a successful website. With so many facets and functions, you might be thinking: “Where do I start?” The bottom line is, taking on the creation and maintenance of a website requires some help. There are clear benefits to having a professional on hand to transform your vision and needs into a fully functional, eye-catching, and easily maintained site. An outside design company may be able to create the site you want, but the cost can be significant, and you are left to maintain the site on your own once design is complete. Some more affordable and practical options can come from a property management software that includes a website package. The added benefit of this is that you always have support maintaining your site, and your website can be integrated into the software you use to run your business—all in one package price.