With the many technological advancements we have today, an association website is a virtual necessity. A well-run, accessible site is critical to ease and improve HOA communication, finances, and board functionality.
While not without risks, creating a community website that is easily navigated, professional, and that contains useful content for community members is well worth the time and expense to develop and maintain.
Gone are the days when every announcement, regulation change, or update must be sent out via snail mail or flyer to each resident. A website gives all members 24-hour access to HOA news, community documents, covenants and by-laws, board meeting minutes, and calendar events. A quick email blast or post can alert residents to an emergency in the area or other critical information.
One of the main functions and greatest benefits of a community website is to provide an easy, user-friendly way to request and collect payments and assessments. Residents love a one-stop, hassle-free place to view balances, make payments, and receive other financial information.
Because a website is a relatively inexpensive way to manage community affairs, it doesn’t take long to see the financial benefits. Not only do associations see savings in postage and paper, but also in time and effort.
Sense of Community.
HOA websites provide the best of both worlds: community members have all the information they need right at their fingertips without feeling overwhelmed or constantly bombarded by HOA board or staff members. A website can provide the perfect balance between privacy and communication to foster a comfortable, natural sense of community.
As with most online ventures, HOA websites are vulnerable to cyber crime – particularly theft of financial information. Additionally, making board meeting minutes available for all to see and providing open forums on websites can also lead to potential lawsuits.
The good news is that with a little foresight and preparation, these risks can be greatly minimized. HOAs should take care to use password protection to ensure that no financial information is compromised and there should be varying levels of access within the website to limit liability.
Tips for a Winning Website
Keep it Current.
Keep your website consistently updated with fresh, relatable content that will keep members connected and encourage them to check back frequently. It’s also helpful to provide a way for users to give regular feedback and make adjustments to the content flow as needed.
Organization is Key.
No one wants to log on to a website only to have to weed through complicated layouts and unimportant information. Simple, seamless navigation is critical to creating a platform that members are eager to use.
Using social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote your website is a great way to engage users and encourage them to share content and extend the reach of your site.
As you can see, there are multiple benefits to using an HOA website. With precautions in place, those benefits foster a sense of community, provide easy access for homeowners, and allow the board to communicate effectively in a timely and cost-effective manner.