New Year, New Website!

  • Post category:HOA Websites
  • Reading time:3 mins read

Happy New Year! As the calendar flips over to a new year, it’s a perfect time to think about building a website for your association.

A website is an essential tool for any modern HOA, COA or association. It’s a central hub for communication, information sharing, and online interactions. A well-designed website can make the lives of both HOA board members and homeowners easier, as well as help build a sense of community within the association.

If you’re considering building a website for your HOA, you should consider hiring HOA Web to do the job. Here’s why:

  1. We specialize in HOA websites. Building a website for an HOA is different from building a website for a small business or personal blog. HOA websites have specific needs and features, such as membership directories, event calendars, and document libraries. At HOA Web, we have years of experience building websites for associations, so we know how to create a website that meets the unique needs of your community.
  2. We offer fully managed solutions. Building a website is just the beginning. You’ll also need to worry about hosting, security, updates, and backups. With HOA Web, you don’t have to worry about any of that. We offer fully managed solutions, which means we handle all the technical details for you. This frees up your time to focus on running your HOA and serving your community.
  3. We build custom websites. Every HOA is different, and your website should reflect that. At HOA Web, we don’t use pre-made templates or cookie-cutter designs. Instead, we work with you to create a custom website that meets your specific needs and reflects the character of your community.

In short, if you’re looking to build a website for your association, HOA Web is a perfect choice. Contact us today for a free estimate!

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States that Require Association Websites

  • Post category:HOA Websites
  • Reading time:2 mins read

In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of states that require homeowner’s associations (HOAs) to have a website. These websites serve as a valuable resource for homeowners, providing important information about the association and the community it serves.

One of the first states to require HOAs to have a website was California. In 2011, California passed Assembly Bill 548, which mandated that HOAs with more than 50 units must maintain a website. This law went into effect in January 2012 and has been successful in providing homeowners with easy access to important information about their association.

Other states have followed California’s lead and now require HOAs to have websites as well. These states include Nevada, Colorado, Texas, and Florida. In Nevada, HOAs with more than 50 units are required to maintain a website, while in Colorado, the threshold is 150 units. Texas requires HOAs with more than 10 units to have a website, while in Florida, all HOAs are required to have a website, regardless of the number of units.

Having a website is not only a requirement in some states, but it is also a valuable tool for HOAs. A website can provide important information about the association, such as contact information, meeting dates and times, community rules and regulations, and more. It can also serve as a platform for communication between the association and homeowners, allowing homeowners to easily stay informed about what is happening in their community.

In addition to providing important information, a website can also be a valuable tool for HOAs to manage their operations. Many HOA management software programs offer the ability to integrate with a website, allowing the association to easily post important documents, such as meeting minutes and financial reports, for homeowners to access. This can save the association time and money by reducing the need to print and distribute documents.

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How to Write About Us Page Copy for your Association

Have you been tasked with putting together content for your community website only to find yourself at a dead end? Writing content on behalf of your community can be a daunting task. Even skilled writers can find it challenging to come up with enough content about their community to fill an entire “About Us” page. To add further stress, your board or web developer may be bugging you to provide that content ASAP. We have put together a guide to help you create an outline so you can knock out that “About Us” page content in no time.

Information to Include

The “About” page for your association should be an informative piece of content outlining what makes your HOA or COA unique. This shouldn’t be a massive essay on everything that exists in your community, though. Instead, it should be a brief outline that sums up the key features of your community.

Ask yourself what you would like to know about your community if you were an outsider looking in. Consider yourself a prospective buyer looking to purchase within your HOA or COA. What information would you be interested in knowing? What would be important to you? Jot down these ideas in a bulleted list for reference when you start writing.

Some Ideas to Start With

If the above exercise didn’t get the juices flowing then consider some of the ideas we have put together in the list below. These are some of the key features that should show up on your association’s “About Us” page.

  • What year was your community founded?
  • How many homes or condominiums are there?
  • Where geographically is your association located?
  • Is there public transit available?
  • What sort of amenities are there? (pool, tennis courts, golf, etc)
  • Are you adjacent to any tourist attractions? Natural areas?
  • How is your HOA/COA structured?
  • How many board members are there?
  • When are your association’s meetings and how often?
  • What are the annual dues for your association?
  • What sort of annual events does your community hold?
  • Information about the City your HOA/COA is in

Again this is just a list of some ideas that may be helpful to get your writing started. Not all of this information may be appropriate to share on your about page (think dues).

Examples of Associations with Good “About Us” Page Copy

Beau Chêne

The Beau Chêne Homeowner’s assocation is a great example of “About Us” page copy. It is short and to the point and cleary outlines the key features of the community. You can view it yourself here or see the screenshot below.

Orinda Woods

The “About Us” page copy for the Orinda Woods HOA is simple but to the point. There are no frills to their website but it gets the message across. Their page could certainly use some photos to break up the copy but the verbiage itself is solid. They also include a blurb about the city they are located in at the bottom of the page.

Covered Bridge Canyon

Covered Bridge Canyon has a great About Us page which includes information about the physical and architectural characteristics of the community. They also detail lot sizes and underground utility features. This is a great example of thinking outside the box on what makes a community unique.

Hopefully, this has provided some great ideas on getting your “About Us” page content started.

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September Reminders

  • Post category:Monthly Reminders
  • Reading time:2 mins read

Believe it or not, the time for kids to start heading back to school is fast approaching or for some of us here already. This means more drivers on the road, school buses in your neighborhoods and kids crossing the street. This is a good time to remind residents to get ready for back to school activities and be extra vigilant when driving around schools in your neighborhood.

Board Meeting Updates

Be sure to update your site with the latest information on your board meetings. Some HOAs skip summer meetings due to residents being on vacation so these September meetings are extra important.

Swimming Pools

If your community has a swimming pool you may want to remind members of back to school hours and closure dates. This is also a good time to ask residents to review the lost and found and come pick up left behind items.

Entering Fall

September will be taking us straight into fall which means cooler weather and rain. Remind residents to wrap up those summer projects and take steps to get ready for the winter. It is easier to clean out gutters and catch up on yard work while the weather is still nice.

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Why Doesn’t My HOA Website Get Very Much Traffic?

  • Post category:HOA Websites
  • Reading time:4 mins read

So you have launched your HOA website and it has been live for some time but you are starting to notice that you only get a handful of visitors each month. It is almost like people in your HOA community are not visiting the website. So what gives?

This isn’t the “Field of Dreams”. Websites do not operate under the “if you build it, they will come” premise. If they did, we would all be rich. In order to get visitors to your HOA website you need to take the following steps:

  • Make your community members aware there is a website for them to visit
  • Utilize tools like mailing lists and social media to notify community members when there is new content on your website
  • Create content that will make people want to visit your website such as news and an events calendar.
  • Make sure your website is accessible via mobile devices

Make Members Aware of your Website

This seems pretty obvious but many HOA managers don’t even let their community members know they have a website at their disposal. When you launch a new HOA website you need to make sure that you let your community know it exists.

If you have a newsletter you send out, inform your members through that. Make them aware at monthly meetings, through social media, etc.

A good strategy to “force” members to visit your website is to store important forms on your site. For example, you could keep your architectural review form on the website. This would force your community members to visit the site to download the form.

Notify HOA Members of New Content

When you post new updates to your site you need a way of letting your community members know. A good example of this would be letting them know through a Facebook page. A better example would be keeping them informed through an email list such as Constant Contact or Mailchimp.

You put in hard work to keep your HOA website updated and you want members to view those updates. What’s more, many of your updates are important and you want as many community members as possible to see them.

Using a platform like an email list is a great way to let your members know there is new content on your site.

Create Informative Content

If your members visit your HOA website and don’t find any up to date content or anything useful they are going to stop using it as a resource. It is important to make sure that what you post on your site is relevant and useful.

Posting things like news and documents are helpful but you can go even further by maintaining a community calendar. A calendar of events will be helpful to HOA members and keep your site content relevant and up to date.

Is your HOA website Mobile Friendly?

The reality is that many of your HOA members will visit your website on their mobile device. This means that it is incredibly important to make sure your site will work on a mobile platform.

If your HOA site doesn’t work on a mobile phone contact us and we can help.

How to you get visitors to your HOA website?

Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments below.

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August Announcements

  • Post category:Monthly Reminders
  • Reading time:2 mins read

Summer seems to be flying by, as usual, and August is almost upon. It is time to start thinking about our updates and reminders for the month of August.

In many locations, especially in the Pacific Northwest, August is fire season. This is a good time to remind residents to limit the use of open flames on their property and to not use fire pits. Creating fire barriers around their properties can help protect their homes and here is a good guide to doing just that: Creating a Defensible Fire Space. Feel free to link to that guide in your announcements.

This is also a good time to remind residents of pool rules, park hours and other summer-related activities which have specific guidelines or hours of use. As summer wears on we tend to get complacent when it comes to rules and a gentle reminder to residents can be helpful.

August is usually a very hot month. Remind your residents to keep their landscaping watered but to also make sure they do not over-water.

HOA Meeting

When is your next HOA meeting? Did you schedule it for August? Keep in mind many families take vacations during this month so your attendance may be low. This is a good time to remind board members and residents of your upcoming meeting date(s). You may even want to try and get a headcount of who can actually make it to the meeting in case you need to reschedule for September.

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HOA Domain Names

  • Post category:HOA Websites
  • Reading time:5 mins read

HOA Domain names are one of the most important things you will buy for your homeowner’s association website.  The domain name represents how members will find your HOA’s website and is most likely uniform to the actual name of your association.  For example, your HOA may be called “Silver Hills Estates” and your domain could be “silverhillsestats.com”.  On the surface, domain names seem pretty straightforward – however – when you actually have to manage one you may find they can be quite confusing.  Here are some tips to help better understand all that comes with a domain name.

First though, a few definitions:

Registry: The Organization that manages domains, creates extensions, sets rules, and oversees and gives accreditation to registrars.  Verisign, for example, is a domain registry.
Registrar:  The domain registrar is the company that manages the registration of your domain.  GoDaddy, for example, is a well-known registrar.
Registrant:  The person or entity that registers a domain name.  If you bought a domain name to use for your HOA that means you are the registrant.
WHOIS: A record of a domain name containing important information like expiration date, registrant information, etc.

Choosing an HAO Domain Registrar

There are many domain name registrars to choose from and most web hosting companies also provide domain name registration.  It is important you choose a reputable domain registrar as many of these companies can go out of business without warning leaving you in the dark and creating a huge hassle to regain control of your domain.  So a small, local, mom and pop shop is NOT a good place to register your domain.  It is also a good idea to register your domain at a different location than where you host your website.  You can modify your nameservers to point to your hosting account – they do not have to be the same company.  Some good places to register a domain name are Gandi, GoDaddy or Namecheap.  We prefer Gandi.

HOA Domain Expiration

All domain names come with an expiration date and that date is usually one year from the date of registration.  Most domain name registrars will allow you to register your domain for more than a year.  If you have the money and know your HOA will be around for some time, it is a good idea to register your domain for more than one year.  This way you do not have to worry about renewing the domain every year.

Another good idea is to make sure your HOA’s domain name has an active credit card on file and set your registration to auto-renew.  That means that if you forget to renew the domain it will be automatically done on your behalf.

HOA Domain Name Contact Information

This is perhaps one of the most important aspects of registering your domain name as it legally ties the domain name to you or your HOA.  If you get this information wrong you can have difficulty accessing the domain or at worst you could lose it.  There are three types of domain contacts: Registrant, Administrative, and Technical.  You can use different contacts for each one if you like – for example, if you have an IT company helping you they could be the Technical contact.  Make sure your address, phone number, and email address are correct.

The most important contact field is your email address as this is where any domain notifications and transfer authorizations will be sent.  It is also VERY important to make sure your contact email address does NOT have the same extension as your domain name.  For example, if your domain name is “silverhillsestats.com” you do NOT want to use a contact email address of ji*@sl****************.com.  Instead, use a personal email like ji******@gm***.com as your contact email.

Checking your HOA Domain Name

Not sure who registered your HOA’s domain name? Want to check the contact information on your domain? You can do this for free by visiting https://whois.icann.org/en/lookup?name= and entering your domain name into the field. This will give you all the important information you need to make sure your domain is properly registered.

Have questions about your Homeowner’s Association domain name or need help with something domain related? Contact us and we can help. 

 

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5 Homeowners Association WordPress Plugins

  • Post category:HOA Websites
  • Reading time:7 mins read

If you are managing your HOAs website and using WordPress to do so you most likely already know there are alot of options out there to make your site shine.  Wordpress is a great tool to use on a Homeowners Association website because of all the different plugins you can use on it.  Below we are going to highlight some free plugins that can help you grow your HOA and improve the overall functionality of your website.

Board of Directors Plugin

Want to create a section on your website that will showcase your Board of Directors?  You can do that by using the free Team Members plugin.  This plugin will allow you to add individual members to your board of directors and include first and last name, social links and a bio for your member.

For a premium option to manage your team members consider the Team Showcase plugin.

 

Frequently Asked Questions Plugin

You run a Homeowners Association website so naturally there are going to be alot of frequently asked questions.  You make this section of your website easy to handle with the free Acronix FAQ plugin.  This FAQ plugin is easy to use and allows you to create a list of questions and answers and neatly display them on the page you choose by simply inserting the shortcode.

For a premium FAQ plugin with many more options consider Ultimate FAQs.

 

Homeowners Association Community Gallery Plugin

Want to showcase your community in a beautiful gallery on your HOA website? This is a great way to keep your community members active on your website and show off what kind of neighborhood you live in.  The Photo Gallery by WD plugin is a free plugin that will allow you to create and manage eye catching photo galleries on your website.  Simply install, activate and start adding photos.

Check out our favorite premium image gallery plugin called Justified Image Grid.

 

HOA Calendar Plugin

Do you have an active community that you manage your HOA website for?  Are you looking for a way to share events with the community members on your website? If so, this THE plugin for you.  The Events Calendar plugin by Modern Tribe is one of the most feature rich calendar plugins you can find.  It is packed full of features but also very intuitive to use which is why it is so popular.

For a premium version of The Events Calendar you can upgrade to The Events Calendar Pro.

 

Surveys Plugin

Surveys are a great way to get feedback from your community members.  You can easily add a survey to your HOA website by using the Quiz and Survey Master plugin.  Ask questions, post polls, and gain insight on your community members.  This free plugin is easy to use and you will have surveys on your homeowners association website in no time.

Want a premium survey plugin? Check out Modal Survey

With so many great plugins available for WordPress it is easy to make your Homeowners Association website shine.  

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5 Critical Elements of HOA Websites

  • Post category:HOA Websites
  • Reading time:3 mins read

When building a website for your association there are some important things to consider before getting started.  If you start doing some searching you will notice how many terrible HOA websites there are out there.  Not just bad design – but poor functionality on top of it.  When building an HOA website you want to be sure that it is going to serve your community in an effective way.  We have put together a list of elements you will want to be sure to include in your HOA website.

Responsive Design

You will want your HOA website to be built on a responsive platform – meaning the site will view well on a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or phone.  Your community members will be visiting your HOA website on all sorts of different devices and you want them to have a good experience no matter what they are using.  Before choosing an HOA website make sure you ask if the end product will be responsive.  This is an absolute must nowadays.

Document Management

Homeowners Associations tend to have lots of different documents that need to be shared with their community.  Whether it be board meeting minutes, rules and regulations or financial statements, you need an easy way to share these with your members.  Before you commit to an HOA website solution be sure to find out how they handle document management.  You want it to be easy for you to manage and just as easy for your community to access.

News & Community Updates

How does your community get its news and information? A website is a great place to share the happenings of your HOA.  Your website should utilize a blog or news section to post the latest events, updates, and information.  This should be easy to access for your members and easy for you to manage.  In order to keep your community website fresh and up to date consider posting updates at least once a month or more.  Pro Tip: Don’t overthink your updates.

Photo Gallery

It seems trivial and not essential but having a photo gallery for your community website can increase member involvement and viewership significantly.  Keeping an up to date photo gallery encourages members to visit your website and can show potential home buyers what it is like to live within your community.  Having a summer BBQ? Bring a camera and share the photos on your photo gallery.

Community Calendar

Does your HOA website have a community calendar? How does your association know what events are happening that may pertain to them?  Keeping a calendar with updated events is essential to running a successful HOA.  Not only should you be letting members know of upcoming HOA meetings but you should let people know of other events within the community.  Something as simple as a well-managed calendar can help your members see more value in their HOA.

There are many elements that go into running a successful HOA website and these are just a few to consider.  If you are looking for assistance with managing your HOA website please contact us for details on how we can help.

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