You’re considering a new property management website and you’ve begun the process of looking for the best provider.
- How do you know what questions to ask?
- How do you know you’ll get what you want?
- How do you know what you want in the first place?
The guide below was created with you in mind. Let’s get started…
#1 – Do you offer custom-designed property management websites or is everything a template?
A provider that uses a template will likely cost less, but your site won’t stand out from the thousands of other sites catering to similar communities.
A custom designed website can be created to tell your company story, share news, promote your properties, offer resident services, careers, and investor information, as well as anything else you deem valuable.
#2 – How much should I expect to invest in a new property management website?
To get the most accurate proposal and price, consider the goal of your website:
- Do you need to showcase your properties and to what extent?
- Do you need to attract investors, owners, prospective residents or potential new employees?
- Are you integrating property management software?
The right agency may cost more than the other guy, but the payoff comes in a higher-quality website tailored to your needs.
#3 – Can you send me examples of custom designed websites you’ve done for other property management companies?
Seeing samples is the best way to get a feel for the type of design and development work the agency or website partner is capable of doing.
#4 – What’s your process for delivering a new website?
Most people forget to ask this question.
You don’t want a massive headache and an 18-month timeline for launching a new website — but it does happen if you choose the wrong website provider.
My company, Resident360, uses a 4-step process we call the 4D’s — Discovery, Design, Develop, and Deploy. We outline this process for the client, so they have a full understanding of the process and a detailed timeline for the website launch.
#5 – Who will be my point of contact?
Building a website means several rounds of phone calls throughout the process. The last thing you want to be is another number. It is important to find out the person who oversees your account and create a strong relationship with him or her.
Building a solid relationship means you’re more likely to get exactly what you want.
#6 – Will the website use responsive design?
People do everything on-the-go. In fact, more people browse the web on mobile devices than on desktops, according to Smart Insights.
Most sites can be optimized for mobile and tablet use through responsive design, meaning the site adapts to all device types and screen sizes. Not every web design company specializes in building responsive websites, so you’ll need to make sure yours does.
In addition to user experience, you’ll want to make sure all the capabilities (like logins, application forms, etc.) will be accessible on mobile devices.
#7 – Will you be supplying all the written content on the website?
Ideally, you want the agency writing all the copy for your new website. This will make it easier on you. Just make sure they specify that it’s the entire website and not just a few select pages.
#8 – Will the website be SEO friendly and what is your process?
“SEO friendly” websites contain so many grey areas, and strategies are constantly adjusting to the newest Google algorithm update.
A website optimized for search engines is setup & coded properly for the best chance at ranking in Google, Yahoo & Bing.
Every website provider has their own definition of what an SEO friendly website should include, but let me tell you the most important parts of on-page SEO:
- Keyword-rich title tags, meta descriptions & H1 tags
- Strategically written page content
- A fast loading website
- Solid linking structure
#9 – Who is hosting my website and what about backups?
Make sure your website is on a dedicated server with daily offsite backups and 24/7 monitoring. In the rare event your website crashes, backups keep your site from disappearing forever.
#10 – What about integrations, apply online and service requests?
You need to be thinking about how your website integrates with the property management software and third-party services you’re using.
- Service requests: How would you like these handled on your new website? Should the website provider link to a resident portal? Would you rather have an email form on the website for service requests? Should the form actually integrate with your property management software?
- Online rent payment: Do you have a rent payment provider in place such as Rentpayment.com for offering this? Or is this being offered currently through your property management software provider?
- Online leasing/Apply Online: Do you plan on offering online leasing? Do you have a vendor in place for this? Do you prefer an online or electronic application? Or should the provider build out an online application for you?
- Availability: How do you want unit availability handled on your new website? Would you like the website to integrate with your property management software and pull down available units and show them on the website?
#11 – Will we be able to update our website after it is live?
Some websites are hard-coded, meaning an agency must make all changes. This can get expensive and time-consuming.
Find out how the editing process for your new site works. Most modern websites are built on content management systems (CMS) allowing you to update and maintain the information on your site.
Where to Begin:
Now that you know what to ask, it’s time to research and interview different agencies to find the right partner that fits your needs.
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