Art and architecture have more to do with your property management website than you realize. We’re talking about website design today, and reinforcing why user interface is so critical.
Art vs. Architecture: Form Must Follow Function
Art is wonderful. It touches us and makes an impression, much like you want your property management website to make an impression. Art can take almost any form. It can resemble the hyper-close up comic book pages of a Lichtenstein or a surreal dada expression like you find in the work of Dali or Picasso.
Your website can’t be that way.
Your website is more like a building. Buildings are artistic. They are wonderful representations of art. But in architecture, form follows function, and it’s the same with your website. You cannot have the basement on the roof. The basement is part of the foundation, and it has to be on the bottom. Things need to line up on your website in order for it to work.
Create a Welcoming and Functioning Online Office
Your website is the online version of your office. I have been to a lot of property management offices, and most of you have that one room – maybe it’s an office or a conference room – where you bring your potential clients. It’s a nice room, and it provides a quiet environment so you can explain the benefits of working with you, and hopefully get them to sign on the dotted line.
You don’t want a tenant to wander into that room to pay rent.
You don’t let the prospective owners travel through the office, where they see property managers putting out fires left and right. You don’t send them through the janitor’s closet on the way to that conference room.
You want to give them a good impression, and your website should do the same thing.
Lead Prospects to What They Need
People should be able to get what they need right away from your website. For example, if a tenant wants to pay rent – you’re going to make it easy for them. At your office, they can probably hand it to the receptionist or use a mail slot or leave the check in a drop box. On your website, you want to provide the same ease. Put the tenant login on the front page of your site so they can get to where they want to go.
Your Services page is the online room where you’re closing your new owners. It’s not for tenants, and it’s not for current owners.
It’s there for a specific purpose; to get those new owners to sign on the dotted line. Maybe in this case, the page is inviting them to call you or fill out your online form.
You need a website structure that allows these things to go in the right direction.
Remember Your Website Requirements
Sometimes, the government gets involved, too.
In your office, you have various OSHA posters hanging on the wall. Your website has similar requirements. For example, you might have to post your Board of Real Estate number in a prominent place. You also need to prepare your website to accommodate people with disabilities. If a blind person cannot see a picture on your website, the browser they use must allow them to hear what’s involved in the picture.
You have to think about these things when you’re choosing a web shop.
A bad website design company will agree to design whatever you want; even if you ask for the basement to be on the roof.
A good web design company will understand the proper structure for a website and will understand user interface. Look for a company that understands the multiple audiences of a property management website, and can structure the site accordingly.
You need the right advice, and you need them to build you an office that you like working in.
We know a thing or two about property management websites, so contact us at Fourandhalf if you have any questions or need any help.