Before the days of the internet, people had to walk up to physical storefronts. Imagine if you have a shop with an excellent location that people visit reasonably frequently. Your imaginary store sells clothing, and you have nice goods to sell. Now imagine people looking into your window, and they see:
- Mannequins falling apart in utter disrepair.
- Clothes from fifteen years ago—but you're not a thrift store.
- Pictures of people who don't work there anymore behind the register.
- Clutter that makes it difficult for people to navigate around your store safely—a real hazard!
How would that affect your business? You would see a dramatic drop in store traffic and ongoing business if your store didn't stay competitive in the current marketplace.
There's no doubt that you would quickly straighten things out and look for best practices to stay relevant. If you don't keep up, you'll fall victim to the same issues plaguing other industries across the country: those who fail to modernize are quickly left behind.
This thought exercise we just went through also happens to apply to your property management website. Your web presence is the "storefront" of your business! It not only helps bring in new leads; your site also helps convert those leads into new customers. To fully leverage the power of the internet, you need to keep the following things in mind for your website.
Broken Links Mean Broken Business
Consider if your site can still offer the kind of excellent experience that it did five, ten, or even fifteen years ago. Check for broken links and fix them! In the world of digital technology, a link that works today doesn't mean it keeps working tomorrow.
A link is "broken" when it doesn't lead to the right spot. Most of the time, a broken link isn't your fault at all. Links break for unexplained reasons, as though digital gremlins lurk in your website's code, creating problems where you don't want them.
- When the page was written, the link went to precisely the right location. Sometimes, a website or a bit of information can move. In that case, the old link to it would be useless.
- On the other hand, a broken link comes from a mistake made while creating the page. A common mistake is to link to a page within your website but then take that page's information and combine it with that of another one. This error erases the first page, leaving the link without a destination.
- Make it a habit to check all of the links on your pages regularly. This confirms that your links are bringing visitors and directing new leads to a useful place in your digital storefront.
- Use an online tool to help you find broken links more quickly. This process also helps ensure that your website content is sourced credibly and enhances your Google presence.
It's Time For New Staff Photos
You might prefer photos from a few years ago when you and your team were younger. Maybe you're still highlighting team members who no longer work for your company. However, in the property management business, you want people to recognize you now! When generating new business and meeting with tenants and current clients, the pictures on your property management website should accurately reflect the current team you have.
It can also be simultaneously awkward and a little funny when the wrong photo pops up on a page, but this kind of error can also have serious consequences. If the staff page wrongly includes someone who no longer works there and their current employer comes across it, they could question their loyalty.
More importantly, your potential customers want a face to go with each name. The integrity of your company may be challenged if the pictures are inaccurate. If anything points out that you don't care about your website, it's this kind of attention to detail. If you don't care about keeping your site current, new clients might struggle to trust you with their business.
Accurate Contact Information Is Equally Important
Does the information on your website lead to you? It's such a simple thing to keep up to date, yet it's often easily overlooked. Getting a new phone number, moving your offices, or updating your staff directory emails can take a backseat to the day-to-day of managing properties.
Your potential leads don't want to have to look for ways to contact you on your property management website—and they shouldn't have to. Inaccurate information will keep your best new prospects from connecting with you, and that hurts your bottom line.
- Even though many assume a phone number and email are enough, an inaccurate office phone number or email can damage the credibility of the business.
- An organization looks disorganized and lackadaisical if it posts the wrong contact information.
- As often as you check for broken links, review the contact information on your website to make sure it's accurate.
Ensure Accurate Google My Business Information
Google My Business (GMB) is an excellent tool to help future clients find your business in their area. If the information provided to GMB is inaccurate, the clientele you would have attracted may get lost. It could also end up in the portfolio of a competitor! To make sure this doesn't happen, you should double-check and update your GMB info.
Your GMB profile should have your location, phone numbers, and your website. However, GMB won't automatically make updates if you changed your website's URL. You will have to go in and manually redo it to make certain out-of-date information is corrected through GMB.
When reviewing your GMB information, think of these other potential problem areas:
- Have you changed the DBA name of the business?
- If your business name has changed, did you also changed the URL?
- Do you have the same business phone number as before?
- Did your business begin by using a cell phone number, then change to using a dedicated business phone?
- Have you physically moved your property management business—even if it's within the same building?
These types of changes are common, and it's easy to overlook the need to adjust your GMB info accordingly. Make it part of your documented workflow process to trigger a reminder for Google My Business page reviews a few times throughout the year.
Have You Read Your Website?
You probably don't write much of the content on your website yourself. You have a team or marketing agency (like RentBridge) to create your content—but when is the last time you read it?
A careful read of your website can reveal a lot of little discrepancies that may be hurting your business. Give it a gander while looking out for the following:
- Accurate information: Maybe your understanding of something discussed on your site has evolved since you wrote the page content. You should double-check.
- Typos: Typos usually aren't the end of the world, but they do reflect poorly on your business. It's similar to a blemish on an outfit. A spot on your suit won't change the whole suit, but it may be the only thing people remember.
- A pleasing layout: Is your site easy to read? Is the spacing correct? How does it look on a mobile device? You should check all of this.
At the end of the day, property management business owners need to own the content on your property management website. Whether you task a person on your team to monitor the content or not, it's a good idea to be familiar with what's on your site, too. In some cases, only you can know if your website is an accurate representation of your brand and the quality of your services.
You don't have to spend time on it every day, but make it a habit to know what your new leads find on your site that makes them interested in working with you.
Make Sure No One Is Stealing Your Content!
Your brilliant and informative content is yours! No one else gets to borrow or adapt anything on their site to steal your thunder.
Use a tool like Copyscape to check if your content is popping up on another page; a basic comparison check is free. For a reasonable fee, you can do a more detailed investigation. If your content is popping up elsewhere, your competition's site may be ranking higher in search engine results—causing new leads to land there and not on your website. Your competition could be combining your content with other features of the site, which could make it rank higher than yours!
These checks don't take too long and are well worth the effort. If your content attracts new leads, you deserve for them to find their way to your door!
Are You ADA Compliant?
If you haven't updated your website in a while, there's a good chance it's not ADA compliant. Your business is at risk if your site doesn't meet the requirements for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
You know that your properties must be ADA compliant. If you receive a request for accommodation, you must comply (reasonably) to provide what your tenant needs to live comfortably in your property. The same idea applies to your website, but it's often overlooked by property managers focused on the daily aspects of keeping tenants and owners happy!
Part of the goods and services you provide as a property manager includes making information and actions available to everyone—regardless of abilities. That means that someone with visual or hearing impairments must be able to read, hear, and comprehend information on your property management website. If your site only works for people without impairment, you could face significant (and expensive) legal issues.
ADA compliance also means if you offer an online payment system or use your website to help tenants and owners work with you, every aspect of the site must be available to anyone with or without a disability. From making maintenance requests to reviewing lease documents in an online portal, your website must be functional for people with difficulty seeing or hearing.
If this is all new information for you, don't worry! RentBridge is becoming certified to help property managers maintain ADA compliant websites. We can review your site and make updates to keep you compliant!
Let RentBridge Give Your Site a Modern Refresh
Given that property managers manage incredibly valuable assets, your website must be seriously competitive if you want to be taken seriously. Take the time to straighten out your mannequins, update the employee of the month, and refresh those clothes. With a few easy steps, customers will be doing more than just window shopping!
Even with these updates, there could be facets to your website that you just don't catch on your own. That's why RentBridge is here to help: we work for property managers like you! Our goal is to make sure your business succeeds. If the task of modernizing your web presence sounds exhausting with all the work you already do when growing your doors, reach out to us!
Right now, we're giving away free websites! You have nothing to lose (except more business) with a website consultation that could be just what you need to get more property management leads to your digital storefront. Contact us to learn more!
Updated and republished 7/9/2020.