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How to Complete a 2020 Website Audit for Your Property to Increase Leads and Enhance Online Engagement

February 25, 2020

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After seeing the title of this article, you might feel like you don’t need to read any further because you either just updated the content on your website or you believe no changes are necessary.

But we’re here to tell you that’s not the case…

Here are two questions for you:

  • What information did you base your changes on?
  • And what resources did you consult?

The truth is, it doesn’t matter how recent or how often you update the content on your property’s website if your updates aren’t based on researched truths about what residents prioritize and believe is most important when it comes to their new home.

In 2020, the major trend of residents visiting a property’s website long before visiting in person will continue to grow. In 2019, the use of smartphones and tablets in the apartment search process reached 83%, which is more than a 15% increase from 2017.

We know as a property professional, you have about as much free time to scour the internet for helpful information as a new mother does to relax. That’s why we’ve done it for you.

Here are the top insights we’ve gathered from trusted multifamily and real estate resources that have a close handle on what residents are looking for when they visit a property’s website:

One thing first: When should you complete a website audit?

Even with all the helpful information this blog provides (eliminating research time on your end), updating your website will still take some time.

We recommend utilizing your slow seasons so that you don’t take away too much from your responsibilities and daily routines. Consider reviewing your property’s website and implementing changes during the winter months, for example..

 

Five Changes to Make to Your Property Website Based on What Residents Value Most

The 2020 NMHC/Kingsley Associates Apartment Resident Preferences Report illustrates some of the key things residents want in an apartment including connectivity, smart devices, flex living, and wellness options.

1. Put Wi-Fi Front and Center

On the surface, highlighting your Wi-Fi offerings might sound as obvious as putting the name of your property at the top of your website. However, take a look right now; how significantly do you highlight your property’s high-speed Wi-Fi? Is it at the top of your amenities list or stated on your homepage?

It’s no question that Wi-Fi is an absolute necessity, and of course, your property offers it, but do know that it is extremely important to renters.

Here are a few statistics to back this up:

  • Residents are more likely to stream content than they are to watch TV
  • 54% of residents have 1 to 4 connected devices and 35.4% have 5 to 9 (phone, TV, laptop, computer, e-reader, etc.)
  • 91.7% of residents stated that high-speed Internet is important or very important
  • 69.3% of residents stated community Wi-Fi is important or very important
  • 74.8% of residents stated pre-installed Wi-Fi is important or very important

Main Takeaway: Residents highly value high-speed Wi-Fi and your property’s website should reflect that you understand your residents’ needs.

P.S. Let residents know that at your property, they can binge all day long!

2. Promote Money-Saving Smart-Tech

Today’s residents are very money-conscious and one of their top criteria for choosing a new apartment is the cost of rent.

Whether your rent is at the lower or higher end of the bracket, let prospective residents know upfront that you leverage smart technology by sharing it on your website. This includes items such as smart thermostats and smart lights — devices that save energy and, therefore, save money on resident utility bills.

As well, if you have features such as smart locks, explain their convenience in detail because many renters might not be familiar with how these features will benefit their resident experience.

Main Takeaway: Don’t bury your smart technology on page six of your website where residents will never see it call it out.

3. Polish Your Image Gallery

A good picture can be worth a new lead when it comes to the images you share of your property on your website.

A quick example: When Airbnb first started, they found that rental rates were not growing. When they reviewed the listings, they noticed that the photos were terrible. The team flew to New York, rented a camera, and spent time with their customers taking professional photos of all the listings. The following week, their revenue doubled.

Imagine you are a renter who is evaluating multiple properties. Visit your property’s website and take a critical look at the photos — do they make you want to live there? Can you imagine yourself living in one of the apartments? If not, maybe it’s time to replace what you have with more high-quality, unique images.

Main Takeaway: When it comes to your property, looks ARE everything.

Bonus points: make sure your photo gallery is optimized for mobile!

4. Talk Up Your Apartment Community’s Green Features

The Millennial and Gen Z generations that are currently dominating the renter market care about being sustainable and environmentally-friendly — and they want their apartment home to do the same.

And if your property has it? Flaunt it.

While many communities offer recycling programs, less are likely to offer additional green initiatives. So if you have green features, even if it’s a small thing such as a community compost bin, advertise that. Not only will this amenity information catch the attention of residents, but also help differentiate you from other comparable communities.

Did you know? More than 63% of residents are interested in on-site renewable energy while 73% are interested in communities that offer green initiatives.

Main Takeaway: Green features are IN, put them IN your website content.

5. Focus on Fitness

Onsite options for staying healthy are important to 84% of residents.

So don’t just show photos, talk about it — list out everything your fitness facilities offer including exercise equipment, weight machines, mats, and more. Doing so can also help your SEO. Text with highly-searched fitness-related keywords helps drive users to your site in ways images cannot.

If you offer classes, make that as apparent as possible along with the descriptions, teachers, and times. And if there is no cost associated with your fitness center, let it be known!

An important reminder: Residents will visit your website long before they visit in person, so don’t wait to wow them with your fitness center until they are on-site.

Main Takeaway: A photo alone does not show residents what your fitness center has to offer them.

 

Small Website Changes Can Lead to Leads

When you change what your website highlights to be more in line with what is important to residents, you take a proactive approach and show people visiting your site that you already know what they need and want.

If an optimized website and more leads is music to your ears but you aren’t sure how to start reviewing your website, we can help!

If you’d like OpenProperty to review your website, schedule a call here.