As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. For most businesses, that first impression is their website. What kind of first impression are you making with your rental property website?

Your website is your main contact with prospective and current tenants. Make it the best it can be to retain current tenants and attract new prospects for your vacant units. Here are some ways to ensure that your website accomplishes those goals.

Freshen Up
It’s crucial that you keep your website updated. Tenants and prospective new renters will stop visiting once they realize there is never anything new to see. Blog regularly and post the latest in community news and current happenings. Post your vacancies prominently. Add a newsletter and include coupons for local businesses and restaurants. Make your site come to life!

Benefits Not Features
Focus on what your tenants or prospective tenants want to hear, not on what you want to say. Look at your content from their point of view. What do they want to know? Include a Q&A section that answers their questions. Encourage feedback and a two-way dialog.

Be SEO Friendly
Post useful, unique and valuable content specific to renters that will result in higher search engine rankings. Use organic keywords – words your prospects will be plugging into search engines when they are looking for an apartment. Use long-tail keywords that are area- and amenity-specific. For example, don’t post “Apartments For Rent” but rather “Two Bedroom Apartment in Anytown, USA with Laundry Center.” The more specific your text, the more effective your content will be.

Keep It Clean
People don’t read word-for-word through a website. They skim. Make it easy for impatient visitors to find what they want. White space can be helpful. Use bold, clear headlines and clearly differentiated buttons. Highlight important phrases. Use simple navigation such as: Home, About Us, Contact Us, Owners, Residents, and Available Rentals. Make the experience easy for your in-a-hurry visitor.

Get Started
Some property management software solutions like AppFolio Property Manager offer integrated websites with their software, so you can automatically post and un-post vacancies with the click of a button. You can also use local web designers if you want a more customized site.

Whichever direction you choose, remember that if managed properly, your rental property website can be the centerpiece of your marketing plan.