Last modified on February 24th, 2023
By Rae Parker
Have you ever visited a website and immediately became turned off by the way it looked? Maybe it even prevented you from purchasing their products or services and instead chose a competitor whose website was more professional and user friendly. Now put yourself in the shoes of a potential resident. When they’re considering a new home, the first thing they see is your property’s website, and not necessarily the physical location. For your property management business, this means that your website has one chance to impress them and turn them into a lead.
Now let’s say that your website checks all the boxes in the sense that it has great design, eye-catching photos, and catchy content, but you’re noticing that it’s not pulling in the amount of leads that it should. Have you considered that maybe it’s not what the user sees on the “outside,” but what’s happening internally on your website? Here are three areas where your website may be falling short and how you can solve for them.
1. Your Website’s Performance Could Use a Tune-up
Think of your website as a runner in a 100m sprint. For months, the runner trains to make sure their overall speed, agility, and performance makes them the fastest runner in the lineup. The way your website performs should be the same. When auditing your website’s performance, you’re ultimately determining how users experience your webpage. This includes the time it takes to load the page, how quickly your page responds to user interaction after loading, the smoothness of animations, and whether or not the elements on the page shift around when loading.
If your website suffers from slow performance, it can cause them to leave, which can affect your bounce rate. A bounce rate is defined as the percentage of visitors to a website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. According to a study conducted by Brafton Marketing Agency, B2B companies have an average bounce rate of 61%, whereas B2C companies typically have an average bounce rate of 52.24%. The best-practice benchmark for page speed is under three seconds. Anything higher than this could be a result of loading too many large images or poorly optimized website code .
To help solve this problem, when creating custom websites specifically for property management companies, the AppFolio website team uses fully mobile-responsive templates optimized for page speed. Shea McGrath, Real Estate Broker with Carefree Property Management, knew that in order for their business to grow, they would need to have a more modern website that stood out from the competition. “When I’m talking to potential clients, I’ll ask them to look at our website,” he says. “They are more inclined to go with us because we don’t have an older website that looks outdated.”
2. Your Website is Not Accessible for All
Maybe your website meets the mark with performance, but another area of concern is its accessibility. Accessibility audits measure how well a diverse range of users can access your webpage, including those with impairments or disabilities. The vast majority of Americans (97%) own a cellphone of some kind and 15% of American adults are “smartphone-only” Internet users.
But accessibility extends beyond the use of mobile devices or desktop computers, as there are those who rely on assistive technologies or alternative methods of navigating a website. It’s also important to understand laws included in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as website-oriented accessibility complaints, such as “surf-by” lawsuits, are becoming more common under the ADA.
To make sure your page is accessible for all users, make sure to take the following steps:
- Use alternative text for images, logos, and other graphics. Without alt text, some assistive technologies may just read the word “image,” so it’s important to be as descriptive as possible.
- Use high-color contrast to make text and images easier to read and comprehend. For example, avoid light gray text on a white background or placing text directly on images.
- Check the text size and alignment to make sure your website is easy to read and clear. Use large, left-aligned text when possible.
All AppFolio Sites are not only built with ADA in mind, but also include AudioEye’s accessibility platform. The platform assists you in making your website digitally accessible and in line with commonly accepted accessibility standards through ongoing site scans, and also provides reporting features to help you respond to grievances, when needed.
3. Your Website Isn’t Searchable (SEO)
In today’s digital world, your business can’t rely on just “word of mouth” references. Your business must have a strong online presence and that’s where SEO — Search Engine Optimization — comes in. SEO audits ensure that your website and its content can be recognized by search engines.
Low website traffic or leads could be a sign that you aren’t ranking well on search engines. It’s estimated that about 3.8 million Google searches are made every minute. This should give you all the reason to want to incorporate SEO best practices into your website, so that you have a better chance of showing up on the first page of search engines, since most users will never go past page two. Since 93% of online experiences begin with a quick search, it’s important to know the basics about SEO so that your website makes the best possible first impression on prospective customers.
By updating their website, Carefree Property Management saw an increase in calls about their property, giving credit to the marketing of their website through SEO. “We have more ads out and we do believe the new website has helped,” Shea said.
With AppFolio Site service, not only can you customize each individual site for each property in your portfolio, you also have the ability to easily edit and update copy and images on your own.
When working with AppFolio to build their custom website, Shea McGrath, Real Estate Broker with Carefree Property Management describes the experience of building the new website as a really easy process: “It was great that we were able to customize the look to reflect our business,” Shea said.
When creating a custom website specifically for your business, the AppFolio website team provides competitive SEO based on popular industry terms and your geographic location, so more customers can find you. Your website is also 100% integrated with AppFolio Property Manager, so you can efficiently post and update listings, while providing a seamless experience for current and prospective residents. In addition, a built-in analytics dashboard is available to track and measure the performance of your website.
Are you ready to explore the possibilities of a new website? Let AppFolio build you a professional, mobile-friendly website that’s fully customized to leave a great first impression for your customers. Interested in learning more? You can find out more here, or get a free website assessment today.
Comments by Rae Parker