Building the site. There is a lot to be said for just diving in and getting started – mind that you approach from the correct mindset as we discussed yesterday – but really the most important thing is that you create your content and put it on you site regularly. These next two articles are going to be about setting up the site and some things you want to keep in mind while doing so – but if being meticulous and perfect is keeping you from getting started, do yourself a favor and jump right in with the content, adjusting the setup as you go.
In fact, I the best approach is to plan a day when you will make your first post (on Friday I will talk about planning and researching the content) – but once you set the day, that’s when you start whether you are ready or not.
Ok let’s talk about setting up your website.
First off, let’s look at the different options and viewpoints you may be coming from. If you manage properties and use a program like Propertyware for them – within which you built a website – then you already have a website asset that you can work from. If you are intending on creating one centralized website for your property management in general – or perhaps for several properties, or a community – then we will look at the appropriate platforms.
Remember the mindset that you are approaching with – who are you trying to speak to? What is the purpose of your website? Are you wanting to build a helpful web resource for one large multi-family property? Are you wanting to build a lead generation and market leadership resource?
If you have – for example – a large multi-family property and you currently have a website for this property via PropertyWare, the setup is going to be pretty simple (and if you don’t use a program like PropertyWare – check it out!). PropertyWare comes with website solutions that include content management – so if you want to have one location for your tenants, you can publish content there. Alternately, you can still build a separate website for content publishing (something I would recommend if you decide to build a community supporting blog).
If you don’t already have a website, then it’s time to dive in. There are two solutions I would recommend. You could either set up a self-hosted wordpress solution (using wordpress.org) – in this case, you buy a domain name (which you will want to do anyways), buy hosting, and install wordpress (which is relatively simple). For those of you with very little web/tech experience, WordPress may seem overwhelming. There is a huge amount of customization possible, but most of it is as easy as installing templates and plugins to give you what you are looking for (which is why it’s so great).
The second solution – which I have personally used in the past but don’t currently (I just love WordPress) – is Squarespace. Squarespace offers a fully customizable website solution that is hosted with them (though you can still use your own domain). The cost is about the same, but for those of you who may get overwhelmed by the techiness of WordPress I think would benefit from the more structured nature of Squarespace.
Ultimately what you want is a solution where you can have your own domain, where you can have full control of the layout and utilities of the site, and where you have an easy to use content management system after everything is set up. Both of these programs provide this, and they do it better than anyone else.
Tomorrow I’m going to go in depth on some important things you need to keep in mind when setting up a WordPress website. I’m not actually going to go into detail on Squarespace as I haven’t used them in a long time, I merely suggest it as an alternative because it’s quite excellent. Most of what I have to say is universal no matter the platform in any case.