NAA Recap: Ten Tips for Fixing Your Terrible Website

“Ten Tips for Fixing Your Terrible Website” from the On-Site Ellipse Design Learning Zone presentation at NAA 2016.

We don’t know about you, but we’re still recovering from NAA 2016. The apartment industry’s biggest annual event was a whirlwind of networking, education and—for some of us—sampling of San Francisco’s finest food and drink.

On-Site and Ellipse Design hosted a fun and informative Learning Zone on digital marketing titled, “Ten Tips For Fixing Your Terrible Website.” If you missed it or just need a refresher, here’s a quick recap to take away.

The role of digital in the apartment industry

The Internet plays a huge role to people looking for a place to live. Gone are the days of expecting our only leasing activity to happen face-to-face. Your prospects and residents expect online tools via the World Wide Web to find the perfect apartment, and complete transactions such as paying rent and signing a lease.

The text behind the text

HTML refers to HyperText Markup Language, and it’s the programming language used to create documents on the Internet. Without it, your website wouldn’t exist. That’s why you need an expert company like Ellipse Design to make sure your HTML is coded correctly. Broken code translates to usability issues for your prospects, residents and more importantly, the search engines.

Communicate your brand with expert design

Your website should visually communicate your brand. That’s where CSS comes in. CSS is the language that controls the way the content on your website looks. When you work with Ellipse Design, you are assigned a designer and programmer team who work with you personally to translate the vision and brand of your property into a user-friendly, responsive, search engine-optimized website.

SEO, or how you get found on the Internet

Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) is the process of increasing traffic to your website by ensuring it appears high on the list of search results. We make sure that when Google crawls the pages of your site, your content and data will be optimized properly, leading to better rankings in search results.

Content is king

Content is the most important SEO factor. Whether it's articles, images, videos or a collection of all of these, the more relevant and helpful your content, the better your chances of it being found on the web.

But building relevant content is also very tactical. It involves the effective insertion of keywords into on-page content throughout every page of your website. Remember, keywords vary drastically by property, local market and individual. Tactical SEO involves strategic content adjustment on a continuing basis.

What’s an algorithm anyway?

An algorithm is the formula used by Google and other search engines to evaluate and rank your website. When it comes to content, optimizing title tags will help improve your search results.

Google uses over 500 factors (most of which are secret) to determine the relevance of your site. And whenever it releases a huge update, Ellipse search marketers take note. They can help explain changes in rankings and organic website traffic, and in turn make adjustments to the websites they manage to ensure you don't lose traffic due to the changes.

Do property listings help boost SEO?

The types of links that you need for strong SEO are:

  • External links, or third party websites that link to your site.
  • Internal links. Pages on your site that refer to other pages in your site.
  • Local citations. Local listings sites like Yellow Page or Google Business.

Make sure you also optimize your Google My Business page (formerly known as Google Places), to keep your site search engine-friendly, and to provide useful info for visitors to your property.

Final note on SEO: if you haven't yet decided to let our SEO experts do the heavy lifting for you and you want to learn more, check out this article from Hubspot: "On-Page SEO 101: Tips for Keyword Optimizing the Most Critical Parts of Your Website." 

Online reputation: drive the conversation

88% of renters say online reviews influence their decisions. And the website with the highest amount of reviews per month? Facebook. In 2015, Facebook created a local business page for every business in the US. If you have not claimed your page it is likely there are comments and shares on your page that you are not even aware of, and these can drastically affect your reputation and brand.

Negative reviews can be daunting, but ignoring them can cost you up to 30 website visits. However, with Reputation Scout, On-Site will help monitor and manage all of your online reviews.

The huge role of mobile search

Check out these compelling statistics about the role of mobile among renters:

  • 91% of renters will use mobile the next time they look for an apartment.
  • 75% of users will abandon your website if it doesn’t load on their phone.
  • 61% of mobile searches lead to a purchase.

When you choose Ellipse Design, you get a personalized website that has been programmed by experts and QA'd under the most stringent quality controls. Not only will it render accurately across all devices, it will dramatically boost your digital performance.

For more on On-Site@NAA 2016: