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October 27, 2010

posted by: Carissa Drohan-Jennings

Apartment Websites - A Must Have In Today's Digital World

Websites are a must have

Within the last few years, the Internet has blossomed into a tool that most of us can’t live without.  Most Canadians are online everyday, whether it’s on their PCs, laptops or cellular phones, and the majority of them choose to search online for product and service information before they buy.  The internet is the ultimate marketing tool and there’s no excuse in this day and age for landlords not to be marketing their units online. 

To remain competitive in the coming decade, (2010 – 2019), landlords will need to venture further into the realm of the Internet and begin using such things as mobile marketing to push their units.  Although this is a few years off into the future the basis for this type of advertising has to be made – namely a corporate rental website.  This article will explore what’s new in the world of apartment websites and what you should expect if you’re looking to develop a site of your own.

In 2010, Landlord Web Solutions saw many landlords, both large and small, developing interactive and sophisticated apartment websites. In fact, many landlords are now realizing that a great apartment website should not only display their listings but should also provide their visitors with additional services and features. So, it’s only natural to realize that in today’s highly competitive market websites must deliver a higher level of service to your renters.  Although this article will not focus on explaining these features, tools and functionality, you can read the article, “The Next Generation of Apartment Website” to gain a further understanding of the new technology that is available for renters.  

 

What To Expect When Developing an Apartment Website

If you’re in the market to develop an apartment website you may be wondering how much it will cost you and how to decide on a company to develop it.  Those are very common questions and ones that are easily answered. 

  1. How Much Will An Apartment Website Cost To Develop?
    As with most products your price will vary depending on the caliber of website you want to build and what company you choose to work with.  The price also increases if you want to be able to modify your own website as opposed to making changes through the designer. 

    A basic apartment website with general apartment listings, static photos, an about us page, career page and contact page will run you between $6,000 - $12,000 CND.  Sometimes the company will include search engine optimization (SEO) in their fee and other times they won’t.  SEO would typically be priced at around $2,000 CND.  Making the price range change to $8,000 - $14,000 CND.

    A complex apartment website sometimes feature extreme, interactive tools which increase the price.  These type of websites will be priced significantly higher because of the amount of programming and infrastructure involved in designing them.  If you’re interested in this type of website then my suggestion would be to go with a company that has a pre-packaged content management system that has been designed for the rental industry.  The price tag you will be looking at will be significantly less with them because the content management system has already been developed.  The average range for this type of website would be $17, 000 - $30,000. 

    When our sales representatives at Landlord Web Solutions talks to perspective clients some are often shocked at the range of these numbers. Typically, 4 to 5 times out of 10 will say that one of their staff members knows a guy that can do it for under $2,000. It’s true that you could pay less by using a freelancer, but remember that you absolutely get what you pay for.   When hiring a professional website development firm you will have access to a range of staff that have unique skills and talents in every area of website design. This is important because a programmer may be highly skilled at developing content management systems or applications but they may be weak in their artistic talent, whereas a graphic designer may do a stunning design but their programming skills are lacking.  In the end, choosing the right team means the difference between a mediocre website and a great website.

  2. How Do You Decide On A Company?
    You should always consider a company’s strengths and weaknesses before hiring them.
    Be sure to ask for references and call those references to see how their experience was working with the company.  You should also find out how user friendly their website is and how easy it is for administrators to update the site.  Also ask questions like, “How long did the design process take?” or “How much time did it take for you to brief the team on your business and your needs?”
    One thing that you’ll need to face when working with a non-specialized team is teaching them your business.  You’ll want to monitor the project to make sure that the website functions exactly how you need it to.  Remember, the team won’t know what your customers want or need so it’s vital that you oversee the project to make sure the website will function effectively. 

 

Just remember, if you don’t have an apartment website then you’re behind your competition.  We are in the internet age and renters expect to find you online.  If you’re not there then you’re missing out on potential leads. 

Websites can be simple to build if you find the right team to work with.  So be sure to take the time out to evaluate each type of team.  The reward could be huge.

As a side note, this article is quite unique in that it was written with two purposes. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, it was written to educate landlords about the importance of apartment websites and what to expect when developing one.  Secondly, it was written as part of an experiment to see if writing an article using an individual keyword – in this case “apartment websites” – could increase our website’s ranking in the search engines.

If you’re interested in learning about the results of our experiment, be sure to check back into our website within the coming month, as we will be posting our results in a follow-up article.