The Future of Apartment Websites
The Future of Apartment Websites
By Jon Simpson
In this day and age, it’s not difficult to convince multifamily properties that a website is necessary for continued success. However, it is difficult to convince them what the form and functionality of that website should be. While most apartments prefer to approach websites as a “digital brochure,” showcasing leasing information and lush property photography to emphasize the sale, they fail to realize how this can be a detriment to the success and reach of their website. As more and more people access the internet from mobile devices, responsive website design has become the most important feature for apartment websites - meaning that photo heavy brochure isn’t going to work. Here’s what you need to know about responsive design, and what it means for apartment website design:
What is Responsive Design?
If your website has responsive design, that means that it responds or adjusts when viewed on different devices. This means it works on a smartphone, yes, but also that it works on a widescreen desktop monitor or even a tablet. Most users browse the web on more than one of these devices. Responsive design is an approach to building your website that allows it to display and function well on any device.
“Mobile Friendly” is Not Necessarily Responsive
Just because your website is “mobile friendly” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s responsive. Sometimes, people develop mobile-friendly websites that are just a smaller version of your site that’s completely separate from your main website. This approach is effective in that it displays well on mobile, but has a mountain of disadvantages when it comes to maintenance, compatibility, and SEO (search engine optimization).
Why Responsive Matters
According to StatCounter’s August statistics, over 35% of all web traffic comes from tablets and mobile devices. Think of that in terms of your potential tenants. One in every three renters is coming to your site in a non-traditional browser. Couple this with the fact that more and more people are ditching traditional laptops in favor of on-the-go options like tablets, and the trend becomes pretty clear. More and more people are using the web on smaller devices that have some inherent limitations. If a user comes to a website that doesn’t look or act right on their device, they’re far more likely to move on than to change their device. Responsive design hits the bottom line.
Take the Test
First, check to see if your property’s website is responsive—it can be done in seconds. Just follow these steps:
Open up your website in your desktop or laptop.
- Click-and-drag the corner of the browser to make the window really narrow.
- If your website is responsive, it will “snap” or respond by hiding or repositioning elements on the page to match what it believes is the new screen size.
- If it works, click and drag your browser back and forth from large to small. It’s fun to watch your website transform before your eyes.
So your website didn’t seem to “snap” or respond. That means your website is unresponsive. What next?
Generally, responsive design is something decided before the building process begins on a website. It’s much like constructing a multi-story building—you decide on the number of floors before the foundation is laid because it affects how the whole structure should be built. Most likely, it will take more than a few small adjustments to make your website responsive.
Responsive Design: The Present + Future
Responsive web design is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing. As more and more people access the web via mobile, it’s imperative that your information displays correctly on any device. Otherwise, those leads will begin to slip through your fingertips. As mobile traffic increases, renters aren’t going to change their devices to accommodate you, so it’s about time you changed your design.
“Jon Simpson is the C.E.O. and founder of Criterion.B an agency focused on branding and inbound marketing for the commercial real estate and multifamily housing industry.”