This is a basic guide for property management companies ready to invest in their first website or evaluate and upgrade their existing one. Internet “geek speak” can be a little overwhelming (!) And, when you don’t understand the conversation, it’s tough to make choices and provide guidance to your website designer/developer. In this article I hope to simplify ideas and processes for you so you can make educated choices.

Before I dive in, I’d like to make one thing clear…YOU are the most important decision maker in the website creation process. I strongly encourage you to do your research, participate actively, and be responsive to questions and requests from your website creator. The best websites are the result of a strong partnership between the website creator and the top leader(s) of a company. If you abdicate your role in the process, you will probably be disappointed with the outcome.

Some Important Website “Geek Speak” Explained…

  1. Domain – Your website domain is the address for your website (e.g. Selecting a good domain is an important part of reinforcing brand identity and helping with SEO (search engine optimization). It’s getting harder to find good domains, so you may need to invest a little thought time into selecting one for your company. Here are some basic guidelines:
    1. Register a .com or .net – These are the most common, most memorable domain extensions. Stick with them unless you cannot find anything suitable. Consider purchasing both .com and .net to protect your company identity and avoid confusion, then set up a redirect so that users who type in the .net version of the domain are sent to the .com version where your website resides.
    2. Avoid hyphens – Just because you CAN use them doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Hyphens make the web address harder to read and remember. They can also be perceived as sketchy.
    3. Make it descriptive – It’s important to have good keywords in your domain name. There are 2 options:
    4. Keep it short – Remember, your visitors, prospects, and clients will use this domain to visit your site and send you email. Make it easier for them by using less than 15 characters. If your primary domain name must have more characters (e.g. then register an abbreviated version to use as an alternate in print marketing materials and email addresses (e.g.
  • Hosting – Hosting is the space you “rent” to house your website files. A website is basically a bunch of files stored in various folders that are linked together via code and an encompassing design. You have 2 hosting options:
    1. Hosted website – This is like subletting. The company that provides you with your website owns the software running the site and “rents” space it occupies online from a hosting company (like GoDaddy). You pay the website company a service fee to use their system and related services. With this option, it can be difficult to move your website to a different company because the software it is built with is owned by your website company – not you.
    2. Self-Hosted website – In this instance, you contract directly with the hosting provider for website space. You set up the account and pay the hosting fees to that company directly (e.g. GoDaddy). You own the website completely and you or someone you hire is responsible for maintaining it.
  • CMS – This stands for content management system. This is a user-friendly interface that you can use to easily make changes to a website without editing code (e.g. WordPress). If you want to be able to make quick edits or additions to your website on your own. You will want a website that has a user-friendly CMS.
  • Navigation – This term is used to describe the way people move from page to page on your website: the main menu, sub-menus, and buttons or links.
  • Integrations – You may use additional software solutions and website plugins to enhance the functionality of your website. They might include: online account access for owners & tenants, online rent payments, lead capture / email marketing, a listing database, and more.
  • SEO – Search Engine Optimization is the practice of developing a website that search engines (e.g. Google) consider valuable and relevant enough to rank it higher in search results.
  • Responsive Design – This term simply means that the website display adjusts automatically for various screen sizes. It is no longer optional because more people are using laptops, tablets, and mobile phones to access the Internet. Google is taking mobile-friendliness into consideration when ranking results for searches performed from mobile devices.
  • Template – Some companies offer website templates. These are pre-designed (often industry-specific) websites that have only minor customizations, like your logo. The benefit of a template is that you can get a website up and running quickly. The drawback is that your website will look very similar to other websites in your industry.
  • Google Analytics – This is website integration provided by Google that tracks website activity and provides reporting on that activity. It gives you a foundation for creating website metrics and measuring success.
  • Landing Page – A landing page is a single, focused web page with limited or no navigation. Landing pages are designed to achieve one goal … conversion. They are most often used with paid advertising (PPC or print ads) so that results can be tracked and used to measure ROI on the advertising dollar. A landing page does not replace a full website, but they are more effective at converting visitors from paid ads and assessing the value of paid advertising.

Now that you understand some basic website terminology, let’s talk about prep work.

A company website is an investment; time and money are required to create and maintain it. Your website needs to work for you to accomplish your business goals. Before beginning a website project, you should take time to assess your needs and do some strategic planning. What do you want your website to do? Instead of looking at your website as simply a necessary expense, put it to work in ways that increase profitability. Prioritize and pay the most attention to the aspects of the site that directly impact ROI by increasing leads or decreasing staff / support costs.

Here are some ways your website can work for you:

  • Build Trust / Generate Leads
  • Provide Answers to FAQs
  • Educate Prospects & Clients
  • Provide Self-Service Solutions
  • Provide Access to Necessary Tools / Documentation

If you want a top-notch website, then you need to 1) understand your own goals before you even hire someone to create your website and 2) go into the project with the expectation that you will need to provide input.

In my next article, I’ll dive deeper into a couple of important aspects of website creation and provide you with a free worksheet you can use to plan your next website project.

Dee Allomong - Director of Marketing for LandlordSourceDee Allomong has over 11 years of experience in Internet technology and strategic marketing. You can contact Dee at

Disclaimer: LandlordSource does not represent the article content in this website as legal advice. It is shared information only and up to the reader to use this information responsibly, seeking legal advice as necessary to their business.

Disclaimer: LandlordSource does not represent the article content in this website as legal advice. It is shared information only and up to the reader to use this information responsibly, seeking legal advice as necessary to their business.