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Not on the web? Or does your site look like it was created circa 1990? It’s time for a change.
AUTHORKathryn Farrell and Bendix Anderson
Why does a co-op or a condo need a website? On the endless list of board duties, maintaining a website for your building is probably very low – if it’s even there.
Yet an eye-catching, functional website can be one of the most important tools in a board’s arsenal. It’s an easy and accessible way for the board to stay in contact with residents and keep them updated on projects and building business. And when done right, it can be a major marketing tool.
Even so, many buildings have not taken the steps to develop a web presence. “It's not unusual for a co-op or condo to come to us that has not had a website,” says Lloyd Chrein, a web designer. Many of his regular clients are businesses that want to refresh an existing site; with co-ops and condos, the “business” has existed since before websites were a common practice, and inertia has set in.
When Chrein is approached by a co-op or condo about creating or updating a website, it’s often because the dynamics of the building have changed. Maybe younger people are moving in, or a new board or a new manager wants to modernize. Many want help communicating with their residents. “They'll want to put documents up there that people can download,” says Chrein. “They'll want to put updates about what's going on in the building.”
A modern, functional website can also help promote the building. One of Chrein’s clients, the Cryder House in Whitestone, Queens, had an outdated website designed years ago by a volunteer that had a decidedly amateurish feel.
“I wouldn’t even call it a website,” says Harvey Latterman, 68, vice president of the co-op board. “Buyers used to come from the local area, but we need to cast a wider net. We live in a competitive environment, and we realized we have to market ourselves. We decided that it was time to get out of the Stone Age. We want to appeal to younger people.” The new website, launching early this year, will include apartment floor plans as well as professional photographs of common areas, apartment interiors, and a variety of amenities.
“You have to have a website that grabs people,” Latterman says. “It’s going to be very user-friendly, and it’ll make it easier for people to look at us and find us. It should increase interest in people wanting to live here.”