Google announced that it will be adding “site speed”, how quickly a website responds to web requests, as one of the data points it uses to rank its search results – meaning that if your site is slow, you’ll be pushed down the ranking making it harder for people to find your website. This also means that you’ll be rewarded in Google’s search ranking if you have a fast website.
They also created a new tool for webmasters to use to determine how fast their site is, according to Google anyway. I used their tool to find out how fast our site was and posted the results below.
On average, pages [on eNeighbors.com] take 0.6 seconds to load (updated on Apr 14, 2010). This is faster than 97% of sites. These estimates are of high accuracy (more than 1000 data points). The chart below shows how your site’s average page load time has changed over the last few months. For your reference, it also shows the 20th percentile value across all sites, separating slow and fast load times.
If you want to try it on your site, go to http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools and click Labs –> Site Performance.
I recently discovered a free and valuable service called BatchGeoCode – an awesome website that will take your address data and plot it on a map.
We’ve used it a couple of times now to show customers what homes are registered in their neighborhood. For example, see a map of all 529 registered homes in Nottingham Forest South.
If you’re a board member or property manager and your neighborhood is using eNeighbors, you can create a map of registered homes (or non-registered homes) too. Here are the steps:
- Sign in to your eNeighbors Account at http://www.eneighbors.com/
- Click “Go To Admin Tool” (only available for board members and property managers)
- Click “Reports”
- To create a map of Registered Homes click “Registered Homes” to download a spreadsheet of all registered homes
- To create a map of Non-Registered Homes click “Non-Registered Homes” to download a spreadsheet of all non-registered homes
- Go to http://www.batchgeocode.com/ and follow the instructions to create your map
Please email us at email@example.com if you need help with eNeighbors.com. For help with BatchGeoCode, visit their video tutorials page.
We claim that:
- the vast majority of your community will register and use the online communication system on a regular basis.
- you can communicate more effectively, virtually at will, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
- your community will actually lower the cost of communication – the logical result of replacing current methods newsletter, layout, print, copy, mail
BUT, as a Board Member, your #1 concern is: “WILL THE MAJORITY OF OUR RESIDENTS ACTUALLY READ THE INFORMATION?”
A resident in an eNeighbors community wondered the same thing and posted a news article to find out “is any body really out there?” Screenshots below:
I always encourage customers to upload a photo of their neighborhood entrance monument to their eNeighbors website. Over time, we’ve collected a lot of great photos. Here’s my top 10 favorite neighborhood entrance monument photos of 2010, starting with #10.
9. Parkhill Manor
8. Highlands Ranch
7. Nottingham by the Green / Knightsbrooke
6. Forest View
5. Arlington Park
4. Nottingham Forest South
2. Western Auto Lofts (This one is sitting on top of a building)
1. Coffee Creek Crossing
As we embark on the new year I’ve noticed that a lot of HOAs are looking for ways to save money. As I’ve mentioned before, the number one way that we save HOAs money is by replacing their paper newsletter, but more recently, it seems that HOAs are reconsidering their paper directory too.
Most paper directories are actually distributed free of charge in exchange for the right to sell advertising. However, advertising is shrinking for many companies in the “paper medium” and it seems that neighborhood directories are also feeling the squeeze, so they are scrambling to change their business model from free to subscription. To avoid this new fee, many HOAs are simply relying on their online resident directory with eNeighbors.
What is your neighborhood doing? Do you have a paper directory? Are you keeping it? Please comment below.
Here’s an example from one community:
Below are step-by-step instructions on how to post a news article. News articles posted to your neighborhood website are immediately published (unless content moderation is on) and sent out in the email newsletter, which is sent on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, depending on the resident’s preferences.
- Sign in
- Click “Add a News Article”
- Enter a title
- Enter some content
- Add a photo and/or document
- Click “Preview Article”
- Click “Publish Article”
Click “Add a News Article”.
Enter a title, some content and add a photo and/or document. Click “Preview Article”.
Click “Publish Article”.
Article is published.
Here are some examples of News articles posted from other neighborhoods:
Step-by-step instructions (with screenshots) on how to post a bulletin are below. Bulletins are a powerful feature that allow you to instantly communicate with your neighborhood.
- Sign in to your account at http://www.eneighbors.com/
- Click “Go To Admin Tool”
- Click the “Bulletins” tab
- Enter a subject, enter a message and click “Preview Bulletin”
- Click “Publish Bulletin” (NOTE: DO NOT CLICK MORE THAN ONCE. IT CAN TAKE SOME TIME AS YOU ARE SENDING A LOT OF EMAILS.)
Your bulletin will be published to the website under the bulletins section and an email will be sent to every resident that is registered on the website.
Screenshots for the above steps are below.
Enter your email address and password at eNeighbors.com to sign in.
Click the “Go To Admin Tool”. This is only available for Board Members, Property Managers, and other Administrative users.
Click the “Bulletins” tab.
Enter a subject, message and click “Preview Bulletin”.
Click “Publish Bulletin”.
Bulletin is posted to the website.
Bulletin is sent immediately via email.
I was really pleased to find out today that the Cedar Creek Homeowners Association in Olathe, KS is beginning the process of phasing out their paper newsletter to save money. The savings to the HOA are substantial and could exceed $18,000 per year.
One of the greatest benefits of eNeighbors is that you can save money by serving your communication needs online. You no longer have to bear the cost of postage, paper, printing, editing, and so forth.
According to Steve Maerz, a Cedar Creek Board Member who manages the website, the association currently budgets $1,500 per month to send 1000 newsletters, or $18,000 per year.
The savings won’t be realized immediately though as they are phasing out the monthly newsletter by printing newsletters every other month. Steve explained in an email to me that “we are telling folks that we will only mail every other month with the month that it isn’t mailed being on eNeighbors.”
The idea of sending paper newsletters every other month was not something that I’ve seen done before but I think it’s a great way to ease the community into a new process.
When considering our service, many board members ask for references from our current customers. Recently, one customer took the time to put together a review of our services. The following is an unedited email from Trudy Moffitt (Nottingham by the Green) to a board member from another neighborhood currently considering our website for their community.
As Dan stated, I am on the Board of Directors for Nottingham by the Green/Knightsbrooke subdivision with 733 homes in south Overland Park, Kansas. Prior to joining eNeighbors, we had another website that had limited features, and most of the content was managed through a third party making it very cumbersome to use for timely neighborhood communication. We truly needed a better communication vehicle with our residents and eNeighbors provided the optimal solution. Not only can the board directly communicate to our residents, our residents can communicate with the board and with other residents.
The fact that residents actually post their own news articles and classified ads, and freely communicate to the board through the Community Feedback feature is testimony that the eNeighbors website is very user-friendly. eNeighbors website also requires very little maintenance/monitoring which is an important feature considering our HOA Board of Directors is comprised of elected volunteers and not paid positions.
The responsiveness of eNeighbors to any questions, concerns, and suggestions for improvements is truly phenomenal, not only when we first joined but throughout our 2 ½ years association. They are dedicated to providing a superior website which is evident by the numerous enhancements they have made over the years.
Speaking on behalf of our board and residents, we have been very pleased with the eNeighbors website. Feel free to call me at [removed] any time if you have any specific questions that I can address about our experience with eNeighbors, their website features, or our start-up process or experience. Best wishes as you assess your website considerations.
HOA Board of Directors
Nottingham by the Green/Knightsbrooke
We are now utilizing a larger photo (450 pixels wide by 335 pixels high) on your public neighborhood page to showcase your neighborhood. We are also displaying them on our homepage and on our search results page.
To see your photo, go to http://www.eneighbors.com/ and search for your neighborhood. Click your neighborhood name to see your page.
- If you see a photo of clouds, that is the default photo and you have not uploaded a photo yet
- If you see a fuzzy photo, this means that we are using the photo from your “old” site that needs to be re-uploaded
- If you see a clear photo that you like, then no action is necessary
To upload a new photo, sign in to your account, click “Go To Admin Tool”, click the “Browse…” button next to “Neighborhood Photo” to select a photo off of your computer. Click “Open” and finally, click “Save Changes” all the way at the bottom of the page.
Screenshot of public neighborhood page with default photo of clouds:
Screenshot of public neighborhood page with photo of entrance monument:
Screenshot of search results for “nottingham”: