Re: Web site specificity: opinions?
From: Mariana Almeida (
Date: Fri, 3 Feb 2012 16:51:15 -0800 (PST)
I work in marketing on the web, and I live in cohousing. 
My take on your question is this: as a marketing vehicle, will having more 
information about our community on our site close more sales and attract more 
people? Will this extra effort be worth it for us? 

My answer is, No, it would not. 
Many prospective coho folks are not very targeted in their questions. Their 
concerns may be poorly formed so putting a lot of detail out doesn't help 
this. Further, each and every prospective member will make a decision only 
after talking with one or more of you. This isn't like shopping online on 
Amazon where the written description and image is all you have. The shopping 
process is really that - a process. 
What I would include on the site are potential deal breakers: like no dogs or 
cats, or no wheelchair accessible common house, no meat, huge deposit, or 
something else like that which would immediately be used to screen people out.
Be very judicious in taking anecdotal information about your site as gospel or 
as reason to act -- e.g. I needed to see your policies before I even considered 
your community. I really doubt this was a make or break, even if they say so 
now. I don't know which policy they meant, but it would need to be pretty 
fundamental one (e.g. no dogs) to count as a screening point. 
What I would include: 
        * Something about the make up of the community, but still general (17 
adults, 9 children aged X toY). Professions include...blah, blah, blah.People 
love to read detail about something they desire. Someone else mentioned having 
visited a website of a community they adored from afar before moving in. But I 
question if the website detail really added that much to a very human, very 
transactional process of getting to know folks and looking them in the 
eye before deciding to live there. 
        * The general layout of the community, an image would nice. 
        * Something about the time commitment
        * Values, etc. 
        * That you do have policies and something about the governing structure
        * The size of the unit, location, any unusual terms having to do with 
        * Not much else. 
I just don't see cohousing community websites as being able to stoke demand 
where there isn't any. I think they let people know that you exist, you're 
organized enough to have a website, that you're looking for members. The rest 
is face to face. Those who want all-volunteer endeavors to have as rich as web 
presence as stores are just misguided. Put the effort into more worthwhile 
My opinionated two cents, 
Berkeley Cohousing  - which doesn't need a website because we're small and have 
little turnover.

>There has been a perennial debate in our community.  Drawn in the most
>extreme terms: some want a minimal web site which just gives people
>contact information and gets them to talk to us in person; others want
>a maximal web site with pages about everything anyone could ever want
>to know about us.
>Thank you,
>Greg Nelson            email:    terramantra [at]
>White Hawk Ecovillage        phone:    607-273-2576
>Ithaca, NY 14850        web:
>Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at: 
From: Greg Nelson <ghn [at]>
To: cohousing-l [at] 
Sent: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 11:28 AM
Subject: [C-L]_ Web site specificity: opinions?

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