You know your preschool needs a website, but how do you get started? How do you plan an effective website for your school? Here are some tips to consider when you’re planning a new preschool website.
We were delighted to have the opportunity to create a new website for First School, a preschool and parents day out program in our community. You can learn from their experience.
Keep your goals in mind
A preschool website may have several goals. Marketing is almost always a priority. First School always has a waiting list, but they still need to be sure they are communicating well with new families moving into town and growing families in the community. Local parents are likely to hear about them by word of mouth, but it’s essential to make it easy to get the information parents need to make that all important decision about where to send their precious children.
We designed the site to show the fun, community-based nature of the school, along with the high level of safety and highly qualified staff.
Preschool sites may also be a hub for information for current parents and families. First School relies on an app to communicate with current parents, so this was less of a priority. However, we set up the site to allow growth in that area if the school chooses to go in that direction.
When you talk with a web firm, make sure they understand your future plans and goals as well as your immediate needs, Planning ahead for possible future uses can end up saving you time and money, as well as making your new website usable for the longer term.
For First School, we created a blog but did not add it to the main navigation, since they are not sure they will use it. Instead, we provided some posts to get them started and made a space on the homepage where they can place specific posts. It’s easy to change them out and update them, but they don’t have to feel that they need to keep a blog up to date.
Use your assets
First School has lots of great photos and videos. We used their polished, professionally produced videos on multiple pages.
We also included lots of photos showing their facilities.
However, it’s a good idea to limit the number of candid photos of children you sue online. Even though the school has plenty of very cute snapshots, we used stock photos when we wanted to have recognizable faces of children. We made sure to choose pictures that had the same feeling as the school — you don’t want online visitors to be surprised when they visit in person.
Remember your audience
People looking for care for their children are probably very busy. They need a convenient, easy to use site that gives them the information they need immediately. We made sure there’s lots of detail at the site, including safety precautions, philosophy, the names of all the teachers, and more. Those details are available for parents who want to make a deep dive and find out everything about their kids’ caretakers.
But we also make it quick and convenient to find all the essential information.
A checklist of items to plan for:
- Simple, direct navigation
- Contact information in the main menu and on every page
- Prices and deadlines included
- Clear and convenient instructions for registration, arranging for a tour, and other important actions
- Schedules for classes
- Age ranges
- Scholarships, accreditation, and other official details
- A simple contact form
Plan for the future
All websites need to be kept up to date. Schools have a particular need for this: your starting dates, class schedules, tuition prices, teachers and staff, and many more details may change each semester. We built First School’s website on the WordPress platform so they will be able to make changes directly in-house. A traditional website without a content management system may require special skills to update, and some CMS options are more intuitive than others.
Another advantage of WordPress is that, since it is far and away the most popular CMS, powering just about half of all the websites in the universe, your chances of having someone in your office who is already familiar with it are good.
Whatever platform you choose, make sure that you know how to update the site or make arrangements with your web firm for ongoing management services.
Planning your new website? Don’t go it alone. We’re experts – reach out today!