By Kris Murray In today’s digital world, it’s no longer enough to simply have a website for your child care or preschool business. Your website must be found by interested prospects, and it must build trust with visitors once they do find you. With those two goals in mind, there are five things your website must have to put your program’s best face forward – that is, to be found by parents and to build trust with them.
1) Keyword-Rich Copy. The first important consideration is to make sure your home page (and all site pages) contain keyword-rich copy. Google and other search engines comb through the words on every website on the planet, to determine what each site is about. If you don’t have words on your home page that relate to what people are searching for – keywords such as daycare, childcare, preschool, and after school – then you are missing out on a large volume of potential visitor traffic to your site. Your home page should contain at least 200-300 words of compelling copy, including keywords and names of towns and regions you serve.
2) A Mobile-Friendly Platform. In our mobile and busy society, people aren’t just searching for child care on computers and laptops. Nearly half of all searches for local businesses are now done on some sort of mobile device, be it a tablet or smart phone. So it’s important to have a website that’s mobile-friendly – that means the content changes and is optimized based on the type of device the visitor is using. The most popular mobile-friendly platform (and one of the easiest to use) is Wordpress. If you need to re-design your website and make it mobile-friendly, look for a company or web designer that uses Wordpress.
3) Testimonials. As mentioned earlier, one of your website’s goals should be to build trust with parents. The best way to do this is to use parent and teacher testimonials. Testimonials from others hold much more credibility than you “tooting your own horn”. There are several important elements you need for credible, believable testimonials. Include a photo of the parent or the family with the testimonial. Give the full name of the person providing the testimonial, along with the town they live in, and optionally their childs’ names and ages. For example, “Susan Smith, Boise, ID – mom of twins Aidan and Annie, age 3”. Finally, if you can capture some video testimonials and put those on your website (and on YouTube), those videos are worth their weight in gold for your enrollment growth long-term. There’s simply nothing that builds more trust than a series of parent and teacher video testimonials online.
4) How You’re Different. Make sure your website has a page communicating how your program is unique and different from your competitors. The first important step is to identify what those differences are. These need to be easy to understand, compelling, and specific, so parents can easily grasp them. For example, “quality of care” is too nebulous and not well-defined. Look for differences such as “low teacher turnover” or “316 years of combined early childhood experience in our school” which are easy for parents to understand. More ideas include aspects of security, playground, meals, transportation, all-inclusive enrichment, and the like. Be as specific as you can. Then take those 3 to 5 key differences and present them in bullet-point copy on your website. Make it easy for parents to understand your unique value and benefits.
5) Engaging Photos. Finally, your website needs to be well-designed and use compelling photos of kids and teachers in action. You can also use stock photos, but your site will provide a more authentic view of your program’s unique features and benefits if you use actual photos from your school.
Use this checklist to ensure that your website is being found and building trust with prospects. For more tips on getting your website ranked higher on Google and the other search engines, get my husband Devin’s 5-star book on Amazon on the topic. It’s called Child Care Marketing Online.
About the author: Kris Murray is a nationally recognized child care business expert, and the author of two books. She’s the host of the largest business conference in the world for the early childhood industry, the Child Care Success Summit. Her books, courses, and coaching programs have helped thousands of child care and preschool leaders get to the next level of success.