Avoid these mistakes to make your nursery look as fantastic online as it does offline.

Creating a website can be relatively easy nowadays. However, to make the most of your online presence, you need to ensure your nursery website stays current, interesting and user-friendly.

We've covered five common mistakes nurseries make with their websites, so you can avoid falling into the same traps.

1. Don’t keep your visitors hanging around

If a parent visits your nursery to look around for the first time, you wouldn't leave them waiting for too long in reception; that first impression is too important.

Well, the same should be true of your website. More and more parents are using the web to search for childcare, so your website could be their first introduction to your setting. Pictures can have a great impact on your website, but if the files are too big, it will slow loading times, especially if they are visiting from a mobile. Use low resolution pictures and keep information brief and to-the-point to stop parents from getting frustrated and leaving your site.

2. Out of date content

Don't let out of date information unfairly reflect your nursery. Be careful of using phrases like 'new for December 2013' as they will soon look old. Either make a diary note to check information regularly or stay away from date references.

Don't commit to a news section unless someone at your nursery has time to regularly update it. If the last news story is from six months ago, parents visiting your website may even question whether you are still in business. Posting stories is a great way to encourage parents to frequent your childcare website and it can help your ranking on search engines, like Google.

3. Too much text and too many distractions

When parents visit your website, they are looking for information about your nursery. If they find lots of sales speak, they'll turn away. Key information for parents will be things like Ofsted reports, opening times, facilities and examples of activities and menus.

Unlike paper brochures, people don't tend to read as much on websites and will skip around quickly. To help them follow these rules:

  • Keep information brief and easy to scan
  • Use bullet points as they are easy for readers to digest and direct them to the focus of your page
  • Keep colours simple, particularly for text. Visitors will find it hard to read coloured text on bright backgrounds.
  • Don't clutter the page. Allow for lots of space and let people concentrate on the important bits, without the distraction of sounds and moving images.
  • It is important to make everything easy to find so offer plenty of links in your text and a clear menu at the top or left-hand side of your website.

This point is especially true if people are looking at your site from a mobile. Ideally, you want the website to be optimised for mobile phones and tablets. Lots of software nowadays will automatically adapt to the device you're using to view the site. If your site doesn't respond well to mobile screens, you can help the user by making buttons bigger and including less clutter on the screen.

4. Not realising the power of images

Pictures really can be worth 1000 words. As well as making sure they load quickly, ensure any photos are well taken. Photos that are blurry or lopsided will give the impression that it was an afterthought. If you’re not a confident photographer, there is plenty of information on the web on how to take a good photo, even when using the camera on your phone.

Parents will want to see facilities at your nursery, so make sure you take some shots both inside and out. Eating areas and kitchens can show how seriously you take hygiene. Photos of your staff’s friendly faces can add a warm personal touch, but make sure they are happy to do this.

If you plan to use any photos of children on your website, don't forget to get written permission from parents before doing so. Alternatively, you could use a site like http://www.istockphoto.com or http://www.shutterstock.com to download a professional photo for
a very small fee.

5. Playing hide and seek

There's no point putting all this work into a website, only to realise no one can find it. Before you write a web page, think of three phrases that people may type into Google that will lead them to your page. For example, a nursery in East Kent, may want parents typing 'nursery in Canterbury' to find them. Include these phrases in your website to help people find you.

Register your account with Google Analytics, a free online tool, to see how many visitors your website is getting and what they are typing into Google to find you.

New to websites?

Building a website can be daunting, especially if you have little experience. There’s a lot to think about, from the design and content to finding an address and a company to host it.

Luckily, at Parenta, we have lots of experience in building websites for nurseries. We can build you a custom or bespoke website, give you great advice, provide you with stock images and we even offer a maintenance package so you never have to worry about trying to update your site yourself!

Enquire today to find out what we can do for you!

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