If you are a childcare or daycare centre manager, then this article is for you.
According to this report, there are over 8,200 centre-based daycare centres in Australia. Almost all of them will have a website to represent their centre and the services they offer.
When was the last time you sat down and invested time to review your website and see if it looked presentable or user-friendly?
When parents look for a suitable centre for their kids, your website is one of the first places they look at. If your website is too confusing or difficult to navigate, they will simply click on that back button.
Remember your website loads on a browser with a back button. So don't give your visitors a reason to click on that back button and go to the next website, potentially losing you an enrolment.
In this article, I break down some of the most common elements any childcare or daycare centre website has. I reviewed and analysed 101 childcare and daycare centre websites to bring you this information.
Why is it essential to make your website user-friendly
Your website is the face of your childcare centre. It is the first impression parents will have of you, and it is crucial to ensure it is good.
One way to do this is by ensuring that your website is user-friendly. This means ensuring that all of the elements on the page are easy to find and use. Navigation should be simple, and everything should be laid out intuitively. In addition, you need to keep users engaged on your website.
Now let’s look closer at each common element we looked for:
Interestingly, 78% of the childcare and daycare centre websites we reviewed use WordPress as their preferred Content Management System (CMS).
1) Logo in the top left corner
86% of websites have their logo in the top left corner. This is one of the most common elements you would see on any website. Of the remaining, 9% had their logo centre aligned on the top navigation header, and the remaining 5% didn't have their logo on the top header at all. Having your logo at the top is important, giving your website much-needed brand recognition.
86% - top left
9% - center-aligned, top navigation
5% - no branding logo
- Don't make the logo too big. Otherwise, the top navigation will look too tall.
- Use a clear but compressed version of your logo. Bigger logos will slow down your website.
Kindy Patch Childcare Centre has its logo in the top left corner
Treasured Tots Early Education has its logo centre aligned in the top header
2) Top logo hyperlinked to the home page
Over 91% of the websites that had a top logo hyperlinked to the home page. So no matter which pages a visitor lands, they can easily navigate back to the home page by clicking on the top logo.
91% - logo hyperlinked to home page
9% - logo not hyperlinked
- Always hyperlink your branding logo to the home page.
Kids Capers Childcare has its logo linked to the home page
3) Top menu navigation
The good news is all of them had a top navigation menu with links to other parts of their website. This is a no-brainer.
- Don't clutter your header navigation with too many links. If you have a lot of links, consider using drop-down menus.
Green Leaves Early Learning has a great top navigation menu
4) About Us page
83% of the sites had an About Us page which we consider a core page. It is an important page that builds trust and increases your credibility as a childcare service provider. Now more than ever, parents are spoilt for choice, so make your About page stand out from the rest. Give it some personality, add some fun photos, and definitely tell parents about your story, how you got started, and, most importantly, what makes your childcare centre unique.
- This is one page where you can really show your centre's personality and add lots of photos that entice potential parents to come and visit your centre.
Paisley Park Early Learning Centre's About page tells readers their story, and why they love what they do.
5) Services page(s)
Another important page - 90% of the websites had a service page or a collection of service pages describing the type of childcare or daycare service they provide. When parents are researching, it is important for them to find out what each centre offers. For instance, if your centre provides after-school care, mention that on your core services pages.
- Create one main service page and more in-depth pages describing each service at a more granular level.
Stepping Stones Children's Services website has services pages
6) Contact us / Enquire page
Only 89% of the sites had a dedicated contact page. We think it's important to have a clear way for parents to get in touch with your centre. By having a dedicated contact page, it makes it easier for parents to send any inquiries they may have or book a tour with your centre.
- Ask for basic contact details such as their name, email, phone number, and perhaps a message. Make it easier for anyone to send an inquiry. Don't bombard your form with too many input fields. The goal here is to generate an inquiry; if your contact form has 10 fields for parents to fill in, that may deter them from engaging with the form. Also, to reduce getting SPAM messages, always add a CAPTCHA code. Have this form sent an email to an email address that is actively monitored so you can get all inquiries.
Notice how Buggles Early Learning and Kindy's contact form has just the right amout of input fields and a CAPTCHA code to prevent unwanted spam.
8) Terms and Conditions Page
Definitely not one of those popular pages, as only 22% of the websites had a terms and conditions page. Unlike the privacy page, the law does not require websites to have a Terms and Conditions page. However, including a Terms and Conditions page is always a wise choice. These terms and conditions identify the rights and responsibilities of both parties, such as payment, copyright, price, penalties, variations, delivery, refund, return, guarantee, liability and other staff.
- Similar to the privacy page, it's best to get these drafted by a law firm. If not, the second best option is to pay for a website that generates terms based on a questionnaire.
Here's another example of a great Terms and Conditions page
9) Social media links in the header
26% of the websites had links to their social media profiles in the header. We are big fans of keeping your visitors on your website for as long as possible. If you have social media links right at the top, it invites people to click on them, and you know what happens when we land on social media - we tend to forget what we were doing before. This is also known as a "bounce" in website and SEO terms. So it's best not to give them a reason to click away from your website. The best place to include your social media icons is your footer, which is our next point.
- We prefer not to include social media links in the top header. Save them for the footer.
10) Social media links in the footer
Surprisingly only 32% of the websites had links to their social media profiles in the footer. Social media is an important part of the growth of any business, especially for childcare, as lots of parents check out childcare centres using Facebook and Instagram. So do take advantage of social media channels to increase your brand awareness.
- Stick to one or two social media channels where you can be seen active. If the last time you Tweeted from your centre's Twitter account was three years ago, don't link to it from your Twitter. Instagram is a very popular channel among parents, and posting on Instagram regularly is relatively easy.
Your footer is the ideal place to include your social media links like Sunkids childcare
11) Testimonials From Parents
40% of the websites had testimonials from parents who had a positive experience with their centres. This is a massive credibility booster. Instead of telling potential parents how great your services are, it's always best to let your raving fans do the talking. Testimonials assure potential parents that other parents have used your centre and are happy with your services.
- To get a positive testimonial from happy parents, your centre needs to have a real, personal connection with parents. Don't assume you can just send an email asking for a testimonial, it doesn't work that way. The best time to ask for testimonials is after an event where kids are happy, and the parents also had a great time. You are more likely to get a positive response from parents.
Include testimonials from happy parents like how Ngala Early Learning has done it.
12) Book a tour form
66% of the sites had a book a-tour form, either as a popup widget or a dedicated page. Making this page prominent on your website is critical. Preferably place it in the top header where your website visitors can easily see it.
- Similar to the contact form, you don't want to get parents to enter too many details. All you want is their contact details and prefered date and time for the tour. Keep it simple, and respond to their booking promptly, confirming the date and time.
Here's how the Book a Tour page looks on Great Beginnings' website
13) Live chat widget
28% of the websites had some sort of a live chat widget. We get it; when you have to spend a significant amount of your time looking after the children and also communicating with parents while dealing with an endless supply of paperwork, it's not always easy to handle a live chat feature, but the good news is that most live chat widgets can be set up in a way they can automatically send messages to their senders. If the live chat widget is unattended, it can even be set up to send the inquiry to an email address of your choice so that you can respond later.
- Use one of the pre-built live chat widgets that can automatically respond to some of the frequently asked questions, so it's not wasting your time.
Here's an example of a live chat widget on Community Kids Childcare & Early Learning Centre website
14) Call-To-Action (CTA) Button Above The Fold
88% of the websites had an inviting call to action above the fold.
What is above the fold? It is the upper half of a web page, so important elements are visible without having to scroll down the page.
- Experiment with different wordings for your CTA buttons; most go with Enquire Now, but play around with phrases such as Get in Touch, Speak to Our Staff, and Book a Tour.
Milestones Early Learning website uses Book a Tour as their CTA
15) Childcare Subsidy Calculator (CSC)
Only 45% of the websites had either a childcare subsidy calculator. Some had a link to an external source or an in-built calculator on their website. Either option you choose, Childcare Subsidy Calculator, is one of the most searched phrases by parents who are trying to work out the subsidy percentage. Having one on your website will help parents. If there is none, they are forced to Google and search for one, potentially on another centre's website that has a calculator.
- Have a dedicated page that has some content about what childcare subsidy is and how it's calculated. If you have the means to build your own CSC, then do so. If not, have a link on your CSC page that links out to the subsidy calculator on the Services Australia website - https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/child-care-subsidy
Here's how the childcare subsidy calculator looks on Nido Early School
16) Helpful content for parents (blog section)
Only 77% of the centres had a dedicated content section. It is important to produce high-quality content on a regular basis to keep your visitors up-to-date. Stick to a schedule that you can realistically meet. Even if it means producing one good, quality blog post every fortnight, stick to it.
- Think of parents' and potential parents' frequently asked questions and create content around those topics. You will have an endless supply of content for your blog.
- If your centre doesn't have the capacity to produce content, the next best option is to hire a dedicated content-producing team who specialises in childcare content marketing and SEO. If your centre needs help with content marketing and SEO, please get in touch with us, we are more than happy to help.
Busy Bees' blog section has great content that helps their readers
17) Use of Favicon
96% of the websites had a favicon that was based on their centre's logo. So why is it important to have a favicon? They help users remember your website while browsing multiple other websites and tabs.
- A favicon is a simplistic representation of your brand or logo. Ensure the favicon file is small but still legible. Avoid using words or complex elements in the favicon design, as they will not be visible.
An example of a Favicon on Papilio Early Learning's website
18) Careers page
83% of the sites had a dedicated careers page. Although this page is not directed towards parents, it will help you attract potential candidates for your team. Think of this page as another opportunity to tell the world how awesome your centre is and what they can expect in return by joining your amazing team and its culture. You can control what goes on this page, and most childcare and daycare centre websites will have a form where the potential candidate has to upload their CV.
Here's an example of a great careers page on Imagine Childcare's website
19) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
54% of the websites had an FAQ page or a section. FAQs can be extremely useful in providing information to potential parents and visitors. FAQs can also help improve your website's user experience. By having an FAQ page, you can address common questions and concerns parents may have about your services. This can help reduce the number of support requests and calls you receive and improve the overall satisfaction of your website's visitors.
In addition, FAQs can also help to increase the amount of time that users spend on your site. By providing answers to commonly-asked questions, you can keep users engaged with your content and reduce the likelihood that they'll click away from your site before finding what they're looking for.
- Keep it organised. When creating your FAQ page, be sure to organise the information in a way that makes sense to your reader. Group similar questions together and use clear and concise language throughout.
- Use searchable keywords. Make sure your FAQ page is easily searchable by including relevant keywords throughout. This will help users find the answers they're looking for more quickly and easily.
An example of a Frequently Asked Questions page
20) Google Analytics
74% of the websites had Google Analytics enabled.
Google Analytics is a web analytics tool that provides insights into how users interact with your website. It helps you understand user behaviour, measure the success of any marketing campaigns, and track conversions and other key measures that can improve the website experience for future visitors. Additionally, Google Analytics can help identify potential problem areas on a website to address them.
- Log into your Google Analytics account regularly to check your website traffic and user behaviour. If you need help managing your Google Analytics accounts, we are happy to help.
Jellybeans Childcare & Kindy has Google Analytics added on their website
21) Use of XML sitemap
An XML sitemap is a file on your website that tells search engines such as Google about the pages on your site. XML stands for Extensible Markup Language, and you can think of a sitemap as a table of contents for your website. Creating and submitting an XML sitemap can help make sure Google and other search engines find all the important pages on your site, and it can give you valuable insights into how often they crawl your site.
- If your website is built using WordPress, Wix or SquareSpace, it is quite easy to generate an XML sitemap. Whenever a new page is generated, the XML sitemap can be automatically updated.
This is what a typical XML sitemap looks like, here's an example from Mini Masterminds website
Use this handy XML tool to check your XML sitemaps
There you have it, the results of reviewing 101 childcare and daycare centre websites. Do you agree with this list? Let us know if we have missed anything that you think is important