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How to Make your Nursery’s Website Work Harder

In a competitive marketplace it’s important to do what you can to ensure your online presence stands out from the crowd…

  • How to Make your Nursery’s Website Work Harder

Your nursery’s website is often the first point of contact between you and a potential new customer.

A great website can excite and reassure the parent that you are worth visiting; a dull and uninspiring website can put parents off and lose the opportunity for you.

Ask yourself, does your website:

  • Reflect the vibrancy, branding and ethos of your nursery?
  • Convey key information in an easy-to-read format?
  • Give evidence of the fantastic work you do?
  • Guide parents towards getting in touch with you for a visit or to book their child’s place?
  • Come up on the first page of Google when you search using key terms (eg ‘nursery Nottingham’ or ‘childcare Swindon’).

If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’ then it’s time to reflect on how you can make your website work harder for you.

This doesn’t have to mean spending thousands of pounds on a new website or an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) agency; there are lots of simple changes you can implement that will make a real difference – both for enticing new customers and for improving your ranking on Google.

Website structure

When reviewing your website’s structure there are some essential ingredients that all parents will expect to see:

  • Homepage
    This should feature a warm welcome, a summary of what you do, where you are, what you believe in and why parents should choose you.
  • Services/info for parents
    This might have a different name, but it is a section that explains in more detail what you offer. It will have key facts such as the different rooms you have, detail of your outdoor areas, opening times, whether you offer 30 free hours or free two-year-old places, and might also include a sample menu or downloadable parent pack.
  • About
    It is likely that you will have a lot of information under the ‘About’ heading, so consider splitting it into a few sub-pages. You’ll want to include your ethos, how long you’ve been open, information about you and your team, your Ofsted/inspection report, any awards you may have and the curriculum you follow (remember, some parents won’t know what the EYFS is).
  • Contact
    With phone number, email address, contact form, postal address and map.
  • Footer
    Containing your privacy policy, quick contact information and social media links.

Once you’ve got the basic structure of your website together, you can think about some extra sections that will both add value to parents and help with SEO:

  • Blog
    Blogs are great for SEO as they give you the opportunity to provide good-quality content with lots of keywords (you can use them for your news, events, educational articles for parents, advice on starting nursery or school, etc)
  • FAQs
    Frequently Asked Questions are also good for SEO – think about what search terms people might be typing into Google and cover them on your webpage (eg ‘Helping my child settle at nursery’, ‘Funding for childcare’, Choosing a nursery)
  • Videos
    Short videos can bring your nursery to life more vividly than a photograph; hearing children laughing and seeing them engaged in play is fantastic evidence of your fun, friendly environment.
  • Gallery
    Pictures speak much more to us than words. Your website should be filled with big, colourful photographs of your setting, children and staff – and you might want to have an additional gallery page just with photographs and captions.

For each page that you create, consider what you want the parent to do next and include an appropriate call to action – eg from your ‘Services’ page you may want them to request a parent pack, so include a link to do this, and make it obvious.

Ensure that you provide evidence of what you are saying through the photography you use and by sprinkling parent testimonials throughout the website. You might also want to have a page just for testimonials under your ‘about’ section.

Writing for SEO

Google is essentially looking for a match between the keywords that someone searches on and a good-quality website.

Spend some time considering what parents search on when looking for a nursery and put together a hit list of keywords and phrases you want to include on your website.

You can increase your chance of appearing higher on Google by including your keywords frequently throughout the website.

So, if you want to appear on Google for ‘nursery Bolton’ or ‘quality childcare Poole’ then you must ensure you have those words dotted throughout your website.

Beware though, this must feel natural; do it too much and it will put the reader off and Google won’t like it either.

In today’s busy world, people tend to skim through information, rather than reading it properly. You may therefore be tempted to keep your webpages short and sweet.

Google, however, likes content that demonstrates “adequate time, effort, expertise”. So, ensure you have enough words on each page – at least 300.

Use your keywords, where appropriate, in page names and in headings and subheadings throughout the text. Subheadings are a great way to break up a page of text (just look at this article!) and to draw the parent through the crucial points you want to convey.

Search engines like websites that are regularly updated, so make a plan to do this and consider blogging, perhaps on a monthly basis. They also like content without spelling mistakes and poor grammar, so don’t forget to proofread your site.

Make sure any links you have on the website work and include links internally throughout your website to help with SEO and to guide the parent to appropriate information, prompting them to take action and get in touch.

There’s undoubtedly much to consider when reviewing your nursery’s website, but taking the time to create a site that portrays the best possible picture of your setting can really pay dividends – both in being more visible on Google and then in attracting customers.

10 tips for SEO success

  • Include your keywords or key phrases several times in your website content
  • Ensure you have written enough – a minimum of 300 words per page
  • Use keywords in headings and subheadings
  • Include internal links to other pages on your website
  • Don’t repeat content across pages – Google doesn’t like this!
  • Look for opportunities to get links into your site (eg from directories, social media, etc)
  • Update your website regularly (blogs, FAQs and ‘meet the team’ pages are great ways to do this)
  • Ensure any photos you add have ‘alt tags’ or ‘alt text’ – a description of what is in the photograph, which is used by Google when searching for images
  • Consider starting a blog or FAQ pages – great ways of using keywords and phrases in a natural way
  • Proofread your website and blogs – Google rewards good-quality content.

Julie Waite is a writer and marketing consultant working in the early years sector. Visit jwaitemarketing.com or follow her on Twitter: @JWaiteMarketing

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