by Kellie Geres, Regarding Nannies Development Team
President, ADCAN ~ Association of DC Area Nannies
If your group does not have a website, you are at a disadvantage. People turn to the internet to find everything. I can’t remember the last time I let my fingers do the walking in the yellow pages. Having a website will make your group more visible and allow for more opportunities to reach nannies and make your group succeed. An alternative to a website is a blog, which can serve the same purpose.
So what should you include on your website?
As I work with ADCAN – Association of DC Area Nannies, I am going to use their site for reference, but in no way do you have to do ALL that I discuss, for your site.
• A history of your group to give visitors an idea of who, what, why your group exists. Who are your key players, what some of your initial events were and what is the goal of your group is good to include introducing them to your site.
• How to become a member and what, if any, levels of membership you have and what they include.
• Do you offer a newsletter? Offer a sample and an email they can request a complimentary copy of your next issue.
• A Calendar of Events gives readers an opportunity to see what events you do, but where and details. Include address if you can, costs, special instructions, and how to RSVP.
• Include a message board that nannies and visitors can participate in and send out requests for play dates, seeking information, ask questions. I would discourage placing job postings on the message boards.
• Links are a great way to provide resources to your members and readers, and draw a larger audience to your site. If you find a site that offers great content and serves your community – contact them about doing a reciprocal link. You place their link on your site, they place your link on their site. It’s a win-win for all.
• Paid supporters are industry related business and outside advertisers. We will go in-depth on these in part 5.
• Contact info should include at minimum an email but can also include a phone and/or mailing address.
• If you offer products, memberships, etc., you need to have payment options. PayPal is a great source for this, free to sign up and low cost – they take a small percentage of each purchase price.
• Job postings can attract readers to your site as well. You can offer them to your paid business supporters as a benefit of membership, and to families in hopes they refer a nanny to you, once they find a caregiver.
• Make sure original content stays original. Consider Copywrite protection at http://creativecommons.org/
A blog offers some of the above options so do your homework to see what works best for you.
Whether website or blog, keep in mind the following …
• Keep it simple. Less is more. Don’t get too wordy, too much information so that visitors get lost or lose interest in your site.
• Use graphics, photos, clip art to make it appealing.
• Keep it user friendly. Make links accessible, make sure links work.
• Keep content current so that members and readers keep coming back for more.
• Offer a Members Only area. This can include a membership directory accessible online.
• Always be looking for new links, resources and fundraising opportunities. I’ll discuss Fundraising in-depth in part 4.
A word of caution … Private does not always mean PRIVATE. When working with ADCAN we had a member only – password protected page of our membership directory. This included names, addresses, phone, etc. Doing a routine Google search, our entire directory showed up online. We promptly deleted all identifying information of our members, alerted them to this and changed how we publish our information.
Here are some of my favorite resources for websites/blogs:
Coming up next in part 3 will be newsletters and communications.