Is a Mobile Ready Website Important for Your Preschool?
Does your preschool have a mobile-friendly website yet? You can use Google’s Mobile Friendly Test to find out for sure. Many are, but if you haven’t gotten on-board yet, here are some compelling reasons why this should be a priority for you now:
Families are searching for early childhood education opportunities on mobile.
Moms are busy. Dads are busy. We’re searching for schools at night, during lunch, and while we’re running around with our adorable little ones. It’s not so often we’re plopping down in front of a laptop, with no distractions, to research where our little one is going to go to preschool. The most likely scenario has us Googling “preschools near me” on our phones during the day, and looking through the results. If you’re preschool doesn’t have a mobile-friendly, responsive website, it could get ignored for being too hard to read or too complicated to use, and that means you’re missing out. Non mobile-friendly websites make it ridiculously hard to navigate and get to the desired information. Non-responsive websites make the experience between mobile, tablet, and desktop inconsistent (at best).
Most of your new families come from millennial and younger gen-x households.
Mom and Dad have been on their phones the entire pregnancy. We researched issues about pregnancy: is it okay to feel this pain, when can I feel the baby kick… Then the baby was born, and we kept Googling: how high a fever is too high, what to do about teething, how many wet diapers… Then comes the ECE choice. Their instinct is usually going to be the same: Grab phone, Google it. Should I send my toddler to preschool, preschools near me, best preschools in my area…? If your preschool’s website isn’t mobile friendly, then you have less of a chance of showing up in those mobile search results. You’re off to a bad start if a family’s first impression of your school is struggling to find more information or make contact.
Mobile is still growing.
On average, our schools had an increase of 243% mobile search traffic in 2016 versus 2015. Here are some other statistics that drive the point:
- 91% of people say access to content is very important.
- 57% of people say they won’t recommend a website with a poorly-designed mobile site.
- Over half (51%) of moms use mobile/smart phones more than desktop (41%).
Mobilegeddon is still a thing.
Mobilegeddon refers to a Google algorithm update that launched April 21, 2015. Google had announced it would give priority to mobile-friendly devices for mobile search because “users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.” Ever since then, Google has continued to push algorithm updates that emphasize their mobile-first priorities. Recently, they have even stated how they will maintain a separate index for mobile-friendly, and that this index will be the primary one moving forward.
It’s not just about search.
Your mobile-friendliness affects word-of-mouth inquiries as well. If I hear about a great preschool from another mom during a playgroup, I’m going to go ahead and Google that school. Does your school’s website offer easy-to-access information for mobile? If your website is hard to use, you’ll see higher bounce rates (families that come to your website and then leave immediately). It’s another lost opportunity to engage positively with your prospective families and introduce another young mind to your programs.
Your competition is going mobile.
As of January 2017, only 27% of preschool websites are not mobile-friendly. On average, families will investigate up 3-5 options when researching early childhood education opportunities for their little ones. That means, you are probably competing with programs that offer mobile-friendly information to your prospective families. What if none of your competitors happen to currently have mobile-friendly websites? Then you have an opportunity to be the first one in your area, and can attract more prospective families to your programs.
Test Your Preschool’s Website for Mobile Friendly-ness
So take a moment to check your preschool’s website with the Google Mobile-Friendly Test, and see what the results are:
Your School’s Website Passes the Test
Great! Here’s your checklist for moving forward:
- Make sure your call-to-action elements (CTAs) stand out on mobile devices.
- Make sure forms aren’t too difficult to fill out on mobile.
- Continue to build amazing content that promotes your programs, their value, and your thought leadership.
- Make sure you check back in on the mobile version, every time you make a significant update to the website. Chrome has the ability to mimic a mobile device, but you’ll always want to check on an actual iPhone, Android, etc, to ensure complete functionality.
Your School’s Website Fails the Test
That’s okay. Every problem is really an opportunity. This is a great time to go ahead with a redesign.
- Investigate platforms and options. We use WordPress for our schools because it’s robust, and easy to use once it’s set up.
- Review your content thoroughly, what needs to get added, removed, or de-emphasized.
- Look at your technical team. Do you have someone with the skills and experience to develop the website in-house? (Sometimes parents will volunteer.)
- Look at your budget. Do you have the resources available to hire a professional developer? Websites pricing can vary according to the experience of the team creating your preschool’s website. On average, you’ll be looking at an investment of $3,000 to $5,000, with a low end of $1,000-$2,000 and a high end,$5,000-$10,000. When thinking about budget consider the amount of money brought into a school by a family over the course of their relationship with you. That’s called FLTV (family lifetime value). You can get a rough estimate by multiplying: average annual tuition x no. of years the stay with you, usually 3 x 1.5 to account for siblings. This number is on average roughly $20,088 – $59,400 for schools (this can vary greatly, we have some schools with a tuition of $48,000 a year and others $100 a month). If you’re website isn’t helping to create awareness and engagement with prospective families then it’s costing your school, and its success, in a significant way.
So remember, your website should be a driving force to bring awareness, inquiries and tours. If it’s not introducing new families to the awesome-ness of your programs, then you won’t have the new families your school needs to thrive.