Websites: How Important Are They?

Websites, websites, websites.  In the age of technology we live in and the access we have to immediate information, we have become dependent upon a company’s website to tell us what we want to know.  Phone calls take too much time and when our schedule is packed tightly each day, we don’t want to get stuck in a situation we can’t control.  Website viewing can be done when we have the time.  We can view one or a dozen, searching until we have the answer(s) we’re looking for, as many times as we want.

Unfortunately, not all websites are updated frequently or they can be hard to find.  Even as I was developing my database, searching for all preschools and daycares in the area I didn’t know about yet, I had a difficult time finding what I was looking for.  I have discovered through trial and error, that sitting down and making the phone call is the best way for me to get the information I need.  Even then, however, when calls don’t get returned I have to physically drive there and initiate a face to face meeting.  I have the luxury of being able to do this.   In most situations, families simply cannot accommodate this.

When I am setting up tours of preschools and daycares for clients, I always include the web address in their agenda.  While I may have more in depth details for each facility, I think it’s a good idea to become relatively familiar with a program before visiting.  What happens then, when a website is not maintained?  How many families will be understanding when they are looking for tuition rates or registration applications, only to find forms and policies from the 2009-10 school year?  Will they be persistent and make that call, or will they let that program go and continue their search?

Preschools and daycares are busy.  Very busy.  Anyone who has worked in early childhood will tell you there is never a dull moment and it is difficult to find time for tasks such as website updates.  It is, however, a glimpse into what each program has to offer.  Families need to be able to envision the environment their child may be spending most of their weekday time in.  Yes, even from a website.  Is it everything?  Of course not.  Nothing replaces a personal visit.  But in this day of immediate information, it is in fact, extremely important.