Creating a Daycare Website Part 2

What To Put In It

In this second part of the Creating a Daycare Website series I'm going to get down to the "meat & potatoes" ... what a daycare website should have.  For the purposes of this "how-to" we are making a simple yet functional website to help you get started.  In part one I gave a quick and general overview of how the Webs Sitebuilder works and now we are going to just talk about what pages and information a website should have.  

From my experience I have found that all you need is five basis pages for your daycare website.  A Home page, About Us page, a Program page, a Parent page and a Contact Us page.  These pages can make up your basic site but give you the flexibility to add sub-pages later in the future.

Home Page

Your home page should be an introduction page to your business with a general description about your daycare.  I would include what type of daycare you have (large/small, family child care etc.), a general location of your daycare home to give parents an idea of where you are located, whether you are close to any major streets or freeways/highways, what type of care you provide (full-time, part-time, drop-in, weekends, evenings, overnights, after-school etc.), and a quick overview of what type of program you provide (care only, relaxed, structured, curriculum, play-based, educational etc.).  

I personally like to be very convenient for parents so I like to also include whether I have openings or not right on my home page so that they don't have to call or go fishing through the other pages to find this information.

Add a few colorful photos of your daycare children playing/doing crafts or of your space and voila!  Now let me say something about photos.  There are lots of providers that don't like posting photos of children for safety reasons ... totally understandable.  That being said, you don't have to post photos that show a children's faces.  Posting pictures that only show the back's of children work just as well without compromising the safety of the children and they look way better than any website or advertising that has no photos at all or that has generic photos of children taken from the internet.  Photos of children from the neck down or of the child's hands while they make a craft also look wonderful and really show parents what their child could be doing at your daycare.  

About Us Page

I like to say that the About Us page is both a history report and a resume for both the provider and the daycare.  Well ... at least that's how I like to use this page.

Add location and license information such as major cross streets, schools and parks nearby, major highways and freeways, license type, ratio limit and type of child care you provide.  This section will repeat a lot of the information you gave on your Home page except here you should give more detail.  

You should also take the time to write a mission statement and child care philosophy and add those to this page.  This will help parents get an idea of what to expect from your care.  

It is also a great idea to add a section about you as a provider.  Add things that are relevant to daycare such as how you got started, why you chose to do daycare, your experience in child care, education, training etc.  One thing that I do is actually make a resume for potential clients as well as a full list of training and education that I've completed and I save a PDF copy and add them to this section for them to download.

Program Page

Use this page to describe the day to day things about your daycare such as your approach to learning, your daily schedule or routine, curriculum etc.  Do you run a laid-back flexible program, a structured more rigid program, or something in between?  Do you follow a daily schedule for meals and activities or have a particular routine for the children?  What type of activities do you do with the children?  Do you take them on field trips?  Do the children tale walks or ride in a vehicle to get to places?  What type of meals do you serve to the children?  These are all important things to mention in this section.  I suggest adding a sample of your schedule/routine and meal plans to this page so that parents get a glimpse into a typical day in your daycare. 

Parent Page

This page is for both enrolled and potential clients alike.  Add special reminders or upcoming dates, photos, a wish-list of items that you would love to have donated to your daycare, enrollment information and other information that you think is important for parents to know.  

Other suggestions are to have your rates, contract and policies posted right here as well.  Doing so can save you time interviewing clients that aren't a good fit for your program.  Parents can see this information from the start and decide whether to keep looking or to give you a call for more information.  My recommendation if you add these to your site add links to downloadable PDF versions of these documents so that your page isn't forever long. 

Contact Us Page

This page should be much simpler than any of the other pages and can just have your daycare name, license number, contact name, hours of operation, telephone number, e-mail, and if possible a contact form that parents can fill out online.  

In General

Keep your website updated and change it often.  This will get you better search engine rankings.  I also strongly suggest that you add photos of your daycare space and of the children playing or doing activities while in your care. Use font styles and colors that are easy to read and please, please, please ... watch your spelling, grammar and punctuation.  If you use Google Chrome to edit your website it will catch spelling errors for you, otherwise you can simply use a word processor program like Microsoft Word to type out your content, use spellcheck and then copy and paste the corrected content to your website.  

If you missed Part 1 of this 2 part series you can check it out.  It gives a step by step walk through of the basics of creating a new Webs site and using the tools. 

Creating a Daycare Website Part 1


One of the best advertising strategies that I use is my daycare website.  I include my website address on all of my advertising and constantly change and update my website.  This helps keep the information on my site relevant, fresh and interesting.  It also helps me get a higher ranking when people search for daycare online.  Let's face it, we are in the internet age where consumers turn to the internet first to find and research products and services. Having a website that is informative and accessible creates a lot of leads for potential clients.  

For some that feel they are not savvy or simply don't know where to start I will create a step by step lesson on how to create a simple starter website using the free web page service from  I am most familiar with this web design tool and feel that it is easy for even the least technology literate users.  You can make up to 10 pages for your site for free.  

*I should mention that the web designer works best with Google Chrome so make sure to have it installed and use this browser when creating or making changes to your website.

Getting Started

The first thing you will want to do is go to and sign up for your free account.  Once you're signed up and signed in click on Add a New Site.      

Pick a site title relevant to your daycare.  This should be the name of your daycare such as "Valenzuela Family Child Care" or "Helping Hands Childcare", depending on what is on your license.  Now pick your Site Category which should be Education & Children (you'll see child care listed to the right of it).  

Next pick a template theme. Don't worry, you can change it later without disturbing your content if you don't like it or change your mind (I chose Crafty).  

Now choose which pages you want to start off with.  I like to start with nothing and add to it as I go so for now let's just leave the Home page selected and deselect the others.  Don't forget to click the little box at the bottom that says Agree To The Terms of Service and click the Create My Website button.  

This next step is where you pick your domain name.  That's what your website address is going to be.  If you pick something pretty generic you'll probably have to play with it a bit until you get a URL address that's available but if you've stuck with something more unique you'll have better luck.  Whatever name you choose it will have after it.  Once you're done click the green button to generate your bare bones website.  

Setting Up Your Foundation

Before you can do anything else a screen with a 3-minute tutorial video will pop up.  I recommend you watch it since it talks about different parts of the Webs SiteBuilder.  Click on the X and now you can start creating your website.

Near the bottom of your screen you'll notice boxes, these are your tools called Modules.  I'm not going to spend any time explaining them because they're all pretty much self explanatory.  I will address them as I go and as I need them.  

Next look up near the top of the screen.  Next to Builder is Theme.  Click on that and there you can change the theme, colors & fonts and background.  Any changes here will be applied to your entire website.  Click on the Colors & Fonts tab.  For now the only thing I will change is the font style so click on Body and change your Text and Titles to the font of your liking.  I chose Architects Daughter for the titles and Coming Soon for the text.  When you are done click the green Apply button near the bottom and then Return to Builder.

Learning How to Edit Your Pages

Now that you have your website set up it's time to start adding content.  I personally like my home page looking a little less simple and so I want to change the layout.  Look near the top of the screen and you'll notice a little cog with a tiny arrow under it next to the magnifying glass.  That's your drop down Settings menu.  Click on Change Page Layout.  A pop-up window will open up with  different layouts.  Choose a layout that you like and click Save Layout. 

Okay, so I chose the Banner Sidebar Left layout and now I can really get started.  I like having any openings that I have available to show right on my home page so I will use the left side of the top banner for that.  Just click on the text and start typing to change the content.  

On the right the layout that I chose automatically added a slideshow so I will double click where it says Double Click to Add an Image :P.  Double click again to add an image and you can upload a photo in the My Images tab.  If you have a Photobucket account you can upload a lot more photos there and then click on the Image URL tab and enter your photo's direct URL from Photobucket (this is what I do).  Select your photo and then you can zoom in and out and move the photo around.  Once your photo is just where you like it click on the box with the + in it to add another photo and repeat the steps above until you are satisfied with your slideshow.  Once you are done click the green box with the check mark. 

So now we get to use those Modules near the bottom of the SiteBuilder.  It's all drag and drop so it's pretty easy.  Let's start by adding a brief description to the Home page.  Left click on the Text module and drag it onto any lighted area of your page.  Now you just click on that module and start typing your description.  

Next let's add a title over the description.  Drag and drop a Title module right above the description.  When you hold the new module in this area you will see a blue line.  This line represents where the module will be added.  If the blue line falls on the left of the text box then that is where it will be added, if it appears under it then that is where it be added etc.  Drop it above the text box and type your title.  

Use the other modules to add more content to your page in the same manner.

Creating a New Page

Remember that cog from earlier?  It's that little symbol next to the magnifying glass near the upper right hand of the SiteBuilder.  Click on it and select Create a New Page then select the type of format you want for your new page (I picked Sidebar Left) and type in the title of your new page and click Create a Page. 

And that is pretty much how you use the modules and other SiteBuilder tools to create a website.  Now that you are somewhat familiar with the Webs SiteBuilder you can move on to Part 2.

If there is something in Webs SiteBuilder that you don't understand or don't know how to do please feel free to contact me at and I will add it to this post.  Thanks! Forum

My Support Group

I just had to talk about this great website that I found that has helped me out tremendously. is in itself a great resource and has articles about a huge variety of daycare subjects but what I personally enjoy most about the site is its Daycare Forum.  

If you have a question about anything relating to daycare someone there will be willing to share their experiences and recommendations.  An absolutely awesome thing about the forum is its' tax section.  Tom Copeland himself often chimes in with his own professional opinion!  Who doesn't want his help for free???  (if you don't know who Tom is: he's the guru of daycare taxes).  

If you ever need business support check the forum out.  

Record Keeping Program for Daycare

MMK Pro-Love It

So maybe you're a new provider that is just getting started or maybe you're a veteran that has been in the business for many years.  Either way Minute Menu Kids Pro is, in my opinion, the best program out there that can meet the record keeping needs of a family child care provider (child care in the child care provider's home).  

What is Minute Menu Kids Pro?

"It is the premier child care management software for home-based family child care businesses"
It is a full accounting system that is specifically made for family child care.  

What does it do?

Oh wow, it literally almost does everything when it comes to record keeping.  Once you set it all up, add your daycare info (such as hours and square footage), add all of your daycare children's and parent information you can:
  • Keep track of meals
  • Keep track of attendance
  • Create invoices
  • Record payments
  • Record food program, subsidy and other payments
  • Record your expenses
  • Record your mileage
  • Keep track of your time doing business related things when daycare children aren't present
  • Print out reports
  • Print end of year statements and W-2's for clients
  • Accept electronic payments from clients through ($1 per transaction, well worth it.  Trust me.).
It really does make my life much easier.  The list above is what I love and use most about the program but there are a few other things that it also has that I either don't use ever or don't use much:
  • Create certificates: Personally I just don't use this feature unless it's someone birthday.  
  • Create charts:  I've never used this but you can make charts for attendance, perfect clean up, terrific taster, sharing club, taking turns, washing hands, taking turns or create your own custom chart. 
  • Plan your meals:  Personally for me it was just faster to write my meal plans out in Excel. 
  • Plan activities:  I plan my weeks a little funny by using a lesson plan book a whole bunch of stickies.  That's just how my creative process works so that's the reason I don't use MMK Pro's activity planner.  

What I wish it did:

Accepted Credit/Debit:  Although it's pretty neat that parent's can go online to view and pay their invoices payments are in the form of electronic payments which are transferred from their bank to yours.  That's great and I love the convenience and all but I just wish that it gave my clients the option to pay with a credit or debit card too.  

Also, if you ever run into a problem when using MMK Pro and you need customer support it is EXTREMELY difficult to get someone to pick up the phone and return your call.  You're better off going to the forum and asking your questions there, the members there are extremely helpful and many have been using this program for years.  MMK should be paying those gals for tech support.  

The Verdict:

All in all even with the cons I listed this is a great product.  It is well worth the money.  It is a yearly subscription that you'll end of paying but in the end you'll be thankful.  Oh and your tax preparer will love you for it since all you'll have to do is print off the tax reports and hand them over ... everyone knows that family child care has a lot of deductions and if you don't have a good tax preparer it's still pretty hard to goof things up if you use MMK Pro.  

CPR Training

Now that you've the okay from the city, talked to your tax consultant, taken the "Getting Started" workshop (or not) and gone to the Orientation it's time to start getting CPR trained. You must be certified through either the American Red Cross or through the American Heart Association in order for your credentials to qualify. I signed up for a class the American Red Cross and really enjoyed it. It is not as nerve wrecking as you would think.

A total of 15 hours is needed to become certified as a child care provider and usually are devided up into two days. The class I took was devided up like this:
7 Hours: Prevention of Infectious Diiseas: Prentative Health Practices
Prevention of Infectious Disease: Prevention Policies
Injury Prevention
8 Hours: Adult, Child, Infant CPR
Pediatric First Aid

You get your certification cards mailed to you within two weeks and get to take home a bunch of goodies. I walked away with the American Red Cross Child Care Health & Safety Training participant Handbook (221 pages soft bound) which has everything from what to do in life-threatening situations, emergencies, first-aid kits how to care for bleeding, burns, muscle, bone and joint injuries, preventing diseases, handling food, child abuse etc. The book even has consent forms, injury logs, and record sheets that you can photocopy and use in your daycare. They also give you a lots of worksheets that are useful such as an immunization card checker.

All in all it was a really fun class and very informative. They even teach you how to checka childs immunization card and how to read it to make sure that it's updated.

Getting Started

Truth be told, this is my first real attempt at blogging. Wish me well. And wish we well on my new business. I have decided to start my own in-home daycare and thought to share my experiences. The California Department of Social Services has a Child Care Licensing Website with a lot of information on the licensing process but you don't get a lot of detail from it. I thought I'd blog about the process in the hope that it'll help someone else. I live in California and I'm not sure if these steps apply to all states so keep that in mind.

I've worked retail for so long that I've forgotten how to do anything else and have gotten too comfortable with it. It's time for me to do something that I actually want to do. In this economy starting a daycare sounds like a scary decision but I'm lucky to have the support of my family and of my most amazing fiance. I've wanted to do this for a while and now that I'm getting close to thirty I'm beggining to get anxious.

I've started this process a while back ago really. Almost a year ago to be exact. It doesn't usually take that long I hear but I wanted to do my research and to be able to decide if it really is what I wanted to do. Here I am now, extremely serious and excited that I have gotten the green light from Freddy (my Fiance). I've supported him in all of his endevors, it's time the table should turn. There's a lot to do that you don't think about when starting an in-home daycare but none of it is hard if you have common sense and a good head on your shoulders.

First you should contacted the city and ask about the zoning. I did that and everything checked out all right. Basically they want to make sure that there are fire hydrants and that it is safe to run a business that involves children in that particular area. It is very rare for city zoning to deny someone to open an in-home daycare and as far I know not one person that I asked has ever heard of that being done.

Second you should make an appointment with whomever does your taxes and ask for recommendations. There are a lot of added costs when running a daycare but you are also allowed a lot more tax deductions at the end of the year. We've talked to our tax accountant and weighed the pros and cons and for us the pros far outweighed the cons.

Now that you have an undertstanding of the financial responsibilities you should attend what is called a "Getting Started Workshop". It is an optional workshop but i thought it was very informative. They give you all of the nitty gritty and, from what I hear, most people drop out after hearing the details of having a daycare at home. This workshop cost me $10.00.

Once you have decided for sure that you want to continue and start a daycare you have to attend an orientation. Before you sign up, however, you should read the Pre-Orientation Registration information. It gives you a quick rundown of what you will need to do and some requirements. I really enjoyed the orientation. They explain more of the process of becoming a licensed child care provider, Child Development Resources services available, instructions on the application process, tips on how to prepare your home and pass the inspection and went into depth about all of the regulations and safety laws. We also got to talk to a tax consultant that gave us more information about good record keeping and tax deductions. All in all the $25.00 non-refundable fee was a deal when compared to what I learned. To sign up for the Orientation meeting call a Community Care Licensing office in your area and they send you a schedule of upcoming Orientation meetings as well as information on how to sign up. You may also want to preview the Family child Care Home Orientation slides before you go. The link is to the slideshow that was used at the orientation that I attended.