Driving Traffic To Your PTA or PTO Website
Regardless of what kind of website you have, the same question is asked over and over again:
"How do I get visitors to my website?"
PTA and PTO groups face the same issue. However, most new websites need to find their audience first. Fortunately, when you are running a parent teacher organization you already have your audience. And because you are addressing topics and issues related to their children, you have a very attentive audience.
As time is taking us deeper into the 21st century, parents are becoming more reliant on their computers, smart phones, tablets and other personal devices. As this trend continues to evolve, your PTA or PTO website should easily serve as the focal point for the information that parents can rely on for the details that pertain to their children and their schools. Even though this has become a reality, you may still find it a struggle to get parents in the habit of regularly visiting your PTO website to keep up with the information they need to know.
This brings us back to the question of how to get parents to regularly visit your website.
The Paperless PTO has been providing websites to parent teacher organizations since 2007. One of the patterns that we have seen occur over and over again is that fact that parents will drop what they are doing at a moment’s notice to attend to any issue which is directly affecting their children. Most often it is when a deadline has been reached or when something needs to be done in order to avoid a critical impact to their child.
Another recurring pattern we have seen is that parents will often wait until the last minute to do what you ask of them. And more often than not, they will expect your organization to go out of their way to accommodate them when they have neglected to follow up to your request. The unfortunate part of this fact is that if your group continues to allow a laidback approach to procedures and deadlines, your parents will continue to take advantage of it, and this will result in more work for your group.
While most us are good natured and do want to help everyone, a firm line has to be drawn at some point. Your group must eventually take a hard line and let your parents know where they can get what they need, how much time they have and the consequences they will face when they neglect the rules.
This is where your website begins to play the pivotal role it needs to for your group and also becomes the source that all parents instinctively get into the habit of visiting.
We have recommended on our paperless tips page that your first year be a transition period where your group moves towards becoming a paperless organization. It does not need to be the full year. We have seen many groups spend the first 3 months of the school year making the transition and then converting to a completely paperless organization from that point forward. Their success was achieved because of the commitment they made to achieve their goal and also because of their commitment to the time frame they planned.
Your organization needs to set a firm date where you are going to expect parents to rely on the website for all information, events, and announcements that they can refer to. You may hear negative chatter at first, but once everyone realizes how much easier it is to use the website the chatter will cease.
Some examples include:
· If it is a flyer that needs to be distributed, refer them to the website to download it.
· If lunch orders need to be placed, make them available for purchase on the website only.
· If a deadline to order spirit wear is set, include a late fee for orders placed after that date.
REMEMBER, the goal is to get your parents in the habit of returning to your website. The goal is not to give them reasons not to visit your website. It won’t take long for your parents to get used to this idea and once they do you have a very attentive website audience.
What is the true benefit of having a consistent traffic flow to your website:
LOCAL MERCHANT ADVERTISING AND SPONSORSHIP
If your PTO receives several hundred unique visitors to your site each day, week and month, your local merchants will want to attract those visitors to their websites. Your Paperless PTO website has a feature that enables your group to easily sell advertising or sponsorship to your community. This will create a revenue stream for you group that will require no effort to maintain. For complete details, see our advertising page.
We all know how poor attendance at your monthly meetings can be. Your parents that cannot attend will know they can rely on your website to learn what they need to know about. You set the rules, enforce them and then reap the benefits of having a consistent traffic flow to your website.