I am more then willing to help you any way I can. Please drop me a email and we can get together and I will work with you.
More and more parents are looking for information on websites or through social networking.
NUMBER 1 RULE: KEEP IT UP TO DATE!!!!
What options do we have?
- If parents are on Facebook, think about creating a Facebook fan page for your parent group. You can post schedules, share videos and photos from events, remind parents about upcoming events, and post questions for discussion. Parents who become fans can be notified each time you add to the page.
- Because Twitter updates are limited to 140 characters, it works best for sending reminders about upcoming events or deadlines. Some also use Twitter to send informal updates after meetings or share links to helpful information on school websites.
- Blogs, creating blogs instead of building your own websites, VERY easy to do. Build blogs with free services like WordPress or Blogger
- Not sure what to put on the site? If you think the information will be helpful to parents, post it. Most parent group websites have the group’s calendar, officer contact information, and newsletters. Some also post meeting agendas and minutes.
- A website is a great place to thank volunteers and businesses that support the PTO. When you acknowledge a business on your site, send them an email with a link so they can view it.
- Ask a few volunteers to take digital photos at events and post them on the site. (Be sure to check your school’s policy first about publishing photos of students.)
- Keep it simple. Avoid the temptation to cram your site with flashing headlines and animation. Clean websites look the best, and they are the simplest to use.
- Make sure the site is easy to read. Choose contrasting text and background colors. It’s easiest to read a white or light-color background with black text.
Create a Website
- Put someone in charge. Behind every good website is a webmaster. Appoint a volunteer to take charge of your website. The person in this role will provide content (or solicit it from other parents and school personnel); maintain the site regularly (you should update it at least once a month—more is better); and train a successor. The main requirement for a webmaster is enthusiasm. Experience and technical know-how certainly help but aren’t strictly necessary.
- Vista Print $$$$$
- Cox (free but when who ever if running it moves on then you need to change it to someone else’s account)
- Go Daddy
- Blue Host
- Blog (free limited to what you can do) one long page. www.blogger.com
Software: You need to pick how you will make your site, using a blog, software, a web-building program that comes with a hosting company. But you will be limited with that program
- Homestead- “A Web site building tool for the technically unsavvy. The drag-and-drop software lets you create a Web presence with minimal pain.”
- Software that comes with your hosting company are great, but you are VERY limited to what you can do, if you are ok with that go for it!!!
- Don’t use software that only your computer has, when you need to someone to take it over they might now have the software, so you will have to start again.
- Also if you get a web based software, other people in your group can help you, add to it, edit it etc.
Secure a domain name and a host
- A free hosting site is not necessarily a good deal, you will have to deal with ad’s on the site or pop up ad’s
- You can just buy a domain name ( https://www.domainsite.com ) and then forward it to a blog, as well as use the domain as an email address.
- Blogs are free with no ad’s
- NAME, keep it simple, to the point. Try to stay with .com most people will write that.Keep your home page fresh by using it to showcase recent accomplishments and “breaking news.”
- Files: When you have downloads, they really should be in a form like PDF, some people can’t open some documents, and when they do it will look all messed up etc. There are free PDF converting software’s out there,
- Sections may include:
- About Us
- · Board Members
- · Meeting Schedule
- · Budget
- Volunteer Acknowledgements
- Meeting Minutes
- · Fun Stuff
- · Buy Here
- Links to District site
- · You need to add stuff that people will want or need to come to the site for, like lunch menu, teachers emails, teachers web sites, etc. Make sure you just have a direct link back to that info, since things change all the time. Since the school districts web site can take a minute to get through unless you have it bookmarked, if you make it easier on your site they will come!
- · Keep it updated!!!!!! Or they won’t come back.
- · Add things that kids will want to do and come back for.
- · Advertise your web address on notices that go home
- · Write an article about your website in the school newsletter
- Ask your webmaster to give a presentation about the website at one or more meetings.
Promoting Your Site
- You can have parents pay on web site and well as vendors, sponsors etc.
- Add a transaction fee, PayPal charges 2.9% + $0.30 USD
- Yellow Pages
- Sponsor whole web site
- What should we send emails about?
Email is a great way to keep parents informed, but you don’t want to overload their inboxes. Limit your group emails to messages that provide parents with useful information and remind them about important events. Don’t forward jokes or messages unrelated to the group.
- How often should we send emails?
Consider sending emails on a regular schedule. In a monthly or semimonthly email, you can make parents aware of events coming up in the next few weeks. For big events, such as a school carnival, you may also want to send a reminder email a week or so in advance.
- How should we format them?
Email messages don’t need to be fancy, but they should have a consistent format so readers know what to expect. If your email mentions more than one topic, set the items apart with numbers or bold headers. At the top of the email, list the topics in the order of their appearance. This will help busy readers find information more quickly.
- Include contact information whenever you ask parents to participate in any way. For each contact person listed, be sure to include both an email address and a phone number to make it easier for parents to get in touch.
- Email isn’t the place to joke around or use sarcasm. Readers may misinterpret your message.
- Don’t use all capital letters, even for headlines. In email, writing in all capital letters comes across as yelling.
- Too much color can be distracting. It’s best to stick with basic black for headlines and text. Avoid backgrounds with colors or patterns.
- Use blind carbon copy (bcc) to keep email addresses confidential.
- Only send emails to people who have asked to join the list. Include instructions on how someone can be removed from the email list.
- Tell parents about free or discount family events happening in your community.
- Include links to helpful information or articles that may interest parents.
Keeping It Going
- Buy a domain name and use that name for your email address
- Con: You have to enter all email address and info
- Con: If an email address is wrong and does not work, if can cause your email to not be sent.
- Constant Contact / PTO Express Email (as ad’s) – cost is $15.00- $30.00 a month, IContact sounds good, it is cheaper.
- Con: You have to enter all email address and info
- Pro: It deals with all the retuned emails or email address that are not right.
- Snap Grades
- Pro: Goes out to almost ALL school families
- Con: Some principles might not let you do it
- Con: You have to rely on the school to send it out