For many synagogues, their preschool/early childhood center (ECC) is a main attraction that brings young families into the synagogue community and starts them on their path to synagogue membership. What many synagogues often do is include the preschool content within the main synagogue website, but is that really the best approach? Or would it be better if the preschool had its own separate website, one that better highlights what the preschool offers?
There are pros and cons to both approaches, which I’d like to discuss here. Note that there isn’t a right answer or right approach – which one works best will depend on your specific synagogue community.
It may also depend on such things as what other synagogue preschools in your geographic area are doing – if they all have separate websites, then your synagogue’s preschool should have a separate website as well. That is the case where I live in Raleigh, North Carolina. There are three synagogues here in Raleigh, each with their own preschool, and each preschool has its own separate website. Thus the website I built for my synagogue’s preschool (where my children attended), Beth Meyer Preschool.
Most synagogue’s maintain their preschool/early childhood content directly on the main synagogue website, usually under a “Lifelong Learning” or “Education” section on the website. The reasons for doing it this way may vary – it may have been a historical reason (i.e., because that’s the way it’s always been done), or it may be because it’s the best way to highlight the relationship between the preschool and the synagogue.
In this approach, there will still be links to the preschool’s website from the main synagogue website, most likely still within a “Lifelong Learning” or “Education” tab. You’ll be taken to a separate website, though, rather than staying on the main synagogue website.
Like I said earlier, there is no correct approach to this question. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have my own solution to the problem, which is to take a hybrid approach that combines the best of both worlds.
I recommend that synagogue preschools have their own websites separate from the main synagogue website.
However, I understand the value in the synagogue still maintaining some degree or control and influence over the preschool’s website. Keeping in mind that I build all of my synagogue websites using WordPress, and that I would build a new preschool website using WordPress, what I specifically recommend is that synagogues do the following:
There are benefits for both sides to this hybrid approach.
For the synagogue, from the administrative side of things, the synagogue’s webmaster and/or marketing communications team can still have overall control over the preschool’s website (through the use of the Superadmin role within the WordPress Multisite network), even though the preschool staff has day-to-day control over updating the website. The preschool is still highlighted as a main part of what the synagogue offers, and by working collaboratively with the preschool, the branding won’t get too far out of line with that of the overall synagogue website.
For the preschool, they now can:
WordPress is easy enough to pick up that it shouldn’t take long to train someone from the preschool on how to use it. If the main synagogue website is also built using WordPress, then the preschool’s webmaster has an immediate resource at the synagogue if there is a question about something. And if the synagogue is already paying for hosting for their main synagogue website, the preschool website can be built there through no additional charge, since the vast majority of hosting packages are capable of hosting multiple websites.
That leaves the question of whether to register a separate domain or to go with a sub-domain of the main synagogue website URL. Either approach is fine – if you go with a separate domain, those usually cost less than $15 a year, which is minimal.
We have experience building preschool websites for synagogues through this approach, as well as in creating entirely separate preschool websites that are completely separate from the main synagogue website. If you are interested in working with us on either a preschool website, a synagogue website, or both, contact us today to get started!
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