SBParent.com Expands ParentClick Universe with New Site, Sharper Features
Eight years after Rachael Steidl launched SBParent.com to transform the way parents connect with the vital resources and information they need, more changes are in store for the popular Web site.
Rachael Steidl says many of the new changes to her ParentClick.com family of Web sites are a response to parent requests for more personalization. “From the get-go, our whole philosophy has been about giving parents options to choose what’s best for their families,” she says.
SBParent.com will now be hosted by ParentClick.com with a freshly redesigned and re-engineered site to create better search options, a member community and a social networking presence.
Steidl, president and publisher of ParentClick.com, started SBParent.com in 2002 as a way to provide parents with a centralized source for parenting information that had been difficult to find in one place — especially online.
The site now draws more than 1 million hits per month and boasts more than 40,000 members. Two years later, Steidl launched ParentClick.com in response to a growing demand from parents in other cities who wanted the same kind of free service in their communities.
Currently, ParentClick.com is available in Santa Barbara, Ventura and 23 other cities across the country, and the privately held company is expanding into 10 more communities. “As opposed to adding more information, we refined the Web site and enhanced the features we already had,” Steidl told Noozhawk. “There are a lot more search features.”
The basis of ParentClick is a directory of more than 13,800 businesses and nonprofit organizations that feature information and contact information on profile pages. These organizations can also post events or information on the events calendar and include deals or discounts on the perks page. And the newly designed ParentClick Web site will also include photo and video capabilities.
“When I started this, my focus was on parents with young kids,” said Steidl, the mother of three daughters, including twins. “Now we cover kids up to college age. A couple of our biggest priorities early on are preschools and camps. We have more than 150 camps in Santa Barbara on the site. Scholarship resources are another big demand.” The new site also has responded to parents’ request for the SBParent.com concept to be more personalized.
“Every year, we look at how to improve parents’ experience with the Web site,” Steidl said. “Social networking is going to be a bigger part of the new Web site; profile pages will have Facebook and Twitter feeds.
There will be a ‘chatter’ section for parents to interact. Parents can now comment on businesses and events, so it will be more of an opinion Web site, as well.” Parents can expect ParentClick.com to remain mostly neutral, however; providing unbiased information for parents about resources and events for families will remain the aim. “We want to personalize the Web site with the comments section, but we’ve also tried really hard to avoid becoming an opinion Web site,” said Steidl. “I’ve always felt strong as a mom not to be push parents into doing something that isn’t right for them. We want people to come to the site and feel safe.”
ParentClick.com also hosts several events in Santa Barbara each year. One event is a business mixer for all of the businesses and nonprofit organizations on the Web site that will be hosted at Business First Bank on Feb. 28. Click here for more information on the ParentClick Business Mixer. In addition, the SBParent.com Kids Expo will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 5 at La Cumbre Plaza. More than 100 vendors will be on hand to provide activities and resources for families.
“It’s really important for us to feel more like a storefront in Santa Barbara,” Steidl said. “We want parents to know there’s someone behind the site who cares.” While other sites similar to ParentClick.com use programs to query and search for information, ParentClick.com staff research events and information themselves to provide unique and thorough information. “Our goal is to bring valid and important information to parents, and that’s why we spend the time doing it ourselves — because otherwise there would be generic information on the Web site,” Steidl said. “We know parents need the whole gambit of information on what’s available to them. “From the get-go, our whole philosophy has been about giving parents options to choose what’s best for their families.”
— Noozhawk business writer Taylor Orr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org