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Findababysitter.com has been going for around two years now, and recently relaunched the site after receiving a second round of funding.
The site works allows parents to search for nannies and childminders in their local area, and to advertise on the site when they require childminding services. I've been talking to owner Tom Harrow, who runs the website with his wife Vanessa...
When did you launch Findababysitter.com?
We launched the first version in August 2006, and we've had three rebuild now, with the most recent six weeks ago. We used the recent funding to do some research into what users want from the site and it was redesigned and rebuilt by Acknowledgement.
How much funding have you taken for the site so far?
We've taken a total of £150,000 so far, which includes a recent round of £120,000.
How much traffic does the site get?
At the moment, we are getting 30,000 unique visitors a month, and have 20,000 registered users across the UK. There is also a French version, choisirmababysitter.com, which is much smaller.
Traffic has been growing constantly though, and we are targeting 150,000 users per month by June next year.
Do you vet the nannies and childminders that put their listings on the site?
Ultimately, it's up to the people hiring them to decide how good they are, but we do have people who check the listings before they go up on the site to make sure they are OK.
Many on the site have been CRB checked, and parents can specify this in their search for a babysitter and filter out those without checks. We'll also be partnering with a background check agency so that nannies looking to get listings on the site can pay a fee to get these checks done.
We're also looking using LinkedIn style recommendations so that parents can give endorsements to childminders when they have been satisfied with their work.
How does the site make money?
Parents and agencies pay to reveal contact details for babysitters and parents advertising positions, so for £10 they can see the contact details for all the listings in their area. This is much cheaper for parents than paying agency fees when they want to find childcare. Since the relaunch, we have been getting up to 30 new registrations every day from parents.
What changes did you make to the new website?
You can see what the old version looked like by going to the French site (shown below), which will be migrated to the new platform soon.
We have tidied up the site, and made the homepage less cluttered, so that the main search function is much clearer, and calls to action around the site stand out more.
The search is more sophisticated now; for instance, users can search for babysitters that live near them for convenience, and can specify that they have had a CRB check, that they have a driving licence, or can speak other languages.
How have you been marketing the website?
A lot of this is done through AdWords, we list for babysitter searches in various areas of the country, though we are also looking at improving our natural search rankings. Paid search accounts for around 30% of our total traffic.
We also advertise in local newspapers, magazines and websites where parents will traditionally look for childminding services.
We are getting somewhere with word of mouth now as well, mentions of the website are becoming more frequent on parenting forums as people have used the site and recommended it to others.
Are you using Twitter?
There is a Twitter account for the business, Childcare UK, but we are careful not to spam Twitter with constant updates and listings so we try to keep it fun and friendly, talking about related news. We're also starting a blog soon, we've got a writer coming in to look after that and the Twitter account.
Is the business profitable yet?
At the moment, for every £1 we spend on paid search, we get about 70p back, so we have a lot of work to do on conversion, and the new website design should help convert more of this traffic. Our target is to be profitable by March 2010.