What Should a Website for a Beauty Salon Look Like?96
- 3 March 16:24
It seems like there should be enough information on the web answering the question “What should an effective website look like?”. But when searching for specific data, it is hard to find a full and comprehensive answer, especially when it comes to the beauty industry. The details are scanty since most articles give generalized advice that the website should have a “good-looking design” and a “high-quality content”. But what does this mean exactly? Uncertain recommendations can hardly help.
That’s why we created this article. To help you figure all the things out.
During the last four years, we’ve covered over a hundred web projects for different kinds of beauty businesses. We created websites, developed marketing campaigns, and brought tens of thousands of new clients to a variety of beauty businesses with different market, scale, and approach. Consequently, we’ve gained a great deal of information confirmed by practical results and decided to share our knowledge.
So, let’s start!
Why Beauty Business Needs a Website?
Most large salons and networks clearly understand the importance of having a website to develop their business. On the contrary, the smaller company is the more doubts it has. But the thing is that no matter how big or small your beauty business is and what focus it has, a website can be a powerful tool for boosting your profits. Let’s see how exactly you can benefit from it.
Attracting new customers:
- Provide the exhaustive data: The first and foremost goal of any website is to convert the visitors into potential clients. In most cases, the site becomes the main platform where the customers come to get the necessary information about your services or products and make an order.
- Measure your spendings to dissect the effective from ineffective: Online conversion plays a key role in any kind of business. While conversion rates go up, the business experiences sales increase. Still, conversions are not only about direct sales. Visitors who book the appointments, sign up for a newsletter or fill in the contact form also influence the overall conversions. If you have a website, this all becomes not only possible but also testable and adjustable.
- Improve customers’ trust: According to numerous reports,
- Opt for an effective promotion: A website delivers endless opportunities for online promotion including SEO optimization, AdWords, backlinks, and much more, which is practically impossible to use all together without having a site. And online promotion is often more effective than traditional offline ads like printed media, city lights, radio, or television (because it can be narrowly targeted, have wider coverage, ordered cheaply, and, most importantly, the effectiveness of every cent spent can be measured with precision).
- Make sure your site is SEO-optimized: A website makes you easier to find through search engines. Local Search Ranking Factors survey has proved that the website is one of 10 local factors for SEO. With the right SEO service provider, you can reach the top of search results and significantly increase the number of new clients who will find you while searching the Internet.
Communicating your value and retaining the existing clients:
- Demonstrate your value. Having a well-made website for your beauty salon, you have a chance to better display the advantages. You can easily share your concept, details about your team members, a gallery of works, “before and after” images, clients’ testimonials, and other important and converting information.
- Make sure to satisfy clients’ interest. A well-structured website will provide clear data about all the services, team members, prices, and the advantages of your salon. Thus, visitors can find all the desired info while browsing, and they will not necessarily have to call the salon to figure out the details. This significantly eases the work of administrators. Why? Because the clients have fewer questions.
- Improve user experience with applying online booking to your website. Another way to unburden your administrators is by implementing online booking. According to a survey made by GetApp Lab, about 70% of interviewees prefer to book online rather than make an appointment with a phone call. As a result, offering an online booking option, you can get more clients.
- Complete your website with social integration. Applying web forms and social buttons you encourage the visitors to subscribe to your newsletter or follow you on social media. Doing so you can retain your existing customers by keeping them updated on the latest news and reminding about the salon.
- Make consumers go back to your site. Additionally, you may go ahead with remarketing to follow up your clients with the latest news, useful articles, or direct ads. Remarketing can effectively return customers to a website and increase overall sales metrics.
All these research give an entrepreneur quite a good reason to believe that a website together with online ads and social media plays a significant role in building a relationship with their clients, and the beauty industry is not an exception.
Do you really need a website or Facebook would be enough?
Some people choose to run their business making use of Facebook page only. Without a doubt, this is an important social network which can act as an additional tool for communication with the clients. But can it really replace the website? Or acting this way you’re going to miss a few important details? Let’s see:
- Lack of control. Following the terms of the third-party site, you are not guaranteed that your FB page won’t be deleted or blocked one day.
- Limited design. All you can do with the design on Facebook is just add your brand logo and apply minor changes on how the information is provided.
- Poor reach. Facebook cuts the reach showing your publications to a maximum of 10% of the audience. If you want to increase this number, you have to pay.
- Lower brand awareness. A significant part of your target audience doesn’t use Facebook. So, if you rely on this social network only, you may lose a great number of your potential customers.
- Limited data. A post made on a Facebook page can bring a potential customer to your website. But each post will not provide the complete information including advantages, services, gallery, prices, etc, and also each post cannot be a direct advertisement (so, many of your posts won’t give you a real effect).
For these reasons Facebook can be used as a good additional source to increase reach and place ads, but it shouldn’t be the only platform you use.
Then, CMS or a Custom-Made Website? What Is Better?
This question has torn web users apart. Some of them consider pre-designed templates a great solution for building almost any website, while others support the idea of custom design.
Let’s further consider all available options and dot the I’s, step by step.
What about website constructors and CMS platforms?
Possessing a limited budget, the owners of beauty salons consider website constructors like Wix or free CMS platforms like WordPress as a way out. Even though they may be good enough as temporary solutions until you find investments, you still cannot deny their cons, like:
- Limited functionality. Most platforms have restrictive toolkit resulting in the limited functionality. Those offering optional plugins to extend it still have no proofs of their quality. At best, add-ons may conflict and break the website. At worst, they may appear to have weak spots attractive to hackers.
- Loading issues. Multiple plugins and extensions (which are necessary to overcome poor basic functionality) make the loading time higher. After Gomez.com studies, about half of users expect the web page to load within 2 seconds. At least 1-second delay in page response results in 7% of reduced conversions. Potential customers choose light and fast websites. And not the other way around.
- Challenging advertising. Ironically, but the promotion of the site based on a free platform may be more costly, tedious, and time-consuming than if you would advertise the custom-made website. The first reason is speed: slow page loading increases the bounce rate. The second is poor code structure which concerns practically all the CMS and website builders and doesn’t let a search engine highly rate your website, so you need to invest more in SEO to get the same results.
- Experts deficit. There are not so many experienced professionals working with CMS compared to custom-made sites, because it’s a kinda boring, low-paid job, and most of the developers quickly skip this stage. This means that you will need to spend much time to find an expert. And most of the candidates will be beginners.
- A need for constant improvements. Hiring a newbie developer you should be ready that constant improvements may be inevitable and result in extra money. But the website will not look better. In consequence, there is a chance that you’ll have to spend even more budget than if you’ve had a website built from scratch by a group of experienced developers.
- Low-level security. Most of CMS and website builders have weak security, and the popular WordPress CMS is not an exception. A convicted hacker is able to access the admin panel, run your website, send spam, get the data about your clients, or even use their bank details.
- Delusive design. Going ahead with ready-made templates or constructors people usually fall for their modern and eye-catching design. Until the moment they try to change something: apply a new color scheme, insert a pricing table, or put some new web forms. As soon as you start customizing the design, it loses its smooth style and begins to look unprofessional.
Still, this solution can be viable for SMEs that have just one or two sales points and don’t plan to expand or turn into franchising. But if you have a larger business or you are planning to, it won’t be enough.
When it comes to beauty salons, it is clear that using pre-designed templates is not an option, but the question of whether to use ready-made CMS or a custom admin panel is more complicated.
In this case, it’s better to consult with an industry expert who really knows pros and cons of both options and won’t advise you any specific alternative to their advantage (like agencies who will usually recommend the technology they’re used to, not the one that fits your business needs and optimizes your budget short and long-term).
But if you want to go into the weeds yourself, there is our reasoning you might want to consider.
What if you use a CMS, but order a custom design?
When opting for one of the WordPress themes (or any other CMS templates), you have an option to hire a web designer who will work on a distinctive look for your site.
In most cases, you’re asked to provide your logo, high-resolution pictures, social profile links, texts, and hosting credentials. In return, you’ll receive assistance with choosing an appropriate template and a custom-made design meeting your expectations.
It will help you receive a nice-looking website, but will not solve the rest of the issues mentioned above.
What about a landing page?
The development of a landing page (or one-page website) costs less than a multipage website development and can be done much faster, just in 2-5 weeks. But a landing page won’t be nearly as good from the SEO standpoint, as you will miss out on getting organic traffic, but when we take over a huge project, we recommend our clients to launch a simple landing page first, so it can already generate some profit while the full-scale website is under development.
What Should a Beauty Salon Website Look Like?
One of the reasons to create a website is to make your customers’ life easier and save time searching for information about your salon. If done so, it will help you with sales, as people will clearly see all the benefits.
For that a website should be:
- User-friendly and intuitive. While creating a website, you need to take into consideration users’ expectations. First of all, the visitors should not experience obstacles when navigating your site. It should be simple to follow and feature an obvious link structure. Besides, the website should be responsive allowing users to browse it from mobile devices as well. Research say that 60-80% of visitors are mobile users; thus, a mobile-first design of your site will improve their experience.
- Informative. The Internet is found to be a visual environment. Yet, the statement that the website should contain large graphics and minimum text content has nothing to do with the truth. Visiting your site people expect to find the details about your products and services. Too little information is worse for your beauty business than too much.
- Pretty yet effective. You always need to remember: sales first. No beautiful website picture can excuse on low conversion rates. For instance, a 10-second animation added to the site preloader on every page may look like an artwork, but visitors will hardly go further than two pages of the site.
Let’s go deeper into what exactly is critical for building a site that would work, step by step.
A structure of a beauty salon website
A well-organized hierarchy of the pages is significant when it comes to user experience, and the structure also contributes to better ranking in search engines. Speaking about beauty business, you don’t really need many pages: the easier to find what you need, the better is the effect.
Now let’s see what pages are necessary:
- Main page (or Homepage). Being the most viewed, the homepage is found to be a significantly important part of the website. It builds an image of your brand and makes the first impression on the visitors. Therefore, it should at least a) directly say who you are and what you do, using a clear “tangible” and exact text, b) realistic, professional visuals that will explain the value that you provide (could be a retouched photo of one of your masters working at a state-of-art cosmetic procedure), c) it should encourage visitors enough so they will go ahead and click on your website’s internal pages.
- Separate pages for each of the services. Each of them should include a detailed description of services and demonstrate your salon’s unique approach. It is also important to apply the gallery of works, “before-after” images, the data about the beauty therapists along with contact information, testimonials, and booking forms to each of the pages.
- “About” page. Tell your clients an intriguing story about your beauty salon. Let them peek behind the scene of creating the idea and concept of your brand.
- Blog. Fill it with the news of your salon, information about the services, pictures of your best works, latest sales, and promotions, and also provide your readers with masters’ advice on different beauty services. If visitors find the information useful and trustworthy, this will raise the reputation of your salon in their eyes. Besides, it has been proved that blog posts are good in driving traffic to your site.
- Contacts. This page should include contact information, a contact form, and a Google map showing the physical location of your salon. Additionally, you may apply the picture of your salon’s front demonstrating to help the customers easily find you when coming for the first time.
Visual and Text Content For a Beauty Salon Website
Content is something that makes your business stand out in a crowd. A good one helps you easily deliver your message to your consumers. With no doubt, the success of your website partially depends on the content. So, let’s talk about the main types and their importance for your website and business as a whole.
Images and visual content
If you are about to keep apart in a digital world, visual content should play a key role in developing your website. At least, because 65% of web users are visual learners. And also because it’s hard to find something more visual than beauty.
The most important kinds of images are:
- Pictures of your works. They may be presented as “before and after” images to let the visitors adequately evaluate the skills of the masters, or just show the end result.
- Photos of your salon interior that will show your style, level, and atmosphere.
All of the pictures must be high-quality (it’s critical), and here are the criteria of a good photo:
- Resolution which indicates the quality of the image making it sharper, more clear, defined and detailed.
- The rule of thirds — a photography technique, according to which the main object should be located on one of the imaginary lines dividing the picture by thirds;
- Good lighting which makes a picture bright and lively.
- Saturation which also plays a huge role in the perception of an image.
- Digital noise which causes the visual distortion and effects badly on the quality of a picture.
- Moderate retouching which makes the photo more attractive, yet still natural-looking.
Images as a visual content capture attention and add interest to your page, decrease the page abandonment, improve your credibility, and drive leads. They are one of the most crucial elements of a beauty salon website.
Video and visual content
It’s good if you can mix up different types of visual content at your website. Video is something that can showcase your salon interior, atmosphere, working process, and the message you want to deliver as clearly as possible. It encourages the visitors to stop by at your site and learn more about it.
Let’s see what kind of videos are the most important in your case:
- Promo video which allows representing your brand and services. It is usually placed on the main page.
- Process video which helps to illustrate your team skills and add dynamic to your website. It is usually placed on the main, or services pages.
But again, don’t forget about the video quality. The criteria are the same as for photo content, but also mind what else is important for a good video:
- Stabilization (accomplished by the integrated stabilizer or with the help of a tripod).
- Good sound (synchronous, moderately loud, clear, and without noise).
Video is an integral part of the content. It boosts the conversions, helps the site reach higher ranking, builds trust and credibility.
Even though visual content is ahead, texts are also really important for promoting your salon. And here are the main reasons:
- Text is faster to load. It is lighter than any kind of visual content, thus, loads quickly.
- Text gives more information than pictures and describes practically everything you want to tell to your future clients.
- Text is indexed by search engines. Written by a professional copywriter, it usually contains keywords which are caught by search robots.
The main types of text you need on a beauty website are information about your company, description of the services you offer, and blog posts. Practically, texts are everywhere, so preparing this type of content for your future website, make sure it:
- Handles the objections of the potential customers (just like a great salesperson would do but on a much bigger scale)
- Delivers answers to all of the questions the potential customers expect to find when visiting your website (about services, prices, approaches, etc.).
- Communicates the advantages of your salon and shows off the features that make it stand out in a crowd.
- Retains the company style and tone of voice, at the same time allowing clients to enjoy the read.
- Contains no spelling mistakes, false details, or incorrect tone of voice which may result in site abandonment.
While following these recommendations, you will see that the texts contribute to both reaching the potential clients on search engines and increasing the conversions.
But there is one more thing to consider about the content.
Production Quality vs. Consumer Quality
If a website represents a beauty salon and delivers a sense of quality within the content, it is necessary to be on the same page with your target group. However, salon owners and consumers estimate the quality from quite different points of view, which are known in marketing as Production and Consumer quality.
Production quality is what a salon owner and the team think of the quality of their services, and Consumer quality is what the customers think of it.
Here you can see the difference:
|Production Quality||Consumer Quality|
|Technical parameters and characteristics of your products and services:
||How well does a product or a service meet the expectations and needs of your clients:
This means that ‘production’ side thinks more of the process of the service delivery (“what helps us to do a good job”), while the ‘consumer” side thinks of the result (“what do I get and how do I feel”).
And here are the most important signs of quality for the customers of a beauty salon, according to the research – in-depth interviews of hundreds of beauty salon clients of medium price segment (all salons excluding bottom 10% and top 10% by price):
Shocking, isn’t it? Price is way less important than the ability of your experts to … stay silent. The research is hard to believe, but you can easily check it. Turn it into a questionnaire, each criterion shall be broken down to 2 statements: “I will be satisfied if (criteria N)”, “I will be dissatisfied if there’s no (criteria N)”. Then, let people vote by putting as many + or – next to each statement. Then, summarize the results. If your number of respondents is over 100, you will end up with a table like the above.
What should you do with these criteria?
- Ask yourself whether your marketing and operations focused on the top Consumer Quality Criteria? Or you rather spend your marketing and investment budgets on something that people do not prioritize much?
- Make them a central part of your communications, both online and offline. Stop bragging about low prices, creativity, cleanliness, and trends. Talk about what’s important to your customers as well. Most salons get it wrong, so don’t take your competitors as a reference. For example, in your new ad, you can tell about the professionalism of your masters – how you select, educate and keep their professionalism at the top level – and that they don’t talk much.
Make any type of content convey these criteria and communicate your advantages.
Technical Details That Need To Be Considered While Building A Website
With no doubt, it is important to take care of your website design, content, messages you want to deliver, and functionality. Yet, there are still a few components hidden from your clients’ eyes that need to be considered while developing the site.
And here they are:
- The admin panel. It should be simple and easy-to-use. It is necessary to prototype and agree on the admin panel design and structure at the stage of the overall project planning. Getting a clear understanding of how to use it you will be able to manage your site without the help of developers. At 404 agency we go further and provide our clients with a video tutorial on how to use the admin panel as soon as the project is over.
- CRM system. Integration with a CRM greatly helps to manage interactions with customers and improve customer service. Let’s say your client has booked the appointment through a neat booking form on the site. This interaction turns into a lead which is automatically added to CRM, and your administrator receives a new task to get back to a client and confirm the booking. It happens within a few minutes, and the customer doesn’t have to follow up on the request or wait for the answer for too long.
- Online chat. 44% of online consumers find chat one of the most crucial features offered at the website, and most of them leave satisfied if they’ve experienced live chat. You may integrate either a live chat or chatbot into your site. In any case, a consumer will get an opportunity to receive assistance in a real-time mode which may result in the increased overall satisfaction rate. Furthermore, online chat greatly unburdens the administrators, especially when it comes to quite common requests.
The above-mentioned components come all down to your needs. But still, they can greatly ease site management and improve the on-site experience.
Typical Mistakes That Make a Website Less Effective
A website is not a magic bullet, and its existence doesn’t guarantee success yet. If you trust the website construction to experienced developers, it may result in a prosperous web resource with strong brand awareness. But here is a list of common mistakes that can significantly decrease the effectiveness of a website for your beauty salon.
- Poor preparation works. When it comes to website development, the client or both sides limit it to a brief discussion and the list of the most important pages. Ideally, the work should begin with research of the salon’s concept, the services it offers, its target segment, and, especially, it’s clients Gains, Pains, Jobs, and Consumer Quality Criteria (see above). The next step is creating a technical task that would cover all functions and client’s preferences. Then, the developers should create wireframes of the website and admin panel, and only then move further to development.
- Scattered team. In some instances, different developing teams work on the same project. Sometimes, the team members work remotely from different parts of the world while the main developer stays in-house. In both cases, mistakes are inevitable which will have a negative influence on the effectiveness of the site. Hiring developers from the same team will help to prevent possible mistakes.
- The issue of competence. The owner of the salon and beauty therapists are responsible for assigning the tasks to developers and providing all the requested information including the text and the photos. But sometimes they dictate the design solutions, and in most cases, it results in poor design. All in all, each job should be done by its professional.
- Unexpected additions. Sometimes a client starts suggesting to add something to an already confirmed technical task. This is a common reason for a growing budget and elapsed time. Any alterations should be applied only after the first version of the website is launched — this will save your time, money, and often help you avoid changes that have not much evidence behind.
- Non-functional design. Your website may look fashionable displaying the gallery of top-quality images and impress your potential clients. But if they even cannot find the block with prices or have difficulties while booking the appointment, the appearance of the site is just an empty wrapper and has nothing to do with the efficiency. Do you remember? Sales first.
- Too much animation. Different animation and transition effects integrated on the site are now in trend. But still, if there is too much animation, it distracts the visitors from the important information and makes them leave resulting in decreased conversions. Video background or Parallax animation can be included to the website if used in moderation. Their main goal is to highlight the data rather than to suck up the light.
How To Avoid Common Mistakes In Website Creation?
To avoid the above-mentioned mistakes right at the start of your project planning, you’d better stop by one design agency with significant experience in the beauty business. The following short checklist should help you make the right decision:
- Test the agency (or, better, a few agencies) on small task – nothing will help you to predict the success of your cooperation with an agency better than the actual cooperation. Our advice is put together a budget ($2K – $10K) and use it to test the agency (or a few agencies) on a small task – for example, creating a landing page.
- Take the brief seriously. The best contribution you can make as a client is to create a portrait of your target audience, collect and analyze feedback, and give this information to the web design agency you cooperate with. The better they understand your audience and business needs, the better is the result.
- Make sure you provide ready content before the website release. The earlier you have your content done (photos, videos, texts), the more time will the agency have to adapt it to your future website and vice versa, adapt the website to your content. Usually, creating high-quality content takes as much time, if not more, than developing a website itself.
No doubts that having a website is important for any business, especially for a beauty salon. To help you boost your project, the site should be user-friendly, informative, eye-catching, and effective. It should have a well-organized hierarchy to let the users find you in search engines. And it is also critical to include all types of content to cover as many audiences as possible. Under these conditions, a website will be one of your best sources of new leads.
Previously, we wrote that “If consumers do not see anything unique in your brand, you have consumer goods” span>
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