By Sarah Fasolo (@sarah.fasolo) SALT's Marketing Manager + Coach
When it comes to opening your own salon, there’s a lot to consider—especially as you start getting closer and closer to actually launching your business.
In those final weeks, you’re probably spending a lot of time thinking about how you’re going to market your business. What your flyers, posters, and brochures will look like, how you’ll leverage a social media marketing strategy, etc. But what about your salon’s website?
Technically speaking, the closest most stylists ever get to launching a website is when we start our own Facebook or Instagram pages. But taking that next step and actually launching a salon requires you to think about things from a different perspective. We live in a digital world, and in that world people expect that you are going to have a website for your business. If you’re going to open a salon, it’s just something that you need to do.
But don’t pull your hair out! Creating a website for your salon really isn’t that difficult, so long as you have a plan and the right guidance. Below, we walk you through 8 tips that will set you up for success as you launch your first salon website.
Tips for Creating a Salon Website
1. Understand your salon culture, mission, and values.
Creating a salon website that will resonate with your ideal client will require you to really understand your brand’s identity. Brand identity is a crucial tool for establishing who you are and how your customers relate to you and your business. Simply put, branding is basically creating unique and memorable experiences that leave an impression on a future or current client.
But your brand identity isn’t just about a beautiful color scheme or pretty fonts. It’s about how people feel when they think about your brand.
That’s why, before you get started branding your salon or your website, you need to put thought to your salon culture. What does your salon stand for? What is its mission? What are its values? Each of these things should influence your branding.
To create brand recognition that will leave a lasting impression, you should make sure that all of the text, images, and logos that ultimately find their way onto your website (and social channels) align with your salon’s culture, core values, and mission statement. If, for example, your salon’s mission is to empower women, then your text and imagery should speak to that.
2. Look for inspiration.
Once you have a solid sense of your salon’s culture, brand voice, and mission statement, you can begin to think about what your brand looks like on a visual level. The hair industry is a visual industry, after all; your visual identity is going to matter a lot.
If you don’t yet have a solid idea of what you want your brand’s visual identity to look like, we recommend that you start by finding inspiration that you can reference. Consider creating a board on Pinterest, where you pull images that reflect the types of emotion that you want your brand to represent. This board can also be where you pull ideas for fonts and colors.
Once you feel like you have enough inspiration, it should be relatively simple for you to distill those things down into a visual brand that makes sense for you. You can also use Pinterest and this process to pull together a board about your ideal client, which will help you as you think through your marketing efforts.
3. Buy your domain.
Now that you have a sense of your brand and the visual identity you want to build for your salon, you can begin actually thinking about the website itself. The first step towards building your site will be to choose a domain.
Ideally, your domain will match your salon’s name so that it’s easy for your clients to remember. Bonus points if it is short (shorter=easier to remember) and if it includes important keywords that align with your business.
You can buy your domain from a registrar like Godaddy or Google Domains. You can also purchase your domain directly through some popular website platforms (see below), so it might be a good idea to think about the platform you will want to use before you get started.
4. Choose the right website builder and platform.
When it comes to actually building your website, you will need to choose a platform that it will live on. Some of the most popular platforms include WordPress, Shopify, Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix.
Which one you choose will depend on a couple of factors.
WordPress is one of the most SEO-friendly platforms, which can be helpful if you plan to really pursue organic search as a channel. But it can also be a little technical for someone who’s new to managing websites.
Shopify, Squarespace, etc. all market themselves as being friendlier alternatives for people without web design or coding skills. They can be very quick to get up and running, and often include drag-and-drop functionality to make things even easier. The trade-off is that they can be somewhat less SEO-friendly than WordPress.
Whichever platform you ultimately choose, you should then find a theme that you like (you can find free and paid versions) and get started building your site.
5. Showcase your services.
The services that you offer are the reason that people are going to book with you! You need to make sure that these services take center stage on your website.
A few simple ways of doing this include:
- Speaking to your unique services in your mission statement
- Including images of your services (and before/after shots) throughout your site
- Building a visual portfolio of your work
- Leveraging reviews and testimonials throughout your site
6. Make booking appointments easy.
Your website is a tool designed to help you book appointments and fill your chair and the chairs of your stylists.
With that in mind, you should decide whether or not you want to allow visitors to book directly from your website. (We recommend that you do!) You should also:
- Make sure that the directions for booking an appointment are super clear and straightforward
- Provide a phone number or email address so that the person can contact your salon in case they are having trouble
- Make sure your pricing and accepted payment options are clear
- Outline your cancellation policy
7. Leverage powerful imagery.
All of the images that you use on your website should evoke some sort of emotion; ideally, the emotion that you want your ideal client to experience when they think about your brand.
For example, all of your imagery shouldn't just be of your empty salon. Instead, you should feature your existing clientele, looking happy and inspiring and welcome. This can go extremely far in helping your website visitors picture themselves actually sitting in your chair, which can encourage them to then go ahead and make an appointment.
Similarly to how you would show your client experience on your social media, you want to mirror that on your website.
It’s also important to highlight the members of your team, especially those who have a client-facing role. Pictures (and bios) of stylists, the owner (you), and any front-desk staff can help you build a trusting relationship with your visitors before they ever actually step foot in your salon.
8. Consider SEO.
If you’re going through all the trouble of building a website for your salon, it would be a lost opportunity to not put any thought to SEO.
SEO stands for search engine optimization, which refers to the way in which you can optimize your website so that it performs well in search engines (like Google). Because most people turn to search engines to find information—including for salons—it’s really smart to make sure that your website is built with SEO in mind.
A lot of salon websites are very cut and dry and to the point, consisting of two or three pages and very little text. While this may be fine for visitors who already know about your brand and who you are, it makes it unlikely that Google will rank your website for other searches. After all, Google needs to read the text on your website to understand what it’s all about!
Consider adding pages and text speaking to your brand culture, identity, mission, team, and specific services. This can all give Google more context and help you rank in organic search. Taking other relatively simple steps like optimizing your title tags, meta descriptions, image alt text, and other technical features are all easy ways to improve your site’s SEO.
One More Path Into Your Salon
You can think of your salon’s website as something like a digital storefront: It’s one more way for potential clients to find you, fall in love with you, and book an appointment. While it may feel overwhelming the first time you’re building a website, it really isn’t so difficult as long as you’ve got a plan.
Want to learn more about building a marketing strategy for your salon? Sign up for our Let’s Get Social mini course to learn everything you need to know about social media marketing.