f you've been following me for a while, you know I'm always talking about what I call The Hair Stylists Marketing Funnel. It is the path that every single client today travels before they land in your chair. Every.......single.......one.
Any guesses as to where that funnel leads? Yep, straight to your website.
I know we are all super focussed on social media right now and that is a good thing. Making your Instagram beautiful and your Facebook page functional is important and I offer tons of trainings on both, but gone are the days when just having solid social media is enough.
Do this....check out any stylist that you admire on Instagram. See that link in her bio? It clicks through to a gorgeous website, right? Right, because websites are still a crucial part of any successful business.
Think about it...when is the last time you tried any new business of any kind before looking them up online first?
The future of both Instagram and Facebook is uncertain. Remember when Myspace was the big social media platform? How about when we all thought Snapchat was the next big thing and now their average daily use is down 30%. Instagram and Facebook are changing their rules constantly.
Your website is the one piece of online real estate that you are in complete control of, always.
Having a beautiful, functioning website with all of the features that clients are looking for and none of the ones that can harm your image is crucial. The problem is that most stylists don't have a website that is working to grow their business for a few reasons; they don't realize what should be included on that site (it's not what you think), they don't realize the major flaws their site contains and how they are harming their brand or they simply don't know how to build their site.
We're going to tackle ALL of those issues today!
There is a huge difference between just having a website and having a great website that actually generates business for you.
I wanted to share with you some of my favorite websites that I've seen around the industry lately. Over half have been built by members of my Thrivers Society and Website Academy programs, but I've included some incredible websites from other big-name salons too that I know you'll love.
Before looking at the website "dos", let's take a look at the 5 big website don'ts:
- Don't make your website pretty, make it branded- There is nothing worse than a website full of generic photos with information, but no true brand. Your website is like an online brochure for your business. Who is your ideal client? What appeals to that person? Your website needs to ooze branding or it will never help you to grow your business. A potential new client should be able to look at your site and tell instantly if this is the place for them or not.
- Don't use the free "website" that is included with your online booking system-I think that it's awesome that a lot of the online booking platforms are offering free websites included with your package. I have yet to see one of these sites look decent enough to be considered a website that would increase your business or improve your image. At best, they look amateur and basic. Having a website doesn't have to be expensive and just getting one new client from your professional site would make the site pay for itself.
- Don't write a novel- Your website can be jam packed full of information and that is nice, but a new client is going to skim the words, be 100% drawn to the images and will decide within the first 10 seconds if this could be a potential match or not. Clients do want to learn a little about you from your site, however their main concern right now is seeing your work and getting a sense of your brand. A well designed site for our industry is image heavy and text light...always.
- Don't use generic images-It is very important to use unique and well branded images. The vast majority of hairstylist or salon websites I come across are incredibly generic. In fact, I see some of the same pictures used over and over and over. Don't Google search things like "hairstylist pictures" or "beautiful hair" and expect to find good pictures for your site. Instead, choose photos that are a fantastic representation of the brand you're building. Now, this doesn't mean you can't use stock images, we'll cover what images to use and which to skip in this free online class I'm hosting this week.
- Don't let your website become static-Your website should be updated quarterly (Every 3 months) at the very least. You want your website to be a resource that clients use to access information about you regularly. SEO isn't based on keywords or a submission to Google anymore. Having a high number of monthly website visitors is what pushes you to the front page of Google which is where we all want to be. The more monthly viewers you have on your site each month, the higher you'll rank in local Google searches. Post special offers, keep a blog and provide other features to keep your clients coming back for more, sharing your site with their friends and boosting your site right to the top of local search.
Okay, so now that we know what you shouldn't do, what SHOULD you do if you want to build an awesome website as a hairstylist?
I do teach a free online class just for hair stylists about what you've got to include in order to have a kick-ass website, but I want to share a gallery of my favorite websites for hair salons and stylists here.
To be fair, I've included a mix of professional sites, likely built by web designers with a price tag somewhere between $10,000-$20,000 and then some really awesome site that those in my Thrivers Society and Website Academy courses have created by themselves.
Take your time going through each site!! I think I've included a little something for everybody here...
All but 3 of those sites were built by stylists, most of which would tell you they aren't techy at all!
Having your own website doesn't have to be complicated. You don't need to hire a professional web designer or pay thousands of dollars to have a great website. Some of the worst salon sites Ive seen were built by web designers who don't understand the needs of our industry and some of the best websites I've seen in my salon travels are gorgeous, simple, well branded and created by stylists and salon owners.
If you want to learn more about building a gorgeous website yourself, linking to Style Seat or another online booking system, creating a website that truly builds your business or just creating a site that can stand up against the ones you've seen here today, click here join me for my new free master class!
As always, feel free to send me links to your site so I can add my favorites to a future feature!