Providing assistance to hundreds of users of our plugin, Salon Booking System , represented mainly by barbershops, hairdressers, beauticians and the like, we happen to analyze their websites and all too often gross errors leap out at us that could be easily avoided and make the website really serve the owner’s business and encourage more bookings.
After all, that is what your website should be for.
Little time, little money, and little desire to get entangled in technical issues
We know that most of our clients are small professional businesses, which often have few resources to devote to web design or marketing, and lack technical expertise on these topics.
This leads to not paying enough attention to certain details that could prove crucial in determining the success or failure of your website and thus also of your business activity.
Most barbershops, hairdressers and beauticians rely on freelance webdesigners or small web-agencies that can build a website on a budget.
In still other cases, the owners of these businesses also improvise themselves as webmasters and in order to save some money, they decide to make their own website.
It is precisely in these cases that it is easiest to find errors in website design that actually undermine the effective functionality of this tool, disincentivizing its use by salon clients’ walls, and/or making the online booking process difficult.
With this article we would like to share our many years of experience in serving small professional beauty care businesses, highlighting the main mistakes and suggesting possible solutions to improve the browsing experience of your website, and increase the volume of online bookings.
Make your clients happy before they even enter your salon
Before we get into the most common mistakes, it is good to start with a fundamental concept that owners of the aforementioned professional businesses should pay attention to when commissioning their website.
Your website is the digital showcase of your business activity. It is the first point of contact between your business and your potential and existing customers.
If the experience you have had with your website is not sufficiently positive, this will also have consequences for your point of sale.
While until a few years ago the website was of relative importance in the fortunes of any business, this is no longer the case. Almost all people go to the Internet to look for information about certain businesses, even if only to get an idea about their offerings and quality of their services.
Offering a poor browsing experience on your website will also compromise the image of your physical store.
To summarize the concept, our recommendation is: devote the same care and attention to your website as you do to your physical store. Don’t make the mistake of considering it less important.
Common mistakes not to make at all
Now let’s get into the most common errors we encounter on a daily basis when visiting our clients’ websites.
1 – Web site slowness
There is no worse source of frustration than waiting for a website to load. Today it only takes a few too many seconds for your users to abandon your website for good.
One of the most common reasons, especially in the case of barbers, hairdressers and beauticians, is having chosen cheap and therefore often slow hosting.
We know that you often do not have large budgets to devote to marketing, but hosting is too important a factor in the proper functioning of your website to opt for cheap, unprofessional solutions.
Imagine having the nicest salon in town, but where service is super slow. Do you think people will want to go back?
Our recommendation: choose high-performance hosting. Don’t be afraid to invest 100 to 200 euros a year for a good hosting service.
Another reason why it is worth investing in professional hosting is the fact that our plugin, requires an adequate number of resources to function properly.
Salon Booking System resides on your website and takes advantage of your server’s resources in order to perform a large number of operations.
At this link you will find the list of the best WordPress hosting for 2022.
However, the slowness of a website may also depend on other factors such as:
- very heavy images
- a large number of installed plugins
- an unoptimized WordPress theme
Pay close attention to these issues, because they are among the most common causes for a site’s slowness.
Do you want to know if your site loads fast? Take this simple test.
Visit the home page of your website, if it takes more than 5 seconds to fully open, then it is too slow.
2-Uncontrolled presence of pop-up windows
It is very common to use pop-ups to collect users’ email addresses, to promote a promotion, or for any other reason.
However, you have to be very careful how these tools are used, because it only takes a little to be able to generate an annoying effect for site users, who being bombarded by these alerts, are easily tempted to abandon your website.
But you don’t want this to happen, right?
Then I recommend you follow these simple rules:
- limit as much as possible the number of pop-ups on your site, 1 is ideal, with 2 already we are at the limit
- limit the number of pages on which to have the pop-up appear, strategically choose where it makes sense to show it
- make sure that once closed, it does not open again on the next visit by the same user
- Avoid having the pop-up appear on the page dedicated to the reservation form; don’t distract the user from the only real reason they came to your website
- Ensure that the pop-up can be closed intuitively by the user
3-Appointment booking button difficult to locate
One of the basic reasons a user visits your site is to make a reservation for their next appointment. Make this task easy to perform!
Place the button leading to the booking page clearly and visibly. It should usually be placed in the main navigation menu.
Also place it on the home page, in the home section of the page, the so-called “Hero Unit.”
Make sure that from mobile, the button is always clearly visible.
4-Reservation form placed on a page with many other distracting elements for the user
Another very common mistake on our clients’ websites is to place the reservation form within pages that are already heavily congested with other content that easily distracts the user from the overriding goal of making a reservation.
Our recommendation is to place the reservation form a page dedicated to it, where there is no other content except minimal information useful to the user about to make a reservation.
Make sure this page looks “clean” and “light” so that the user’s focus is only on the reservation form.
5-Pages that are difficult to consult from mobile
It may seem like obvious advice, but most users surf from their smartphones. This is even more true for clients of barbers, hairdressers, beauticians and the like.
For this simple reason, do a check on how your website displays on mobile devices.
Make sure that the main actions the user needs to take, such as making the reservation, is really accessible from the phone.
It is typical for hair salon, barber and esthetician websites to show photos of their clients who have had a haircut, or manicure or even a particular make-up done. Often, more or less consciously poor quality photos are posted. Taken with a cell phone, regardless of the lighting and in any case the photographic rendering of the shot.
We strongly advise against following this type of approach, which although easy and cheap, will not do justice to your skills, and to your brand image.
Again the rule applies, rely on image professionals, professional photographers.
There is no need to continuously post photos of your work. Invest a small budget to commission a few shots that are representative of your skills, with which to build a small portfolio with the accomplishments most interesting to your audience. And use only those images for your website.
We can all get our hair cut at home with a machine and a razor, but it will never be the same as coming to your salon and entrusting our hair to your hands.
The same goes for photos to be used on your website.
Surely you can take them too, but can they ever have the same quality and rendering as a shot taken by a professional?
Monitor the results of your website
Of course, the tricks to improve the performance of your website are many; ours is not intended to be an exhaustive guide.
But if you already begin to address some of the points pointed out in this brief guide, you can measure the results in terms of site traffic and number of bookings.
In fact, I suggest you do this exercise:
- Take note of your website’s current traffic, perhaps ask the person who made itat
- Take note of the number of reservations received through the website within a month
Once you have begun to fix the errors indicated in this guide, go and check whether or not online visits and bookings have increased. In this way you will be more aware of the usefulness of your website.
Of course, we remain at your disposal on any other suggestions you would like to receive to improve the performance of your website.