Marketing & Promotions

The Best of the Beauty Web

What does it take to have salon website that’s demand successful? The winner of this year’s Best Website Contest ad runners-up prove that salons can have simple, great-looking sites without splunging on time or money.

By now, you’ve probably heard of and witnessed the seemingly sudden meltdown of the dot-com market. Whether it’s in the professional beauty industry or in the consumer segment, the once-thriving dot-coms now seem a lot less appealing to many people than they did before.

Whatever the current outlook, it’s still a smart investment for a salon, regardless of its size, to builds a website. After all, a website can act as virtual business card, showcasing your services and giving you more exposure. “Having a website is an extremely inexpensive way to advertise, and the visual representation is more grabbing than any print ad or flyer can be,” says Debbie Doerrlamm, BeautyTech.com’s webmaster and NAILS’ E-nails columnist.

And if you think building a website is going to take a big chunk out of your budget, think again. Doerrlamm says web server hosting spaces can be had for a little as $10 a year. And why not consider bartering with a client who has web design experience for some nail services? This might ease your financial worries as well.

Of course, when you do decide to take the leap into cyberspace, there are some things you should keep in mind. “Salon sites need to mirror the image of the brick-and-mortar storefront and interior, the color scheme, and the mood,” says Doerrlamm. That means not straying too far from the look of your salon. That might throw potential clients off.

She also warns that some designers build sites to showcase their abilities, and not so much to benefit the salon. That’s why if you decide to go with a professional web designer, make sure he or she knows what your vision is and has a good trip on what your salon is all about.

With that in mind, NAILS held its second annual Best Website Contest, Our panel of judges included NAILS’ editorial and graphic design staff; our in-house web designer; last year’s winner Erika Kirkland, owner of Brooklyn, N.Y. based Polish Nail Emporium (www.polishnailemporium.com) : and beauty industry web guru Doerrlamm.

Our judges looked are several factors, including how well each website is integrated in the day-to-day running of the salon, interactive and information features such as online appointment setting, and overall design.

This year’s winner and runners-up prove that any type of salon, whether it’s full-service or nails-only, big or small, can create a great-looking website that not only helps attract business, but also helps create a unique image for the business. We hope they inspire you to get online and design your own site.

Best Website: www.designworksspa.com

Designworks Wellness Spa & Retail Center

Owner: Lori Sinberg, Penny Veach

Website: www.designworksspa.com

Location: Dubuque, Iowa

Why it’s a winner: the first thing that grabs your attention when you log onto designworks Wellness Spa & retail Center’s website are the warm, rich colors and shots of beautiful women and style images. In fact, the salon’s logo is visible throughout the rest of the site, faded out on a warm gold background. Those bold colors are in fact a reflection of the actual salon’s interior.

Although the website has only been existence for a little over three months, it isn’t the original site Designworks first started off with. “We had a small, black-and-white website and we felt was time to expand,” says Veach, “It was a basic website we had for about eight years.”

The new incarnation of the site took about four months to construct. Veach and Sinberg hired an outside consultant to help create the site, but the owners were the ones with the ideas on what the site should look like. The two even checked out other sites for ideas to incorporate into their new creation.

Their efforts seemed to have paid off. In the first month with its revamped, updated look, designworksspa.com receives 1,884 hits.

Not only that, Veach says she’s also gotten a few new clients she otherwise might never have attracted. “We had people call in from out of the town telling us they’re coming in, and we had people from Colorado e-mail us, “says Veach. “I actually got two new clients right after the new site went up.”

The fascination with the site can be attributed to a few things, one of them being the many pages it contains, including a section detailing the nail services offered and salon section, with a photo of the nail room and rotating images of its many staff members.

“The website appearance provides intriguing colors, sounds, soft animation, and quality images,” says Veach. “The look and feel of the website serves as an excellent representation of who and what Designworks is all about.”

Besides offering a section on nail service descriptions and prices, the site also features pages showcasing makeup, hair, facials, waxing, and body treatments – which are just some of the varied services Designworks offers. Each section carefully lists service descriptions, price, and length of service. And each page lists the salon’s phone number, address, and hours.

Online visitors can register to receive free e-mail updates on new happenings in the salon and with the site.

Another interesting site feature is the Java Bowl, featured in the Salon page. Just like in the salon, a different product is spotlighted on the site every two months.

Although the site has been successful, the owners always strive for updates and improvements. Since several of their clients do a lot of traveling. Veach says they hope to offer online appointment booking sometime next year.

Veach says their intention was to offer something interesting and cutting edge, something that would make people see what their salon is about, and it seems like the new incarnation of designworksspa.com has certainly achieved just that.

MORE WINNING WEBSITES

Jackson Ruiz Salon & Body Care

Owner: Evelyn Jackson, Allen Ruiz

Website: www.jacksonruiz.com

Location: Austin, Texas

Why it stood out: If you’re wondering what the experience at Jackson Ruiz Salon & body care will be like, then look no further. A clean, modern look and interesting graphics, plus important information such as hours of operation that are listed on the home page, make this a pleasing site to the eye

‘We’re very proud of the detailed information a visitor will get when visiting our site,” says Jackson “The experience online is exactly what you see and feel when you walk into our salon.” Visitors can book their appointment directly on the site, and they’re interested in finding out about what’s been going on in the salon (and what staff members have been participating in), they can click on the What’s New Page.

 M&M Nails and Wellness Center

Owner: Maisie Dunbar

Website: www.nailandwell.com

Location: Silver Spring, Md.

Why it stood out: Visitors to the site are first greeted by a colorful array of nail styles set against a bright red background. That makes perfect sense since the site was design by Kevin Washington, a former nail technician turned freelance web designer.

The site has an extensive array of features, including a photo gallery with various nail styles and design, a list of services, and a gift page. Dunbar likes to mix business with pleasure. Several of the site’s pages feature interesting nail facts, and an Events page includes snapshots of fun salon events.

“The website is a necessary promotional tool for us,” Dunbar says “Guest find out a whole lot more about from the site than they do from a phone call or from an advertisement.

Mani Pedi Nail Salon

Owner: Kelly Hensley

Website: www.mymanipedi.com

Location: San Francisco

Why it stood out: Owner Kelly Hensley and Genesse Rosal designed the salon’s website which has a clean airy look to it Hensley says she’s most proud of the rolling slide show, which can be viewed by clicking on The Shop button and features various photos of the salon’s interior. That something you certainly don’t find in many websites “The site helps enthusiastic clients spread the word about our salon,” Hensley says “they simply forward the site to their friends and they see how neat and different the salon is from others and that it’s reasonably priced.”

While the various images serves as a tour guide of sorts, other features – including a well laid-out menu and detailed location map – help browsers become even more familiar with the salon.

Wild Ivy Day Spa

Owner: Wendy Moore, Leslyn Zak

Website: www.wildivy.com

Location: Rockport, Mass.

Why it stood out: Visitors to this site won’t be confused by an onslaught of images or pages had a hand in helping create the site, she say’s especially proud of the photos, as they are good representation of what clients can expect when they set foot in the salon.

Besides offering gift certificates online, browsers can also sign up to receive the salon’s free e-mail newsletter, and they can view the salon’s extensive array of services, including nail services.

“I can say without a doubt that our website is the best type of making beside word of mouth we have ever tried,” Zak says. “It is definitely one of best thing we have ever done for the business.”

Keywords:   contests     Maisie Dunbar     website marketing     websites     websites to watch  

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