My name is Andy and I've been an Industrial Software Engineer for more years than I care to remember and have studied software design at University.
I took up web design ten years ago partly out of interest but mainly to help promote my wife's fledging beauty salon which was in the back of a hair dressers. My wife is now the owner of the Mayflower Health and Beauty Clinic in Beaconsfield but she started her beauty career in Portsmouth before spending a year as a Beauty Therapist on a cruise liner. Hard work but also good experience.
In 2001 when we brought Mayflowers it was pretty run down but through much hard work on my wife's part and the excellent team of therapists that she has built up (and maybe a little DIY and support from me) the salon is now really starting to do well.
Initially as funds were tight I created a web site which although a bit scruffy brought in a lot of customers. Over the years the web site constantly evolved and improved and featured very highly in Google bringing in many new customers.
I'm a bit of a nerd and read all the books and subscribed to all the web groups to study web marketing and it worked, we always kept near the top of Google. There are no guarantees and no short cuts, it takes a lot of time and effort. Google looks for lots of good, original content that is regularly updated and does all it can do stop cheats and spammers to end up with a good reliable system that gets results. You don't need to take my word for it, go to www.google.co.uk and read their webmaster guidelines.
Important - look on www.msn.co.uk.- This web site is already at the Number 1 position for several search terms including "Beauty Salon Essex" and "Beauty Clinic Ilford". Whoever gets this site will be straight in at Number 1 and that could be in a day or less, phone me, tell me what you want on this site and it can be set up with your name on it within hours locking out all your competition.
In March 2006 with money in the bank and a salon refurbishment in progress my wife decided to get our web site professionally re-designed to go with our her salon's new colour scheme (I must change that picture at the top of this page as the salon is now chocolate and cream). I was busy at work so didn't have time to get involved with the web site. The company that did it wanted to start from scratch and nearly £1200 later we have a really flash looking web site, it looked fantastic and my wife was overjoyed. The only problem was almost overnight it disappeared from Google and all the other major search engines, we lost all our visitors and more importantly a major source of income. Nobody could find us on the internet and our takings dropped. We had to resort to using local paper advertising which was never as effective as Google.
Not long ago I was made redundant and have now been persuaded by several friends to make a career out of web design, they could see that I was good but up until then I hadn't had the confidence to do it full time. However I really enjoy the work and I certainly seem to get good results. My philosophy is not to just build a site then walk away. A web site needs constant management and updating, it needs promotion, it will need tweaking. You will probably want to push different products and treatments at different times of the year, special offers and promotions for Christmas and Valentines. Maybe promote wraps or slimming treatments just before the holiday season, what about fake tanning treatments? With all the time I have spent helping my wife with her salon I decided to specialise in Health and Beauty web sites because that's an area I know, and I've studied marketing so I know what works for beauty salons.
There are two main reasons why you should want a web site for your business:
Most people shouldn't really worry about the second reason, if clients already know about you and like what you do then they will come back. You may need to improve your marketing to get them to come back more often. This is another area we can help you because we will help you maintain a database of clients. We can then send them special offers and newsletters.
It doesn't matter if you have a flashy web site or not, they will still come back if your treatments and the service you gave them was any good but they won't spend any more money with you if you have a web site that costs £10,000, all they want are good treatments at the right price.
Yes you will get people coming back to your site by searching for your salon name but they already know about you and maybe just want to check your opening hours or find your phone number, these people are already clients, they will find you again even if they can't quite remember the name of your site but what you must do with these clients is keep them on a mailing list to keep them informed of new treatments and special offers - a good way to do this is by e-mail and best of all it costs you almost nothing.
The power of a really good web site is to attract new clients into your salon, which makes you more money. We can get clients to your door using this web site, all you have to keep them by giving them good treatments and if we don't get them to you then you won't pay us, right. And I'm happy with that because after all I'm telling you that I can help make you more profit and if I can't then I don't want paying.
Well you could just go out and get anyone to build you a site but it's likely to cost £750 to £1500. That's a one off payment just to build the site and I happen to think that a lot of money. What if it doesn't bring you in much new business? That's an expensive way to find out! But it doesn't end once you've got the site, you then have to pay for updates and changes. And still you are not getting your site promoted.
We want a web site so that when someone types in beauty salon in beaconsfield, or beauty clinic in Bucks, that they find us and then come and spend money with us. That's it, simple! But if they type beauty clinic Essex (or Bristol or anywhere else) then we are not interested and that's where you come in. By having lots of us together we will create a big site that will be a magnet for the search engines and we will all benefit.
Remember I'm an engineer, I like fixing things, I enjoy making them work. Most web site designers are really graphic artists, they make good looking sites but not necessarily functional sites. They may look good but don't do the job of finding you new clients. If I want some fancy graphics then I pay someone to just do the graphics but I do the all the "workings" of the web site. Otherwise it's like getting Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen to do up your sitting room when all you really need is your mates husband to give you a hand!
Having read all there is to read about Google and other major search engines I know that it takes time, probably in excess of six months to get a good ranking. If someone promises to put you on page one of any search engine, then run away as fast as you can! Getting on page one for relevant keywords takes hard work and patience, and is not something that any reputable consultant will ever promise. A con often used is promising you page one results and then delivering them for irrelevant phrases that will never generate any meaningful traffic. Another con is all those emails that promise to get your site on 50,000 search engines! There are only about 4 search engines you need to be listed on and Google has over 50% of the market, the others are MSN, Alta Vista, Yahoo and maybe Ask. If you read the news on Google's site you will find that even Google get those emails that say "No one can find your site but we can help you!" Important - despite what I've written above this site has already got to number 1 on www.msn.co.uk for several search terms including "Beauty Salon Essex" and "Beauty Clinic Ilford."
There is other way to get a top spot and that is to pay for some "pay per click" advertising like Adwords from Google. These are little adverts displayed on the right hand side and sometimes across the top of Google search pages and also on many other web sites and are always relevant to the pages content. Web masters can display them on their sites and earn a percentage of the cost per click, not what you would necessarily want on your salons site as it sends people away from your site but I'll insert some below as a demonstration. I can't control the content of the adverts only the size and shape. Google will then scan the page, work out what it's all about and try to find some relevant adverts which (on this page) I expect will be for web designers, beauty clinics and search engines. If you refresh the page (press F5) then the adverts may change.
Basically you pay a certain amount every time someone clicks on one of the adverts, the price varies depending on the popularity of your search terms. "Laser Hair Removal" may cost £2.50 per click as it is likely to be very popular but "Southend Beauty Salon" may only be 5p as it likely to not be such a popular search term. Adwords is very good and may be useful for certain promotions but it is not a substitute for getting a good ranking. Why pay for advertising when a good ranking gets you seen for free. I have used Adwords myself several times for certain promotions, you can limit the geographic area where the adverts are displayed, set up a max cost per click and a max cost per day. By carefully wording your adverts and selecting the correct search terms good results can be obtained.
One of the tricks I know will help is having lots of relevant content and links to similar other quality web sites. What does this mean, well just what it says - relevant. In other words if you persuade a betting shop in downtown Dallas to swap links with you then I bet it won't do your web site much good because it's not relevant to a beauty salon in England. However if you could get a link from several other beauty salons then it would be very relevant and therefore will rate much higher in Google. What you do not want to do is to swap links with sites that are nothing more than what is known as Link Farms, these are sites that just have hundreds of links with no real content - avoid these sites at all costs as they may have a negative effect on your Google ranking.
One of the best ways of building popularity on the search engines is to have a really good web site name, so while initially for us www.mayflowerbeautyclinic.com seemed like good name I found that the search engines don't recognise the word mayflowerbeautyclinic! Worse still people don't normally search for mayflowerbeautyclinic! What people search for is "beauty clinic" or "health and beauty clinic". Doing that today returned 17,700,000 results on google so unless you are in the top few then you will never be found. Some web site builders will promise to get you in the top 1% of sites for any search term - fantastic, but hang on have you worked out what 1% of 17 million actually means? Well its 170,000 - even assuming they can get you in the top 1% that is still a lot of competition! You need to be on page one or two which means you have got to be in the top 20 sites and ideally you want to be in the top 5.
Lets analyse further the search terms people use. In the above search we obtained over 17 million results so it's likely that the town name would added to the search and indeed searching for "beauty clinic beaconsfield" gets us down to around 1000 results. Now if you can get into the top 1% you would be in the top 10.
To help achieve this I have set up two new web sites; www.health-and-beauty-clinic.co.uk and www.health-and-beauty-salon.co.uk. Not only are these easy to read but better still the search engines can actually understand all the words. Straight away we are on a winner because the first thing the search engines will see is the sites name and it will often be a close match on the search terms. But it gets better because I can prefix the site name with our local town name to end up with www.beaconsfield.health-and-beauty-clinic.co.uk. The search engines love it because there are all the terms you want to be found.
All of this on it's own will not get you to the top but it's a good start. You still need a good quality site, it doesn't need to be pretty because the search engine robot only reads the text, it doesn't see the layout so doesn't worry if you have yellow spots on a purple background! What matters is the quality of the content, is it relevant; the quantity, is there enough; is it unique, you won't get good rankings if it has identical content to lots of other sites and lastly relevant links. Note identical content means identical, if you re-write an article in your own words then it is not identical. So we can have all our beauty sites linking together helping to promote each other all with articles about beauty treatments that you provide written in your own words and google will lap it up.
To achieve all of this I'm creating many sites linked to health-and-beauty-clinic.co.uk, I'm hoping to get 100 or so in the next couple of months, it should be fairly easy as I have the templates already set up. As I sign up salon's in various towns around the country we will fill in the salon's details on the individual web sites and link them all back to health-and-beauty-clinic.co.uk. That way we will all benefit from the increased traffic and have a unique web site for our salons.
Why not join us before your local competition beats you, even if you haven't got any competition you will still benefit from the extra traffic. Where else can you get an offer like this knowing that if at any time you are not happy you can bail out and I'll refund your current months payment.
For more information contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't wait until it's too late......there is only one web site for an Ilford beauty clinic!
Phone me for free on 0800 310 1148