Many tanning salons have only a Facebook or Instagram page. While these sites are great tools to have in your social media toolbox, they are not a replacement for a real website. Your website is your primary place on the web. Everything else is an add-on to that. According to some studies, 30% of all consumers will not consider a business without a proper website. Over 80% of consumers feel a website makes a business more credible.
The goal of those social media sites, for you, should be to get your visitors to YOUR website, and ultimately to utilize your tanning salon offerings.
However, that is not the goal of social media. Their goal is to keep you and your users on their platforms where they can control the content, and most of importantly keep the traffic so that their paid advertisers will continue to advertise on their platforms. This is where you would ideally build a community and get them to engage with you by posting engaging questions or any specials you might have. Those users can respond to your questions, and even share your specials with their friends.
It is important to note that not all your target audience may use social media, or if they do, they may not even use Facebook. Studies have shown that more and more of the younger crowds are abandoning Facebook in general.
Every tanning salon needs to have a website AND social media and you must make them work as a complete package.
Start by picking your domain name. Try to keep it simple and short but SEO (Search Engine Optimization) friendly. SEO is how websites are shown when a user searches for specific words. For example, if a user searches the term “Tanning Salon Dallas”, your site will be ranked in the list of possible matches based on many factors. One of those factors will be how often the word “Tanning” and “Salon” and “Dallas” appear on your website. Ideally, use the .COM extension. There are many other extensions available, but most people will automatically go to .com over anything else.
That means, if you’re a tanning salon, you want to get the word tan or tanning in your domain name. This will get you a point in the search results. If your salon name is “Tree House”, you should have a domain name like “TreeHouseTan.com” or “TreeHouseTanning.com”. You want to avoid misspelling your name such as “TreeHouzeTanning”. People will remember and ideally know how to spell the words you’ve chosen and will not likely remember to use your misspelled version. There are so many tanning salon names that are already taken so you may have to get creative. Let’s say “TreeHouseTanning” is taken, you can modify the name by adding “TX” (your state abbreviation) to the end. Whatever you add, try to think about it from a search term perspective. If you’re a shop in Dallas, maybe incorporate the word Dallas into the name such as “TreeHouseTanningDallas.com” – You do start getting to a point where the name isn’t ideal because of its length but it will be still a plus for SEO efforts.
There are many sites that will search to see if your domain is available. One of the most well known is GoDaddy.com. Not only can you search your ideal domain name, if available, you can sign up and pay for it right there. Hint: There are lots of coupon codes available to get a discount on the first-year cost of your domain. Yearly renewal will run anywhere from $9.99 on up. One nice thing about using GoDaddy is that it is very easy to use and offers a website builder, so you don’t have to hire a professional. They’ll even let you set up your e-mail right there, so you have an official tanning salon e-mail address for your new domain. The first step is underway! The domain name has been registered and the new information about your domain name and where your website resides is being sent around the world. Most places in modern countries will pick it up in just a few minutes but it can take a couple of days for some places to get the new information. Don’t worry about that – you’re probably ready to start the next step.
Within the GoDaddy environment, or any other domain registrar (company), there will likely be a place for you to build your website. Don’t panic! They provide free pre-designed professional templates, and a very simple drag & drop method to allow you to build a website with absolutely no prior knowledge or coding required. These templates are also called “responsive” which means that they automatically adjust in size when depending on the device they’re being viewed with such as a PC/Mac vs Phone vs Tablet. There are more advanced options such as Word Press. While those do require a bit more work, they are much more powerful. If you’re a novice, we suggest you stick to the simple option. You can always re-design your site at a later time and get very advanced with it. For now, lets focus on just getting you out there!
Caveat: Good website hosting isn’t free. But it is well worth it. As of the time of this post, the monthly fee on GoDaddy was about $6.99 to host the site. This included a 7-day trial period so you can see if you’d like to do it yourself. There are cheaper places but frequently you won’t find the reliability or the simplicity for much less.
When choosing your template, we recommend that you pick one that has a white background. The reason for this is because many photos you may have of your salon or logos you’ve created yourself will have a white background. Placing a white square onto a non-white background can give your site a very amateur feel. Nothing that can’t be cleaned up later by a professional though. Professional images such as those you have created by a graphic artist, or photos from tanning product or tanning bed equipment manufacturers will often have a transparent background. Meaning the background color will show through regardless of the color of your theme which will make things look great.
Don’t get too silly with it. We’re just trying to create a web presence at this point. Think of it as a fancy and potentially interactive business card for your tanning salon. You can have a perfectly acceptable webpage that is only a single page.
The main thing you want to do is show your brand, provide your location, provide contact information (phone number not e-mail), hours of operation, and links back to your social media sites.
When you’re ready to get fancy, you can add on other items such as our TanTrack Client Portal which would allow potential new clients to sign up right from your website, or existing members of your tanning salon to login, make purchases and book appointments.
Make sure you tell the visitor a little bit about your salon and use words they might use to search for your salon. Such as tanning, boutique, spray, versa, or any of the lotion brands you carry. It is perfectly okay to be redundant in using those terms. Also, make use of styles. For example, “H1” is a “Heading” or “Title”. The “Body” style is just as you guessed, the style used on the regular text or body of your page. When you use words like “Tan” or “Tanning” in an H1, they’re shown in a larger font than the rest of your page. To search engines, this means you consider those words more important, and it weights the value of those words higher than the words in the body.
While a one-page website is just fine, more pages equal more content which equates to better SEO and better search result ranking. There is no harm in having lots of pages if you can keep the basics easily found on the first page and your menu well organized. Most website content on the first page (“landing page”) is more for search result rankings than anything.
Be sure to promote your social media links on your website as well and make sure your social media sites link to your website.
In our next article, we’ll tell you how to get yourself on all the appropriate map services and a bit about using social media marketing tools to complete the package.
In upcoming articles, we will build on your website and social media integrations to get traffic flowing to your site and getting you new clients for your tanning salon!