A complete spa and salon website needs some critical features built into its foundation. If you intend to create a simple, informative website for your brick and mortar salon, it can be as easy as installing a theme on a CMS platform and adding a few related pages and blog articles.
If, however, you intend to build a full-fledged website, with appointment bookings, a visual gallery, personalization, and an associated hair treatment and wellness blog, you need a solid base to start working on.
Today let’s take a detailed look at how one can build a spa and salon website with WordPress.
There are two primary reasons for selecting WordPress as the CMS platform:
- It is one of the most flexible content management systems, used to build hundreds of different types of websites. In fact, over 30% of the world’s websites use WordPress as the CMS platform, due to the clear user interface and myriad functionalities it offers.
- While building a spa and salon website, we shall have to incorporate various features like reservations and bookings, social media integration, picture galleries and more. WordPress has an array of numerous plugins for extending the functionalities of the core plugin which can be fused easily with the website.
The versatility of WordPress as a website development platform makes it the best choice for building a spa and salon website.
Let us see the various options for building the core of the spa and salon website. Before that, however, let us quickly make a list of the functionalities we shall need in the website; it’ll be a great help in shortlisting themes and plugins later.
Core Features of a Spa and Salon Website
- A Sleek Display
- Customizable Layouts
- A Picture Gallery/ Highlights Showcase
- E-Commerce Support
- Appointments and Bookings Management
- A Comprehensive Blog
- Social Media Integration
- Payment Gateways
- Site Analytics Tools
- Contact Forms
Inferring from these requirements, we now have a skeletal structure of the website ready at hand. Now starts the 7-step process of building the website.
Step 1: Choosing the Theme
The theme of the website is its skin; the foundation that creates the first impression when users visit your site. Choosing the appropriate theme is not as easy as simply picking a card out of a deck, it needs considerable thought and cogent reasoning.
To select the right theme, you have to first decide the priorities of your website’s display. Is it image-centric? Or do you want to highlight your services more? Is the location of your salon/spa your selling point? Or are there any current offers that will be appealing to your customers? Once you have your priorities in order, you can move on to choosing the theme that best suits your requirements.
For better or worse, WordPress has thousands of themes for almost every application. To select one from these dozens, first ensure that it is well-documented and has consistent updates and support till the current WordPress version. Broken and spam themes are the bane of any website’s existence; a stringent screening process is a must.
Even after screening these, you will have about 100 themes left to choose from. It is practically not feasible to research all of these or try them out. So, we have here a list of the top 3 themes based on features, supported extensions, and popularity to help you along.
A completely responsive theme, with integrated WooCommerce support, Lemon is a highly customizable premium spa and salon theme. The Revolution Slider plugin is included in the theme cost, as is the Visual Page Builder plugin. The smooth interface and multiple colour customization options make it one of the best choices for a spa and salon website.
The X theme has four integrated layouts (called Stacks here) that can be used as the skins for multiple websites. In addition, there are over 25 extensions available with the theme that integrate functionalities like email marketing, Google Analytics, gallery plugins, grid displays and more into the website. The incredible amount of features the theme boasts makes it worth every penny you spend.
The Aqua theme integrates HTML5 and CSS3 animations that make the website visually engaging, creating a great impression on the front-end user. The minimalistic approach enhances this further making it a great choice for all spa, salon, and wellness-related websites.
Note that these are just brief overviews of the theme’s features. For further details, you can visit their source websites. The themes listed above are all compatible with WooCommerce, which is an essential requirement for us, as we build the spa and salon website.
Another aspect you need to consider while choosing the theme is whether or not it is responsive. There has been an unprecedented growth in mobile bookings since the advent of smartphones and hence it is imperative that your site be responsive, i.e. compatible across all screen sizes such as desktops, mobile phones, tablets, etc. The best way to do that is to select a responsive theme from the very beginning, instead of spending a ton of money on software customization later. The themes listed above are all responsive.
If you need to check out more themes and comparisons, you can always go through some of the comprehensive lists of spa and salon themes.
Step 2: Integrating eCommerce
WordPress has its very own eCommerce platform, WooCommerce. Available as a plugin for WordPress, WooCommerce is a robust, customizable solution for selling goods online. This is evident from the fact that it powers nearly 40% of the world’s e-commerce websites.
WooCommerce essentially helps you build an online shop for selling your goods, both physical and digital. In addition to its set of core functionalities, it has thousands of extensions and supported plugins that can extend its functionality. Speaking with respect to the spa and salon website we are building, WooCommerce is necessary for the appointment and booking plugins we shall be incorporating next and the payment gateways required for the website. Hence, the need for the WooCommerce plugin.
Pro Tip: Apart from serving as the base platform for the bookings system, you can also consider setting up an online store for selling your spa and salon products (if any), with WooCommerce. In addition, the plugin has inbuilt discounts and coupons options that can be set up to sell special offers online.
Step 3: Adding Appointments
Similar to a real spa or salon, the entire spa and salon website runs on appointments. The process remains the same; the user books an appointment according to his preference, confirms the date and time, pays for the same, collects a ticket, and then turns up at the scheduled hour for his haircut/massage. The only difference here is, the entire process goes online.
Users can book and appointment from their homes, collect their e-tickets after payment, and then directly show up on the scheduled service date. They can even use discount codes and redeem points on purchases on the website itself, without any hassles whatsoever! And all this within minutes.
WordPress has several appointment and bookings plugins created by third-party developers. Here we shall see the three best plugins that convert your regular website into a full-fledged appointments and reservations management system.
Appointments by WPMU DEV
A powerful bookings and reservations management plugin, Appointments is perfect for spas and salons. The plugin integrates features such as intuitive front-end date and time picking systems for clients to choose their appointments, as far as a year in advance!
The integrated Google Calendar makes it even easier to keep track of service listings. At the back end, your employees and guest service providers can also choose their availability and create black-out dates and times.
Integration with BuddyPress and Gravatar lets you create User and Employee profiles that are displayed on the website, so your user knows exactly who will be providing the service. The plugin also integrates with the PayPal payment gateway which facilitates prompt processing and transactions. The email autoresponder setup lets you inform clients about the details of the appointment they have booked and send reminders as the scheduled date draws near.
The Appointments plugin is available for free download in the WordPress plugins directory. The Premium Appointments+ plugin has to be purchased as a part of the WPMUDEV membership, which includes several other plugins and extensions.
Appointment Booking Calendar – BirchPress Scheduler
The BirchPress Scheduler is full-fledged appointments and bookings system, optimized to adapt to responsive themes. A highly localization-ready plugin, BirchPress incorporates region-specific payments gateways and multiple currencies, facilitating quicker transactions. The booking form can be added to any page on the website, which lets you add several calls to action and thereby increase conversion rates.
The Admin panel consists of a comprehensive Dashboard for managing user and staff appointments, and keeping track of the schedule. BirchPress Scheduler integrates with all Calendars, including iCal, Google, Android, Outlook, and iPhone, which makes blocking dates extremely easy. The entire booking list can be imported or exported to and from your computer, saving you from hours of entries in Excel sheets!
BirchPress scheduler is a Freemium plugin, with the free version available in the WordPress directory and the Premium from the source website.
WooCommerce Bookings is WooCommerce’s very own bookings and appointments management plugin (surprise surprise!). The plugin does have some distinct advantages though, as it is built by the developers of WooCommerce itself. For one, it lets you create buffer periods between two appointments, that can last from minutes to days. This gives you employees some breathing room and your cleaning crews time reset the salon/spa for the next client.
The plugin also adds cool features like special rates for weekends/holidays, pre-defined working times on specific dates, and variable extra add-ons for each booking. These various functionalities let you create and sell service packages online, where you can offer varying prices for combo deals.
Another feature in WooCommerce Bookings is that though the front-end user books an appointment, it does not get confirmed until the Administrator approves it. This lets you be in control of the number of spa/salon appointments you book per day, based on the availability of your staff. The WooCommerce Bookings plugin is a premium plugin, available for purchase at the WooCommerce Bookings website. You can choose from their different pricing plans to see what suits you best.
Step 4: Marketing with Social Media
As the influence of social media increases by leaps and bounds every day, entrepreneurs across the world are taking advantage of the global exposure of these websites to use them as marketing platforms. Integrating social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and more, presents a broader range of target customers. The distinct advantage of the spa and salon wellness industry is that business is perennial.
Social media integration is generally offered by most of the themes available for building a spa and salon website. If not, the bookings plugin you select should do the trick.
Step 5: Writing the Blog
Although this is not a strictly mandatory requirement, statistics show that having a blog for your website significantly boosts the conversion rate. The whys to this statement are easily answered. Having a website-related blog, where you add articles and user experiences assures people of your expertise in the field.
For a salon website for instance, adding articles such as tips for maintaining hair, recommended shampoos and conditioners for the different types of hair, and so on, will ensure that you know your business well.
Even more importantly, this creates a bond between the seller and the customer, as your clients realize that this is more than just a regular salon. The advantage of having your website on WordPress is that WordPress is second to none when it comes to creating blogs and adding articles.
The back-end interface is extremely user-friendly and you have tons of SEO and visual editing options to prune down and optimize your content. As you will have astutely realized, these SEO optimized blogs will drive more traffic to your website, as people come across them in organic search, thereby ultimately increasing the conversion rate.
Step 6: Connecting with your Customers
A good business knows its customers, a great business interacts with them!
To take your business to the next level, communicating with your customers is a must. To those who have booked an appointment with you, sending regular emails with respect to the details of the appointments and reminders as the appointment draws closer is imperative.
Similarly, sending email newsletters and updates to your past customers, informing them about any new services you offer, the discounts they are entitled to as recurring clients, their feedback and experience as a client etc. can be some of the many ways you can keep reminding them of your presence.
WordPress has several email newsletter plugins and email marketing plugins that you can integrate with your website. You can check out a comparative list of email marketing plugins for WordPress to help you decide further.
Another way of connecting with your customers is by adding a contact form to your website. A contact form helps your customers get in touch with you easily and quickly, addressing any queries they have with respect to the appointment or your enterprise. To this end, here are some contact form plugins you can use to create beautiful forms:
- Gravity Forms
- Ninja Forms
- Contact Form 7
- Pirate Forms
- Jetpack by WordPress.com
These forms can be used to conduct surveys and collect user feedback too.
Step 7: Analysing the Website
This is the final, yet the most important step while building your spa and salon website. It so often happens that we get completely caught up in the flow of website creation and maintenance, but forget to analyse it to see how it is actually doing. Spotting errors is difficult when you are the developer, so it is necessary to get feedback from third-party observers, who have had absolutely nothing to do with the process.
WordPress has integrations with analytics tools like Google Analytics, KISSmetrics, Crazy Egg, etc. which analyse the site bit by bit and tell you exactly what is working for you and what isn’t. User feedback, A/B testing, link tracking, traffic maps, and more can help you get a clear picture of site performance based on which you can extrapolate the areas you need to improve and draw up an action plan accordingly.
This concludes the 7-step process of creating a spa and salon website using WordPress. We have discussed here the generalized structure of the website, you can however add a lot more functionalities to while creating your own unique website.
For instance, how about adding a membership plugin so that users can subscribe/register to avail better offers? Or perhaps creating an Event, say a day of fitness training, using an event management plugin? Sounds fun, doesn’t it?!
WordPress lets you experiment with a multitude of options with the ultimate aim of creating a site that is uniquely yours!
What are your thoughts? Any other features you would recommend for the spa and salon website? Let us know!