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Your New Reception Desk--Your Web Site

By: Mary Blackmon
Posted: June 23, 2008, from the April 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Try to use professional photos of your spa, rather than just stock images. People need to know what the place looks like so that they don’t anticipate going to a large facility when it actually may be a charming boutique-style spa. Bottom line: Expectations need to be managed. Make the site navigation simple to use, with the most valuable information highlighted, easily accessible and organized in separate sections. Each segment should be focused and direct, and include subsections that are informative and logically placed. Too often, people will comment that they are confused when searching a Web site in an attempt to find a quick answer to a question. Of course, we all think that they’re talking about someone else’s site, don’t we?

The menu should reflect your treatments and include descriptions of them. Why not add who would find a specific treatment beneficial? Those with sensitive skin? Dry skin? When detailing the services, perhaps you could highlight some of the products that are used in them, too. Then you could mention that these products are available for purchase online, if that is the case. Consider including e-commerce areas so that your site can work for you and generate revenue without you even needing to be present. Consider booking appointments online, and selling gift certificates or gift cards, retail products and more. E-commerce is a topic that will be covered in detail in an upcoming column.

Include any press coverage you may have garnered over the years, emphasizing why yours is the must-see spa in your community. Make it easy for clients to find you by providing a section that features a map and directions, as well as an easy way to contact you via both e-mail and by telephone.

Keep up to date

Many times people would rather go online to look at spa treatment prices rather than call, simply because they want to do some investigative research first or just don’t want to be put on hold. So, after finding what treatment they want from your online menu, they could become a tad ornery if they hear, “Sorry, dear. We forgot to update our site.” Remember to keep your prices current. If you can’t remember to do this, then it is clear that you are forgetting how important your site is to your business.

Work with a designer

OK, OK—you’re probably thinking “I can never get all of this done. It’s just too much!” But that simply is not the case. Just sketch out on a piece of paper the sections that you need, the way in which you want people to access them, and the style and image you want to portray. Then leave it up to a Web designer to fill in the blanks. Your designer will do the work, you’ll do the directing and the end result will be a showstopper.