How to Design the Perfect Affordable Tattoo Studio Website!
Thinking about a new or updated website design for your body modification, piercing or tattoo studio? If you want to have a successful tattoo and/or body mod business with strong local reach and have a usuable, attractive website, you want to make sure that you:
- Provide your site visitors the information they need to decide if you're the right studio for them
- Make sure your site is accessible across as many major browsers and mobile devices as reasonable
- Create a site that is fast-loading with major content areas no more than 2 clicks away
- Build a site on a CMS that will provide you 24/7 admin access and is search engine friendly
Whether you choose to build the site on your own or have a talented, search-engine savvy web designer helping you out, keep the following in mind and you'll attract visitors via search engines, grab their attention with your website, and bring them right to your door!
Build your site on a secure, easy to use CMS (content management system)
By using a CMS such as WordPress, you not only have access to the most intuitive and easy to use CMS around, you'll also keep your design and hosting costs down. The WordPress platform is free and only requires third-party hosting, which you can easily find for less than$15 a month. I recommend 1and1.com for your domain and hosting management.
If you don't have the budget for a custom-built website design, you can still have an affordable design built on WordPress by choosing and re-building a design from an existing theme. Once you've chosen your WordPress theme, you or your designer can then tear up the theme's design and create exactly what you want on top of the theme's existing framework and save yourself (or your designer) hours of coding!
Use clear, evocative imagery that is optimized for web use and search engines.
By first optimizing your site's images for web use in a program such as Photoshop, Illustrator or Fireworks or by using free image optimization tools, you ensure that the images load faster for site visitors and file sizes are reduced, thus saving space on your server. This way, you have great looking imagery on your site, with no distortion or visual degredation of the photos.
Paying attention to file naming conventions and image optimization techniques for SEO (search engine optimization) can make your site's images show up higher in search rankings and bring additional traffic to your site. Where possible, name your images with search engines in mind by including popular keywords.
For example, rather than leaving an image's name as the default 'image005', consider naming procedure images 'tongue-piercing.jpg' or pictures of your studio 'tattoo-shop-chicago.jpg'. You can also add alt tags to the images, giving an additional boost, by adding descriptive information to the picture itself via source code. By creating descriptive file names and adding strategic alt tags, you'll get a boost in both image AND local searches!
Create an accessible, well-planned home page and consistent, site-wide navigation
An accessible home page is NOT an HTML or Flash splashpage with a single word that says "ENTER". A well-planned home page might be different from the other more informational pages on the site, but it shouldn't be so artistically overdone with inappropriate techniques that navigation and accessibility suffer.
Your homepage should feature consisitent, accessible navigation across the entire site. The homepage must at the very least give the visitor access to all other major parts of the site with a single click, including a link to your contact/directions page and your photo gallery of services. (Read more about local search, Flash and mobile device issues for tattoo/body mod studios).
Important calls to action should appear consistently throughout the site
Make sure to use your sidebar space strategically and include your most important calls to action (CTAs) on every page of the site. CTAs for a tattoo shop might include: contacting the shop via form or phone for appointment information, subscribing to a newsletter or your blog's RSS feed, your social media hubs, etc. Sidebar items can also consist of awards, security badges (for sites with e-commerce), and quality badges (BBB rating/membership).
Essential pages every tattoo or body mod studio should think about offering visitors:
Service pages (tattoo, piercing, body modification, etc)
About the Studio (about, history, legal and license info)
Artist profiles w photo of artist, relevant certifications + brief resume
Customer Testimonials w photos
Photo Gallery of your work: Non-flash based and search engine friendly
Resources pages (FAQ, Sterilization, Health and Safety Standards, Aftercare Instructions, Minors Policy, Parental Consent Form)
Contact page with contact form, email for direct contact, embedded Google Map and the name, address and phone number of the studio, with street, city and state names fully spelled out
Hours of Operation and Appointment Information
Other pages to consider, if they're relevant to your marketing and business goals
Merchandise page-WordPress has great plugins that are low cost (such as Shopp) that allow you to embed a secure shopping cart within your site with full admin control, allowing you to sell right from your website. This allows your fans to buy from you whether they visit your store in person or not! You can also feature “website only” promos, etc.
News/Blog-Allows you to communicate new, events and specials and keep in touch with your fans and customers. A well-written blog also attracts the search engines to your site and keeps them coming back, ensuring great search engine results and more of your business info available to search engines and your potential customers.
Conventions/Travel page-Let your fans and customers know where you'll be next
Community page-If you ever offer pro bono services or any other contributions of time, etc to a nonprofit or other community-based organization, consider a Community page or category within your blog, to keep your fans informed and to spread the word about the good things you do for those in need.
What NOT to have on your site!
Copious amounts of Flash, whether it's a splashscreen, navigation, contact forms or anything else vital on your site, building them in Flash ensures that anyone looking for your studio via certain mobile devices will not be able to access or navigate your website. Losing potential customers because you went overboard on your site design simply isn't worth it. If you use Flash, use it for accents to the site and not for ANYthing essential.
Animated gifs. Just don't. It's not 1997.
Piles of poor code. Use of WordPress plugins that improve the user experience of your blog by improving your server performance, caching your site, reducing the download time of your theme and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration is essential to providing your site visitors a great experience while ensuring your site is as clean and search-engine friendly as possible.
Poor spelling and grammar. You don’t have to be a geeked out English major, but at least run your content through spellcheck or have someone with good writing skills give your content a once over. You might have a visually appealing site but poor grammar and spelling in the content reflects on your quality in general and could put people off your services.
Using light text on a dark background. The days of purple or flourescent green text on a black background are over. Really. Even white text on a black background can give some site visitors migraines. You can have a stunning website design while making sure people can actually read your content without eyestrain or headaches!
By making sure you pay attention to content, code, search engine optimization and usability, you can have a powerhouse tattoo website design and keep new clients coming through your door!
For more information on WordPress security, installation and optimization, check out:
Want help with marketing your piercing or tattoo website design?
Contact Rough Ride Creations today, we're here to help you bring more clients to your studio!