Nowadays, everything is booked, scheduled, or reserved online. For Transportation, we have Uber and Lyft. For food delivery, we have Postmates, Uber Eats, Door Dash, Grub Hub, etc etc etc. Time is becoming a more scarce commodity for everyone, which has resulted in the creating of websites and apps to book your desired service.

The beauty industry is absolutely no exception. From booking your hair cut or color appointment, to getting your nails done, to getting a spa treatment or massage – you want a booking experience that is simple, fast and efficient. The days of calling your local hair stylist to put you on the books is behind us (like I said previously, the time of BOTH the client and the professional is more scarce!).

Recently, Coyote Website Design has worked with two Columbus, Ohio businesses in the beauty & appointment-based industries – Studio 13 Spray Tanning in Upper Arlington, and Ohio Cryo Cryotherapy Spa in Dublin, Ohio. Both of these very successful businesses do 100% of their booking online through their websites, and report the same findings: Clients want a quick, efficient and accessible online environment to book their appointments.

With the increasing demand from the services industry to provide efficient ways to book has arisen several wonderful appointment-booking and SAAS products to cater to any business type that takes appointments. Some of Coyote Website Design’s favorite services, Acuity Scheduling (geared for any appointment based business) and MindBody Online (catered to the fitness and wellness industry) have seen a vast increase in clients using their platforms. The mobile payment processor Square even recently unraveled expanded feature updates for their appointment booking portion of their online product. Not only that, but ALL of the above mentioned service providers (and most providers these days, minus Booker – who we do not recommend using for that reason) allow you to integrate their booking platform into your own custom website, giving you creative control of your own website while allowing clients to book appointment using a great interface.

Not only is it essential to provide an easy way for clients to book your services, its also important to provide clients with information regarding the services you offer, your location and hours, and any other relevant business information. Google and other major search engines have specific criteria that your website must meet, such as properly formatted NAP (Name, Address, Phone) and business hours, and this information will directly affect how high your business shows up in Google Search Rankings (this can be a major asset when it comes to website traffic and conversions). For Google specifically, having an accurate and information-fluent ‘My Business’ listing is crucial in order to have your business appear in the Google Local Map Pack. Outside of the map carousel, properly formatting your business information on your website will increases your chances in ranking higher in Google’s organic search results. The bottom line: Having a website with accurate information on your business is very important in today’s online environment.

Needless to say, whether you are a hair stylist, hair dresser, cosmetologist, nail technician, tanning or skin care professional, esthetician or any other beauty industry professional (or really any appointment-based business), having a centralized website and easy-to-use online appointment scheduling system is a MUST.

It is common knowledge nowadays that people are accessing the internet from all sorts of devices – from tablets, to mobile devices to desktop computers. As we’ve progressed throughout the past few years, an increase in mobile device usage vs. desktop computer usage has presented itself; in 2017 more than 55% of aggregated internet usage was from a mobile device (link).

With this move to the mobile device comes an increased need for websites to function in a mobile device environment, yet we are still seeing poor functionality and design when viewing websites on a cell phone screen. So how can you identify if your website is performing best in a mobile environment? Below are 2 very useful tools in identifying if your website is best suited for mobile uses.

1. The Responsive Test

Quite possibly both the easiest and most important test of all is the responsive test – are your website’s elements responsive on different screen sizes? Not only is this important for the usability of your website, but Google’s algorithm also hinders websites that are not responsive, so if you’re goal is to show up in the top position rankings on Google, then you better aim to score well on this test.

To begin, using a desktop computer, open your website in your internet browser while your browser is in ‘full screen’ mode. Once your website’s homepage has loaded, click the ‘downside window’ icon in the top right-hand corner of your browser, next to the close window icon (pictured below).

Now, slowly begin dragging the the right side of your browser window edge to the left, making the browser window thinner & thinner in a horizontal fashion. This resizing will take your browser window first down to tablet size, then when compressed enough, into mobile window size.

IF your website is indeed responsive, your website’s elements will begin to re-position themselves as the window size changes, in order to be organized in the most efficient and usable manner possible. IF your website in NOT responsive, you will notice a portion of your website become out of view in the newly sized window, which is a MAJOR problem and indicates a failure of the Responsive test.

2. Google Mobile-Friendly Test

The second test, brought to you by Google, is a very simple, straight-forward tool to identify whether you website is mobile friendly or not.

Google Mobile Friendly Test:

Simply type your URL in the space provided and submit, and Google will provide you with a detail report indicating whether your site is mobile friendly and also what elements on your site can be improved to make your website more mobile friendly.

In conclusion, in an internet where mobile device usage is becoming more and more prevalent, if your website does not pass either of the above tests, its definitely time to consider getting a new, mobile-friendly website created.