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On building a personal wepage/blog for a hair stylist. (works for anyone)

I am a professional licensed

Why is this here, what is the angle?

I am NOT a licensed hair stylist.  I’m not licensed for anything but driving come to think of it. But seriously, I am an IT nerd at a health care software company. I am a paid member of the Professional Beauty Association…lol. I know right?

If this page is useful, don’t pay me, protect your future by clicking that link and educating yourself

I recently set up a personal blog for a hair stylist. We went to IBS New York/2016 for some inspiration, talked with Ted Gibson, Zan Ray, Nick Arrrojo, some of the IBS staff and a lot of folks at booths. I discovered a void where the nerds should be helping you instead of preying on you. The backbone of your salon is a program like Millenium or Salonbiz. The backbone of your personal success is you and the tools you use to market yourself. Nobody is going to do it for you or help keep you safe from a shady nerd.

There is a beautiful open source movement developing in the hair industry to share knowledge and make everyone better. I talked to Guy Tang a bit in New Orleans about this. He is really great about sharing ideas on how to become more successful, how to market yourself. Many of the folks at that show were all about sharing to make all of you better. By doing so they enhance their own brand and don’t need to sell you information. It reminds me of open source software.

I don’t trust the folks at some of these software companies catering to salons. SalonBiz is my favorite company so far on the nerd side of the industry, unfortunately they aren’t exposed to enough people like me to help them become better. Even the salonbiz product is hijacked/incorrectly integrated by idiots who are making a quick buck. I am taking a few hours to add just one post for now to help someone somewhere. Maybe test the waters and see if this is a hobby to focus on.

Why is this so long? Come on, I know you will have a cancellation and nothing to do. Why not spend 5 minutes reading a 2500 word post on making your life better with tech? Took me over 3 hours to write and second guess with a high probability of it never being read. It might be boring but might inspire you on just one thing that can insure your higher paying and more rewarding future as a hair stylist.

This is an overview of what and why, not so much on the detailed “how to” build a personal blog dedicated to your personal hair stylist journey. “Journey,” yeah someone has been watching the bachelor.  If anyone wants a detailed, targeted “how” it is probably going to take a day of work for me to put that together, a few days if a video. Comment and I’ll think about it. Right now the target audience of this post is both you and your (free) nerd. One alone won’t like it, but the discussion could be the best thing ever.

If anyone is going to Premiere Orlando or whatever the Ft. Lauderdale (iecs?)show is later this year, let me know and I’ll meet you to chat about what the industry needs from the nerd’s perspective.

Why does a hair stylist want a personal web page?

It is 2016. You need a professional website and email address to market the hell out of yourself, form a deeper connection with many clients utilizing minimal work, maintain a portfolio, and be ready to jump ship at a moments notice. A website can be a more sticky glue than pintrest for moving your clients with you, or having a solid resume when you show up in a new state to start over.

Think of it as an insurance policy where clients know to look when you aren’t at your salon anymore. I have seen this strategy work because it gives you a central location to maintain a relationship with your clients. This week are you talking about your bathroom remodel and trip to Jamaica? Post pictures with text descriptions and tell clients they can look when they get home. Give them a reason to go to your page. In return you get eyeballs, devotion and contact info. Were you talking about great restaurants you went to in NYC with your clients? Post photos and links.  Tell your clients to say Wanda from hairbywanda.com sent me here from Wisconson. Have that happen a few times and you end up with free dinner at Barteloto in Vegas. You are a walking linkedin/yelp/google. People will do things for you if use your networking powers and they know you exist.

Pintrest is fine for today and this weeks news. Pintrest has a problem, you can be ‘followed’ but are likely being followed by 1000 people who are following 1000 other people. 3-4 seconds of entertainment, not minutes. How much time can you get your client to think of you per month outside of the salon if you have a static place for them to go look? How many clients will you get when your friends share your webpage instead of thumbs up on a facebook post? Web real estate is all different. Pintrest and Facebook serve Pintrest and Facebook. Their goal is revenue for themselves first by providing cute ways for you to get a minimal return. Serve yourself with your own page.

Planting this seed on the net now paves the way for the day you want to build your own salon, your google results will be light years ahead. You need a place where your clients can go see years of fun, remember things and feel connected.

As with any blog related to you professionally – don’t do religion, politics or negativity unless you have a hell of a marketing plan. Pace yourself.. If you are just starting, don’t post all your ideas at once, build a calendar, only do good quality content.

Why do you need a professional looking email address? Think [email protected]

  1. Client list, client list, client list. You want the best list of contact information you can get. Not mixed in to your personal mail. Not on a piece of paper. Just one email account, one contact list.
  2. New job insurance. With that client list you have power. Email #1- Here is a post on my webpage with a map, front desk phone number, new products I carry, how they translate to/from the old ones, and all the great new things about the new job
  3. It looks better.
  4. Why on gmail or office365, those cost money. $5 a month for an insurance policy like this is worth it to any professional. The added value- Easier to manage, don’t need to pay someone $75-150 an hour to unscrew the free crap that came with your hosting. Spam filtering is top notch. Interfaces are way better. Much more reliable. Keep it simple and professional, pay for your email. As of now it is 2016. Your clients are used to professional businesses who know the basics of the web.
  5. Super easy to build a spreadsheet of the info you do know.. if you don’t have email, you might have birthday, phone number(s,) snail mail address, who is friends with who, who sends you thank you cards, who sent you flowers, checkboxes for facebook friend, twitter follower, pintrest, snapchat. All this information can be used to optimize your business. The more you know the more money you can make, and the better impact you will have on the life of a client. You are their therapist/friend. Be good at it!
  6. Calendar – online calendars are awesome. Put your clients birthdays, anniversarys with you, reminders to send a sympathy cards

OK you are on board, you need a webpage, now what?

First important note – DONT GOOGLE THE NAME YOU WANT!! When you are ready to search for a domain name, have a credit card in hand. Write a list of 10-20 names you could live with first on a piece of paper. Go to namesilo.com, godaddy, bluehost, whoever you want. I recommend namesilo. Build an account before searching. Store the password in lastpass, onepass, whatever.

Search there and be ready to buy it when you find it. Don’t get your dns name hijacked by some squatter who is watching the place you are looking at. Cybersquatting happens all the time because there are professionals who do it for a living. I know some folks who have successfully bought names they overheard at a restaurant and got paid for them at insane markups. Think I have a tinfoil hat? Think someone left the foils in my hair to protect me from aliens? Damn right, I get paid a lot to do nerd stuff, it comes with the job. Paranoia from experience. Be careful with your domain name shopping so someone else does not steal it.

Second important note- All of the places below have decent support. In many cases if a female calls to ask for help, they will just do the hard part for you. Sad but true about nerds. Just look pretty, smile and act nice, they will help. We can’t help it. It’s like diarrhea, it runs in our genes.

The requirements for my last site:

  1. Cheap as possible
  2. Easy as possible with future proofing built in
  3. Easy enough for a normal person to manage (hair stylist)
  4. Office365 account for offsite backups and  mail under the domain name. Think [email protected] instead of [email protected] Yes you could do this with some crappy ass free mail server that comes with bluehost, but the user won’t understand it the way they get hotmail or gmail. Using something like 365 or gmail takes all the maintenance away.
  5. Minimal ongoing maintenance on the technical side. Once this is up, it should be paying bills and posting data. Not adjusting and fixing crap, paying a computer guy to bail you out because it was too complicated.

After much searching, comparing and testing over the last 20 years or so, the winners are:

  • $9/year Namesilo for DNS registration
  • free Cloudflare for DNS management plus layers of security/redundancy
  • $5/month for Bluehost for reliable hosting, minimal sales spam and easy billing
  • free – WordPress platform on Bluehost for doing the editing
  • $5/month for Office 365
  • $129 a year total. $69 if you want just a website.
  • -$ service trade- my time, easily replaced by you or a nerd buddy. No reason to make this expensive.

DNS – what is it?

Think a phonebook for the internet. Computers speak in numbers, humans speak in names. A DNS server has a list like this:

www.google.com Addresses: 2607:f8b0:4007:807::2004 216.58.217.196

When you register a domain name, you are renting that name for a year or more. Once you have the name it is yours until you stop paying.

When you host a domain name, you are renting a phonebook to say this is where mydomain.com is in a computer address.

Maybe an analogy- you register your license with the state, use of your license is hosted at your salon.

Namesilo- DNS registration

Pros: Namesilo doesn’t charge for whois privacy. Folks like Godaddy, Bluehost and Ted Gibson’s enom.com charge around $8-12 a year. Right there you have %50 off forever. Prices are cheap, $9/year for registration vs a lot more at other places who lure you in with a cheaper first year.

Why do you want whois privacy? When you register your name it requires name, address, email and phone number. You don’t want that in whois data, trust me. That stuff is slurped up all over the web for nefarious purposes.

  • test- go to whois.net in a web browser. Type in windowsnerd.com – my name isnt there. Type in arrojonyc.com Nicks name isn’t there.

Cons:

Namesilo can’t do advanced things like SRV records in DNS. You don’t need this if you aren’t doing something more complicated like Office365 using your domain name.

Using namesilo/godaddy/bluehost for dns HOSTING is like working in the most ghetto salon you can find instead of getting a job at a high end place. Screw namesilo’s ghetto built in dns hosting, Namesilo’s own documentation recommends:

Cloudflare- DNS hosting

Cloudflare does amazing things for DNS even if you don’t need complicated stuff like SRV records.

  • Handles all of your records with a simple powerful interface
  • Can do more complicated records like SRV
  • Validates your records to make sure you did it right, tells you what is wrong in terms you can google.
  • Caches your content so if your web host dies cloudflare is still serving static pages
  • Lots of security layers-
    • Extra layer of spam filtering for comments on your site
    • Block all but your country where your clients live. You can’t get attacked from half the world if you just block it.
    • Free SSL certificate – looks great to nerd clients, not many others. How cool is a hair stylist with encrypted web traffic? It is as easy as checking a few boxes so why not
    • HSTS – some nerdy settings to tell your browser to just go ahead and choose secure methods
    • DNSSEC – hard for bad guys to forge DNS answers
    • Authenticated TLS origin pulls, Browser integrity checks, all kinds of extra goodies
  • Speed boosts-
    • your site is cached on 1000’s of servers instead of one. Geographic location will likely be closer to the client trying to reach you so the page is faster.
    • Auto Minify code- Cloudflare will optimize the Javascript, CSS and HTML under your webpage to make things go faster
    • If your hosting provider (bluehost, godaddy, whatever) is going slow, cloudflare is still sitting there churning your data out really really fast.
  • Stats and pretty graphs to show you how they are helping you and make sense of why this service is so important to your corner of the internet
  • Cloudflare is a company that specializes in defending large and small sites from attack. Their infrastructure is mind bogglingly massive. Having a friend like cloudflare can emliminate a lot of headaches.
  • Cloudflare can do a lot more. If you are a famous hair stylist and have someone working for you handling this, upgrade to the $20 a month plan. Nobody without a dedicated IT staff can pull all of this stuff off without a multimillion/year budget. My software company doesn’t do this stuff with a dedicated IT staff, we farm it out.
  • The web hosting company you already hired at your salon probably screwed 90% of this stuff up. I see mistakes all the time with some of the big web contractors focused on salons. This week I found one using the same SSL certificate for 30+ salons, some lawyers, steel manufacturers etc. Think of it as some guy built you a custom house but gave the same key to 50 other people. And to make it worse if you type HTTPS:// instead of HTTP:// for your salon, you go to some guy in Texas’ page. Developers generally do not do security or IT configuration for the long haul. Just fast crap thrown up as quick as possible to get paid.

Bluehost

I like bluehost for web hosting. Just not for DNS, or any other service they offer. Think of it like I like one stylist for cuts, one for color and somehow I know the difference. 🙂 Bluehost has tools that help make sure your site is always updated, their uptime is great. Bluehost doesn’t spam you every day like godaddy. The big con is price on all the other services they provide. DON’T do bluehost’s 1 click cloudflare integration. It is a trick to keep you on Bluehost.

WordPress

WordPress powers a full 1/3 of internet websites. That is the main reason I like it over others. There are 2 kinds of wordpress, this is important.

  1. If you go directly to WordPress.com, it offers a free or low cost site. It is extremely limited in functionality. Do not go directly to wordpress.com. You will hate it later.
  2. 2. The wordpress program installed on all the hosting company sites is really powerful. On bluehost it is a few clicks to get installed. You can put in a ton of free plugins, do amazing things with photo galleries, contact options, mailing lists, cross posting to pintrest, twitter etc. Don’t get a wordpress.com account. Do a wordpress site on a hosting provider like bluehost, godaddy or a virtual machine your uncle manages.

Office365

Personal preference here we chose office on this page. Gmail corporate is fine, not many others can compete. The advantages of doing a paid google or MS account for email:

[email protected] is possible for your from address. Very professional, can follow you anywhere. You aren’t tied to an ISP. DO NOT EVER use your isp’s email for a professional address.. comcast, att, tmobile, verizon. If you change ISPs you have a big problem on your hands. Gmail/hotmail/yahoo etc – Getting email from [email protected] is super lame and so 2005.

Free office apps come with it- MS has the strongest office online apps. Why do you need them?

  • You should be tracking your tips daily so you know when you are getting ripped off or know how to negotiate your new job. Just super simple- x services, x dollars. You will learn the trend without needing graphs and know when to attack the front desk. This is best done in excel.
  • Word – you need a good editor to do your resume. Don’t send resumes using the apple craptastic format. just don’t. Bad habit.
  • Onedrive/google drive – Make sure you are storing all the photos of clients you have done in this. When your computer blows up… and it will, you can just sync up again.
  • Office365 at $5 a month is cheaper than Mozy/carbonite for backups. Your photos are super important to your career. I would say the offsite backup for the price is worth more than the office apps from MS or Google.

Cons- Takes a bit more to set up. You will need a nerd to help you.

I have a few corporate gmail accounts for businesses and a few office365 enterprise accounts. The complaints for each are different, overall the users like office365 better for real work, gmail for super light work. Office365 security is better, google usability is a little better. It is a personal preference thing. If you have a significant other/family who needs Office have them get a office 365 home license They can add 3 family members free and you all can get the full office apps from their account and install it on 5 computers, 5 tablets/phones, 4 users… it is crazy awesome.

Side note- password management

I always recommend to anyone, get a password manager. Lastpass is still the best, dashlane and onepass are good. Keepass/keepassX is fine if you have more of a tinfoil hat than I do.

If this is helpful to anyone out there, I can start a walkthrough. Should have a nerd centric hair stylist blog up soon to cover the under reported geek side of hair. We can go over more advanced topics-

  • Google analytics and Adwords.
  • How to advertise yourself on the web outside of what your salon is doing.
  • Legal issues like the BS of non-competes in your environment (hint, not enforceable in most states)
  • HR issues like mandatory breaks, hourly vs salary law, sexual harrasment
  • New overtime laws should be finalized for the US in 6 months… will this get you more money?
  • Classifying staff incorrectly, Department of Labor online web test to check if you are getting screwed
  • Health regulations
  • Licenses – Always tag “I am a licensed professional” and link to places like the Professional Beauty Association
  • Why do hair dryers cost so much
  • What are the health hazards of ionic tools I am using
  • Financial pros and cons of booth rent, traditional salon, Sola/Phoenix models
  • How to do a valuation on a salon before selling it
  • Modding equipment
  • Noise levels in the salon vs OSHA requirements
  • Discrimination law suits, EEOC, protected classes

Will you read that if I build it? Let me know in the comments. What are you interested in?

If I build something like this, will a single banner ad at the top turn you away? I would probably do that to cover part of the hosting cost.

 

Ok I’ve already been asked, can you pay me to build this for you?

No. I am an IT professional/part owner of a 3 time INC5000 SAAS company, not a web developer/contractor. I have a very good job, my free time is not for sale.

Recommend someone?

I would just trudge through with a friend, client or relative. You only have to build the hard stuff once. After that just add photos and text and you are golden. Every one of the web developer companies I have checked out in the salon world seems to have something shady going on. They know a stylist is likely to be an easy mark for a quick check. I’ll find a good one eventually and let you know.