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Bettering Your Shop's Website

(August 2007) posted on Mon Aug 06, 2007

How to make a print provider's online home stand out in the crowd.

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By Gregory Sharpless

In a brick-and-mortar setting, the storefront or front entry of your building can often persuade customers to come inside. Even if you rarely deal directly with the general public or take on over-the-counter jobs, your storefront should engage and invite, not push away prospective clientele (or, worse, indicate that running directly to your nearest competitor might be a better idea).

Similarly, your company's website should be just as engaging. In fact, in this day and age, it's easy to make the case that you should be putting more thought, effort, and resources into your online presence than you are into your shop's physical structure. It's one thing to compete with a half-dozen operations in the same city, but in the online world you're competing with hundreds if not thousands of businesses that might be offering similar services. So how do you make your company's website stand out from all those others?

To help answer that question, we point out here just some of the Web features that various print providers around the country are using to better their own sites. You may want to integrate a similar feature within your own website, or perhaps a feature you spot here will lead you to an entirely different solution for your site and operation.

Keep in mind that we're spotlighting various features and individual online pages, not really highlighting any company's entire website for the purposes of this article. Nor are we focusing on e-commerce or directly deriving commerce via your website; we'll focus on this in an upcoming article. In addition, note that our editorial team looks at dozens of print providers' websites each week throughout the course of a year, but we know there are many more out there. If you feel your shop's website has a unique feature or is tackling an online challenge in an interesting way, please drop us a note with your website and we'll follow up.

Make a Splash

How much interest does your home page evoke when it first opens? Ideally, your website's home page should provoke interest, be easily navigable, and not too busy.