You need to create a website for a print shop.
Website design has made great strides in recent years.
Anyone can get their website online with free templates, ready-made designs and website builders.
However, a template for a print shop website can help you avoid making poor website choices.
Pre-made templates or templates are like starting your search for a print shop to build your business on the basis of your printer equipment.
Yes, you want a layout that is compatible with your equipment. It doesn’t matter if the shop’s location is poor or if the terms of the lease aren’t right for you and your growth potential.
The secret to professional web designers is that web pages are HTML and CSS combined with scripts. This means…
Any website template can be created on any web platform.
With this in mind, I’ve created a guide of 6 steps to help you choose the best template for your print shop on the right platform. This will allow you to create the design and functionality that your business requires.
1. Define your needs, budget and assets
With a little editing any template can be transformed into a print shop templates. This makes them very easy to market and easy to mislead. It is important to assess what you really need, your budget, and the assets that you have.
You have to be there
What should your website be capable of doing? Is it interactive or a brochure website? Is it necessary to make it easy to edit? Are people required to place orders? Request a quote? Send your designs for printing
Although there are no definitive answers, it is important to consider the functionality of your website before you start looking at template sales features.
Although price is powerful, it’s important not to only pay for the value of your business but also to pay for what really matters. Consider your physical location. Where can you save money and what do you spend your money on?
How valuable is a repeat customer? What are your goals for growth? What is the expected lifespan of your website? What is the value of your time? How much time will you save by getting your website up and running correctly? What is the value of your staff’s time? How can a website make it easier for them?
Again, there are no right answers, but it’s important to at least think about budget before shopping for a design/designer/template.
Although pre-made templates for print shops can be helpful, the website still has to be yours. Do you have any photography? Are you able to digitize your logo? Are you familiar with the fonts and colors used? Are you able to describe your services and location? Are you a part of marketing partnerships with local businesses? Are you already a part of social media?
You’ll need to look at mockups of colors and fonts when you shop for templates. You’ll be replacing your own assets with templates, so it’s important that you know what you have and what’s needed before you get swayed.
2. Understanding Terminology and Options
It can be confusing to understand website terminology, as many companies mix, match, and misuse jargon to market their products. These are the five essential elements you must have a website online today.
Your “address” online is a domain. It is available for lease from ICANN through accredited “domain registrars” for a set period. One can be purchased now and “pointed” to your website later. To make it easier, many website hosting companies also offer domain names for sale.
Your website is composed of computer files. These files must “live” somewhere. Hosting companies lease space on servers that store and serve website files every time someone visits your site.
Software for Websites
Modern websites often contain many files. Websites often require software (also known as a content management system) to organize all files and make it easy to edit and maintain.
There are many website software options. For our purposes, however, we will be focusing on WordPress.
WordPress powers over 25% of the Internet. WordPress has both its critics as well as its advocates. It’s still the best solution for most print shop websites.
Why? WordPress is like a 4-door sedan or light SUV in website software.
It is very popular. It’s also popular because it suits most people’s needs. It is versatile, easy to use and can do so many things. People will say WordPress can be hacked or WordPress is slow. That’s similar to someone saying that sedans are more likely to be stolen than semi-trucks or that my Ferrari can beat your Honda Accord off the line.
These criticisms may be true, but they are not the truth. We’ll show you how to minimize/eliminate WordPress’ shortcomings while still retaining its benefits for building a print shop website (i.e. ownership, marketing integrations, etc.).
As we have seen in the introduction, templates simply represent pre-made HTML and CSS (the computer languages used by browsers to generate a webpage). Although not essential, good design is almost impossible to create from scratch with mobile devices and other browsers. Every web designer needs a template/framework as a starting point.
There are many pre-made templates for print shops that can be used as templates or paid templates. Some even come with custom design services. Templates should focus on design, layout and content presentation, not functionality.
Software should have the ability to perform functionalities, and that brings us to…
Plugins, extensions, or apps are software pieces that can be used to enhance the functionality and features of your website.
WordPress’ greatest advantage is its “extensibility”. WordPress offers a wide range of premium and free plugins. These plugins allow small print shops to add advanced functionality to their websites.
3. Select & Configure Your Print Shop Website Platform
There are many great website platforms. There are many ways to combine, match and mix the five pieces that you need for a modern site.
This guide wouldn’t be useful if it didn’t help you to find a template and build a website that works.
We have already narrowed down the options for website software to WordPress. We now need to decide where WordPress software will reside and how it will integrate with your templates and plugins.
Two main options are available: WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress.
Disclosure: I am paid customer referral fees by companies listed on this site. All data and opinions are based upon my professional experience as either a paying customer, or consultant to paying customers.
WordPress is a free, open-source software that’s supported by the community. It is free to download, install anywhere and use however you wish.
Self-host WordPress gives you complete freedom and responsibility. It’s almost like having your own house. You have the freedom to do what you like, but you also have the right to call the plumber.
A good hosting company can make all the difference in installing WordPress. Hosting companies can offer the security, support and services necessary to minimize the risks associated with hosting your WordPress site.
InMotion hosting is a great choice for businesses. Here are a few reasons why I recommend it. Here is my full InMotion review.
- InMotion offers excellent support via chat, email, phone and knowledgebase.
- InMotion charges a slightly more to help businesses focus (and not hobby bloggers) instead of just for individuals.
- InMotion offers WordPress auto-install at checkout and an optional, free drag & drop design tool called BoldGrid.
- InMotion offers custom web design services that can reduce the need to search for random freelancers.
Check out InMotion Hosting’s current Business Hosting plans here.
The upside: You can download and use any theme or plugin you like if you host your WordPress software yourself. This setup is familiar to developers and consultants. It’s future-proof and saves money over other options.
The downside: Technical aspects are your responsibility. While InMotion offers support and consulting, you ultimately have the responsibility for everything. Self-hosting WordPress isn’t for everyone who doesn’t want to deal directly with technical issues.
WordPress.com is a hosted service that is managed by the original developer of WordPress software. It is an all-in-one package that bundles WordPress software with hosting, support, software, and other services into one monthly plan.
WordPress.com can be described as self-hosting WordPress. This is similar to owning your building. While you can make all the customizations you wish “inside” the building, the maintenance and boring bits of the building are not your responsibility.
WordPress.com is a great choice for businesses. Here are a few reasons why I recommend it.
- WordPress.com is a WordPress-based website that takes care of all speed, security and technical issues while still allowing users to enjoy the benefits of WordPress software.
- WordPress.com’s Business Plan can be expensive but predictable. Maintenance fees will not be charged by a large consultant.
- WordPress.com offers a complete directory of premium templates that can be installed quickly.
- WordPress.com allows you to still install vetted third party plugins – which can be huge for a custom printed shop website.
Check out WordPress.com’s Business Plan.
The upside: WordPress.com users get the most out of WordPress software, without having to deal with any technical issues.
The downside is that you will only be able to use a small version of WordPress. You will also lose some design options and functionality.
The Next Steps
There is no wrong choice. It all depends upon your goals and needs.
Register for InMotion Hosting’s Business Plan with WordPress auto-install.
Register for WordPress.com’s business plan.
4. Select & set up your Print Shop Website Template
Once you are clear about what you have, and what you need to do with it, you can start looking for the perfect pre-made template for your print shop.
Keep these things in mind when you shop.
- Don’t pay attention to the logo designs and mock-up photography. A template may only look one way because of the mock-up photography. You’ll replace these assets with yours.
- Concentrate on the layout of a template.
- Take a look at more than the homepage. Take a look at the layout of subpages or unique pages.
- Any template can be used as a WordPress Theme. It is better to convert a Squarespace, Weebly or Wix template to WordPress than to just keep the template. This would be similar to choosing a print shop building solely based on the equipment it fits. If the lease terms and location don’t suit your business, it doesn’t make sense.
Templates for WordPress that you can self-host
A self-hosted WordPress installation gives you a virtually unlimited number of templates. These are some places you can look for high-quality options.
- My roundup of WordPress Theme Frameworks: These are amazing templates that can create great websites with beautiful photos and colors.
- ThemeForest is a large marketplace that sells premium templates and themes. You can purchase, download, and install.
- MOJO Themes is another marketplace that offers premium templates and themes. You can purchase, download, and then install.
- TemplateMonster is another marketplace that offers premium templates and themes. You can purchase, download, and then install.
- WordPress.org Repository – The official marketplace for WordPress templates and themes. All templates can be downloaded and installed directly to your WordPress website.
InMotion Hosting customers will have access to the BoldGrid templates, which have drag-and-drop functionality. Their design services can be used to convert any template to WordPress + your branding.
A WordPress.com Business Plan allows you to upload templates from the sites mentioned above. You also have unlimited access WordPress.com’s premium template collection. All templates have advanced customization options that allow you to edit them.
These can be viewed here.
5. Configure Your Print Shop Website Functionality
Many theme and template makers combine functionality with design. This can be great but can also lead to problems.
You can’t edit a theme that has too many functions. You can edit both design and functionality if you separate them.
WordPress plugins allow you to add functionality.
WordPress is ready to use right out of the box, and you only need to install a few additional plugins. The rule of thumb is to have fewer plugins than you need.
Installing the JetPack plugin on a self-hosted website is a good idea. It provides security and backups, as well as other fun features like contact forms and sharing buttons.
Here’s a list of must-have WordPress plugins. This includes Google Analytics & Redirects.
WooCommerce is another eCommerce option that works well for print shops.
There are many excellent resources for specialized functionality (listed below). Before you begin searching for plugins, make sure to identify what you need. It is easy to add plugins to WordPress without thinking about what your visitors will need.
After you have done this, take a look at these resources:
- WordPress.org Repository – The official repository for plugins. You can search for specific functionality. Note the rating and number of installations.
- ThemeForest is a great source for premium plugins across all industries.
6. You can refine your design and content
Let’s have some fun! It doesn’t matter if your website is an informational or brochure site, or a dynamic and constantly updated interactive site, maintaining, revising, and editing it is essential.
Although it doesn’t have to take too much time, a website that is well maintained and updated regularly will be a great one.
Editing your Design
This process should be easy using WordPress + a great template. BoldGrid by InMotion adds drag-and-drop functionality to WordPress. WordPress.com’s Customizer allows for easy click and edit customization.
This guide will explain how WordPress themes work, and also show you the WordPress Dashboard.
Remember to include the features your customers desire when designing and editing your website. Visitors might find it frustrating if they don’t like the look you choose.
Your services and location pages should be the first priority for print shops. Remember that your customers are most likely using mobile devices to access your content. Keep it simple and scannable.
Marketing your Print Shop Website
Ah, here comes the real fun. Although there aren’t any right answers, here’s the truth: A website is essential for long-term, real brand building. Social media networks change. A good website is one that you own.
You can position your website for any future events if you keep your best customers in mind and find out how they found you.
This topic is covered in my guide for planning a local marketing strategy.
Take a look at your budget and needs.
If self-hosted WordPress is what you need, then purchase a Business Hosting Plan that includes WordPress auto-install.
You can purchase a WordPress.com business plan here if you are looking for bundled WordPress services.