The first task of a sign shop’s website should be to show what the shop can do for the person who visits the site. Images of signs spell out the shop’s capabilities quickly, and draw the viewer deeper into the site, keeping them there so that they’ll (hopefully!) read some of the text that will help further convince them that they have come to the right place for their sign and marketing needs.
There are lots of creative approaches to showing the website visitor the work that a sign shop has done. Visiting a few sites to see how they handle it is a great way to see these different solutions in action. In every case, it’s important to make sure your images load quickly. Website visitors are impatient and may bail out if they have to wait for images to load.
One clean, simple approach is to have a slideshow on the home page. That’s what Lane Walker [www.solosignsreno.com] does on his site. And by the way, you’ll find lots of Lane’s outstanding work in the Sep/Oct 2012 issue of SignCraft.
Using a Portfolio or Gallery tab on the home page that takes you to a page of thumbnails works, too. The site Dan Antonelli [www.signshopmarketing.com] designed for Rich Dombey [www.richdesignsinc.com] has a Portfolio tab that takes you to a page with five categories. When you choose one, a viewer opens in a new window.
Note that Dan used detail images (a small part of the sign) for the small thumbnails rather than reduce the sign to postage-stamp size.
You can also combine these two approaches, like the site of John Oliva of C&M Signs [www.candmsign.com]. There’s a slideshow on the home page, but for those who want to see more, there’s a large gallery that’s broken down into categories like Development, Directories, Professional, Real Estate, Restaurants and Retail. The thumbnails are larger and show the whole image.
Taking a less-is-more approach, the gallery can be the home page, as Scooter Marriner uses for his Coyote Signs site [www.coyotesigns.com]. The pictures do the talking. There’s minimal text on the site, and it pops up as you mouse-over the tabs, just as the large images do as you mouse-over the thumbnails. You can explore the site without ever clicking on anything.
If you have a creative approach to showing signs on your site, or you have seen a site that does a great job with this, SignCraft would like to see it. Send us a link today!