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This Shopify Cheat Sheet Will Get Your Store Up Fast [+ How to Make it Even Better Over Time]

8 min read Last Updated: April 12, 2021
Shopify cheat sheet

Written by Ramin Ramhormozi

Ramin, a Managing Partner at SKU Agency focused on growing your business through strategy, technology & design. Ramin loves to devour business books, podcasts and blogs. In his spare time (which is minimal) he enjoys hanging out at home with his wife and three kids - and occasionally riding the Peleton.

Shopify understands that you want to start selling ASAP. That’s why they offer clients the tools to open a storefront fast and easy.

There are also plenty of templates, apps, and plug-in resources that do the heavy technical lifting.

The problem is, many store owners still want to create their own store with their own hands.

Luckily, this isn’t difficult to do. This Shopify cheat sheet will show you some tricks to help you build a scalable and visually attractive online store.

Yes, Shopify does have its own cheat sheet to help you build custom themes, but unless you’re already a web design expert who understands created_at timestamps and script_tag HTML filters, it’ll make your head spin.

Our Shopify cheat sheet is for real beginners. 

We’ll show you how to get your store up and running as fast as possible and even go a step further to explain surefire ways to make your store better with time.


Choose a Theme

You’ve done the initial business planning, you’ve picked your store’s name, and you’ve opened a Shopify account.

Now, it’s time to choose a Shopify Theme template. Selecting a theme is the starting point for quickly opening your Shopify store.

These themes are created by Shopify developers using the platform’s open-source Liquid programming language. There are dozens to choose from, many of which come in different styles.

Choosing a theme is very important and should not be done in haste. The right one needs to represent your brand and appeal to your ideal customer.

How do you whittle down the field to just one when choosing a ready-made template?

To choose the perfect theme for your store, do the following:

Consider Your Brand 

Your theme needs to reflect who you are and what you are selling. Your featured images of products will no doubt be stunning, but first, you need to choose a “picture frame” in which to place them, so to speak.

When choosing a theme, think about what type of site you need to showcase your products or services as best you can.

Are you a clothing retailer that would benefit from photo carousels and videos showing your customer every angle of your garments? If so, check out Shopify’s Video and 3D for Products themes collection.

Are you a restaurant owner or a grocer looking to display your goods in the most appealing way? The Food & Drink themes collection may be your ideal starting point.

Because each theme has specific features, mulling over your brand and services is critical to selecting the one that will enhance your business best.

Consider Your Customer, Too 

It’s all about getting customers to engage with your store, of course. You know your brand and understand your ideal customer.

Are they younger shoppers constantly engaging with social media? Shopify’s Fun and Lively themes may appeal to them most.

Maybe they’re interested in buying sleek, modern items that can best be showcased with minimalist themes?

Finding a theme that will appeal to your intended customer — the ones who are looking specifically for your products and/or services — will keep them on your site and make them excited to shop with you time and again.


Enact Store Settings

Shopify store settings

Shopify has default settings that will remain as-is unless you tweak them to your preferences. You should customize them, as you can optimize your store to make it look and function the way you want.

Here are the key settings you should adjust to get your store up and running fast:

General Settings

Here, you will input basic information, such as your domain name, the email address customers will use to contact you (i.e., [email protected]), and your business address.

These are critical to include, as they can go a long way in demonstrating to your customers that you are a legitimate business that values their feedback.

Payments

In this section, you can adjust the types of payments your store will accept and the name your customers will see on their billing statements.

You can accept credit and debit card payments from U.S. companies and global providers, as well as third-party payment processors like PayPal, Amazon, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.

This is also the time to decide if you want customers to create an account with you before making a purchase, or if that’s optional. We recommend that Shopify stores give the option of checking out as a “guest” to increase conversions.

Next, consider marketing emails and decide if you want customers to receive them automatically once they place an order or if they must sign up to receive them.

Related: How to Develop an Email Marketing Strategy to Grow Online Sales

Shipping

Will you be shipping items you sell yourself or dropshipping?

Tweak shipping settings to reflect this. This will help with backend operations and is not something your shopper will see.

Something your store visitors will see that may influence how they shop your store is free shipping offers. For example, you may want to enact a minimum shipping threshold on all orders, say free shipping on orders over $50.

You can let your shoppers know about your free shipping deal on whichever pages you choose — the shopping cart page, product pages, the home page, etc.

They will likely spend more to get the free shipping deal. Minimum Order Quantities (MOQs) are proven to help increase conversion rates.

Legal Information

You must set up your store’s legal settings. Luckily, Shopify generates privacy policies, refund policies, and terms of service policies for your store to use. Make sure these are in order or risk operating illegally!

SEO Tools

Under Online Store and Preferences, create your store’s meta title and meta description. These are what the world will see when they locate your page in a search engine. You can also add your Google Analytics tracking code and Facebook Pixel ID.

But remember:

SEO is much more complex than adding headers and filling in meta fields. We’ll discuss more in-depth ahead.

We want to help you get more organic traffic to your website. Check out our Shopify SEO services page to learn about the great work we do.


Create Main Pages

Your Shopify store needs more than a homepage and product pages.

You also need a page with your contact information on it, an FAQ page that describes your shipping and refund policies, and maybe even an About Us page that outlines your company’s history and mission.

How to Add a New Page to Your Shopify Site

Here’s how to add new pages to your Shopify site:

    1. Go into your settings.
    2. Click Add Page.
    3. Select the page title from the dropdown menu.
    4. Add main pages like About Us, Contact Us, and FAQs.

 

Be sure to provide honest and straightforward information for each page. Anything less can turn off potential shoppers and drive visitors away from your site.


Add Your Initial Products

After your main pages, you must create pages for every product you plan to sell.

Before you start, be sure you have an organized spreadsheet of your products, product types, descriptions, and product images.

Also, make a note of line items that will appear with the order on the cart page, like product numbers and prices.

How to Add New Products to Your Shopify Store

Adding your goods and sellables to your store is very easy:

    1. In your account dashboard, click Products.
    2. Click Add Product.

From there, you can add product titles, product descriptions, variants, and more. You can also decide how products are organized and if they’re part of a collection.

Of course, make sure to upload at least one high-quality photo (JPG or PNG format) for all products.

Also, under the Discounts section of your dashboard, you can add discount codes and set discount parameters so shoppers see promotions on your product pages and in their shopping carts.


Integrate Marketing Tools

Even if you’re using templates and shortcuts, setting up a Shopify store is a lot of work. So, when your store is live and functioning, you want to make sure to have the tools in place to attract customers!

It’s easy to integrate marketing tools into your Shopify store.

A must-have is Google Analytics, a free tool that lets you analyze your store’s success in terms of page views, bounce rate, best-selling products, and more. You’ll see which pages are performing poorly, so you’ll know what you need to improve.

Shopify has a tutorial on their website that explains how to embed the Google Analytics tracking code on your site.

If you plan on advertising your business on Facebook, you need Facebook Pixel to measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

There’s a guide on how to use Facebook Pixel with Shopify here.

The Shopify App store is another place to go for marketing tools. Here, you’ll find plenty of free and affordable apps that are easy to add to your site.

These apps can help you with:

    • Search engine optimization (SEO)
    • Social media
    • Retargeting
    • Customer retention
    • … and more

 

Whether you want to incorporate upselling features into your online store or to increase your chances of earning featured snippets on Google, there’s a Shopify app to help you.

See also: 7 Shopify Apps to Improve Your Business


How to Make Your Shopify Store Even Better Over Time

Make your Shopify store better

Shopify templates may be great for quickly getting your store up and running, but they’re not designed to grow with you.

If you want more time and effort put into the design and function of your store, consider hiring a custom developer to build one for you. A pro can create a beautiful e-commerce store that’s customized to fit your specific and ever-changing needs.

When you hire an e-commerce developer, look for one who is fluent in Shopify’s Liquid code, which is the backbone of every Shopify store, and who can use JavaScript to test themes and boost speeds.

If all goes to plan, you’ll have a website with custom pages layered with HTML tags, image alt text, endif commands, and other rich syntax to optimize your store for the best possible performance.

Custom developers can also implement strategies for improving your store over time. In some cases, that might mean working with professional bloggers on content that highlights your products. In other cases, it could mean upgrading your site to Shopify Plus to increase your sales capabilities.

Whatever the case, developers can help you take your store to the next level.

You shouldn’t have to worry about setting up and maintaining technical website aspects like CDN and linklists — you have a business to run!


Conclusion

Don’t know what link_to or {% endfor %} means?

Have no idea what pagination or src attributes are?

That’s okay — you don’t need to be fluent in CSS to set up a Shopify store.

But just because you can build a store yourself doesn’t mean it’ll work right. Shopify developers spend years and years honing their craft, creating work that cannot simply be duplicated by a template.

And for many store owners, templates don’t cut it anyway. You want a dynamic store that attracts your targeted customer base and keeps them coming back to shop with you time and again.

You want a store that is as unique as your brand. And really, templates and apps can only do so much on that front.

We at SKU Agency completely understand that. We have two decades of experience developing custom Shopify stores that are far from template shops. We’re certified Shopify Experts who understand the Shopify API inside and out.

But more than that, we understand that you and your brand do not intend to provide a cookie-cutter experience.

Contact us today and let’s start building a store that will exceed your expectations and help you stand out from the crowd.

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