To get your site live on Shopify, you’ll need a domain name. Whereby, you have two choices. First, you can buy a domain from Shopify and it will be added to your store automatically. This saves you time, especially if you have no knowledge about hosting a website.
The downside is that you’ll have to redirect the DNS records yourself which can seem daunting at first.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is a subscription to a software service that allows you to create a web store. While using its shopping cart solution to sell, ship, and manage your products.
By using their application platform service, you can get easy access to use the admin panel. Where you can add products, process orders and enter store data.
For one thing, in this guide, I’ll show you how to use Shopify. So that you can launch your online store as soon as possible.
Step One: Sign Up With Shopify
- Visit Shopify.com and use the signup form to create an account.
- Enter the required details and click the ‘Start free trial’ button.
- Your store name needs to be unique or Shopify will ask you to choose something else.
After this initial screen, you’ll be asked for a few more details. Including your name, address, country, and contact number.
You will also be asked if you have products and, if so, what you aim to sell. But, if you’re just trying out Shopify to see if it works for you, you can select ‘I’m just playing around’ in the ‘Do you have products?’ dropdown. And ‘I’m not sure’ in the ‘What will you sell?’ section.
Once complete, click ‘I’m done’.
Step Two: Set Up Your Online Shop
After you’ve signed up, you’ll be directed straight to your store admin screen. And by now you are ready to start customizing your store. As well as, uploading your products and setting up payments and shipping methods.
Your home admin screen tells you all you need to know to get you up and running. Bearing in mind, Shopify has its own official theme store. These themes are all guaranteed to have full support from the designers so you know that your store is in good hands.
All themes come with a comprehensive list of modifications you can make without having to touch a line of code. The premium themes come with more modifications. But, you can also achieve a great looking site with a free one. These changes are outlined in the next section.
Step Three: Choose A Shopify Theme
For instance, if you want to make wholesale changes to a theme, there are very few limitations. Especially, on what can be achieved by accessing the HTML and CSS.
In other words, to find a theme that suits your needs, I recommend the following;
Browse on the theme store
Log into Shopify and visit the Shopify Theme Store at themes.shopify.com. You’ll find over 70 theme variations to choose from, including a good selection of free ones.
Then again, you can filter by paid or free, industry and by features. And you can also sort themes by price, popularity, and most recent.
Check for the functionality reviews
Once you’ve found a theme you like, click on the theme’s sample image. You’ll be given more information about the theme, such as whether the theme is responsive/mobile ready among other features.
Scroll down to read some reviews about what other e-tailers using the theme think of it. To see the theme in action, click View Demo. You’ll see this below the green ‘Preview Theme in your Store’ button.
And if the theme comes in a range of styles, you can also view demos of the different styles by clicking on them.
Get the best theme selection
Once you’ve found a theme you like, click the green button. Shopify will ask you to confirm that you want to install the theme. So, click Publish as my Shop’s Theme.
But, don’t worry if you’re not 100% sure it’s the right theme for you. You can always change your mind later. After the theme has installed, Shopify will let you know. Giving you the option to Go to your Theme Manager.
Your theme manager shows published themes (the one you installed or activated most recently) and unpublished themes below (previously installed themes).
Step Four: Edit Your Shopify Settings
In general, the majority of Shopify themes allow you to make simple changes that can massively change the appearance of your store. So you can rest assured knowing you won’t end up with a website that looks like a clone of thousands of other stores.
Thereafter, on your admin screen, select ‘Themes’ from the left navigation menu. On this page, you will see your live theme in a box at the top. Whereby, in the top right corner of that box will be two buttons.
The first one is of three dots, which gives you some basic settings changes. One of these allows you to make a duplicate of the theme. I highly recommend you do this in case you make some changes you don’t like, you can delete the duplicate and start again.
The second button says ‘Customize Theme’. If you click it, you will be taken to a page that controls all the basic functionality of your store. This is a great time for you to have a thorough play with the settings. And eventually, test out all the features so you can find out what your site is capable of.
The most common features will include:
- uploading logos
- uploading slides to a homepage carousel
- adding related item functionality to product pages
- choosing how many items appear on each line of the collection pages
- color schemes
- font choices.
Furthermore, some themes will also allow you to reposition a variety of elements on your site pages. Such as showing product images on the left, right or center of the page.
You can also choose whether you want to display social like/tweet/pin/+1 buttons.
Step Five: Add Your Online Store Products
Of course, Yes! Adding your products to the newly created online store is simple and easy. Navigating the bar on the left select ‘Products’. You will then see a blue ‘Add a product’ button in the middle of the page. Use the following screen to add as much detail as needed about your products.
And especially look at those that will help with SEO such as name, description, and URL. Include as many details as possible to help inform the customers about your items.
Basically, this is the screen where you upload product pictures. Once the images are uploaded, you can rearrange them so don’t worry about uploading them in any particular order.
Always remember, product images can make a sale so make sure you show your products off to their best. Highlighting any special or unique features with close up photos. To keep your store looking tidy, I suggest you keep all images the same dimensions. Unless you plan to make your collection pages look like the jmexclusives Pinterest board.
All in all, once everything is filled out, always remember to click the ‘Save product’ button in the top and bottom right corners.
Set up groups of product collections
To simply put, a collection is any group of products that have some features in common. And that customers might look for when visiting your store.
For example, your customers might be shopping for:
- clothes specifically for men, women, or children
- items of a certain type, such as lamps, cushions, or rugs
- or even items on sale
- or even items in certain sizes or colors
- as well as seasonal products, such as holiday cards and decorations.
However, products can appear in any number of collections. Usually, you would display your collections on your homepage and in the navigation bar.
This helps customers find what they’re looking for without having to click through your whole catalog.
Manual and automatic collections
When you add a new collection, you can select how products should be added to it. These are the two options:
- Manually: You add and remove products in a manual collection individually.
- Automatically: You can set up selection conditions to automatically include products that meet certain criteria.
The price and commission rate is important, but it’s also important to see what features they offer. Not all payment gateways are created equal.
You need to look at the following when choosing the right payment gateway for you.
1. Transaction Fees
When you make a payment, some gateways will keep a small percentage or flat fee (or sometimes both) for letting you use their service.
Compare these based on what your anticipated sales are.
2. Card Types
You need to know what types of cards are accepted by your chosen Payment Gateway. All accept VISA and Mastercard, while most accept American Express.
PayPal is also becoming more popular for online payments.
3. Offsite Checkout
Some online payment gateways will take the payment on their own servers via their own form.
This means that the customer is taken away from your checkout. And they pay on the form provided by your payment gateway. They are then redirected to your confirmation page once the customer successfully pays. This allows you to have a bit more control over the checkout process.
You can circumvent Shopify’s limitations – they don’t let you customize the checkout other than with CSS.
Payment gateway transaction fees are added on top of Shopify’s own transaction fees. As of November stores based in the US and UK can use Shopify Payments. Depending upon your Shopify plan, you can save on these extra costs.
Also, depending on your plan, you will receive these highly appealing rates.
- Basic 2.4% + 20p
- Professional 2.1% + 20p
- Unlimited 1.8% + 20p
Lastly, depending on how many transactions you make every month, it could be worth upgrading to take advantage of these savings.
Step Six: Launch Your Online Business Store
Before your site can go live, you need to add a few more details about your company and how you plan to make deliveries and pay tax.
Again, make sure all your online business information is filled out in the bottom left settings area. At the same time, make sure that you use Google Analytics Features. After all, this can prove to be an invaluable source for tracking your store visitors.
For Shopify Tax Settings;
- Go to the admin panel products page.
- Click on the name of a given product.
- Scroll down to the section called “Variants”.
- Make sure the checkboxes next to Charge taxes and Requires shipping are checked if you need to include these with your products.
- Some stores won’t need to charge taxes or shipping on products like digital goods. On the other hand, a T-shirt store will likely need to charge both.
Above all, if you are planning to ship your product to customers, make sure to enter the product’s weight in the appropriate field.
For Shopify Products Shipping
In simple terms, if your shipping rates are too narrow, or you don’t give enough options, you may lose out on some sales.
Shopify will only calculate a shipping rate for your customers based on the rules that you define in the Shipping page of the admin.
To make sure you won’t lose any sales:
- From your store admin, go to the Settings > Shipping page.
- In the “Shipping rates” section, see if you have set a weight-based shipping rate and adjust it according to your product’s specifications.
Here are the steps to put your new Shopify store live on a third party domain name.
Add the new domain in Shopify
In the Shopify admin, on the left navigation go to Settings and then Domains and add your domain name using the ‘Add an existing domain’ button.
Login to your domain registrar and make the following changes to the DNS records:
- Replace the @ or main A record with the following IP address: 184.108.40.206
- Add or replace the www CNAME with storename.myshopify.com (i.e. your store Shopify link without the HTTP, which you can see on the domains settings page)
- Remove any storefront passwords. Otherwise, no one will be able to access your site even when it’s live.
- Set as primary if relevant. Whilst in Online Store > Domains, you can choose your main domain by using the drop-down at the top of the screen.
Ensure that you also check the ‘Redirect all traffic to this domain’.
This means that traffic to all other domains will be directed to your primary domain. This is crucial for good SEO.
Adding other domains
You can repeat steps 1 and 2 with other domain names you own.
That said, all domain names will redirect to the ‘Primary’ domain, which you can change at any time with the ‘Set as the primary’ option next to each domain name.
Note: The number of domain names you own has no influence on SEO. And if you have managed that way – congratulations!
You should now have a fully working online store. Read and learn more about its alternative WooCommerce.
Hopefully, this article has gotten you excited to either start your first online business store with Shopify or to add to an existing one.
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