Shopify is an ideal tool for business owners looking to sell products online and improve their visibility on the Internet. The easy-to-use website builder allows you to set up an eCommerce store without advanced technical knowledge.
Here’s everything you need to know when building your business website on Shopify, from entering your email address to launching your site.
Although building a basic Shopify site takes no more than a few hours, having an idea of what your business website should look like will help accelerate the process. Before signing up and starting your new website, think about the basic details and visual elements you want and establish a list. Examples of visual elements include:
- Branding and visual identity elements
- Buttons and menus
During the building process, Shopify will suggest various free themes, templates, palettes, fonts, and other options for you to consider. Having a basic plan for your site’s look can help you select the elements that fit your branding the most.
Think about your store’s domain name carefully. A good domain name may help your site’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO), making your store more visible and easier to find on the internet.
Consider multiple potential domain names, and check whether other site owners have already registered them using a free domain name checker.
Create an Account
Once you have a plan and a few ideas for your future business website, you can visit the Shopify front page and sign up by selecting Start Free Trial. Shopify encourages new members to build their business website as part of their 14-day free trial offer, only presenting you with the payment options after your site is ready for launch.
To sign up and start building, all you need to do is enter your email address, password, and store name. Shopify will automatically store the entered business name into a default domain name and URL, but you will have the option to change it later.
Add Your Store’s Products
After signing up, Shopify will redirect you to a dashboard, where you can start customizing your site’s details and content. The first thing you’ll want to do is add products you wish to sell through your online store.
Look on the left-hand side of your dashboard, and click on Products. On the new page, click the Add Product button in the top-right corner.
The Add Product interface offers you a social media-style dashboard where you can enter your item’s name and description, upload product images, and preview that product’s page before saving it.
How to Write a Product Description
The product description field provides you with a text editor similar in style and function to commonly used word processing software, like Google Docs.
Besides basic formatting functions (bold, italics, underline), you also have access to headers, bulleted lists, indentation, tables, hyperlinking, and images and video embedding.
If you have additional photos or even a video advertisement to showcase your product, use the image and video embed feature to include it. The best practice is to place your showcase at the top of your description, above the text, for maximum visibility.
How to Add Images to Your Product Page
There are two options for uploading images. The most common option is clicking Add Images and selecting your product images on your computer through the file explorer. Alternatively, you can simply drag and drop your images into the “Images” field.
Shopify will use the first image you upload as the default picture used to represent that product. A default picture is what you see on the pages that list the corresponding product other than the product page itself. These can include your store’s inventory, a related products section, or inside the shopping cart.
Why Good Product Descriptions Matter
A 2017 Salsify consumer research report found that 87% of online shoppers consider product descriptions one of the most critical factors before deciding to purchase. Most importantly, the study found that 98% of online shoppers have chosen not to buy a product due to a non-existent or inadequate description.
Taking advantage of every feature on the Add Product interface is essential to making your product page more compelling. A well-written product description increases the chances of getting a page visitor to buy the product, which Shopify experts refer to as a conversion.
A high rate of page visits with a comparatively low conversion rate may be the symptom of a bad description. According to a Nielsen & Norman eCommerce study, lack of relevant product information causes approximately 20% of unsuccessful conversions.
Select a Shop Theme
Customize your Shopify site’s looks and appearance with a theme. The Shopify theme store is where your preparation work and design ideas come into play. Here, you can choose from dozens of different designs. Some designs are free, while others require additional payment.
Although design elements, fonts, and appearance are important factors, always check the theme’s features and intended applications.
For example, some Shopify themes are designed and optimized explicitly for eCommerce vendors that sell only one product. These themes may lack the essential features you need if you have many products to sell, such as a search bar.
What About Custom Themes?
If none of the themes available in the store suit your needs, you may need a custom Shopify theme. If you have the skills, you can try designing one yourself. The Shopify dev board has a section dedicated to theme coding, providing you with the documentation you need to get started.
A qualified website design developer collaborates with you to create a visually appealing site that follows your business’s branding and aesthetic identity.
Set Up Your Other Options
Once your store has the products you want to sell and an appearance that satisfies you, you must configure other essential options to ensure your Shopify storefront runs smoothly.
Configuring Your Shipping Zones
On your main dashboard, click on Settings and then Shipping and Delivery. Here, you can set up your business’ shipping fees and select your shipping zones.
Shopify lets you choose between manually configured shipping fees or Shopify Shipping. Shopify Shipping is a free and built-in solution to calculate shipping rates in real-time and integrate it with your product’s pricing. However, Shopify Shipping is only available if your business is in the United States or Canada, as it partners with the USPS and the Canada Post to function.
In Shopify lingo, a shipping zone is essentially a region in the world where the shipping rates are the same. For example, if your business is based in France and can ship anywhere in the European Union for the same rate, you can include every country in the EU in the same shipping zone. In turn, customers from anywhere in the EU will pay the same shipping fees.
Select Your Tax Region
In the Settings menu, click on Taxes to start configuring your tax region. Select the part of the world corresponding to your business’s country of origin. Shopify will then automatically calculate your sales taxes. The options available to you depend on your shipping zones. If you need help with this section, consult an accountant or a tax expert.
Configure Your Preferred Payment Methods
One of the primary advantages of doing business online through Shopify is the ability to accept payments over 100 ways and integrate payment gateways with your website.
The most accessible payment gateway system you can implement on your website is Shopify Payments. This system will automatically set up most major payments worldwide for you, letting your shop accept credit cards and other typical online payment providers. Verify that your country and business type can use Shopify Payments before you proceed.
Alternatively, if you cannot use Shopify Payments, you can check Shopify’s payment gateway list by country and review which methods are available to you.
Prepare to Launch
Your business site is almost ready to launch! All you need to review now are your site’s domain settings and your Shopify subscription plan before going live.
Setting Up Your Domain
If you already own a domain name, you can connect it to your Shopify site. On your dashboard, click on Settings, Domains, then click on Connect Existing Domain. You can use this page to enter your domain name and verify the connection.
Third-party domain names may take up to three business days to complete verification. If the verification process is successful, it will be listed on the Domains page.
If you don’t own a domain name yet, you can simply purchase one from the Shopify Web Store. Domains bought from Shopify require no verification period and work within seconds.
Choose a Subscription Plan
The Shopify free trial only lasts 14 days. Once this period ends, you must choose a subscription plan to keep operating your Shopify website.
Review the list of available plans on Shopify’s pricing page and select the option that best corresponds to your business’ size and needs. Remember, you can always upgrade your subscription plan at a later date.
If you’re new to eCommerce or only intend to run a relatively small business, Basic Shopify offers the best value for the money. Large companies may benefit from Advanced Shopify or even a Shopify Plus solution.
Build a Successful Website With Marketing Success
Even with easy-to-use tools such as those provided by Shopify, building a successful and appealing business website is challenging to do on your own.
Marketing Success can help you build or improve your Shopify storefront and support your business in reaching its maximum potential online. We specialize in website design, SEO, and internet marketing. Call us today at (248) 509-8305 for a free quote.