Do you have an idea or product you have been sitting on, but you don’t have tons of $ to spend on hiring a developer? Frustrated by the limitations of other starter platforms like Etsy and Squarespace and ready to form your own brand?
There are so many benefits to having your own website and using a platform that you can grow, build and manage yourself. In this article we talked about some of the biggest mistakes ecommerce entrepreneurs make.
Are you ready to level up your shop? Designing your own website is totally doable. In this post we will teach you how. We’ve built and launched over 50+ ecommerce sites, and Shopify is the easiest ecommerce platform to work with. Check out our Shopify review to learn more about our favorite features, but some include:
So let’s get started! Once you have your branding done, you’ll want to:
First thing you will need to do is buy a domain through a domain registrar. You can buy one directly through shopify, namecheap, bluehost, and godaddy, to name a few. Still stuck on a finding a domain name for your biz? Use this Business Name Generator to help get you started.
Shopify offers a 14-day free trial for you to test everything out and make sure you like them before committing to full plan. You can sign up for your trial here ( this article contains affiliate links and we would appreciate you using them if this info is helpful ! )
Continue to fill in all of your details, and then you will be taken to the dashboard. Be sure to input the store name that you want. Shopify will use this to create a temporary url ( “ie: www.octoberink.shopify.com” ) until you switch your shop over to your permanent url ( www.octoberink.com )
You will be taken to the dashboard upon signing up. Wahoo! Time to start poking around and get started. One of our favorite resources for learning more about using shopify is the Shopify Manual. I would start by reading the articles there. They cover all of the features of your dashboard, including:
BONUS TIP: We often get asked “Which plan should I choose after my free trial?” Shopify has different pricing and plans depending on your needs. We usually recommend starting with the lowest one while designing and getting your shop setup, and then you can always upgrade later on if you need to.
Shopify has some amazing mobile friendly free and premium themes you can purchase through the theme store and using the theme editor, you can customize the colors, fonts, background, headers, ect. Each theme as different settings and options for what you can customize.
You can also use the dropdown filters at the top to narrow themes down by price, most popular, industry, ect.
There are quite a few themes to choose from, so here are some things to think about when choosing your theme:
Each theme also allows you to access the html/css so you can further customize your store if you have experience with some coding.
We usually recommend investing in a premium theme since there are more options for making your site feel and look more custom, but the free themes are well designed as well.
BONUS TIP: One way to see if your branding with work with a particular theme before purchasing it is to screenshot the demo of the theme, save to your desktop and then mockup your shop using your own branding in a photo editing software like photoshop. That way you won’t waste money purchasing a theme that you end up not liking. Also, premium themes tend to have multiple versions of one theme, so be sure to mock up your shop with all of the versions!
Once you have your theme designed, you can start inputting products and get those bad boys uploaded. Some things you will want to remember when inputting your products.
In your shop you will want to include at least an about page ( here are some tips for creating a killer one! ) and contact page so it’s easy for customers to get to know you and contact you, which builds customer trust and increases sales.
Including a Returns and Policy pages is vitally important to your shop, and is where you will want to include some legal guidelines for those using your site in order to protect you and your shoppers. This article goes more in depth with how to set that up. Shopify offers some policy templates to help get you started.
You will also want to set up your main menu and your footer menu to link to your shopping page, about, contact, any other pages you have created, and cart.
One of our favorite features about Shopify is the App Store. Normally creating custom functionalities for your shop would cost thousands in development fees, but with the app store, you can add integrate apps for small monthly fees ( some are free too ) in order to fine tune your the functionalities of your shop. Some things include creating a wholesale shop, adding a popup newsletter, sending digital files, and so much more.
Here is a list of some of our favorite apps we consistently use.
CUSTOMIZING NOTIFICATION EMAILS
OK, now the fun part! Once your site is designed, you’ll want to start building buzz and excitement around the big launch. Some of our favorites ways to do that include:
BONUS TIP: Ideally you want to have your site done 1-2 weeks before you are set to launch. That way you can work out the glitches and focus mostly on launching that week, instead of stressing out about designing and launching all in the same week!
So you don’t forget anything during your launch, we created a free launch checklist to keep you on track. Download it below!