#SideHustleSeries: The first 3 steps to setting up your Shopify store
If you’ve finally decided to bite the bullet and set up your own store on Shopify, congratulations! Store ownership can be vastly rewarding, and incredibly lucrative if done properly. While setting up your shop can be sold as “easy”, the truth is there are a lot of details that go into it. Today, we’re going to talk about the first three steps to setting up your Shopify store.
When I opened my shop, Polka Dotted All The Things Boutique, I was a little overwhelmed with all the options. It helped to just choose one thing to focus on at a time, before moving on to the next. During Shopify’s 14 day Free Trial, I organized the theme, apps, and products that I wanted to sell, and made sure it was all operational before opening it to the public.
Now for me, I took about 12 of those 14 days, but if you find after two or three days or even a week that you’re ready to open shop and get rid of the password page, you can learn all about that here:
The first 3 steps to setting up Shopify stores:
Shopify has a list of free and paid themes. You can also find themes off site but that’ll require you to upload it yourself. For my store, I used the Debut Theme, which is free on Shopify. There is a really great list of free themes here – though some of may no longer be free. Just be aware of that.
Don’t spend too much time picking a theme. You can always change it later and as Sheryl Sandberg says, “Perfection is the enemy of done.” So pick something that you think will work, and move on.
One thing to keep in mind when you are picking a theme is if it is responsive. Responsive means that it switches from Desktop to Mobile and Tablet with ease, and doesn’t look all weird.
You can customize the colors, fonts, and more in the customize theme section of Shopify.
You have a space to keep a blog on your store and I recommend that you do… first thing. If you are able to get two or three posts up before you launch, that’s great! Make sure they’re focused around your niche, and that they provide value to your customers.
It’s a great way to bring in traffic, and you can link to your products within the blog using the buy button sales channel. You can also share them in groups that promote blog posts and on Pinterest. If you want to know more about building a blog you can check my blogging 101 e-course.
If you’re starting a print on demand teeshirt shop, for instance, your blog posts could be about where to wear the shirts, new designs, your creative process, etc. Some print on demand companies will give you a voucher for a sample item so you can see the quality of their work. You can use that sample to produce some great photos for your blog, and for the launch.
The app store on Shopify has so many amazing options! From free services to super intense paid services, and everything in between, whatever you’re looking to do with your store, it’s yours to do. The App Store makes setting up Shopify incredibly easy.
I recommend starting first with Shopify’s free apps.
Some of the apps will only let you install them if you’ve already signed up for a Shopify plan (like Pinterest and Buzzfeed). Other apps are free to download but require an additional paid subscription to the service the app provides.
They also have a collection of apps called “Launch Your Shop”. Inside you’ll find lots of the Shopify apps, but also you’ll find Oberlo. If you’re planning on Dropshipping, Oberlo is the place to start. Its free for your first 500 orders/mo, and only $29/mo after that.
AfterShip allows you to send tracking numbers to your customers so they know where their package is. It even works if you’re dropshipping. Its free for your first 100 customers/mo, and prices start as low as $10/mo for 100 with their full features.
Plug In SEO is great, but only works if you have a paid plan. Don’t worry about that for now; on day three we’re going to focus on SEO.
You’ll probably want something for reviews, personal recommendations, upselling, and email marketing. Make sure you explore the different apps available and choose what will work best for you and your budget. Also remember that if it doesn’t work the way you want it to, you can always reach out to the owner/creator/company and ask about additional features, pricing, and more. Or you can uninstall it.
There are many more steps to setting up Shopify stores, and I hope you’ll keep checking back because in this Side Hustle Series, we’re going to dig deep.
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