How to Create a Shopify Website? (Ultimate Beginners’ Guide)
As of December 2023, Shopify powers more than 4.7 million ecommerce stores globally, and the number is just increasing each year. The ease of setting up a Shopify website and the host of ecommerce features make Shopify a popular choice for dropshipping.
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Do you want to create a Shopify website and start your ecommerce business today?
Whether you're a budding entrepreneur eager to launch your first online shop or a seasoned online seller wanting to switch ecommerce platforms, Shopify is suitable for everyone.
Shopify has not only revolutionized online selling but has become the launchpad for countless successful businesses. It offers all the ecommerce features you need to make your online business a success.
In this guide, I will show you how to create a Shopify website from scratch, the pros and cons of Shopify, and also some of the best Shopify websites to get inspired from.
Ready to create your Shopify store? Let's dive in!
What is Shopify?
Shopify is an ecommerce platform that allows individuals and businesses to create and manage their online stores. It provides a user-friendly interface for building an online store without requiring extensive technical knowledge.
According to Statista, Shopify is the most popular ecommerce site builder in the United States, with a 28% share. Shopify offers a variety of customizable templates, and users can add products, manage inventory, process payments, and track orders through the platform.
Shopify also provides tools for marketing, analytics, payment gateways (Shopify Payments), email marketing tools (Shopify Email), international selling tools (Shopify Markets), tax calculation tools, and shipping solutions. Top Shopify stores also integrate various third-party apps and add more functionality to their stores.
Overall, Shopify is popular for website designing for small businesses, medium-sized businesses, and even seasoned entrepreneurs looking for a straightforward solution to set up and manage their online presence.
Pros and cons of Shopify
Shopify has gained popularity for several reasons. While its suitability depends on individual business needs, here are some aspects that make Shopify stand out for most ecommerce entrepreneurs.
- User-Friendly Interface: Shopify is known for its intuitive and user-friendly interface, which makes it easy for beginners to set up and manage their online stores. If you need assistance, then we have a complete guide on how to create the perfect website layout.
- All-in-One Solution: Shopify provides an all-in-one solution, including web hosting, security, and payment processing. This can be advantageous for users who prefer not to handle the technical details of managing a website, as everything is handled within the Shopify platform.
- Apps: Shopify has a robust app ecosystem that allows users to extend the functionality of their stores. Users can choose to add features such as marketing tools, analytics, shipping options, and more.
- Payment Gateway Integration: Shopify supports a variety of payment gateways and also has its own payment system (Shopify Payments). This flexibility in payment options makes it convenient for businesses to handle transactions.
There are various other pros of using a Shopify website builder, such as all the Shopify themes are optimized for mobile, security measures to keep customer data safe and transactions secure, customer support via live chat, email, and phone, and more.
While Shopify is a popular and user-friendly ecommerce platform, it has some drawbacks to consider when evaluating your options.
- Monthly Costs: Many of you might be wondering “how much does a Shopify website cost?” Shopify operates on a subscription-based model, and the costs can add up, especially when factoring in transaction fees and additional app expenses. This may be a concern for small businesses with tight budgets.
- Transaction Fees: Shopify offers its own payment gateway (Shopify Payments). If you choose to use an external payment gateway, additional transaction fees are incurred. This can affect profit margins, particularly for businesses with a high volume of transactions.
- Platform Migration Challenges: If a business decides to move away from Shopify to another platform, the migration process might be complex. Data migration and the transfer of certain settings may not be seamless.
There are also some other cons that Shopify users have noted, such as internationalization challenges, advanced SEO limitations, product variant limitations, and more.
How to create a Shopify website?
Creating a Shopify website is a straightforward process. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you set up your online store on Shopify:
Sign up for Shopify
Visit the Shopify website and click the "Start free trial" button.
Shopify will ask you some basic questions that will help them suggest you store customizations, themes, apps, and other functionalities.
First, you need to create a Shopify account using your email address and then click "Create your store."
Set up your store
After signing up, you'll be prompted to enter a store name. Choose a unique and memorable name for your online store.
Answer a few questions about your business and its goals. Click "Next" to enter the Shopify admin dashboard.
Customize your store
Choose a Shopify theme that fits your brand. Go to "Online Store" > "Themes" and explore the available themes. You will see that a default theme is installed. You can keep it or use a different theme of your choice.
If you wish to use a different theme according to your target audience (for example, a colorful theme if you sell baby toys) or a marketing strategy (for example, a theme that matches your brand identity), then you scroll down and click on “Visit Theme Store.”
Remember that most of these Shopify themes are paid, so if you are on a tight budget, stick to free themes. You can see only the free themes by clicking “Free” under the Price section.
Choose a theme that is easy to navigate for the end-user, i.e., your customers. Easy navigation helps you build an SEO-friendly website that ranks well on search engines.
Trust me, a simple Shopify website is all you need to create a successful business.
Once you have selected the Shopify theme, click “Customize,” and you will be taken to the Shopify website builder.
Customize your Shopify website design with the drag-and-drop editor. You can edit pages individually by selecting a page from the top-down menu.
Between any two sections, you can click on “Add section” and add a new section, such as a collection list, featured products, rich text, featured collectible, and more.
If you need help with your website design, follow our ecommerce website design guide and start designing your online store now.
Once you are content with your Shopify website design, you must add your products or services to the store. Return to the Shopify admin dashboard and go to the "Products" section, then click "Add product."
Enter the product details that’ll show up on the product pages, including title, description, price, and images. Once done, save your product.
Make sure the pictures of the products are professional and highlight the product as intended to be used. You can do some keyword research to find keywords related to your product and include them in your product title and description.
Shopify has also incorporated the power of Artificial Intelligence to help you write keyword-rich, sales-boosting product descriptions in no time.
To add collections, for example, men’s collection and women’s collection, return to the Shopify dashboard and go to “Collections” > “Create collections.”
Set up payments
In the Shopify admin, go to "Settings" > "Payments." Configure your Shopify Payments settings by clicking on “Complete account setup.” Now, your customers can check out using credit cards, Google Pay, or Apple Pay.
You can use Shopify Payments or choose from various third-party payment gateways, such as PayPal.
Navigate to "Settings" > "Taxes" in the admin. Set up your tax settings based on your business location and the regions you'll sell.
Set up shipping
In the Shopify admin, go to "Settings" > "Shipping." Configure your shipping settings, including shipping zones, rates, and delivery methods.
You can set up a general shipping rate for domestic and international shipping. You can even set up multiple shipping profiles for different products, or you can add shipping rates based on quantity, weight, etc.
Connect a domain (optional)
If you have a custom domain, connect it to your Shopify store. Go to "Settings" > "Domains" and click on “Buy new domain” (if you don’t have one) or “Connect existing domain” (if you have one).
Launch your store
Review your settings and make sure everything is set up correctly. Once done, your store is ready to go live. You can see the prompt to “Remove password” right on your admin dashboard.
Once you remove the password, your website will be live and accessible to everyone.
If, for any reason, you do not see the “Remove password” prompt, you can head to “Preferences” and choose to remove the password.
Add additional features with apps
Explore the Shopify App Store for additional features and functionalities. Install apps that suit your business needs, such as marketing tools, analytics, and customer support.
Test your store
This step is optional, but recommended.
Go through the purchasing process to test how your store works from a customer's perspective. Ensure that all payment and shipping processes are functioning correctly.
This will let you know of any issues that your customers might face and help you solve them before they affect your sales. You can also test different payment options, shipping time, various apps, and more.
Market your store
Ask any Shopify expert, and they will tell you that after the Shopify website’s design layout, the most important thing that could affect your sales is how you market your store.
Shopify Website Examples
Let’s look at some of the best websites built with Shopify to take notes from and design your ecommerce store.
The website sells personal care products, thus, it is crucial for them to create a calm and soothing user experience for the customers, and this Shopify-powered website does it perfectly.
The vibrant images of the products, bold fonts, clear CTA button on the homepage, running slogans, easy menu navigation, and helpful icons to search, login, and check the in-cart items - Earth Rhythm has done everything right.
One of the most popular haircare brand that helps people suffering from hair loss. Traya’s website clearly locks the customers with its vivid yet soothing colors. The hero image targets customer’s pain point with the hero image.
I like how this landing page doesn’t offer anything for sale right away, but urges users to take the hair test first. The clean, minimal UI can really make a difference. Also, they are establishing their authority with Google Reviews and featured websites.
A combination of an ecommerce website and an online community by women and for women. It is perfectly designed for the target audience - fun color scheme, photos of real women from their community, and playful design elements create a powerful sense of brand identity.
Adored Vintage is one of the best Shopify stores. It sells vintage clothing and vintage-inspired modern pieces. It sets the stage with it simple layout and vintage-inspired photographs that take you to a romantic French countryside.
Partake Foods was founded by Denise Woodard when she couldn’t find allergy-friendly healthy snacks for her daughter Vivane. This Shopify store instantly captures you with vivid colors and photos of delicious cookies.
The easy navigation menu boosts user engagement and the Shop Now button instigates users to put something in their carts.
Taza Chocolate locks visitors with delicious pictures of chocolates. The company’s website layout keeps it simple. Only three options - Buy, Learn, Visit - cuts down the noise and directs users to the right place.
Anybody can easily grasp it from the look and feel of the website to understand what this Shopify store is about. The calming ambience of the website, easy menu navigation, running slogan, and the perfect font choice - everything falls together for this wonderful baking website.
Are you ready to create your Shopify website?
Your Shopify store is now live, and you're ready to start selling online. Monitor your store's performance, adjust settings as needed, and refine your online business strategy.
In the dynamic world of ecommerce, Shopify's website builder empowers newcomers and seasoned sellers to craft impressive Shopify website designs with its drag-and-drop editor showcasing the platform's simplicity and power.
What to read next? Read our guide on Wix vs. Shopify and discover how two of the most popular ecommerce platforms fare against each other.
Rohit is a novelist (not a NY Times Bestseller!), an avid reader, a passionate content writer, and does YouTube on the side as a hobby! When he is not researching and writing content, he loves to read books and watch movies, TV shows, and anime. You can reach him at: email@example.com