custom shopify dev

Shopify offers numerous options to choose from when you are designing the look and layout of your store. You can select from a wide range of free and premium themes that are offered by the Shopify Theme Store. While all themes are certainly great, in time, you might feel like upgrading your store to a custom theme so that you don’t have to limit the functions of your store. However, when put into words, this may sound easy but when you have to apply it, the task can get daunting. If you want to create a custom theme that gives you a lot of freedom and flexibility, this guide will help you learn the same.

What is a Shopify theme?

A Shopify theme can be referred to as the overall design that defines your store’s look and feels. It can be regarded as the framework around which you build all the other elements of your store. It is the base of your store and all the functioning of your apps, pages, images, and more are dependent on it. Due to this, it occupies an integral position in your store’s functioning.

Things To Bear In Mind When Designing Custom Shopify Theme

Although you can browse and select through a plethora of themes in Shopify, you might be looking for a theme that can help you showcase your brand’s message truly and help your store possess the look and feel you desire. You can also create a theme from scratch and many companies may hire an in-house development team for the same but on an honest note, this is an expensive idea. What you can do instead is hire a development agency or learn how to create a custom theme yourself. However, before you create the theme, you need to keep the following things in mind.

1.   Consider the non-technical requirements

Go through all the theme options before you start designing one by yourself. If you’ve been going through a slump, some of these ideas may help spark your creativity and also give you some ideas you can take inspiration from. Because you are creating a custom theme, it is important to take note that you can take inspiration from existing themes but it is essential to make the new theme different and distinct. You can also use the existing themes to find out the features that are missing in them and figure out what you should add to them. Ensure that you choose contrasting colors, add concise and catchy descriptions, make the navigation simple, make the control of actions intuitive, make the price information visible, and most of all, ensure that the web content is organized well. These requirements are significant and hence, you must consider them when you are designing a theme.

2.   Be enlightened about Liquid

Shopify uses Liquid which is an open-source template. If you want to create a theme from scratch or customize an existing theme, you must have a good knowledge of it. Learning it will also make the process much simpler for you. Liquid can also come in handy for being used with several products and not just a single product. This is also useful if you create templates and are selling them to other merchants. Regardless of your purpose, making yourself familiar with Liquid is always suggested.

3.   Review the Shopify theme

Before Shopify publishes a theme, they make sure that the theme is worthy of being published because there are not just a few but many themes submitted every time. Even if you are aiming to limit the custom theme’s use in your store, you have to make sure that it complies with the rules and regulations of the platform so that it can be accepted and no faults can be found in it. During the development stage, it is always better to go through these things thoroughly. Several elements such as the designs for the mobile’s homepage and product page, the desktop’s homepage, collection, and product page, your website links, portfolio, and descriptions must all be approved before you start developing the theme.

4.   Match the CSS structures and the template structures

To make sure not only the development but the maintenance of the theme can take place efficiently as well, you must lay stress on the CSS structure and template markup. If you can match the CSS structure and template structure,  it can be highly effective for you in the long run. Because Shopify seo experts are a highly renowned  , it doesn’t tolerate any errors or bugs. Hence, before you enable the theme to become public, make sure to give it the perfect finishing touch.

Can you create a Shopify theme all by yourself?

Shopify Plus developers  accommodates extensive pre-designed themes and hence, you gain access to a library of themes that are visually appealing and eye-catching.  Using them, you can set up a store and run it in an instant. If you’re looking to save your time and money, opting for one of these themes is certainly a good idea but if you want to create a personalized theme, you might look to build a custom theme because the pre-designed themes are mainly designed for non-technical users due to which they may have limited customization and scalability and while they may help make your store look aesthetic, you will have to put efforts in driving conversions. Hence, the best alternative is certainly to build a custom theme for your Shopify store.

Can you change your existing Shopify theme?

As your store expands, you might want the store to facilitate more features and functions. This is because it might start gaining extra demand and it should be able to handle the same. Thereafter, you may need to put more effort into your store’s layout and elements. You may also need to test the content placement and determine the kind of impact it will have on conversions and overall customer experience. Due to this, the theme will also need to be more flexible. Moreover, if you’re using the same theme as many others, you may also find that it is licensed by many other retainers and if you have an exclusive theme, users can recognize your brand instantly and easily and it will also give your brand more credibility.

Why should you consider opting for a custom Shopify theme?

There is no denying that all the readily available free and premium themes on Shopify give you a lot of features that can make your store successful but there comes a time when your store may start expanding and you might question, is it enough? When you are creating a custom theme for Shopify from scratch, you can have all the control and you get to determine where you want to place the elements. From the functioning of the store to the look of the store, you will have the liberty to decide it all. Therefore, you can eventually produce a store that aligns with your vision. Hence, here are the various reasons why you should consider opting for a custom theme.

1.   Unique design

When you are choosing or creating a theme, you need to ensure that it represents your brand otherwise, it won’t be effective no matter how well you have designed it. Moreover, it also established brand consistency across different channels. This will allow customers to recognize your store easily and help you in the long run too. It will give your store a unique design since you have a say in everything.

2.   Clean code

If your page’s loading time does not match the standards set by Google, you may even be penalized by the search engine. This will impact your marketing strategy severely. With a custom theme, you can enjoy a better loading time because the code load is relatively lesser. You can eliminate any elements that are of no use to your store with a custom code. An enhanced back end will enable you to have a responsive and fast store front-end so you can deliver the customers visiting your store a better experience.

3.   Functionality

One of the major constraints with a pre-designed theme is that you may not get some of the functionalities or you may not be able to remove the functionalities you do not need. This will increase your expenses as you might also have to pay for the features you don’t need. Therefore, with a custom theme, you can add only the functionalities your store requires and this can optimize your web store efficiently as well. 

These are the many important benefits you can achieve with a custom theme. With a standard theme, you can certainly achieve a lot for your store but if you think about it, there may be some limitations as there is no guarantee whether the theme will be updated regularly by the developer or not. You may even require some coding knowledge to maintain the same which is not a handy thing. Because you are unable to change the code of a standard theme, you will have to make do with a slow loading time if the code gets hefty. Another point is that with a standard theme, the monthly fees will keep knocking at your door.

What are some good tips to hire a reliable custom theme development agency for Shopify?

Shopify has made building a store an easy process for all developers regardless of whether they possess coding skills or not. The platform has many in-built features to help you manage your store properly but if you want to boost your store’s performance, you can hire a development agency for which you need to consider the following things.

1.   Determine your project requirements

Knowing your requirements may not be mandatory but it can help you in picking the right agency. This way, the agency can learn about your needs and help you accordingly. Knowing that goals you want to accomplish will help you choose the right experts you need and communicating your objectives to them can be more helpful.

2.   List out agencies

Once you determine your requirements, start listing out the agencies you are willing to work with based on their efficiency and ratings. Once you have gone through their profiles, start shortlisting them. If you can schedule a call with them, it is even better as you will gain more personal knowledge about them.

3.   Set a budget

You may have already set a budget and if you haven’t, set one so that you can narrow down your options effectively. Once you have a budget, it will be easier for you to determine which development agency will be right for your needs. This way you can make the right decision that aligns with your financial resources too.

4.   Have a discussion

Once you have done the above tasks, you can go ahead and have a brief discussion with the agency stating your needs and giving them the deadline for the project as well. This way, you can also communicate your queries and get them resolved in an instant.

5.   Certifications

One of the most important things you should always remember to check is if they have the right certifications because you must make sure the agency you are working with is experienced and holds expertise. They must have the certificates for courses needed to run the agency.

6.   Go through their reviews

Going through the reviews of the agency is completely necessary because it will help you learn if the agency does what it claims and can offer you the best services. You can gain honest feedback from the agency through the reviews left by other clients and this can help you gain increased insight into the agency as well.

Final Thoughts

Shopify is an easy-to-use platform that is highly effective for running and managing your online store. There are many themes you can choose from for your store but you can always opt for a custom theme if you want to do more with your store and enhance its functioning.

By Anurag Rathod

Anurag Rathod, as a blogger he used to spread all about app-based business, startup solution, on-demand business tips and ideas and so on.