Hi everybody, it’s Matt from Style Factory, the go-to site for ecommerce reviews and advice.
In this Shopify tutorial for beginners, I’m going to walk you through the process of building a Shopify store. I’m going to do this in a friendly, jargon-free way — and help you get your store live quickly and easily.
But before we begin, I have a couple of quick suggestions to help you make the most of this video and the Style Factory YouTube channel.
So that you can return to this tutorial easily if you need to, I suggest bookmarking this page in your web browser.
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Ok, let’s start building our store!
The first step involves getting prepared.
One – make sure you have everything you need for your store.
Before building your Shopify store, it’s a good idea to have everything you need for it to hand — this will speed up the process and give you a better looking result.
The key things you’ll usually need are: a business idea, a strong business name, a logo, products, photos of your products, and content for your store’s pages.
Two — start a free Shopify trial.
The next thing you’ll need to do is start your free Shopify trial. The free trial lets you try the product out for 14 days — this should give you plenty of time to get your store up and running.
You’ll find a link to the free trial in the video description below.
Three — add products to your Shopify store.
Once you’ve signed up for your free Shopify trial, you might be tempted to start picking themes and playing around with your new store’s design.
However, it’s usually better to add your products first, because they will have a BIG impact on the look and feel of your store. It’s best to avoid spending a long time on choosing a theme only to find that your product photos don’t look good in it.
To add your products, just go to Products > All Products > Add Product in your Shopify dashboard.
Then, it’s a case of adding in the key information about your product, like product title, description and pricing information.
This is all pretty straightforward, but if you need more help with this, there’s a Style Factory blog post about starting a Shopify store available which goes through each product attribute in more depth. You’ll find a link to this in the description for this video.
Four — create product collections for your store.
Once you’ve added your products to your store, you can organize them into ‘collections.’
Collections are groups of similar types of products — for example, if you ran an online greetings card store, you might create a birthday card collection, a Christmas card collection and so on.
Organizing your products into collections lets you display key products on your home page, create links in your site navigation to particular sets of products, and run discounts on selected goods.
To create a collection, just go to Products > Collections in your Shopify store.
What you have to pay particular attention to here is your ‘collection type.’ Shopify lets you create a ‘manual’ collection, or an ‘automated’ one.
If you choose the ‘manual’ option, you will then be given the opportunity to search for products and add them to a collection, one by one.
If you choose the ‘automated’ option, you will be asked to set up some simple rules that populate your collection based on things like product title or tag.
Five — create your store pages.
The next thing you need to do is create your store’s pages.
Examples of the kind of pages you’ll usually need to create include an about us page, FAQ, policy pages, contact pages and blog posts.
With the exception of blog posts, all these can be created in the same way. You simply go to Online Store > Pages and click ‘Add page.’
To create blog posts, you go to Online Store > Blog Posts and click ‘Add blog post’.
Six — create your main menu.
Once you’ve got your products and pages in place, it’s time to create your store’s main menu.
To add a main menu to a Shopify store, go to Online Store > Navigation. Click the ‘main menu’ option and add your pages and collections to your menu using the ‘add menu item’ option provided.
When you’re done, just click ‘Save menu.’
If you like, you can use this section to create other types of menus too — like a footer menu, or sidebar menus.
Seven — choose a theme.
At this point, you’ve got your products, collections, pages and main menu all sorted — so it’s finally time to pick your Shopify theme!
To do this, go to Online Store > Themes and click the ‘Visit Theme Store’ button. This will take you to Shopify’s template library, where you can pick a paid or free theme that meets your requirements.
Eight – build your home page.
Once you’ve settled on your Shopify theme, it’s time to create your store’s home page.
To do this, go to Online Store > Themes and click the ‘Customize’ button. This will take you to a drag-and-drop editor for your home page.
The default layout and the options available to you here will vary a bit by theme, but all Shopify themes typically let you add sections like hero images, slideshows, featured collections and contact forms.
Nine — apply your brand.
Now it’s time to customize your store so that it makes use of your own logo, typefaces and colors.
To add a logo to a Shopify store, just go to Online Store > Themes > Customize and click the ‘Header’ option.
To customize typefaces and colors, go to Online Store > Themes > Customize and click the ‘Theme Settings’ link in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen.
Ten — set up your shipping rates.
With your products, content and design all in place, it’s time to think about how you’re going to get your products to your customers.
To access your shipping settings, you need to go to Settings > Shipping and Delivery in your Shopify dashboard.
There you’ll be able to set up various different types of shipping rates, including flat shipping rates, rates based on price or weight, calculated shipping rates, free shipping rates and local pickup.
Eleven — set up your tax rates.
Many merchants will need to charge sales tax or value added tax on purchases of their products. Rules vary considerably by country, so it’s often worth asking a tax professional how you should configure these for your store.
The tax settings in Shopify can be located in the Shopify dashboard by going to Settings > Taxes.
Twelve — choose a payment gateway for your store.
In order to accept payment for your products, you need to choose a payment gateway. This is basically the software that processes credit card purchases made from your store.
Shopify works with over 100 payment gateways, and has its own built-in one too: Shopify Payments.
For many merchants, Shopify Payments will be the quickest payment processor to get started with — and it’s the only one you can use without incurring transaction fees.
You should note that Shopify Payments is only available in certain countries, however.
To enable a payment gateway, just go to Settings > Payments in your Shopify dashboard, and follow the instructions provided.
Thirteen — connect your domain.
Rather than using the standard ‘myshopify.com’ URL that you get when you sign up for Shopify, it’s generally best to use a custom domain name for your store. This will generate more trust in your website and brand amongst potential customers.
You can purchase one from a domain name provider – for example Namecheap, Gandi or Network Solutions.
Alternatively, you can buy one direct from Shopify.
To buy a domain or connect an existing one in Shopify, just go to Settings > Domains in your dashboard.
Just pick the relevant option and follow the instructions provided.
Fourteen — prepare your site for launch.
Once your domain is connected, you could technically just unleash your store on the world right away! But it’s much better to check that all aspects of your store are working as expected first — and that’s where a Shopify ‘pre-launch checklist’ comes in.
Tasks on a pre-launch checklist include ensuring that payments are definitely being accepted, tax rates and shipping options are working correctly, all your site copy is correct and that there are no broken links on your site.
For a full list of the checks we suggest making before launching a Shopify store, please see the link provided in the description for this video.
Fifteen – publish your site.
When you’re done with your pre-launch checks, you can publish your store! By default, each new Shopify store is password protected, and you need to remove this password in order to make your site publicly visible.
Just go to Online Store > Preferences and scroll down to the ‘password protection’ section to do this.
And that’s it! Your Shopify store is live.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this Shopify tutorial for beginners, but if you’d like to access a more detailed guide to setting up a Shopify store, you’ll find a link to one in the description for this video.
To ensure you don’t miss any of our tips on how to make the most of your Shopify store going forward, make sure you like this video, click the subscribe button and hit the notifications bell.
And finally, if you have any questions about starting a Shopify store, make sure you leave a comment. We read them all and will do our best to help
Related Shopify resources
- Shopify Free Trial — All You Need to Know
- Shopify pricing guide
- Shopify pre-launch checklist
- Shopify SEO — How to Optimize Your Shopify Store
- Shopify vs Squarespace
- Shopify Dropshipping — How To Do It Right!
- Shopify vs eBay — Which is Better for Selling Online?
- Shopify vs Etsy — Which is Better for Selling Online?
- Wix vs Shopify
- How to change your Shopify store’s name
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