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Shopify Resources

Shopify Setup Checklist,
The Ultimate Launch Guide

You’ve created a fantastic product, and now you’re ready to share it with the world! Having a Shopify store is a wonderful way to establish your brand and get your products in front of your customers. In this blog post, I will share our Shopify setup checklist that will take you from choosing a Shopify plan to launching your online store. 

Why Choose Shopify?

Building a new website does come with a few challenges. Because a lot of things need to be done to get your business up and running, from shipping and order processing to website development and marketing.

Luckily, Shopify has built a platform that can help assist business owners with each area of their business.

Shopify is an online platform that allows you to create and sell products. It’s a simple way to get your store up and running, and it comes with various useful features that can help you grow your business.

Here are a few reasons why I love Shopify:
   ▪ Shopify’s software allows you to create, ship, receive and manage online orders
   ▪ Shopify’s platform supports businesses, big & small
   ▪ You can sell both physical and digital products
   ▪ It requires little website maintenance (monthly updates)
   ▪ Their analytics allow you to see what is working and what is not
   ▪ Shopify’s cloud-hosted platform is secure and provides 24/7 customer support

Now that you know how much I love Shopify. Let’s walk through how to setup your Shopify store: 

1. Purchase A Domain For Your New Shopify Website

Website addresses are known as domain names; they’re the URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) that inform your browser where to go on the internet.

For example, the domain name for Shopify is “”

When setting up your Shopify store, you will need a domain name. You can buy one straight from Shopify, or some other options would be GoDaddy, Name Cheap, and Host Gator.

One of the advantages of Shopify’s platform is that you only have to worry about purchasing a domain name. Because Shopify’s cloud-based platform will host your website as part of Shopify’s monthly pricing plan.

2. Decide On A Shopify Plan

The wonderful thing about Shopify is that you can try it out for 14 days to see whether you like it before committing to one of their plans. Shopify helps retailers at every stage of their business. So as your business scales, the Shopify plan will grow with your business.

Once you’ve signed up for Shopify, you’ll need to enter your store’s name once you’ve reached the dashboard. Shopify will then generate a temporary URL for your online store until you switch it to its permanent URL.

Screenshoot of the Shopify 14-day free trial

Shopify’s free trial sign-up page.

3. Know How To Use The Shopify Dashboard

Screenshot of Shopify's store dashboard

Shopify’s dashboard when you first log into your account.

The Shopify dashboard is where you can manage all aspects of your e-commerce site. Think of it as the one-stop shop for viewing your whole sales history, managing your inventory, reviewing analytics, and tracking your marketing activities.

To learn more, take a look at Shopify’s guide that goes into greater detail about their dashboard. Click here to read it. 

4. Select A Shopify Theme

Screenshoot of Shopify's themes

Shopify themes website has a variety of Shopify themes that you can choose from. 

Shopify offers paid and free themes, which you can browse by clicking here.

You can sort themes to tailor your business’s specific needs by clicking on the navigation bar at the top of the Shopify theme’s page.

When choosing a Shopify theme, here are some questions to consider:
   ▪ Does this theme have features I’d like to see in my online store?
   ▪ What is the ideal layout for my brand and Shopify website?
   ▪ Will this Shopify theme let me display my products?
   ▪ Will this theme help my website stand out in a sea of similar websites?
   ▪ Am I pleased with the complete design, not only the homepage? (For example, the about page, contact page, product page, etc.) 

5. Duplicate Your Shopify Theme Before Customizing It

I’ve learned the hard way to always duplicate my work in case something goes wrong in the future. I will generally duplicate it at the beginning of a project before customizing the theme and throughout the project. Especially if I am customizing code, I will want to make sure I have a saved copy of my work, just in case something was to go wrong.

This way, it will save you from going back to square one!

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6. Add Your Products

Screenshoot to add a product in Shopify

Make sure to check each section to make sure the product information is added correctly.

Adding products to your Shopify store can be one of the most time-consuming parts of the setup process, especially if you have lots of SKUs! But it is one of the most critical parts of setting up your Shopify store.  

To avoid headaches in the future, it is important that all of your information is setup correctly. You can prevent upset customers, refunds, and returns by making sure everything is correct from the very beginning. Trust me; your future self will thank you! 

Here is a list of items to double (or even triple-check): 
   ▪ Shipping settings  
Tax rates
Product title 
Product copy 
Product images (p.s., make sure they’re compressed) 
ALT tags for images 
Variant information 
   ▪ Inventory numbers  
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) setup 
   ▪ Categorizing products 

7. Create a Sitemap & Website Strategy

Before designing and developing a Shopify website, I like to create a sitemap and a website strategy.

For the website strategy, I will setup a workshop with my client to brainstorm how they want their new Shopify website to function and what kind of buyer journey they want to lead their customer through. I’ve also found that the websites with the highest conversions tell a story, so it is important to weave their brand’s story through the website as well.

After the website strategy workshop, I will have an idea of what type of website pages need to be added to the website, and we will create a sitemap. 

Here are some ideas of pages to include in your sitemap:
   ▪ About Us
   ▪ FAQ 
   ▪ Reviews / Testimonials
   ▪ PR / Press 
   ▪ Product Page(s)
   ▪ Blog Section
   ▪ Returns Policy
   ▪ Policy Page’s 
    ▪ Contact Page

8. Setup Your Shopify Navigation

Screenshot of how to set-up navigation on Shopify

Make sure your Shopify’s navigation is setup for the main menu & footer menu sections. 

Using the sitemap, you can easily set up your Shopify navigation. Once it is setup on the backend, you can double-check to make sure the links are working on the website.

9. Choose Shopify Apps For Your Website

Shopify apps are a great way to add functionality to your website!

After working on numerous Shopify websites, I have found that not all Shopify apps work well together and can cause some frustrating issues on your website. Also, it can slow down your website’s speed, which can affect your SEO and user experience.

When choosing apps, just be intentional about what you are adding to your website and be aware of your website’s functionality once you’ve added them. 

Screenshot of Shopify's app store

The Shopify app store.

Here are a few of my favorite Shopify apps:
Email Marketing by CM Commerce – for email marketing 
Pop-up Window – for mailing lists and newsletters 
Send Owl – is a delivery service
▪ Infinite Options – for personalizing products to fit your stores needs  
Point of Sale – for in-person sales 

10. Test Your New Shopify Website, Before You Launch

A customer’s first impression of your business is based on your website.

So, it’s a great opportunity to tell your story, highlight your products, and build relationships with your potential customers. The right website can scale your business, increase revenue, and build a strong online presence.

Before launching your new Shopify website, it is important to make sure that everything is setup properly.

At Brand by Design Studio, we go through a thorough Shopify launch checklist to make sure everything is setup correctly before we launch a client’s new website.

Here’s a sneak peek at a few things that are on our Shopify checklist:
   ▪ Double-check that all links are working
   ▪ Test to make sure the contact form is receiving emails
   ▪ Review the website on all devices (mobile, tablet, and desktop)
   ▪ Test successful and failed payment transaction
   ▪ Make sure that refunding and canceling orders are setup properly
   ▪ Verify that it is setup for fulfilling and partially fulfilling orders
   ▪ Test to see if the abandoned cart is setup correctly

11. Let The Confetti Fly, It's Launch Time!

We’ve made it to the end! Congratulations on setting up your Shopify store!  

Now that you’ve setup your Shopify store, it’s time to promote it. Marketing will look different for each business since it will be based on who your customer is. For instance, are they spending time on IG, Facebook, Pinterest, etc., or would they be at in-person events? From there, you can determine which marketing strategy will make the most sense. Here are a few ideas to get you started.   

   ▪ Go to local markets to promote your brand  
   ▪ Have giveaways on the day (or week) of the website launch
Share a behind-the-scenes peek on social media
Promote your products on Pinterest
Offer new customers a discount code
Include a gift with the purchase 
   ▪ Guest podcasts (or start your own podcast)
   ▪ PR features 
   ▪ Writing blog posts & utilizing SEO


Hopefully, you’ve found this article helpful, and it helped you to setup your Shopify store with ease!  

If you are left with additional questions or would like to set up a free discovery call with our studio, we’d love to hear from you! You can contact us by clicking here.