Your launch date is finally here! You’ve spent hours refining every last detail of your Shopify theme — and now it’s time to open your virtual doors and let shoppers begin experiencing your site.
But, is your store ready?
When we spend a significant amount of time working on a project, it often becomes harder and harder to spot mistakes, omissions or bugs. Not only do we become invested in the hard work we’ve put into the project, but the fact that we’ve been looking at the same settings panels over and over again can make it tough to spot something out of the ordinary.
Because of that, it’s always a great idea to have a friend, coworker or family member take a look at your site before going live. Just make sure it’s someone who hasn’t been involved in the setup and design of your store until now, so that they have a fresh perspective. Have them view your shop on both desktop and mobile devices, and ask them to complete some specific tasks, e.g. find a particular item, add an item to cart, sign up for your newsletter, etc. You can also ask them to test all your links (make sure everything clicks through to where it should, including any social media icons).
Then, while your trusty reviewer is hard at work, it’s time for you to run down a quick list of things to check as well.
In a previous post we outlined some of the steps that shop owners tend to forget before launching, but in this post we’ll discuss some of the specific things to check and verify from within your theme settings.
Review your site carefully and make sure that all of the default or “placeholder” text that may have been there initially thas been removed or replaced with your own custom text.
This can be especially important on the homepage — and it’s a good idea to review the page line-by-line to make sure nothing has been left in accidentally. It’s amazing how easily the default text blends into the text you’ve added, making it particularly tricky to catch!
Likewise, you’ll also want to make sure that any default imagery is replaced with your own images (unless you really want to use any placeholder versions that were included with the theme in your live store).
It’s also a good idea to double check in your Shopify theme settings that all the colors are set to ones that match your brand, or are at least consistent throughout the shop (e.g. all clickable links the same color and hover color). It’s easy to miss a setting that perhaps isn’t being displayed due to how your store is configured at the moment, or that only shows up under certain circumstances. By reviewing all of your selections carefully, you can make sure your users’ shopping experience remains consistent.
Since Shopify only allows limited customization of the checkout pages, be sure to test how the checkout pages look by adding an item to the cart and proceeding to checkout. Since the checkout process is one of the key steps in the sales transaction, it’s important that the checkout pages look as much like the rest of your site as possible.
Verify that you’re using a good, high quality version of your logo so that users are reassured that the checkout page is still a legitimate part of your store. You’ll also want to check that you’ve set any available color selections on this page to ones used in the rest of your Shopify theme.
If your Shopify theme supports a custom favicon (the tiny image that appears next to your site name in the title bar or tab in a Web browser), make sure you upload a custom one instead of sticking with none or the default one.
Favicons are a subtle way to reinforce your brand with shoppers and also give a sense of polished professionalism to your store. In addition, with the popularity of tabs in browsers, a favicon is a great way to remind someone that they still have your store open and might want to check back and finish their purchase or see what’s new.
Finally, it’s also a good idea to double check that your font usage remains consistent throughout your shop. Sometimes when you’re experimenting with different fonts, it’s easy to accidentally leave a very similar looking, but ultimately different, font selected. Try to use the same fonts on your checkout page as on the rest of your site, so that it feels like a natural extension of your store.
Also look to see how many fonts you’re using. With so many to choose from, it’s easy to go overboard, but, in general, it’s best to stick with two or, at the most, three fonts. You can often achieve a variety of looks from a single font family by varying the weight (thin, regular, bold, etc.) and letter-spacing too.
Having fewer font types helps make your site look more polished and well-designed, but it also reduces your site’s load time; this is vital for users who are accessing your store on mobile devices, and it impacts your SEO as well.
In the days leading up to your grand online opening, you may wish to try a ‘soft launch’ where you publish your shop and go live, but only tell a limited number of people (again, maybe just friends and colleagues). This gives you an additional period in which to get further feedback and make any other small changes and tweaks. Then when you’re satisfied with how the shop looks and behaves, you can really work your marketing and advertise a “hard launch” date, to let the world know that you’re officially open for business!
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This year, four members of the Out of the Sandbox Shopify theme team had the privilege of attending the Shopify Unite conference in San Francisco. We’ve since returned with new insights, ideas and lots of enthusiasm for the growth we see coming —both on the Shopify platform and for ecommerce in general.