We’re well into 2018 — past the busy holiday season and its aftermath — so now is the perfect time to update your premium Shopify theme.
Before you jump in, however, there are some important things to note about Shopify theme updates.
Keeping your Shopify theme up to date not only ensures you get the latest and greatest features in your theme, but it’s also a way to ensure that you’ll get access to all of the latest bug fixes and updates to the code.
It’s also much easier for most Shopify theme developers to provide support for more recent versions of themes — and, in some cases, you may be required to update your theme to resolve a particular issue if a fix or resolution has been incorporated into a newer version.
Finally, in a more abstract way, updating your theme is also a good opportunity for you, as a business owner, to do a virtual “inventory” of your store and take stock of what apps, features and integrations you’re using and ask yourself if they are still relevant to your business.
The first, and most important thing to understand about the Shopify update process is that updating a Shopify theme isn’t necessarily a quick fix or process. It’s definitely not something you should do on a whim or right before a big sales day — and it requires careful planning and execution.
Whenever you’re updating your Shopify theme, it’s important to set aside a good chunk of time to ensure the project goes smoothly. However the update process can be made substantially quicker and easier with the assistance of a tool like Out of the Sandbox’s Shopify Theme Updater App, which can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you.
While the exact amount of time needed to update your theme will vary greatly based on a wide variety of factors including the method you’re using, it’s generally a good idea to plan on spending a minimum of a few hours on your theme update, and allow for unexpected issues.
If your store has a large number of apps or customizations, then you should adjust your time allotment accordingly. Again, take this opportunity to do tidy up and only keep those apps that are actively used and adding value.
Now that you’ve decided to update your theme, here’s a quick checklist of to-dos before diving in:
Finally, if your store has a high number of customizations or apps and you have limited time or technical skills, you may want to consider hiring a third party developer to help with the update. This can be especially important if you need more hands-on support or attention.
It's also worth noting that most theme developers are limited in how much assistance they can provide during theme upgrades, especially when your code has been customized.
During almost every theme update, there will inevitably be something that doesn’t quite carry over perfectly.
While tools such as the Shopify Theme Updater App can certainly cut down on this possibility, there is always the chance something will need a bit of fine tuning or finessing.
Here’s a list of things to do once you’ve completed your update:
Finally, after updating a theme, it’s always a good idea to go back and review any discoveries you made during the process: Is there an app that you can remove or add to make your business better?
Perhaps there is some custom code that isn’t needed any more and can be removed to make updates in the future easier.
Or maybe there’s an update or customization you’ve had your eye on that you’d like to move forward with.
If you do decide to make any changes as a result of your update, it can be wise to wait a bit to ensure everything went smoothly with your theme update — and then make note of any of these changes in your records to smooth out the update process in the future.
As a merchant, shopping for a new Shopify theme is an interesting juxtaposition — it suddenly puts you, a store owner or manager, in the digital shopping cart.