You've been working hard on your Shopify store, and you're finally ready to launch. It's a big task, but you should do a few things before going live that will make it easier for customers to find your products and increase the chances of them buying from you.
In this article, we'll go through our checklist of what needs to be done before launching your store.
Tip: Have you already created your Shopify account? If not, sign up by clicking this link here to get a free 3-day trial + pay $1/month for the first 3 months!
1. Connect your domain name to Shopify
Let's start this checklist by making sure your domain is connected to Shopify.
You can read here if you want to know why having your own domain name is a great start for your Shopify store.
All you have to do to connect your domain to Shopify is by going to Online Store (under Sales Channels) -> Domains
After that, either press connect existing domain, transfer domain, or buy a new domain.
- Connect existing domain: If you have already bought your domain on, for example, Namecheap, and you want to keep it there, you can connect it to Shopify this way.
- Transfer domain: Same as above, but you can choose this if you want to transfer your domain to Shopify instead of keeping it on Namecheap.
- Buy new domain: This speaks for itself, but if you don't have a domain yet and you don't want to buy it somewhere else, you purchase it straight on Shopify.
2. Set up your shipping rates
The next step of setting up your Shopify store is going to be setting up your shipping rates.
But first, if you're not sure yet which countries you're going to target, then take a look at this article here. That article also includes a few countries that are better to be avoided.
Just go to Settings -> Shipping -> Manage Rates
Then scroll down until you see this:
Then press the “Add rate” button to add new shipping rates!
In the screenshot above, you can see how to set up free shipping.
A great bonus tip is to give your shipping rate an awesome name, like: “Free Insured Shipping”.
If you don't want to give free shipping so easily, then follow me below on what options you have:
- You could offer free shipping if the value of the cart of your customer exceeds a certain amount. For example, get free shipping when you order more than $20.
- You could also offer free shipping if a customer adds certain products to their cart. You will need to use the “item weight” system then. You can learn more about that here.
- And the last thing is that you don't offer free shipping, but add a small shipping fee. Keep in mind that you can lower your product price to see if more people buy your product now!
Don't forget that you can have multiple shipping rates.
For example, see the screenshot below. In that example, your customers will get free shipping if their order value is $20 or more. Otherwise, they need to pay $2.95.
You can even upsell on your shipping rates. Just check out the example below:
Not suggesting you go with the same shipping price, but do you see that you can increase your profit margins by offering multiple shipping options?
That's awesome, right?
3. Create the standard pages
If you read the heading, then you saw that we're going to create the standard pages for a Shopify store, but the funny thing is that most store owners don't even bother creating even one of these basic pages.
Please put some effort into making your store look like a real business. (Which it is!)
Below you will find the pages that you could create now.
You can go to Settings -> Legal to find these pages.
You can create these pages here:
- Return Policy. Click here for a Return Policy template
- Shipping Policy. Click here for a Shipping Policy template.
The other pages that you should put some effort into are:
- Contact page
- About page
- FAQ page. Click here to learn more about how to create an FAQ page and why it is important to have one in your store.
- Collection/category pages. Optional, but it could be nice if you want to organize your products. Take, for example, Allbrids below:
- Reviews page. Click here to learn how to create one. It's another optional one, but it could be great for your store to boost social proof. Take, for example, Notebook Therapy below:
- Track your order page. Click here to learn how to create one. Once again, this is an optional one, but it's a great way to help customers with questions about their order.
Here's an example from Native:
- Homepage – Click here to get inspiration from the homepages from other successful Shopify stores.
If you want a more in-depth guide about these standard pages and how to add them to your Shopify store, I suggest reading the article I've linked below:
4. Let's design your Shopify store
This step is going to be important to win the trust of your visitors!
Do you want your store to look like a child designed it, or do you want it to look like a professional put hours of work into it?
If you want the second one, then follow me below:
First off is deciding what theme you're going to use for your store.
I suggest reading this article here. It contains the 10 best Shopify themes in 2023 that will boost your sales!
Here is one example of one of the Shopify themes in the list called the Universe Theme:
Plus, you can check out this article here, which will go over eight great tips on picking the right Shopify theme for your business!
Those themes are perfect if you're on a budget and you don't have much money (yet) to spend on a theme.
Secondly, you will need to think about your design. What colors fit your niche? What colors do you like? (More about that here.)
After that (or before that), you will need a logo for your store.
For more information about getting a logo for your store, check out this article.
Don’t forget about other design stuff, like your Facebook cover photo on your Facebook profile (if you have one).
Also, don't forget about your homepage!
This might not be the most important thing yet, but I still suggest you take a look at this article here.
That article contains a lot of Shopify homepage examples!
5. Adding a favicon to your Shopify store
This one is definitely not necessary, but it does make your store look more professional.
A favicon is an icon on a website which is displayed next to the name of the site in the address bar. It's also visible in the bookmarks!
I will use this blog as an example for you.
Do you see our favicon next to the name of the blog?
If you're interested in creating a favicon as well, then I suggest reading this here.
6. Add an analytics tool
Next up on setting up your Shopify store correctly is adding an analytics tool!
Having an analytics tool is important to keep track of your visitors. This way you know exactly how many people come to your store.
Yes, you can track that in Shopify as well, but having an analytics tool like Google Analytics gives you way more data.
Like bounce rate, how many pageviews you're getting, and so on.
To set up Google Analytics (I recommend using them to keep track of your store visitors) on Shopify, simply go to Online Store (under Sales Channels) -> Preferences and scroll down until you see this:
Now, simply follow these steps in our other article, and you will have Google Analytics on your Shopify store in no time!
Although Google Analytics is awesome, I suggest combining it with a tool that creates a heat map for you. This way you will have so much information about what your visitors did in your store.
I suggest you take a look at Hotjar.
The awesome thing about Hotjar is that they have a free version available, and their tool works with Shopify!
If you're interested in learning more about keeping track of your store visitors, then I suggest reading this here.
7. Add your taxes
This step might be a bit harder for some.
I suggest you talk with a bookkeeper or lawyer if you're not sure about the tax laws in your country.
If you do know the tax laws for running an online store in your country, you can simply add your tax rules to Shopify.
You will need to go to Settings -> Taxes
You can edit here all your tax rules in different countries. If you do need some extra help with taxes, I suggest reading the article I've linked below:
8. Add a payment provider
The next step on this checklist will make sure that you get paid and that people can pay for their order on your Shopify store!
Simply go to Settings -> Payment providers
Then, this is the screen that you will get when you're on a brand new Shopify store:
Now you can add the payment providers that you want to accept on your Shopify store.
But if you're looking for all the other options for payment providers, then check out this full guide here.
For example, did you know that you can even accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a payment method? You can learn here how!
Note: If you want to use PayPal for your store, then take a look at this article here as well. This way you will hopefully not get banned!
If you want to add Stripe, you will need to scroll down until you see “Alternative payment providers”. Plus, don't forget to check out this guide here to see if you can use Stripe when dropshipping.
Keep in mind that Shopify Payments is powered by Stripe, so Stripe is most likely not available for you if Shopify Payments is available in your region.
The last option that you have on this step is how you want to capture your payments.
You can either capture your payments automatically or you can capture them manually:
The last one means that you will need to go to each order and capture each payment manually!
You might think, why would anyone do this, right?
Well, it's a great option if you want to be a bit more protected from fraud. This way you can see the order first before receiving the payment.
If you don't trust the order, you can cancel it easily!
9. Place a test order
After you have added your payment provider, it's time to place a test order on your store.
This is what we will be testing:
- Does your product page look good?
- Does everything feel great when pressing the add to cart and checking out button?
- Do you see the shipping rates correctly that you have set up?
- Is there anything not working before you press the pay button?
- And then, of course, you test if your orders come in!
But don't worry, you don't need to test with real money.
You can simply set up the payment provider testing mode on Shopify!
This way you can go through your whole purchasing funnel, and even buying the product, without needing any money.
The first step will be to go to your payment providers again and scroll down until you see “Third-party payment providers”:
You will need to select the “for testing” gateway there:
See, for example, the screenshot below, I typed in 1 to simulate an approved transaction. You can fill in the rest of the information yourself. It's fake, don't forget that!
Don't forget to deactivate the testing payment gateway after you're done testing!
10. Remove the ‘Powered by Shopify' from your store
This step is optional, that's why I kept it as the last step in this checklist for setting up your Shopify store.
Most people like it if the “Powered by Shopify” at the bottom of their Shopify store is removed.
By default, Shopify shows that message on every Shopify store.
But you can remove it by going to Online Store -> Themes -> Current Theme -> Customize -> Edit Language
Now you will need to type in ‘powered' at the top:
After that, remove the two texts under ‘Powered by Shopify' and ‘Powered by Shopify html'.
You can do this by selecting the text and replacing it with a space!
And that was it! Every step you need to take to set up your own Shopify store in 2023.
I hope this checklist was helpful for you! Don't forget that you can always come back to double-check if you've got everything set up correctly before you're going live with your Shopify store.
If you're interested in learning more awesome things as a beginner, I suggest reading these articles below:
- How to Start Dropshipping for Free in 2023? (5 Unusual Tips)
- Dropshipping Startup Checklist: 10 Things to Do Before Starting
If you think I missed a step for this checklist or if you've got any questions, let me know by commenting below or contacting me directly by pressing the “Contact Us” button at the top!
Good luck with your Shopify store!
Also, if you haven't created a Shopify account yet, then you can click here to get a free 3-day trial + pay $1/month for the first 3 months!