Creating a well-known brand is not an easy task for any brand manager nowadays. With the fierce competition out there, there is just a single method to get to know clients – being interesting and taking the necessary steps to alter your site consistently and regularly.
One of the tricks is to create a customized Shopify theme that will make your online shop stand out from other sellers in the crowd. There are thousands of competitors, but a good point is that most of them don’t pay much attention to custom design or even the general theme they use. Thankfully, Shopify theme customization allows you to do just that.
In this article, we will show the fundamentals of Shopify theme customization. So you can put your marking in an obvious position, make items and substance more attractive, and make an outwardly rich encounter that keeps clients locked in.
Every store will have a default theme loaded already called the “Debut” theme. It is designed with the basic config that fits with every industry to get you up and running with no customization needed.
It’s a simple, effective theme that is ready to go live. You should simply upload your products, personalize the administration information for your store, customize your content, and you are ready to launch then.
While you can customize Shopify’s default theme to fit your needs, you should review the themes available to see if there’s a better fit for your store.
There are a few reliable articles you can use to locate quality themes:
If you purchase or add a theme from the Shopify Theme Store, you’ll find that theme in your Theme Library within your Shopify dashboard (Sales Channel > Online Store > Themes). It will be immediately available for customization.
However, if you purchase a theme from another developer or through another marketplace, you will need to upload the theme before you can customize or activate it.
To have a Shopify theme upload, navigate to the Themes section in your dashboard. Under the Theme Library click on Upload Theme.
You’ll be prompted to choose the .zip file associated with your theme. Once selected and uploaded, the theme will appear in your theme library.
There are two ways to customize your Shopify theme.
The simplest way is to use the visual customization tool built into the Shopify platform. The visual editor requires no knowledge of coding. It also allows you to edit the existing elements coded into the theme you have installed.
Developers coded the theme to establish not only the visual layout of the site but also to help you to have a look of elements handling and displaying when you create custom landing pages in Shopify. The visual editor will let you add sections within your layout. It also adds and edits content in the best way, and make limited changes to the layout of individual sections.
To find the theme customization, log into your Shopify dashboard. Click on Online Store and then click on Themes.
Once inside the Themes section, click the Customize button.
From the customization window, you will be able to edit the sections of each page in your Shopify store by selecting them from the menu on the left.
The sections you see will change based on the page you are viewing. You will be able to add sections to some limited pages. Again, the developers determine how the theme files have been coded.
To change the page you want to edit in your theme, click the down arrow next to the current page at the top of the window. Select the next page you want to edit by clicking on it. Be sure to save any changes to your current page before moving on to the next.
Each section you edit will have customization options based on how those sections have been coded in Liquid.
For example, when choosing the section below, you’ll have options to change alignment, layout, text size, image, and content.
When editing a featured collection section, products with some other simple display options will show by the customization options change.
Depending on the theme you have in your store, you may be able to add sections to the individual page templates within your theme. When you click on the Add section, you will see a list of the available sections to choose from.
When you select a section, you will see a preview of it in the main window. This preview includes the option to add the section to the current page.
After clicking to add the new section, you can further customize it from the menu like the other sections as shown above.
Additionally, you can click and drag the sections to reorder how they appear on your page to further customize the layout.
You can also edit the header and footer to control the alignment and display of your logo and store menu.
In the same menu, you will find a tab for Theme Settings. Within these settings, you can make additional customization to elements of your store such as:
If you want more control over the customization of your Shopify store outside of the visual editor, you’ll need to edit the theme files directly.
Shopify has its language that coincides with the HTML of your store. So you can easily pick up the basics well enough to start making whatever theme you install more personalized to your brand.
There are two ways to edit the theme files in Shopify.
First, you can switch to editing the Shopify theme code from within the customization window if you’re already making visual changes to your site.
At the bottom of the editor, click on Theme actions, and choose Edit code.
The other method is from the main Theme window. Instead of clicking Customize, you can click on Actions and choose Edit code.
Either method will launch the theme file editor, with a list of individual files in left-side navigation and the main window displaying the Shopify theme code for the chosen file.
Each file you choose will open in a new tab within the editor, allowing you to work on, and cross-reference, multiple theme files at a time.
In the left navigation, you will find all the theme files split into expandable segments, with each segment ordered based on how they work together:
The layout segment contains the theme.liquid file is your master template. Any other templates or pages you create within Shopify are rendered (displayed) within your theme.liquid file.
This is where you will work with repetitive elements that will display throughout your entire Shopify store, like your menu and other header elements as well as your footer.
The templates segment contains all the pre-created page templates that exist for your Shopify theme. Any theme you license for your store will be made up of template files that control how content is displayed on individual pages.
When you create a new page in your Shopify store, you’ll be able to choose one of these templates.
Each template file is typical to include one or more sections, code snippets, and HTML.
Some templates may only contain one or two sections with a minimal amount of code, like this custom 404 template:
While others, like the product template, contain a collection of sections. They allow us to do more customization of the content on that page.
Within your theme files, the sections should be seen as an individual, customizable components. When we covered the visual editor above, the sections were based on these pre-coded sections.
Added in 2016 by the Shopify team, pre-coded sections make editing your theme files much easier (and faster).
For example, instead of editing multiple pages where a newsletter opt-in is displayed to ensure it displays properly, you only have to edit a single section file. The changes you make will show across your entire store on any page that references that section.
Any of the sections you include in your page template can later be added and customized easily within the visual page editor in Shopify.
In addition to editing the existing theme files in Shopify, you can also create new theme files.
For those who prefer full control over the customization of their store, this is the best way to quickly create a new landing page template. You can edit the Shopify theme code to add any sections you like. Once the template is completed, you can later use that template when creating new pages for your Shopify store.
Lastly, if you really want a completely custom theme for your Shopify store you can always work with a developer. Shopify has a growing network of trusted partners who specialize in theme customization. Keep in mind this approach will be far more costly than customizing an existing theme, of course!
So check out the Shopify Experts directory for more information.
Your Shopify admin holds a maximum of 20 themes at once, but this capacity is often left unused by merchants. It’s a common misconception that having more than one published theme can be burdensome to a store’s page load speed.
While page speed is an important concern, having extra themes and theme duplicates in your store does not inhibit loading or contribute to issues with customer experience. Maintaining a habit of duplicating your theme before making changes can ease troubleshooting if page speed issues occur later on.
You can duplicate your theme by going to Actions > Duplicate
You can also add informative titles to your themes to keep track of backups. The “Rename” feature allows up to 50 characters to provide supplementary information about the theme backup, such as date, version/release, and what customization it precedes.
Your web browser has a sort of x-ray vision for how a Shopify storefront is constructed.
By using an inspection tool, anyone can look into the HTML and CSS that compose a webpage. Try to think of HTML as the framing that makes up the central structure of a house. CSS takes care of how it all appears—windows, paint, sconces, etc.
You can use the inspector tool to focus on particular elements in your Shopify theme, then use the codes to make adjustments via your CSS file. In Google Chrome, for example, you can use the inspector tool by right-clicking (control + click on Mac) the area of interest and selecting “Inspect.”
Freelance development services for Shopify merchants have become quite common, but finding a reliable and skilled developer is tricky.
Our support team has unfortunately heard from too many merchants who have been left high and dry with poor, incomplete customizations. It’s important to look for vetted, reputable developers who will provide estimates of timeframe and cost before you give them any money.
If you’re thinking of hiring a third-party developer to customize your Shopify theme, you may want to get in touch with your theme developer first. Often, the modification you’re looking for is already in the works and will be included in a future release.
If not, theme developers often have preferred development partners who are familiar with their products and can complete a modification more efficiently and reliably than an unknown developer.
The best way to stand out in a crowded market is to create a visually stunning and engaging shopping experience. You can guarantee your store prevails over others in your vertical by following the means above to customize your store.