By now, you've probably read somewhere on the internet that starting an eCommerce business on Shopify is a great way to make moneyadditional income. But what you might know now is that you can set up a Shopify store in about two hours or less.
Shopify is an e-commerce platform used by over a million merchants worldwide, from brick-and-mortar stores to large online retailers to small online businesses.
It's popular because it offers robust tools, an easy-to-navigate interface, and customizable options for just about any business owner. And the really cool thing about Shopify for beginners is that you can access most of it for free or super cheap.
Even though I said starting a Shopify website is easy, I know it can still be overwhelming for beginners and that's what this tutorial is for. We start from the very beginning - decide what to sell on Shopify - and start driving traffic to your online store.
And of course I take care of designing your website, adding products, setting up your payment system and much more.
Shopify for Beginners: How to Start Your Shopify Store
What is Shopify?
Shopify is an e-commerce platformYou can use it to create a store and sell products online. Shopify's platform is an all-in-one system, which means you can use it for marketing, payments, and shipping. That is one of the reasons why it has become so popular – you can manage all your online store needs in one place.
Shopify offers custom themes and advanced sales features so you can set up your store exactly the way you want. There is also plentyShopify-Tutorialson the platform if you get stuck with any aspect of the setup process.
Something I didn't realize until recently is that brick-and-mortar businesses use Shopify to sell their products and services online. For example, my local yarn shop uses Shopify for class registration.
Read more below22 Best Sidehustle Ideas for 2020 (Earn Over $1,000 a Month)
What can you sell on Shopify?
Aside from the ease of setting up a Shopify store, another reason why it has become so popular is the fact that you can sell almost anything on Shopify.
You can sell clothing, exercise equipment, pet supplies, shoes, housewares, electronics, beauty products, baby gear, jewelry, accessories, kitchen appliances, and just about anything else. ThatList of popular productsgives you an idea of what is selling well right now.
Most people set up a Shopify store with a specific theme and then look for products that fit that theme.For example, you can open a store for:
- Cat lovers - think cat beds, cat themed clothing, cat collars, cat toys, cat costumes, etc.
- Natural or minimalist baby gear - baby toys, clothes, blankets, beds, books and more.
- Home workout fans - yoga mats, workout clothes, sling trainers, pull up bars, resistance bands, etc.
Realistically, you could use Shopify to sellFlea market returns, things you've made, collectibles to hang around your home, and even favors.
The things you're not allowed to sell are pretty much anything that seems illegal to sell online - weapons, illegal drugs, pharmaceuticals, supplements, alcohol, anything gambling-related or adult content. CheckoutShopify's Acceptable Use Policyfor mere information.
How much does it cost to set up a Shopify store?
Shopify is free for the first 14 days, and it gives you the opportunity to get your online store up and running before you actually start investing in the product. After your 14-day trial, there are three plans to choose from, starting at $29/month – this is the best option for beginners.
Your complete Shopify tutorial in 10 steps
1. Determine your niche and start planning your store
I touched on that a bit when I talked about what you can sell on Shopify – choosing a theme and then building your store around products that fit that theme.You can start brainstorming by thinking about the following:
- What are you interested in?
- Is there a market you know a lot about?
- What's going well at Shopify?Remember the popular product link I shared earlier.
Once you have a few ideas, start planning the items you want to sell. Let's pretend it's just youLovehouseplants and want to create a Shopify store for other plant lovers.Shipping real plants can get expensive, but what about selling things like:
- Stationery with pictures of plants
- Instructional books that explain how to care for your plants
- Macrame planteophæng
- Artwork with pictures of indoor plants
- T-shirts for plant lovers
- Tools that an indoor gardener would use to care for their plants
I did a quick Google search for "plant lover gifts" for many of these ideas, and you can search this way to find products that fit your niche.
At this point, you'll want to start thinking about names for your Shopify store. Think of several variations if the name of your store is already taken.
2. Log in to Shopify
The signup process is incredibly simple and sets up Shopify specifically for beginners. You can register viaOur exclusive Shopify linkand enter your email address, a name for your Shopify store, and a strong password.
Shopify then asks you a series of questions to get to know you and the type of items you want to sell.
Then enter your address and phone number so you can get paid.
Start selling on Shopify
Start selling on Shopify
3. Start creating your online store
To teach you how to build a Shopify store, I started a free trial for my brand new Shopify store "I <3 Plants".Unfortunately "I Heart Plants" was already taken and I had to think fast.
Once you've logged in, here's your dashboard where you'll start setting up your store:
There are three important things you need to do to get your store up and running:
- add products
- Customize your theme
- Add a domain
I like to start with the topic first, but you can go in any order you like. Purchasing a domain name for your Shopify store is highly recommended. If you don't purchase your domain name, your store's URL will end in .myshopify.com.
Buying your domain name looks much more professional. You can connect an existing domain or transfer one to Shopify. Or you can buy your domain name directly through Shopify.
Here I changed the name of my shop from "I <3 Plants" to "Plants Are For Lovers". The domain name did not exist for the first option and there were no repeats which I liked. It turned out that the latter was available, so I changed the name of my Shopify store.
To change your Shopify store name:
- Go to settings
- Click General
- Update your store name
- Click on "Save
If you want to buy your domain name through Shopify, enter the URL you want and Shopify will let you know if it's available. Once you've decided on something, click Buy and then enter your credit card information.
When you buy your domain name through Shopify, you also get email hosting services. You will need to go to the primary email address that you entered when you set up your Shopify store to complete the verification of your domain name.
4. Choose a theme for your Shopify store
One of the reasons Shopify is so easy for beginners is because there are several free themes that you can customize to your heart's content. Or you can start with a blank template and customize it yourself.
You can also pay for themes, which cost around $150-$180 each. You can browse paid themes by industry so I can find Plants Are For Lovers paid themes specific to home and garden. But I will stick to a free theme in the beginning.
Before choosing a theme, you can check what kind of stores and products it is best suited for.
Choosing a free theme to start with and not spend too much time customizing can save you tons of time and is the best place to start for beginners. Of course you need to add and copy a few images, but don't think too much about the design of your website. It's likestart a blog- You can easily get overwhelmed and never start your website.
Here is my store after installing the theme. Note that it says "Draft" in the top left corner, which means it's not quite available yet.
5. Add your products
In Step 1, you thought about what types of products you could sell in your Shopify store, and now that planning will pay off. You start adding products to your store.
You need a photo, a price and a detailed description of each product. Think about how people can search for products like this, as this will help your SEO (search engine optimization).
Use only high quality images and be aware of the theme of your store when designing and selecting your images. Simple images that highlight the product are almost always better, and you'll want a few images for each item.
Enter your items here:
Shopify Tip for Beginners: Dropshipping is one of the most cost-effective ways to find and sell products on Shopify. After listing products from a dropshipping offer (AliExpress is one of the biggest) in your store, the online shopping process is as follows:
- The customer places an order in your Shopify store
- The order is automatically sent to the dropshipping provider
- The supplier puts together the order
- The order is sent to the customer by the dropshipping provider
Shopify does most of the work, from paying to getting your order shipped from the supplier. It can become a source of justicepassive incomebecause you are not involved in storage or shipping. Here is one of the bestShopify tutorials til dropshipping.
6. Configure your payment system
Setting up your payments allows your customers to make purchases on your Shopify site. First, go to the "Settings" button in the lower left corner of your dashboard and then click on "Payments".
Here is the screen that comes up:
They are also options for PayPal Express Checkout, Amazon Pay, other third-party providers, and even manual payment methods. You can customize the types of payments you accept in Shopify Payments.
Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing additional payment methods:
- If you choose Shopify Payments, there are no additional transaction fees even if you pay credit card fees (this is typical for any business and the fees are only 2.9% or $0.30).
- Additional fees apply when choosing third-party payment methods such as PayPal or Amazon Pay
- Manual payment methods are not recommended - such as checks or bank transfers
7. Shipping and charges
These are just some basic cleaning tasks before you go live with your website. The shipping and tax information may already be filled in correctly, but you should make sure that all the correct fields are checked.
Check shipping and charges at:
- Go to the product page on your admin page
- Click on a product
- Scroll down to Stock and variants and click the edit link next to Product variant.
- Make sure the Calculate Tax and Require Shipping check boxes are selected. Items shipped must have these enabled unless there is a very unusual circumstance
- Verify that the product's weight is entered in the appropriate field so that Shopify can calculate shipping correctly
- Repeat this process for each product in your Shopify store
Here's what it looks like when you review the charges for each item:
8. Add applications to make your Shopify store more owner-friendly
Shopify offers dozens of applications to make it easier for you to run your online store and others that make it more user-friendly for customers. You don't need to go through all of these applications to begin with, but keep them in mind for the future.
You can browseShopify App Storethrough trending apps, those that help you set up your store, apps that increase sales, communication tools, email marketing solutions and more.
If you're looking for dropshipping, the App Store also has the tools to help you - Oberlo is a top-notch dropshipping app. It's free for beginners and you can use it to download products and add them to your store's product page.
9. Go live with your Shopify store
Your Shopify store is almost up and running, but for now it's password protected. Password protection allows you to test your website before publishing it worldwide.
How to make your Shopify site live:
- Go to the sidebar of your admin page
- Under "Online Shop" click on "Settings"
- Scroll down to "Password Protection" and uncheck "Enable Password".
- Click "Save" in the top right corner.
This message appears at the top of the screen:
After I got my website online, I immediately grabbed my phone to see how it looks. It still needs tweaking, but it's a solid start.
10. Start drivingffic for your Shopify store
I've read a lot of Shopify tutorials and the one thing many of them don't cover is how to bring customers to your brand new Shopify store. It's like, "Here's a Shopify guide for beginners, but we left out the customer acquisition part."
This is unfortunate because the truth is that your brand new baby site is now competing with all the big sites that have been growing their brands and site visibility for years.
For example, my store doesn't seem to be found if someone searches for "gifts for plant lovers". However, there are a number of ways I can start driving traffic to my Shopify site.
Optimization for SEO
It takes time to develop your organic search results, but with some basic SEO work, you lay the foundation…Plant pun (ha!) - my shop is already rubbing off on me.You can grow your SEO over time, but don't think you can neglect it.
Follow this SEO checklist for your Shopify website:
- Find keywords relevant to your brand – what search terms can customers use to find your store?
- Make sure you add these keywords (without stuffing them in) to your site's content, including page titles, product descriptions, and image alt text.
- Make sure all URLs and file names on your site match the content.
- Write a few short blog posts about the products on your site (Shopify sites are blog-enabled) and make sure to include the keywords in those posts. Helpful content like how to use the products on your site or maybe a list is an easy way to think of content.
- Make sure your site can be crawled and indexed by Google by adding your sitemap.xml toGoogle Search Console.
- Add and edit title tags, meta descriptions and URLs for all your product pages, collections, blog posts and web pages.
Place Facebook ads on your website
Facebook ads are an investment, but a very cheap (only $1 per day) and effective way to promote your website. Your ads can target users based on demographics and interests. This means you can run ads on the world's largest social media platform, but target them to the type of users who are interested in the products you sell.
If you want to know more, look hereFacebook Ads for Bloggers. This course is specifically designed to help bloggers and other website owners run Facebook ads.
Bobby Hoyt of M$M is one of the creators ofFacebook Ads for Bloggers, and he teaches the exact strategy he used to grow this website into a seven-figure online business in less than five years.
Build your social media presence
Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are all social media platforms you should consider for your Shopify store. Start with one platform, master it, then move on to the next. You don't have to work on them all at once - you risk burning out before you get a good feel for what you're doing.
Shopify has apps that make it easy to grow your social media presence. So be sure to check out what options are available for each platform.
The final word on Shopify for beginners
Shopify has become such a popular e-commerce platform because it's so easy for beginners to get started, and you can build your website super cheaply and invest in it however you want.
You can shop online for almost anything, and people do too.Here are some examples of what you can do with Shopify:
- Lysesells bicycles and bicycle accessories
- Study nicelyselling a small collection of minimalist tools
- ArtistNick MayerUsers can use Shopify to sell prints, posters, stationery and more
- All birdseven uses Shopify to sell its popular sustainable shoe collection
This is just a small sampling of the things you can do with a Shopify store. When you're ready, use our exclusive M$M link for your own14-day free trial of Shopify.