If you have ever hung out in the support channels or Facebook groups for Shopify, there are always so many shop owners looking for solutions or apps to add features to the free theme they are using.
I see a lot of shop owners start out using Debut, which is the main basic free theme that comes loaded with Shopify. This is great to get your barrings with, but in all honesty, the time it takes to do the research, try your hand at coding, or install an app that comes with a monthly fee, you could have invested upfront in a paid theme and saved yourself a huge headache and lots of time.
Here are my top 5 things to look at when investing in a paid theme:
Features - Write down a list of all the features you want and check out the themes to see if they fit the bill. I get many first-time clients that come to me and give me examples of Shopify sites that probably cost an upward of $50K in features and custom development. Be realistic about the features you want and if you can find a theme that fits most of them, you can always hire a developer once you are up and making a profit to add those in at another phase. If you go to the Shopify store and view the themes, each one will outline the features they offer.
You can even take a test drive on some of them and check the demos to make sure they include everything you need for your site.
Trust - I always tell my customer's if they are going to purchase a theme, do it from a trusted developer that is featured in the Shopify Theme Store. They have all been vetted and must adhere to a higher standard and keep their themes up to date with improvements.
If you are saying, "But Carey, I can get a theme on Themeforest for $50, why do I want to spend triple the price?" I hear you. But, I have purchased these themes and used them at the beginning of my time working with Shopify. The support is not always great and the ability to update your site, you have to start from scratch if you want to install the latest version and hope there is one. By investing in the beginning, you are going to again save yourself time and money.
Easier to Customize - I love working with theme developers such as Pixel Union and Out of The Sandbox. They are even implementing tools and features that allow you to drag and drop almost every page on your site so you can have a fully customized solution.
I see a lot of shop owners like to download apps that include page builders, but it's important to look at how the installed apps affect the page load and speed of your site. The more apps you install the slower your site will become.
Backups and improvements - I touched on this before when purchasing themes from a trusted 3rd party. The level of support you get from premium themes is by far superior to the discount themes out there.
I wrote on another blog post on the methods of backing up and updating your Shopify site. Companies such as Out of The Sandbox have also developed an app that makes updating these themes seamlessly and you are notified when a new update rolls out, along with what was added and improved for that update.
Responsive and Optimized! - It's important when choosing a theme to make sure it is mobile-friendly. More customers are viewing websites from their mobile devices, in some cases more than 50% over desktop viewers. With the ever-changing ways, people are accessing websites, it's important that you pick a theme that allows the users to view the product, access the information they need, and make checkout as easy and seamless as possible. The cool thing about Shopify is you can view the mobile view when you view the demo and in the customizer when you load the theme.
I hope these tips help to make the right choice for your new Shopify site theme. If you are you looking for something custom, we can help too!
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