5 things you should do as a DIY Shopify merchant

Shopify is a great choice as the e-commerce platform for many types of businesses. This includes stores run by tech-savvy merchants, who prefer to do simple or not-so-simple things themselves instead of hiring a developer.

If you are such a merchant, or a content manager who’s also in charge of technical maintenance, this article will give you a few ideas on how to keep your store fast, secure and easy to maintain.

1. Remove apps you no longer use

Make it a habit to go through the list of apps installed on your store and remove ones that you don’t use any more.

Before clicking the “Delete” button, check if the app has an uninstall guide. If it does, make sure to follow it BEFORE removing the app. This is because if the app has changed your theme, or added metafields to your store, and is responsible enough, they should have a button to clean it all up. And they won’t be able to do it after you have uninstalled the app.

Regular cleanups help you in a couple ways:

2. Disable theme features you don’t need

Themes purchased on Shopify theme market or on 3rd party marketplaces tend to have a lot more features than you will ever need. This is because they are designed to support as many store types as possible. Some of these features can slow down your store. It’s not easy to guess which ones so it’s better to treat every feature as a suspect.

Head to your theme editor, and inspect page sections and theme settings. If you a see a feature you are not using and the theme editor has a button to disable it, click it.

3. Back up before changing code

First of all, if you have 0 idea what Liquid, JavaScript, HTML, or CSS is, you probably shouldn’t change anything from the theme’s code editor.

But if you are going to change it, make sure to back up your theme before touching a line of code. With backup I mean duplicating your live theme. Make sure to rename the duplicated theme in a way that indicates when and why this backup was made.

But you shouldn’t be making backups before every change. Rather do it before applying a set of changes. For example installing a new app that requires code changes, or adding a feature according to a guide you found online.

You are limited to 20 non-published themes per store. When you hit that number, you will have to delete some of the old backups to make room for new ones.

If you feel adventurous, you can also set up the Shopify + Github sync. This will automatically keep track of every change ever made to your theme. If you manage to complete this successfully, the developer you hire (or become) in future will thank you for it.

4. Understand and limit the permissions you grant others

Chances are high that other parties will need to access your store. Never share your password with anyone and if possible, enable 2-factor authentication on your account. Shopify has multiple ways to share access with different parties and it should be enough for all use cases:

Technically, you can invite hired developers as employees, but that will count toward your staff account quota, while collaborators won’t.

All these access types can and should have limited permissions. When at the permissions step during invitation, start by unchecking all options, then check the that are actually needed one by one. You can always grant more permissions later, if you miss something.

Actually, this step shouldn’t be on the list of things DIY merchants should do. EVERY Shopify merchant has to deal with this, so make sure you deal with it the least risky way.

5. Style the checkout page

The number of stores I see with the default checkout styles is surprising. Now, I am not a marketer who has studied how this affects your conversion rates. But I believe it falls under common sense that different pages of the same website should look similar to avoid confusing its visitors.

Shopify doesn’t allow changing much on the checkout page. Make sure to make use of what it does. Add your logo, change some colors.. takes 2 minutes.