The Prenatal Guide to Shopify

5 Things to Do Before Officially Launching Your Shopify Store

The birth of a new Shopify site is an exciting time for everyone! You’re pursuing an entrepreneurial dream of your own and the world gets to witness the majesty of your vision. However, so often people rush into the process without covering their bases. The worst thing you can do is to dive in without any consulting or advice from seasoned veterans. We are here to help you out. (Think of us as that wise mid-wife; a bit eccentric, but always on-call & ready for action!)

For the sake of this guide, we will be operating under the fictitious business title “Plus-Sized Plush,” a purveyor of unreasonably large stuffed animals.

Things to remember when launching a Shopify Store

1) Lock Down a Custom Domain Name

You can go one of two ways with this step – either way, you’re ditching the gaudy “myshopify.website.com” default URL structure before you go live. (Nothing scares users and search engines away quicker than a super long and ugly domain name.)

The first, and most often pursued, path is to use your brand name, such as www.PlusSizedPlush.com. The other path is to create an SEO-filled domain, such as www.OversizedStuffedAnimals.com. Both are good and hold their own unique advantages. Version 1 is great for branding, especially if you’re planning on being in the business for a while. Version 2 gets you higher on Google for that particular key phrase because it looks like a branded search term. If your business takes off under the 2nd version, you can always create a new branded URL (version 1) & apply a 301 redirect from the old domain to the new without losing much SEO juice. This is all up to you, but you really, REALLY want to make a custom domain name before launch.

Read up for more information regarding purchasing and integrating a custom domain name for your Shopify store.

2) Hook Up Your Google Analytics & Awaken Google Search Console

The best way to track the successes (& possible failures) of your new business venture is to install Google Analytics. The tool allows you to see how many folks are coming to your site, how they’re finding you, what pages are most popular, what pages cause users to turn away and so much more. You can even set up Goal Conversion Tracking to analyze which paths resulted in the highest conversion rate. If you set up site search, you can even look at what people were searching for most. Suppose you saw an overwhelming majority of users searching for the Colossal Giraffe Plush – this would be an indicator that this product is in-demand, so you should create a section for it on the home page, gauge the new engagement & see if your conversions jumped as a result.

View the Top 5 Google Analytics Questions & Answers.

Another tool to set up is Google Search Console or Webmaster Tools. This is, essentially, your chance to converse with Google one-on-one. You can highlight schema data to show the search engine what specific pages are about, you can research what search phrases you are currently being indexed for and, at the very least, you can identify missing links, 404s & other areas for site cleanup later.

3) Test Your Purchasing Mechanisms & Payment GatewaysShopify Launch Checklist & Tips

The best way to double check the most basic functions of your site is to run through the whole experience as a normal consumer. Get your sister, brother, significant other, neighbor & childhood friend to run through the process, from beginning to end, and make a purchases or two. Confirm that payments go through and that all notification systems are up to speed. Who’s getting the email? Did the payment process completely? Did the consumer get a thank you hug in the form of a confirmation email? This may seem super simple, but many new stores actually forget to make sure their site works!

4) Check All Forms & Links Throughout the Site

So, we’ve run a payment processing test, but what about the folks that just have simple inquiry? What if they’re trying to find out if you can make a custom dragon plush the size of their house? They need an outlet to ask these questions, so they run to the contact form and hammer in their outlandish request. To ensure a great user experience for these people, you’ve got to make sure the form submission goes somewhere and that the user gets a confirmation that makes them feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. You also want to make sure that all links on the site work. Go around to every page and click EVERYTHING. An abrupt 404 on the way to making a purchase is a quick way to scare away a customer.

5) Run a Word Count Check On Key Marketing PagesOn-Page SEO Tips for Shopify Sites

As a new Shopify store, you need all of the ammunition you can gather to compete with some of the retail conglomerates out there. Not only are you just getting acquainted with marketplace consumers, but you’re also a fresh face to search engines. Rich content on key marketing pages gives clarification to both parties. Solid content marketing is a firm handshake and a brilliant introduction. The goal of search engines is to provide a great user experience to people asking questions. If you have minimal words on your collections pages, you’re not able to answer the questions of users, so your SEO power goes down the drain. If you have next-to-no words on your pages, people don’t know what you’re about or what you even do.

For instance, the “Zoo Collection” will have a few paragraphs about what these stuffed animals are made of, maybe some cute marketing text about their friendliness and a word about the concept as a whole. This gives you a chance to sneak in keywords and a warm message, while also providing both users and Google a lot to sink their teeth into, so when someone searches “Giant Giraffe Plush,” this site should show up – as it best answers that particular search inquiry.

The Standard Word Count Rule of Thumb:

Aim to have upwards of 300 words for each major marketing page, including homepage, collections & even a few products. You don’t have to do this for each product, but you should try experimenting with content marketing for some individual items. Here’s a simple word count tool you can use.

More On-Page Components to Consider for Your Shopify Website SEO:

  • Image titles & alt. text
  • Meta titles & descriptions
  • Website hosting speeds
  • Keyword peppering throughout content
  • Proper header hierarchy
  • Bullet lists to break up content

Get a Head Start & Protect Yourself Against Complications

This is definitely not an exhaustive list, but these 5 steps will ensure a relatively smooth Shopify website launch. Remember: You’re starting from scratch, so you have to cover all of your bases to get the most out of the platform in your site’s infancy stage. Leaving any stone unturned gives a competitive edge to any proactive organizations that sell any product remotely close to yours – & we simply cannot have that!

For more information about successful Shopify site launch techniques & further Shopify website consulting, send us a message & we’ll be sure to help you out!

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