Best practices for building Shopify stores

9 mins read

LAST UPDATED 29th May 2024

PUBLISHED 29th May 2024

Matt and Joe, Manchester web developers

Whether you’re already well-established or a new, up-and-coming e-commerce business, having an eye-catching online store is essential for attracting new customers. However, there’s more to a website than good looks…

There are numerous best practices you need to consider when building your website. If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of Shopify, here are some tips.

So, sit back, and let us teach you the best practices for building a Shopify store…

Performance First

Your online store’s performance should be one of the first things you consider when building your website. Without a fast-paced, user-friendly, easy-to-navigate website, your store will not perform how you want it to, thus, you will struggle to gain new customers.

So, what can slow down your website?

Ironically, the main features that can enhance the user experience on your website, are the biggest culprits for poor performance. Excessively adding features like apps, analytics, images and videos, can impact your store’s performance. It will cause the website to run slowly, and in turn, disrupt a visitor’s experience.

Core Web Vitals

A great way to monitor the impact your features are having on your store is frequently checking Google’s Core Web Vitals. The three key metrics you need to look out for are:

  • Largest Contentful Paint
  • Cumulative Layout Shift
  • Interaction to Next Paint

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) focuses on a website’s loading time. It will measure how fast or slow a web page renders its largest elements e.g. images and text blocks. Google PageSpeed Insights is a useful tool to find out this information. Simply add your URL into the search bar and hit enter.

Google core web vitals

Next, Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures the visibility of your website’s content as a user is viewing it. The metrics will consider any unexpected shifts throughout the page without warning, as this can have a negative impact on a user’s experience. For example, if an ad appears at the top or bottom of your screen, and you try clicking X on it but the page shifts, meaning you click through the ad; this is qualified as an unexpected shift. If this occurs, it will negatively impact your CLS on Google’s Core Web Vital. 

The final Core Web Vital you need to keep an eye on is Interaction to Next Paint (INP). 

Fun fact – INP recently replaced First Input Delay (FID) in March 2024

The metric showcases the responsiveness of your web page, and how quickly it responds the whole time a user is interacting with it. For example, it will consider the time it takes for a user to click through an image gallery, or click on different buttons that unveil pieces of text. 

In summary, adding features can enhance your website, and improve the user’s experience. However, keep in mind the potential negative impact they can have on your site’s performance. Remember – check core web vitals!

Build a bespoke website

Building a bespoke website brings huge positives to your business. For starters, a tailored online store can align perfectly with a customer’s needs and preferences. It can increase the likelihood of them making a purchase, and retain them long term too. If you can get this in the bag straightaway, you’re heading in the right direction.

In addition, a bespoke store enables you to be more adaptable to future growth and changes. This means you can add more features to your website, such as fraud prevention tools, customer review widgets, and payment portals, to improve customer experience. This is a key fundamental to building a Shopify store, however, as mentioned in our previous section, don’t forget to frequently check the Core Web Vitals. Finding the right balance is important.

Ensure your store is SEO-friendly

Also, ensuring your website is SEO-friendly can be hugely beneficial, and it’s worth taking advantage of. By optimising your product descriptions with the right keywords, site layout, meta descriptions, title tags, and URLs, your store can appear higher on Google; thus you will gain more organic visibility and attract new customers. Writing compelling content coincides with this too. If you’re struggling to write content for your website to add that extra ‘umph’ – we can help.

As an SEO agency in Manchester, we have years of experience producing exciting content that sells your products or services. We can grab your audience’s attention instantly, and push them to engage with you. If you would like to learn more about our SEO services, contact our team today.

SEO Lead Emma & Digital Marketing Manager Jamie

Only the best UX and UI

Arguably the most important best practice for building a Shopify store is utilising the best UX and UI. In simple terms, UX (User Experience) is about how customers feel clicking and scrolling through your website. If they’re navigating the website with ease, and the messaging is clear with solutions to their queries, this is a good user experience. On the other hand, customers waiting too long for a page to load or struggling to find the information they need are examples of bad user experience.

This coincides nicely with UI (user interface). This refers to the visual and interactive elements on your website e.g. buttons, search bar etc – pretty much anything they can interact with. User interface directly impacts user experience, so this is why your website’s navigation must be spot-on for a customer. If the navigation is confusing or certain elements are too big or small, they will leave your store. 

So, make sure to nail the UX and UI when building your Shopify store. Think about what your target audience needs, and develop your user experience and interface from there.

If you’re seeking a web design agency in Manchester, we’re the perfect solution for you. As leading Shopify specialists, we can customise your store so it fits your brand seamlessly, and ensure it’s a smooth experience for your customers. Interested? Get in touch with us today, and we will provide you with a quote.

Soccer Archive - iPad / Tablet Meanforme Shoes | Shopify Footwear Website

Mobile first is a must

Tying in perfectly with our previous section, mobile-first is another best practice for building your Shopify store. It’s becoming more common for people to use their mobile to shop on the internet. 62% of people in the UK use their smartphone to purchase items from online sellers. This is an area e-commerce businesses should be capitalising on. Ensuring your store is functional on mobile can push new users to engage with your website.

But how can you make your website functional on mobile?

Firstly, the website needs to be responsive. Improving the way it’s displayed on large and small screens can increase how long a user spends on the site. For example, elements such as images shouldn’t be larger than the screen width; and there shouldn’t be unnecessary scrolling and resizing.

A fast-loading, easy-to-navigate store optimised for mobile devices can significantly increase your orders. To do this, you need to use a mobile-friendly theme for your Shopify store. Luckily, Shopify has a range of themes for you to choose from. We suggest you pick one that fits seamlessly with your brand. Choose an exciting, vibrant theme. Something that will grab your audience’s attention, whilst still fitting with your brand guidelines.

Now, make sure to optimise the page speed. Don’t go crazy adding numerous features – it can slow down your site’s performance. See section 1 ‘Performance first’ for more information. 

Next, include responsive design elements to ensure the website looks good on all devices. For example, no matter what device a user uses, your website should automatically adjust to fit the screen the site is being viewed on. 

Referring back to these three functions is the best practice for optimising your Shopify store on mobile. But if you’re looking for experience in this field, we have you covered. At Pixel Kicks, we always take a mobile-first approach when building a new website. We understand your target audience’s needs; we’ll deliver and exceed their expectations, no matter what screen they’re viewing your website on. 

92 Degrees Coffee | Mobile Website Design

Be accessible to everyone

The final best practice you must consider when building your Shopify store is that it is accessible to everyone. Sounds simple right? Not entirely…

Firstly, you need to ensure your website can be accessed by anyone, including people with disabilities that could impair their browsing experience. Neglecting this area is naive, and could lead you to miss out on new business. For example, if your text isn’t clear for visually impaired customers, they won’t be able to read what you’re selling to them. Similarly, your website’s colour contrast needs to be correct too, otherwise, consumers who are colour-blind or visually impaired might struggle to identify one thing from another. This is why you need to test colour and text constantly throughout the build phase.

Furthermore, if you add videos to your website, you need to consider the needs of customers with poor vision and hearing. They might not be able to see or clearly understand what your content is trying to convey. 

So, make sure to include subtitles for those whose hearing is limited, and include a detailed description of the video for screen readers for those who are vision impaired. Simple improvements like this can help these types of customers better understand what you’re trying to tell them.

Finally, ensuring you don’t remove the keyboard focus style from any page elements can provide access for those with vision or motor impairments. These customers will use keyboard and visual indicators to navigate the website, so guaranteeing they have clear access to this can help them massively.

92 Degrees Coffee | Imac Website Design

If you’re seeking Shopify development in Manchester, we’re the perfect solution for you. For years, we’ve built bespoke e-commerce websites for high-profile clients across the United Kingdom. Get in touch today, and select us as your Shopify agency in Manchester. 

Alternatively, if you would like to learn more about how to craft compelling content to wow your customers, check out our latest article here.

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