Tips for choosing a Shopify theme

Using a pre-made Shopify theme from the theme store can be a great, inexpensive (or even free) alternative to getting a theme built from scratch. Following are a few suggestions to help people choose the right one.

Look for layout and features first

Things like typography and colours are easy to change using theme settings, but layout and features far less so. Concentrate on finding a theme with page layouts and features (instagram feeds, new visitor popups etc etc) that suit your requirements. The homepage is a great place to start, but don't forget to have a look at the other pages as well! (such as collections, product, blog and contact pages). 

A place for everything...

The theme needs to work well with your content, so try to visualize what you would put where. For example:

  • Photography: A lot of modern themes make heavy use of large, story-telling photography (for example, an oversized slideshow showing beautiful photos of people using a site's product). This is great IF you have some photos like this, not so great if you only have simple, white background product photos.
  • Homepage sections: Apart from the ubiquitous slideshow, themes vary a lot in what (optional) sections you can have below it. As you look at the theme demo sites, try to imagine what content YOUR SITE would use in these various sections.    

Suits your brand

  • Logo: Have a look at what kind of logos the designer has used on the theme demo sites. If they have used a simple, clean, white 1 word logo, and you have an Epic, tall, 3 word logo with 5 colours and fireworks coming out the sides, you might be out of luck (or in this case, need to think about reviewing your logo design).
  • Minimal vs Busy: As typography and colours can be changed, the main element of style to consider when looking at themes is minimal vs busy. For example, if you have a relatively “busy” style (a complicated logo, plan of putting LOTS of content on the homepage etc), choosing a theme with a lot of white space may not be a good fit.

Make sure you like the mobile site too!

At the top of the theme demo page (for example here) you can toggle between desktop and mobile views of theme theme. Alternatively, simply browse the theme store from a mobile device, or use google chrome to simulate a mobile device.

Final thoughts

Its important to remember that you don't need to get everything EXACTLY right when choosing a theme:

  1. Themes can be customized by developers to change them in almost any way
  2. A successful eCommerce store will often go through several themes throughout its lifetime

As such simply try to find one that is the closest to what you need, and in doing so you will save yourself the time and money associated with frequent theme changes or heavy customizations.

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