Day 9: Start building behind-the-scenes
1. Tweet today’s quote → 2. Get to work!
The time has come. Today we’re going to start building your store!
There are two main parts of a store that need to be addressed thoroughly before you can launch: the backend and the frontend.
The backend is the ‘internal workings’ of the store – the settings, apps, things like this. The frontend is the shoppable part that your customers see when they go to www.[yourstore].com.
Before we get to making your store beautiful for customers, we need to make sure everything in the backend will function smoothly to save you a million hours of stress down the road.
None of us want you to have a million hours of stress.
Today, we’re going to:
- Buy and connect a custom domain name so your customers don’t see ‘your-store.myshopify.com’
- Configure important settings like taxes, shipping, etc.
- Set up Google Analytics so you can track your performance and make improvements after you launch
Buy a website domain
Having a store name like https://my-test-store.myshopify.com isn’t so reputable for shoppers. So we’re going to buy a proper .com domain and connect it to your account.
Go to www.GoDaddy.com and start typing in your ideas for a store name into the search bar.
GoDaddy will tell you if the domain is available or not. Basically, the name of the game here is to keep trying until you find a variation that’s available.
If you have an idea that you love, but it’s taken, you can try a few things.
For example, say you wanted www.LiveLaughLove.com, but it’s not available. You can try:
- Use a different domain extension instead of .com, like:
- Experiment with adding hyphens in between words, like live-laugh-love.com
- Add extra words, like livelaughloveshop.com
Once you find a good one that’s available, click ‘Add to cart.’
Then click the ‘Continue to cart’ button next to the search bar.
The next page will ask for add-ons. These aren’t important if you don’t have the budget, so you can say ‘no’ to all of them. Amanda went for it – but again, it’s not critical.
The next page will ask you to create an account or sign in. Create your account and add your payment method, like your credit card or PayPal account.
On the final payment page, make sure your details are right. If there’s a banner for a promo code, use it! Amanda got 30% off.
Click ‘Complete Purchase.’
Now that you have your domain, it’s time to connect it to Shopify.
GoDaddy will automatically take you to your Domain Manager page. Next to your domain, click the ‘Use my domain’ button.
On the next page, scroll down to ‘Connect to an existing site’ and click ‘Get Started.’
On the next page, find and click Shopify in the list of Online Stores destinations.
On the next page, click ‘Connect Domain.’
It will give you a few extra steps. Follow them.
When you complete these steps, click “Connect automatically’ inside Shopify.
Your browser window will get a popup window asking if you want to connect to the website and change your domain’s DNS records. Click ‘Connect.’
Yeah! You’re good to go. Give Shopify up to 24 hours to show this in the URL when you visit your store.
Now it’s time to start setting up the backend of your store. This is critical so that everything functions smoothly. If you mess up the backend, you’re gonna have some serious problems down the road.
But don’t worry – that’s why I’m here!
Create policy pages
“Legal stuff is scary. What things do I need to cover my bases?”
My answer: There are 4 key legal pages that you’ll need to make at a minimum:
- Refund Policy
- Terms of Service
- Shipping Policy
Important: I’m not a lawyer. I can’t give you official legal advice. But I’ll show you some tips and templates from Shopify that can help make legal compliance easier for you. In the end, it’s up to you to make sure you’re not violating any laws. If you’re selling to people in Europe, make sure you’re following GDPR guidelines.
To make these, follow the same steps as you did on Day 7 when you made the ‘About Us’ page.
(In the left sidebar of your Shopify dashboard, go to ‘Sales Channels’ ➜ ‘Online Store’ ➜ ‘Pages.’ On the top right, click ‘Add page.’)
Now let’s talk about each page.
- Click ‘Get Started’
- Since you already have a Shopify account, check the box that says ‘I’ll skip the Shopify trial for now, just create my policy’
- Done! Easy.
Then check your email for an email from Shopify. Go to the link to your policy and copy it.
You’ll notice that there are several parts where the Shopify team put some text in brackets. These brackets are to help you customize your policy. Read each one and decide what to do based on your store.
If certain bracket items don’t apply to you, just delete them. Make sure none of those ugly brackets are left when you’re done.
Make sure you read every single word and have it reflect your business. This is just a template, it’s not set in stone.
Click ‘Save’ and your page is published.
On to the next one.
Create a Refund Policy page
Shopify has a refund policy generator page too. Click here to fill in your info and have a template page emailed to you – the same way you did before.
Again, read every single word and make sure it all applies to your store. Then publish the page the same way you did with the privacy page.
Create a Terms of Service page
Once again, Shopify saves the day with a generator. Click here to generate a template for your ‘Terms of Service’ (also called ‘Terms and Conditions’) page.
Read every single word, make edits where needed, and publish like the previous pages.
Create a Shipping Policy page
Since you’re dropshipping, it might take a little while for products to get to your customers. Sometimes, it can be as much as 60 days.
But don’t worry – this usually isn’t the case, and you can choose your suppliers wisely to try and help prevent this.
That said, having a shipping page is a good idea to help inform your customers of potential shipping times. It can also give you a leg to stand on in case any customers claim you didn’t tell them about the shipping times.
Your shipping page should include the following info:
- Shipping options: The types of options you provide. Include anything like standard shipping, international and domestic shipping, etc.
- Shipping cost: Discuss the costs of shipping as they relate to different methods. Note: free shipping is a great competitive advantage, and could be a way to help explain the longer shipping times. Worth considering.
- Shipping & handling times: How long does each shipping method take? How long can a customer expect between them placing their order and actually receiving it?
- Restrictions: Are there any restrictions for your shipping abilities? Like if you don’t ship to certain states, countries, P.O. boxes, etc.
And of course, create this page the same way you made the others.
Add these pages to your navigation
Just like any page you make on Shopify, you have to add these to your website’s header or footer or else customers can’t access them without the direct link.
Let’s add these 4 to the footer.
To do that, go to ‘Sales Channels’ ➜ ‘Online Store’ ➜ ‘Navigation.’
Click ‘Footer menu.’
Click ‘Add menu item.’
Then type the page’s name how you want it to appear in the footer.
Click ‘Link’ ➜ ‘Pages.’
Find and select the corresponding page. Then click ‘Add.’
Then repeat this until you’ve added all 4 pages.
Then click ‘Save menu’ at the bottom of the screen.
You’ll need to set up lots of little things to get the store running smoothly. Let’s run through the settings.
In the bottom left corner of the dashboard, click the ‘Settings’ button with the gear icon.
First, go to ‘General’ and fill out all your store details.
Set up taxes
Then, go to ‘Taxes.’ Select if you want to just calculate taxes into your prices, or if you want the customer to pay for taxes based on the location they’re making their purchase from. In the US, this would be based on their state/county/city. In other places, this might be based on their country.
Amanda chose to calculate them into her prices. This is usually my personal choice too.
Check the appropriate box and click ‘Save.’
Set up payments
I’m a fan of using Shopify Payments and PayPal Express (for US customers). They make it super simple for you to get paid, and they’re lightning fast to set up. Some of the other payment gateways can take weeks to set up completely.
So let’s do Shopify Payments first. Go back to settings and click ‘Payment providers.’
Click ‘Complete account setup’ to use Shopify Payments.
Fill in your personal details, including:
- Business details
- Personal details
- Product details (just a quick description – like ‘Women’s fashion accessories store’)
- Customer billing statement (how you want your company to be listed on their credit card transactions)
- Banking information – bank account and routing numbers
Double-check and make sure it’s all correct, then click ‘Complete account setup.’
On the next page, you’ll see the fees that Shopify Payments charges. Take note that for each online transaction, Shopify will take a 2.9% fee plus an additional 30 cents. If you’re changing currencies, it will cost an additional 1.5% of each transaction.
PayPal is popular. That’s why I recommend adding the option for customers to pay through it.
To set it up, click the ‘Activate’ button in the PayPal section of the ‘Payment providers’ page.
If you have a regular PayPal account, you’ll need to upgrade to a business account. If you don’t have a PayPal account at all, create a business account.
PayPal will ask what type of business it is. If you’re not registered (and in the US), select ‘Individual/Sole Proprietorship.’
They’ll ask a few questions and for the URL. Give ‘em all the good stuff.
Click ‘Save’ and you should be good to go.
Set up checkout
Let’s set up the checkout process for customers.
Here are my recommendations for settings for new store owners:
- Customer accounts ➜ Accounts are disabled
- Customer contact
- To check out ➜ Customers can only check out using email
- Form options
- Full name ➜ Require first and last name
- Company name ➜ Hidden
- Address line 2 ➜ Optional
- Shipping address phone number ➜ Required
- Order processing
- While the customer is checking out
- Use the shipping address as the billing address by default
- Enable address autocompletion
- After an order has been paid ➜ Do not automatically fulfill any of the order’s line items (this is important for using Oberlo)
- After an order has been fulfilled and paid ➜ Automatically archive the order
- While the customer is checking out
- Email marketing ➜ Show a sign-up option at checkout
- Abandoned checkouts ➜ Automatically send abandoned checkout emails
- Send to ➜ Anyone who abandons checkout
- Send after ➜ 10 hours (recommended)
Note: we’ll talk more about abandoned cart emails on Day 13.
Be sure to click ‘Save’ when you’re done.
Set up shipping
In Shopify, you’re required to enter an address for the ‘Shipping origin,’ and this should be your business address (which is probably your home address too, unless you decide to rent a mailbox).
But don’t worry, customers won’t see this once we change the settings.
First, delete the existing pre-set shipping zones.
Click ‘Edit’ next to the pre-existing zones.
Scroll down to the bottom and click ‘Delete zone’ and then ‘Delete shipping zone’ in the confirmation window that pops up.
Repeat for all of them (there are usually 2 – one for ‘Domestic’ and one for ‘Rest of world.’)
Once it’s clear, click ‘Add shipping zone.’
If you’re offering free shipping, just type that in. Customers won’t see this label.
You can add the countries you plan to ship to. Just add ‘Rest of world’ if you’re ok with shipping to other places.
Go to the ‘Add rate’ in the ‘Price based rates’ section.
Here, you can select ‘Free shipping rate’ if you plan to include shipping in your prices. If you want to charge customers for shipping, you can add a flat rate here instead. (In this case, change the name to something like ‘Flat rate $2 shipping’ so it accurately reflects your plan.)
When everything’s set up, don’t forget to click ‘Save’ as always.
You don’t need to worry about any other settings below that on the ‘Shipping’ page.
And you’ve got the basic settings configured! Now to analytics.
Set up Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a must-have. It will give you comprehensive information about the people who come to your store and what they do when they’re there.
If they made a purchase, you can use this info to get more sales. If they didn’t make a purchase, you can help fix that.
Here’s how to sign up:
- Go to the Google Analytics website.
- Choose the Gmail account you want to sign up with and log into it.
- Click ‘Sign up’ on the next page.
- Fill in your store details:
- Account and website name (these can be the same: the name of your store)
- Website URL that you just bought
- Industry category
- Your timezone
- Choose whatever data settings you want (these won’t impact your Analytics, so choose whatever you prefer). Then click ‘Get Tracking ID.’
- A popup will show you Google’s Terms of Service Agreement. Read through it, check the box next to ‘I also accept the Data Processing Terms as required by GDPR,’ and click ‘I Accept.’
- On the next page, it will show your Global Site Tag. This is a piece of code that needs to go on every page you want tracked (which is all of them). But Shopify makes this super easy – you only need to paste it in one place. Highlight and copy this entire code. Make sure you don’t miss anything.
- Now go to your Shopify dashboard. In the left sidebar under ‘Sales Channels,’ go to ‘Online Store’ and then ‘Preferences.’
- On that page, scroll down until you see the ‘Google Analytics’ section. Paste your whole Global Site Tag into this box.
- After you paste, check the box that says ‘Use Enhanced Ecommerce.’
- Then scroll to the bottom of the page and click ‘Save.’
- One last thing to do. You’ll want to enable ecommerce tracking inside Google Analytics so you can see how people are buying (or not buying) on your site. To do this, click the little gear at the bottom left of your Google Analytics account, which takes you to the Admin screen.
- On that screen, go to column 3 and click ‘Ecommerce Settings.’
- Toggle the switch under ‘Enable Ecommerce’ and ‘Enable Enhanced Ecommerce Reporting’ so that they say ‘On.’
- Then click ‘Save.’ And you’re done, woohoo!
Phew. Now your store’s backend is on point.
Day 9 Recap
✓ Secured and connected your custom domain
✓ Built out your key legal paves to save your behind legally
✓ Configured the important settings for a smooth-running store
✓ Installed a Google Analytics tracking code to see how you’re doing after launch
Now that this stuff is out of the way, we can build the exciting part… the frontend! See you tomorrow.