When thinking about building an e-commerce website, Shopify is the go-to solution. By now, Shopify is a household name not only on top of the industry but also pushing it forward. It has one of the best content management systems in its tier, seamless integrations across other apps, and a comprehensive user experience, making Shopify an ideal platform for small and large businesses alike. While its user interface is intuitive and accessible, there has been an ongoing debate on whether hiring a Shopify developer is worthwhile, and if certain features could be “unlocked” from the already powerful platform.
So what can you expect from hiring a Shopify developer, and how can a developer streamline your own workflow while improving your site’s user experience?
How A Developer Can Help
Shopify is the one-stop-shop (pun intended) for all things e-commerce. As a fully customizable website hosting service, you have full control over how you choose to represent your business and products to customers. And it goes beyond (or below) e-commerce as well. If you want to use Shopify without e-commerce just because you like its interface and capabilities, there is nothing holding you back. One of the best parts about Shopify is its range of users; from well-established businesses to startups and everything in-between, Shopify can scale to your own personal needs. Plus, you can get your site up and running with little to no web design experience. But what added perks does a developer offer?
What Developers Do
While getting your site going in Shopify may be quick and simple using templates and tutorials, there are other aspects that you will want to consider in order to find success. For instance, ensuring that payment methods are properly integrated, or that your website is optimized for Google. Shopify developers are able to take out the guesswork that comes with web design, making sure that it just works. Because while your site might look nice, it may not play nice.
Templates are a great start. They offer a way of envisioning a site’s layout, offer intuitive user experience design, and make development a breeze. But there comes a time, and often pretty quickly, when you start to want customization: whether it is smoothing out a corner, adding a different interaction, or changing the positioning of a banner. Perhaps you realize you actually want your site to function and appear completely differently from the template, but there are no other templates that meet your needs. This is where the developer comes in. Not only are developers able to make modifications to templates or design, but they are able to provide valuable input on some of the best practices for user experience and accessibility.
One of the most valuable tools that come with Shopify is its ability for integrations with other apps. Integrations have multifaceted functions from boosting your business’ online presence, running ads on Facebook and Instagram, and managing payments and shipments. Whether it is integrating Shopify with social channels such as Facebook or payment apps like Stripe, you most likely will need a developer’s help.
Unless you’re code savvy, making and altering code on your site can be a daunting task. Often integrations require adding bits of code in order to be functional. And templates offer only so much flexibility; if you want to make changes to pages, headers or footers, code is a must. Shopify developers can swiftly translate your ideas onto the web page through custom code so you can have full control over your site.
Functionality and Performance
One of the most time consuming tasks when building a website is making sure that everything works. And in the all-too-common scenario where something is not, the challenge can be locating the place to fix it. Developers are the perfect solution for identifying and correcting glitches, errors, and mistakes along the way. Further, developers test and try essential features of your website, such as the checkout process and inventory, to make sure that customers will have the best experience possible when visiting your site.
While your site may be internally functional, it is also important to make sure it’s optimized for search engines. So that your site can be found, ranked, and visited by customers, it is essential to be on top of your SEO. Developers can meticulously optimize every page of your site to ensure that it is operating at 100% efficiency for both users and web crawlers that index and map your site for Google and other search engines.
How to Hire a Developer
Set Your Goals
Before jumping to hire a Shopify developer, ask yourself what you want to accomplish. Alternately, if you have a general sense of what you want to accomplish, even if it is as vague as improving optimization, a developer can help guide you through the process.
A few examples of goals you may have are:
- You want to modify certain visual aspects of your site
- There are issues that you want to resolve
- You desire additional features on your site
When hiring a developer, gather your notes on paper and set your goals so you can discuss further during the interview.
Outline a Budget
It is important to have a budget set aside when hiring a Shopify developer so that you can adequately create an essential list of feature that can be accomplished within margin. By laying out a budget, you can ensure that the important details are tackled first before moving down the list.
When interviewing developers, it is important to communicate your goals clearly and directly so that expectations are set on the table and work can be completed efficiently. On the same note, make sure you understand what the developer can and can’t do. Ask questions and request examples so that you can make an educated judgement on whether the developer is right for you.
Once you’ve found a developer, discuss the project at length. Set up a timeline where tasks can be reviewed in meetings and issues can be addressed.
Don’t forget to ask for the developers input too, since they may have solutions to issues that you may have not initially though of.
While anybody can dive into Shopify and build a website with ease, ensuring that your site is operational and optimized for both users and search engines alike can be an enormous challenge. Shopify developers are there to maximize your business’ success and provide security for you to be able to test out new ideas and possibilities without the risk of breaking your site.
Learn more about what a developer can do for your Shopify site today!