HomeBlogHow to Customize a Shopify Theme: A Full Guide

How to Customize a Shopify Theme: A Full Guide

How to Customize Shopify Theme_ A Full Guide

Shopify comes with over a hundred themes on the platform’s store and thousands of third-party themes on external marketplaces. But using a theme out-of-the-box, without making any changes, carries a risk that your store will look like one out of many.

So, to make your store stand out, you need to customize a Shopify theme. But if it’s your first time approaching this task, you might have many questions. Do you need any specific tools or apps? What should you pay attention to? What mistakes should you avoid?

As a Shopify development company, we at DigitalSuits have our share of experience in both customizing themes and building them from scratch. You can check out our Garden Plants and Goods Retailer case study to learn more.

In this blog post, we’d like to share our experience with you and cover the following:

  • Tools you may use to customize a Shopify themes
  • Elements you can (and should) customize
  • How to customize a Shopify stores in five steps
  • Mistakes to avoid
  • Signs that editing your theme yourself isn’t a good idea

4 tools you can use to customize a Shopify stores

To edit your theme, you can:

  • Use the default editor accessible via the Shopify admin panel
  • Turn to third-party page builders
  • Use a theme editor (if there is one)
  • Edit the website’s code yourself

Shopify Customize Theme editor

Pricing: free (included in the Shopify subscription)

While it might seem like an obvious choice, the default Shopify editor has a steep learning curve. It’s not your typical drag-and-drop editor. For example, to change the order of elements on the page, you should introduce the change in the list of elements on the left.

Another surprise for new users is that you can’t edit individual pages in the Shopify theme editor. Instead, you edit the templates that get applied to pages. So, if you customize a template, the edits will apply to all the pages that use it.

As for the customization capabilities, the default editor has all the basic editing features you need for:

  • Customizing the layout, typography, and color palette
  • Adding, moving, and removing sections
  • Editing the footer and header (however, you can’t remove them)

You can access the default editor by going to Online Store -> Themes in your admin dashboard and clicking Customize next to the name of the theme you want to edit.

Third-party page builders

If the default Shopify Customize Theme editor doesn’t match your needs or is too complicated for your liking, you have dozens of third-party apps that can facilitate the task. However, remember that their free versions are typically not enough for customizing a whole store.

GemPages Page Builder

Pricing: free, $29/month, $59/month, $199/month

Rating: 4.9/5 (based on 3,114 reviews)

GemPages combines an intuitive drag-and-drop editor, effortless mobile-first design, sleek templates, and extensive marketing features in one package. Here are its key features:

  • Advanced design features and animations
  • Page optimization tools for fast loading
  • Sales triggers and conversion elements
  • Extensive library of pre-built elements and blocks

Shogun Landing Page Builder

Pricing: free, $39/month, $149/month, $499/month

Rating: 4.8/5 (based on 2,997 reviews)

Shogun is another drag-and-drop editor that offers a wide range of templates and vast customization options. All plans also include powerful SEO features and a comprehensive marketing toolkit.

Here are Shogun’s other key features:

  • Support for all page types
  • Extensive element library with timers, accordions, videos, etc.
  • SEO control features
  • Custom font support

PageFly Landing Page Builder

Pricing: free, $24 to $89 per month (under the pay-as-you-go plan), $199/month

Rating: 4.9/5 (based on 7,096 reviews)

Most suitable for SMEs, PageFly’s drag-and-drop editor is intuitive and comes with plenty of pre-built templates and elements for any taste. Its Product/Collection Assignments feature allows you to customize a Shopify stores by building your pages in bulk, which makes it a time-saver.

Here are PageFly’s other key features:

  • Theme sections reusable on other pages
  • Clean code and page speed optimization
  • Conversion elements (sale countdown, forms, badges, etc.)
  • Automatic mobile and table responsiveness

Theme editor

Some theme developers offer their own editor. If you purchase such a theme, it can be a good idea to use the editor that comes with the theme. For one, it won’t cost you extra. Plus, the editor will be optimized for tweaking this theme, so there is a shallow risk of incompatibility issues.

However, not all editors delivered by theme developers are on par with third-party apps like Shogun or PageFly. So, see how they compare before purchasing a theme.

Shopify code editor

Finally, you can get your hands dirty and implement changes directly in your online store’s code. You can access it in your admin panel (Online Store -> Themes) by clicking Actions -> Edit code next to the name of the theme you want to change.

However, how to customize a Shopify theme using the code editor deserves a separate guide. It requires strong technical skills in using Shopify Liquid (the platform’s template language), as well as HTML, CSS, JSON, and JavaScript. So, choose this option only if you know your way around programming – or hire someone who does.

9 things you can (and should) customize

Here are nine website elements that you can and should change when you customize a Shopify website to make your store stand out in the vast pool of competition.

Color palette

A consistent color palette is one of the essential design tactics for a Shopify store. If you already have a logo, you can stick to its colors. If not (or if your logo is unicolor), you can start from scratch.

Here’s what a website color palette should include:

  • One primary color
  • One or two additional colors for highlights
  • One background color
  • One or two typeface colors

When you select your colors, make sure to:

  • Use consistent saturation (or use one color with varying saturation)
  • Pay attention to the contrast
  • Make your text easy to read
  • Save the hexadecimal values of the colors for further use

Fonts

Like colors, your fonts should be consistent across the website – and well-paired, too. Two or three fonts are typically enough; more than three fonts will distract and confuse your visitors.

When choosing fonts, you can select variations of the same font (e.g., Helvetica or Times New Roman) or combine fonts of different typefaces (e.g., a script font for headings and a sans serif one for main body text). Whichever path you opt for, here are a few tips for you:

  • Select the font, its size, and color for all text elements: headings of various levels, links, and body text
  • Vary the font size to establish the hierarchy of information
  • Remember that the text has to be legible

Buttons

Buttons’ settings are usually global and determine their appearance. When you customize a Shopify store, you can