Ecommerce Simplified: 8 reasons why Building your Dream Online Store on Shopify is the best choice for your Small Business

Written By
January 11, 2024

"Is it hard to build a Shopify website?" It's a question I've heard countless times throughout my career as a Shopify Web Designer. The simple answer? It depends.

If you're expecting to launch a fully-fledged eCommerce platform overnight with zero experience, then yes, you might find it challenging. However, with a little patience, a pinch of perseverance, and a healthy dose of curiosity, creating a Shopify website can be a surprisingly manageable task.

1. The Allure of Shopify

Shopify's popularity as an eCommerce platform isn't mere happenstance. As a web designer, I've had my fair share of experiences with various platforms, and Shopify stands out in many ways. Its dominance comes down to three main factors: ease of use, affordability, and the comprehensive feature set it offers.

4.39 million ecommerce sites are hosted on Shopify from about 175 countries. This doesn't just indicate its reach, but also the trust businesses place in this platform. Shopify accommodates businesses of various sizes, from individuals selling homemade crafts to multinational retail brands with millions in turnover. This ability to scale is a significant part of Shopify's allure.

But what's the process of building a website like? Theoretically, it should be as seamless as Shopify's operational flow suggests. However, the real world paints a slightly different picture. Building a website on Shopify, like any worthwhile endeavor, comes with its share of challenges. However, these are often mitigated by the platform's commitment to user-friendliness and extensive support network.

2. Ease of Use: Getting Started with Shopify

A significant portion of Shopify's appeal lies in its simplicity, especially for beginners. If you're a first-time online store owner, or even someone with minimal technical knowledge, Shopify is a godsend.

Shopify has worked hard to demystify terms and concepts like "domain," "SEO," "payment gateway," and others that can send a beginner into a head-spin. Their dashboard is simple and intuitive, walking you through each step needed to set up your online store.

Let me paint you a picture: You're setting up your first store. After signing up, you find yourself on a user-friendly dashboard. From here, you can navigate to different sections, each with clear instructions. Whether you need to add a product, set up payment methods, decide on shipping options, or optimize your website for search engines, Shopify has you covered.

Now, does this mean that beginners can become pros overnight? Not quite. It takes time to familiarize yourself with the system and gain confidence in using it. But what's impressive is the learning curve. I've seen novices become competent online store managers in a matter of weeks, simply by interacting with and learning from the Shopify system. This is a testament to the platform's emphasis on user-friendly design and simplicity.

3. Theme Selection: Aesthetics and Functionality

Choosing a theme is one of the most crucial steps when building your Shopify website. This is where you start transforming your vision into reality. Think of a theme as the backbone of your site's visual appeal and functionality. It's where aesthetics meet practicality.

Shopify provides an array of free and paid themes, each with its unique design, features, and layout styles. From minimalist designs to feature-rich themes, there's something for everyone.

However, it's essential to understand that selecting a theme isn't just about the look. It's also about how it functions, the user experience it offers, and how well it aligns with your brand identity. For instance, if you're running a high-end fashion store, a sleek, modern theme might suit you best, while a cozy, homely theme might be better for a craft store.

Navigating through Shopify's sea of themes can indeed feel overwhelming. But fret not! The detailed descriptions and user reviews can be your guiding light. Take your time to explore different themes, check out their demo stores, and read reviews. And remember, your chosen theme isn't set in stone - Shopify allows you to change your theme later if you decide to refresh your store's look.

4. Customization: Bringing Your Vision to Life

After selecting your theme, the real journey begins - customization. This stage can be both exciting and challenging. Here's where you make your site truly yours by tweaking it to align perfectly with your brand.

Shopify's basic settings are user-friendly and relatively easy to grasp. You can change colors, fonts, and layout options with just a few clicks. However, as you dive deeper into specific design elements or functionalities, it might seem like you've entered a labyrinth.

While Shopify is designed for those without extensive coding knowledge, a basic understanding of HTML and CSS can work wonders here. These coding languages can help you tweak your site's design beyond the basic settings. When I first started, I often found myself staring at my screen, baffled, wondering, "Why isn’t this working?" But over time, and with a fair share of trial and error, I learned to solve issues and bring my visions to life.

5. App Integrations: Expanding Your Website’s Capabilities

One of the features that truly make Shopify a powerful eCommerce platform is the vast array of apps available. You've got apps for SEO enhancement, customer reviews, inventory management, and so much more. These apps can dramatically expand your site's capabilities.

Installing these apps is typically as easy as clicking a button, but issues can arise when you start integrating multiple apps. For instance, not all apps play well together, and some might even interfere with your site's functionality.

In my experience, app integration is one of the more challenging aspects of building a Shopify website. It's like solving a puzzle - you need to find the right pieces (or in this case, apps) that not only meet your requirements but also work harmoniously together. This might require some trial and error, and a good deal of patience, but when done right, these apps can significantly elevate your store's functionality and customer experience.

6. Support and Community: You're Not Alone

Embarking on the journey of building a Shopify website, especially as a beginner, can feel like stepping into the unknown. However, one of the most comforting aspects of this journey is the robust support and vibrant community that Shopify provides.

Shopify's support system is stellar. Their team is available 24/7, ready to assist with any questions or issues you might encounter. Whether you're dealing with technical difficulties, need help setting up a feature, or simply have a question, the support team is just a chat or call away.

However, Shopify's support doesn't stop at their team. One of my favorite resources is the extensive Shopify community - a conglomerate of forum discussions, blogs, and online tutorials. Here, you can find insights and solutions from other Shopify users and experts who've likely faced and overcome the same hurdles you're facing.

Over the years as a Shopify web designer, I've found myself frequently turning to these resources. Whether I'm facing a new challenge or keen on learning a new skill, the support and community have been invaluable resources. So, remember, in your Shopify journey, you're never alone.

7. Time and Patience: Key Ingredients in Building a Shopify Website

If there's one thing I've learned in my years of building Shopify websites, it's that patience truly is a virtue. The time and patience you're willing to invest significantly influence your website building experience.

Yes, Shopify is designed to be user-friendly, and for a basic store, you could be up and running in just a couple of days. But when it comes to creating a more complex, fully customized site, the process could take weeks or even months. It's crucial to understand that this is not a reflection of Shopify's functionality, but rather the nature of creating a unique, feature-rich website.

There will be challenges along the way, whether it's selecting the perfect theme, customizing your website, or figuring out the best app integrations. There will be moments of frustration, and there will be "Aha!" moments.

From my perspective, the most important factor in building a Shopify website is patience – patience to learn, to experiment, and even to make mistakes. It's through these trials and errors that you truly understand the platform's capabilities.

8. Conclusion: Embrace the Shopify Adventure

In conclusion, is it hard to build a Shopify website? It certainly can be. But with the right mindset, patience, and a thirst for learning, it can also be an exciting adventure. If you ask me, the learning curve is steep but very manageable.

Remember that building your eCommerce store is not just about the destination; it's about the journey too. Every challenge you encounter and overcome is an opportunity to grow, not just as a business but as an individual.

As the saying goes, Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is a great Shopify store. But with each step, each new discovery, and every minor victory, you're building not just a website, but your very own eCommerce empire. So, buckle up and embrace the Shopify adventure!