Shopify Theme Development: How To Start It

Shopify Theme Development: 4 Steps To Get Best Results

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Shopify theme development is the process of creating a new theme for an eCommerce store. Professionals or amateurs can do this, but it’s essential to remember that Shopify doesn’t allow you to sell themes created using its base code on their marketplace. Knowing how they work is essential if you want to create your store and use a custom-made piece.

There are many ways of creating themes for Shopify stores; some people prefer coding manually, while others prefer using drag-and-drop platforms such as Divi Builder (for WordPress) and Elementor (for Drupal). Both have pros and cons; the former gives more freedom but takes time to learn, while the latter is more manageable but could limit your creativity at times.

Regardless of which option suits you best, they require HTML/CSS knowledge and experience with web design tools like Canva. To this end, this piece will show you the process of Shopify theme development.

What Is Shopify Theme?

Shopify themes are the basic building blocks of a Shopify store. They provide the design and functionality of your site, like adding products and managing customers. You can use Shopify’s free themes or create your custom theme with their code editor.

There are pros and cons to using a pre-built theme or creating your custom theme. That said, you can get pre-built themes at the Shopify theme store.

How to start a Shopify Theme Development project

Shopify Theme Development

Custom Shopify theme development requires a lot of skill and time. However, having a vision for what you want to achieve saves you time and energy.

You can build a Shopify store with some help from a designer or developer. All you need to have is basic knowledge about the Shopify platform and the available themes on the theme store, but if you don’t know where to start, let us help.

You will need:

  • An idea of what type of store you want to build (product line)
  • A few landing pages that attractively showcase your products, so they look enticing enough for potential buyers.
  • The suitable theme for your business.

1. Learn about Shopify’s CLI

Shopify’s command-line interface (CLI) is essential for theme development. The CLI allows you to create, edit, and deploy your Shopify store from your computer’s command line. You can use it to make a theme from scratch using the build subcommand or by modifying an existing template using the theme subcommand.

The great thing about having all this power at your fingertips is that it allows you to quickly iterate on designs without worrying about going back into your admin panel each time you make a change. This makes for faster workflow when developing themes.

2. Learn with the Shopify Partner Academy

If you’re interested in developing Shopify themes but don’t know where to start, the Shopify Partner Academy can help. The Partner Academy offers three courses on building Shopify themes:

  • Learn Shopify Theme Development
  • Learn Shopify App Development
  • Understand Ecommerce (optional).

3. Leverage the Slate theme development toolkit

If you want to create a Shopify theme from scratch or customize an existing one, then Slate is your best bet.

Slate is a toolkit for Shopify theme developers. It helps you create, update and customize themes from the command line. Slate ships with some default templates usable as starting points for new designs. But it also allows you to create your custom templates and style sheets which can be used in any project.

4. Get Creative with Your Design

As a Shopify store owner, one of the most important things is to make sure that your Shopify site is user-friendly; the best way to do this is by keeping design in mind. Here are some ways you can do that:

  • Ensure that your site is responsive. This means that it should look good on all screen sizes, from phones to large monitors.
  • Make navigation simple and easy for users to find what they’re looking for on your site.
  • Ensure visual appeal! Have fun with it, and create something eye-catching, so people want to spend time browsing around your page.
  • Ensure your pages load quickly, so visitors don’t get frustrated waiting around, especially important if they’re window shoppers.

RELATED ARTICLE: 20 Features That A Successful Ecommerce Website Must Have.

5 Essential pages to incorporate in Shopify Theme Development

When you start building a Shopify theme, it is vital to incorporate the following pages.

1. Homepage

The homepage is the most important page on your site. It’s where you can make a first impression and showcase what you have to offer. A bad homepage will turn away customers, while a good one will encourage them to spend more time with you and eventually buy from your store.

When creating your website, make sure that you start from the home page as it determines how people find their way around your site. The best eCommerce websites are those whose homepages are well-designed and informative about products and services available at that store. 

2. Landing Page

You can have your landing page showcase the products you sell. Alternatively, you can also highlight your brand and use images to pull in visitors. You can also give customers a reason to stay on your site with calls-to-action (CTAs).

If you’re selling physical products on Shopify and want people to come back again and again, then having an exit popup might be worth considering. You can include powerful CTAs to nudge users into making a conversion.

3. Product Pages

Product pages are the heart of your Shopify store. They’re also one of the most critical places to get right when developing a new theme or making changes to an existing one.

Your product page should include all of the following:

  • Product name
  • The product description includes more than just a paragraph about what’s included in a package. Also, add any information that helps potential customers decide whether this is precisely what they need or want.
  • Product image: this should represent what someone will receive if they buy from your store, not just something pretty that looks nice on-screen. You want people who click through from Facebook or Instagram ads to see precisely what they’re buying before deciding whether or not to purchase from you. Posting high-quality images online which look good regardless of the device type used by potential customers is essential.

Many other items may appear on certain types of pages within Shopify stores; however, this general rule applies across platforms: keep things clean and concise so users can quickly browse through products without getting overwhelmed by too much information.”

4. Blog Page

A blog page is a page that you can use to show your blog posts. Blog pages are important because it increases the number of pages listed on search engines. You can use a blog page to post exciting articles or any other content related to your store.

5. Contact Us Page

Your contact page is an excellent opportunity to showcase your professionalism, expertise, and prompt customer service.

The page should include the following information:

  • Complete business name and physical address (if applicable)
  • Hours of operation, including time zones if you’re an international business that ships internationally
  • Contact form or phone number
  • Email address or other methods you’d like clients to get in touch with you.

Shopify Custom Theme Vs. Ready-Made Themes 

Shopify Ready-made themes Shopify custom themes
They are faster to use and saves time. Takes time and slows down the process.
They are cheaper as you don’t have to pay for design, programming, and customizing. They cost money because you have to pay an expert to design, program and customize.
They look better and more professional because experts at Shopify designed them. They look less attractive because hired designers may not be as professional as those at Shopify.
May lack complex features if they are not available on the theme. You can instruct designers to add the complex features you want using HTML & CSS.
Designs are rigid and may not serve all your business needs. Designs are flexible and will serve all the needs that your business have.

Cons of Building Custom Shopify Theme

Building custom Shopify themes is a time-consuming and costly process. For starters, you need to have three years of experience with web development and design to create a compelling theme.

Additionally, if you are going to be working with HTML and CSS (the languages used to code websites), then it is required that you know how they work. If you don’t have any coding knowledge or expertise, building your own Shopify theme can be challenging. You will also need to hire someone who does have these skills for them to make the theme for you.

Pros of Building Custom Shopify Theme

Building a custom Shopify theme is rewarding, but it will also save you time and money eventually.

Pros of building custom Shopify themes:

  • Speed (faster load times)
  • Security (better security)
  • Flexibility (more flexibility)
  • SEO (search engine optimization)
  • Custom functionality (custom functionality)

This decision comes down to what you need and how much effort you’re willing to put into your own Shopify theme development process.


There are many things to consider when deciding which Shopify theme is suitable for your store. After reviewing your options, creating a theme from scratch can be beneficial and worth the effort. All you have to ensure is that your Shopify theme development is clean, simple, and modern.

You may also like to read our latest article, 4 Perfect Google Shopping Feed Optimization Methods.