- A good web developer should be able to handle many aspects of your Shopify store such as customizing themes and layouts, implementing apps and integrations, ensuring website speed and performance, and handling updates and maintenance.
- Hiring a web developer offers multiple benefits including saving time and resources, leveraging specialized skills and expertise, improving user experience and conversions, and supporting scalability and long-term growth.
- Before deciding to hire a web developer, you should consider your current store’s performance and identify areas for improvement—as well as the level of ongoing support you’ll require.
- Alternatives to hiring a web developer include outsourcing to a design studio or agency, collaborating with freelancers, or utilizing pre-built themes and templates. RS Creativ offers comprehensive store development and management services, providing customized solutions for small businesses and offering ongoing support.
For many small business owners, setting up and managing a Shopify store is no walk in the park. Chances are, you often grapple with challenges like choosing the right theme, integrating useful apps, and maintaining optimal website performance. As your business grows, these tasks can become increasingly complex and time-consuming, potentially hindering your focus on other critical aspects of the business. At a certain point, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll consider bringing on a web developer for additional support.
But a web developer worth working with (try saying that five times fast) should go beyond merely keeping the site up and running. Keeping a Shopify store competitive involves constantly updating and refining it to enhance user experience, boost conversions, and stay ahead of the competition. Below, we’ll walk you through what to consider if you’re thinking about hiring a web developer to take your Shopify store to the next level.
What Should a Web Developer Do?
A worthwhile web developer should be equipped with the skills and expertise to handle numerous aspects of your Shopify store. Here are a few of the most vital:
Customizing Themes & Layouts
Web developers can customize your Shopify theme and layout to reflect your brand’s unique identity and meet your specific business needs. They can also ensure that your store is responsive and mobile-friendly—a crucial factor when you consider that more than half of eCommerce transactions are completed on mobile devices.
Implementing Apps & Integrations
Shopify has a wide variety of apps and integrations that can enhance your store’s functionality. Examples include:
- Email Marketing Tools: Apps like Klaviyo or Mailchimp can help you manage your email marketing campaigns, automate emails (like abandoned cart reminders), and create targeted segments for personalized marketing.
- Social Media Integrations: Apps like Outfy can help you manage your social media marketing by allowing you to schedule posts, automate sharing of product listings, and more.
- SEO Tools: Apps like Plug in SEO or SEO Manager can help you optimize your store’s SEO, helping you rank higher in search engine results.
- Customer Review Tools: Apps like Yotpo or Judge.me allow customers to leave reviews on your products, which can build trust with future customers and boost conversion rates.
- Inventory Management: Apps like Stitch Labs or TradeGecko can help you manage your inventory across multiple channels, track orders, and forecast demand.
- Customer Service Tools: Apps like Gorgias or Zendesk can help you manage customer inquiries, support tickets, and provide better customer service.
- Sales and Conversion Optimization: Apps like Privy or OptinMonster can help you create pop-ups, banners, or email capture forms to help boost conversions and sales.
- Shipping and Fulfillment: Apps like ShipStation or Shippo can help you manage your shipping processes, print labels, track shipments, and more.
- Loyalty and Rewards Programs: Apps like Smile.io or LoyaltyLion can help you create customer loyalty and rewards programs to encourage repeat purchases.
- Analytics Tools: Apps like Google Analytics or Lucky Orange can provide valuable insights into customer behavior on your site, helping you make data-driven decisions.
However, choosing the right apps and implementing them correctly can be a daunting task. A web developer can help you navigate this landscape, ensuring seamless integration with your existing systems.
Ensuring Website Speed & Performance
Website speed and performance significantly impact user experience and search engine rankings. Web developers can optimize your site’s speed and performance, eliminating elements that might be slowing it down and implementing strategies to improve its loading times.
Handling Updates & Maintenance
Regular updates and maintenance are crucial for the smooth operation of your Shopify store. A web developer can provide ongoing support for your site, ensuring that your store is always up-to-date and free from glitches or security vulnerabilities.
Key Benefits of Hiring a Web Developer
Hiring a web developer for your Shopify store comes with numerous benefits:
Save Time & Resources
By hiring a web developer, you can save a significant amount of time and resources that you would otherwise spend trying to manage your store. This allows you to focus on other essential aspects of your business, such as marketing and customer relations.
Leverage Specialized Skills & Expertise
Web developers bring a wealth of specialized skills and expertise to the table. They stay up-to-date with the latest trends, technologies, and best practices in web development, ensuring that your store remains competitive and cutting-edge.
Improve User Experience & Conversions
A well-designed and maintained Shopify store can significantly enhance user experience, leading to increased customer engagement and conversions. Web developers help you achieve this by optimizing your site’s design, functionality, and performance.
Scalability & Long-Term Growth
Web developers can design your Shopify store with scalability in mind, ensuring that it can handle increased traffic and transactions as your business grows. They can also implement strategies for long-term growth, such as SEO and data analytics (see above).
Evaluating Your Business Needs
Before deciding whether to hire a web developer, you need to have a clear idea of where your business is within your landscape and where you want to go. Try the following:
Assessing Your Current Store’s Performance & Issues
Analyze your Shopify store’s current performance and identify any issues that might be affecting its operation or user experience. This could involve monitoring site speed, checking for broken links, or reviewing customer feedback.
Identifying Areas for Improvement & Growth
Look for areas in your Shopify store that could be improved or expanded. This might involve enhancing your store’s design, adding new features or functionalities, or improving your SEO strategy.
Determining the Level of Ongoing Support Required
Consider the level of ongoing support your Shopify store will require. This might depend on factors such as your store’s size, the complexity of its design and features, and your long-term growth plans.
Alternatives to Hiring a Web Developer
While hiring a web developer can be incredibly beneficial, it’s not the only option available for managing your Shopify store. Here are some alternatives:
Outsourcing to a Design Studio or Agency
Outsourcing your Shopify store management to a design studio or agency can provide you with a comprehensive range of services, from design and development to marketing and support. For example, web development is a key part of what we do at RS Creativ—but we also offer a unique strategic approach called Purple™ to help online retailers establish clear goals and tactics that result in real growth.
By conducting thorough research and discovery, we go beyond standard marketing audits to provide tailored recommendations and strategies that align with your business objectives and budget. This ensures that any web development services you pay for actually support your goals based on your current resources and capabilities.
Collaborating with Freelancers
Freelancers can be a cost-effective solution for managing specific aspects of your Shopify store, such as design, development, or SEO. However, this option requires more management on your part, and the quality of work can vary significantly.
If you’re considering a freelancer for support with your store, it’s best to make sure they have an extensive portfolio of their work available. Try to find positive feedback from previous clients they’ve worked with as well. For more information, read our guide on How to Vet Your Prospective Shopify Agency, Freelancer, or Partner.
Utilizing Pre-Built Themes & Templates
Shopify offers a wide range of pre-built themes and templates that you can use to set up your store quickly and easily. While exploring these on your own may be the cheapest option initially, it’s important to remember that themes can be expensive, and not all of them are user friendly or intuitive. To avoid spending money on a theme that doesn’t have all the features and functionalities your business needs, it’s best to get some expert advice.
RS Creativ’s Shopify Store Management Services
RS Creativ provides comprehensive store development and management services for online retailers. When you need help with your Shopify store, we’re standing by to provide it. Here’s what we offer:
- Comprehensive store development and management: When we partner with you, we provide ongoing expertise that covers numerous aspects of your store—including strategy, design, marketing, and support. Having over three decades of retail, creative, and marketing experience gives us an understanding of the struggles you’re facing as a growing e-commerce business and lets us provide the necessary support to overcome them.
- Customized solutions for small businesses: Your business is unique, which is why we never offer one-size-fits-all solutions. Our Purple™ strategy ensures that all projects start with a ‘win-win’ mentality—giving you critical information you can use to take your business to the next level or address vulnerabilities before they have a chance to impact your chances of success.
- Ongoing support & optimization: Online businesses need continuous maintenance and upkeep in order to remain competitive, so we continually optimize your store to attract and retain qualified customers and improve customer experiences with technology.
Ultimately, while a web developer can offer essential support to help you manage your Shopify store, it’s often advisable to partner with organizations who can provide more comprehensive support—depending on your store’s complexity, your business objectives, and your budget. Make sure whatever you decide on aligns with your long-term growth plans and provides the best possible experience for your customers. To learn more about how to hit all the bases for your growing business, contact our team and speak with an expert.