Shopify Promotions and Navigation

This entry is part 3 in the series Shopify for Beginners

While the Shopify Promotions tab gives you a pretty straightforward way to add discount codes to your site, the Navigation tab might surprise you with its versatility. Sure, you can use link lists to provide navigation to different sections of your site, but did you know that you can also use them to create collection landing pages, product galleries and more?


Promotions Overview

Promotions Overview (click to view larger)

In your Shopify admin area, click Promotions.

You will see any discount codes you’ve already created as well as a link to create new ones. If you have previously used discount codes, you can quickly see how many times each code has been used.

Adding a new promotion

To create a new discount code, click the Add a discount code link just below the Promotions page title.

Add A Coupon Overview

Adding a New Coupon (click to view larger)

  • Give your promotion a name. This will be the code the customer uses to redeem the coupon. You can enter your own unique name (such as SummerSpecials2012) or click the Generate link to generate a random code.
  • Choose the Coupon Type. You can choose between a dollar discount (using the currency set in your Preferences), a percentage discount, or free shipping.
    • To create a dollar discount, enter the amount you want to discount each order. You can further restrict this code by selecting a filter from the next drop-down menu: all orders, orders over, collection or specific product. Choosing any option other than all orders will give you additional filtering options.
    • To create a percentage discount, enter the percentage by which each order will be discounted. You can further restrict the code by selecting filters.
    • To create a free shipping discount, enter the maximum rate that qualifies for free shipping. You can further filter this by country.
  • Coupon details

    Coupon details (click to view larger)

  • Edit the Coupon Details. The default sets the coupon to start today, be valid until it is (manually) deactivated, and to have unlimited uses. You can click any of those links to edit the parameters of the coupon to set a start and end date and to limit uses.
  • When you are happy with your coupon, click the Create discount button.

To deactivate a coupon at any time, you can always click the Disable discount button to the right of your coupon in the list of active discounts.

More Promotion options

Below the coupon list are three additional promotional tools.

    • Google Product Search: To publish your products to Google Product Search, click the Publish them now button. You must be logged in to the Google account associated with your shop to complete this process.
    • Google Experiments: To perform A/B testing on your shop, click the Create a New Experiment button. You can choose the element of your shop you’d like to use for multivariate testing and follow the instructions to start a new experiment.
    • Shopify Marketing Apps: click the link to the Shopify App Store to add marketing apps to your site.


Shop Navigation Overview

Shop Navigation Overview (click to view larger)

In your Shopify admin, click Navigation.

You will see all of the link lists you have created for your site. Link lists are organized with the default link lists displayed first and any custom link lists displayed in alphabetical order by list name. Each link list has individual links to sections of your site or external web pages.

A “link list” is a block of links. Each link list has its own name and a unique handle for use in themes. Each shop includes two default link lists (Main Menu and Footer) but you can add an unlimited number of custom link lists, in addition to being able to add, change and delete the links in both of the default lists.

Adding New Links

Adding a new link

Adding a new link (click to view larger)

  • Choose the existing menu you’d like to add a link to and click the Add link button.
  • Give your link a name. This will be the text that appears on your site (for example, if you’re linking to your Blog and want the link to say My Thoughts, you would enter My Thoughts here).
  • Choose the section of your site you want to link to from the first drop-down menu. You may link to a blog, your shop front page, a collection, a page, an individual product, a search page, or an external URL.
  • In the second drop-down menu, you can further refine your link choice. For example, if you’re linking to a product, you can choose the product from the drop-down menu.
  • Click Add link to add your link to the link list.

If you’re linking to a collection, you can filter the display by tags. So if you have a collection of tee shirts and you want your navigation link to only display shirts that have been tagged “holiday,” you can do so without having to create an additional collection.

Editing Existing Links

Editing a link list

Editing a link list (click to view larger)

  • Find the link list you’d like to edit and click the Edit link list link next to the list’s title. The entire link list becomes editable.
  • Find the link you’d like to change.
  • Make your edits by changing the information in the Link Name or Links To fields.
  • Click the Save Changes button to save your changes.

Creating a New Link List

Creating a new link list

Creating a new link list (click to view larger)

  • Click Add link list below the title at the top of the Navigation page.
  • Give your link list a name and click the Add Link List button.
  • Follow the instructions above to add new links to your list.

Adding a Link List to Your Theme

Editing theme files requires knowledge of HTML and Liquid. Do not edit live theme files if you’re not sure what you’re doing! Always back up your theme before making changes.

  • Go to Themes > Template Editor. Choose the section of your theme you’d like to add the link list to from the list of available template files on the left. The template file will open in the editor.
  • Find the place in the template file where you’d like to add your link list.
  • Enter the code for your link list. (In the example below, you are using a conditional tag to check to see if the link list “footer” has any links in it, and if so, creating a paragraph with the class of links and displaying each link in it.)
  • Save your template file


Doing More With Link Lists

Want to get a little fancy with link lists? Here are some cool tutorials for using link lists in ways you may not expect:

Next Up: Blogs & Pages.

The Copic Store

Copic Markers are awesome, and we were tickled R00-Copic Pinkish White that we got to set them up with a custom Shopify theme!

Copic Marker - OVERVIEW

Collection pages use custom sub-nav tabs to group related products, accessories and description pages together.

This store uses a combination of Custom and Smart Collections to manage a huge inventory of pens, inks and accessories. Eagle-eyed visitors will notice that it blends seamlessly with the Copic Marker WordPress site, too. (Hint: that’s not an accident.)

Using collections and tags for a two-tiered sorting process gave us a tremendous amount of flexibility, which we definitely needed to get this site working the way it should! Shopify has made it really easy to access collections and tags via link lists (in the Navigation tab of the Shopify admin). Navigation: not just for links anymore. They’ve also made some changes to the way tags are handled, which essentially allows users to create collections on the fly using tags.

Copic Marker bulk order forms

Bulk order forms let customers quickly add lots of products.

This theme had a lot of custom elements:

  • tab-based sub-navigation on the collection pages (which pull in the correct products based on tags)
  • overview pages that detail each product family with a graphic and some links
  • sidebar graphics that change depending on which collection is being viewed
  • related products (again, based on collections and tags – are you sensing a theme?)
  • a cool bulk order option, which uses Custom Collections as well as a custom collection template (and a bit of javascript) to add a little sumpin’ sumpin’ to the ‘add to cart’ function

Bloom Essentials Redesign

Bloom Essentials has a fresh new look! We first designed this site back in 2008 (it featured one of our favorite custom illustrations: the Bloom Girl) and we were delighted when Kim and Nicole came to us for the redesign.

Bloom Essentials home page

We love the bold colors and fun graphics on the Bloom Essentials redesign.

First up, we worked with the Bloom crew to come up with a bold new color scheme that really makes the site pop. We added some fun, frilly elements (after all, it’s a day spa!) and a subtle floral background to add a little texture. We had a moment of silence for the Bloom Girl (don’t worry, she’s almost certainly gone off to become an actress or something) and fell in love with the pretty new site design.

After all, what’s not to love? The front page has a slideshow (with the ability to swap out images in the admin area using theme settings) as well as displaying featured products, testimonials from happy customers, and the latest news from the blog. We’ve also got sharing buttons to make it easy to connect with Bloom Essentials elsewhere on the web.

Bloom Essentials — Blog

The Bloom Essentials blog is fully integrated with the theme.

Oh, and did we mention the blog? Shopify’s got blogging baked right in, so all we had to do is create a template file and the blog was ready to rock!

Check out the newly redesigned Bloom Essentials site to see it in action.

Our new book is out!

…and we’ve got a fab new companion site to go with it. Check out the WordPress Visual Quickstart Guide: Second Edition site.

WordPress Visual QuickStart Guide Companion Site

We created a simple, usable theme to complement the cover design of the new edition of our WordPress book.

Designing for WordPress is one of our favorite things – and writing about it is a close second. We were lucky enough to do both for this project, creating a companion theme to the book as part of the process of walking users through the creation of a simple theme from scratch.

Simple is the key word here; we’ve got a few bells and whistles, but for the most part this theme is a simple showcase of the power of WordPress.

Here are some of the features of this custom theme:

Posts | WordPress Visual QuickStart Guide

As part of a tutorial on integrating custom fonts, we changed the titles on our theme to use Google Fonts.

Jessica Neuman Beck | WordPress Visual QuickStart Guide

Author pages help visitors get a better idea of who writes the articles as well as providing an overview of that author's published work.

  • Text-based header, which pulls in both the site title and the tagline from the WordPress admin
  • Author pages, which display each author’s profile information as well as a Gravatar and links to their published articles on the site
  • An author overview section at the bottom of each post
  • A simple portfolio section, which uses custom post types to display a thumbnail image, URL, description and relevant tags for each portfolio item
  • Google Ads integration in the sidebar

And maybe the coolest part? You can download the whole theme. For free.

Buy the book at Peachpit Press, and download the sample theme on our companion site. And don’t forget to let us know what you think!

We <3 WordCamp

20110917-112812.jpgWordCamp PDX is our favorite conference of the year, and we’re delighted to be attending this year. WordPress developers, designers, and bloggers convene to share information and learn new tricks. Also, there is usually Whiffies.

This year we left the laptop at home – and while we were not the only iPad users there by a long shot, we still got asked about it a LOT. The answer? Using the iPad at a conference is GREAT. It’s light, portable, wifi-enabled and easy to take out and put away (especially using our fabulous iPad clutch). The only thing that could have made it into a must-have conference tool is if we could take photos with it, instead of having to switch back & forth between the iPad and the iPhone. Note to self: get an iPad 2!

Here’s a breakdown of some of the sessions:

Evan Solomon from Automattic talked about figuring out what your users really want. A/B testing is a huge benefit. Question assumptions. Test liberally, he says, and don’t be afraid to test out crazy ideas to discover new ways of doing things. Even if your tests don’t show what you’re expecting, if you learn something, it’s a success. He gives a great example of the main page sidebar; they assumed they needed to tweak the information below the sign-up button (wording, graphics, etc) – but when they tested a version with nothing at all below the sign-up button, conversion rates increased by 25%. He recommends using something like Optimizely or his yet-unreleased WordPress plugin that will let you do A/B testing from the Dashboard. See the slides from his talk here.

Andrew Nacin (core developer of WordPress) dove right into wp_query. This talk was way over my head, but it was crazy interesting to learn about how WordPress queries data and how to filter results to limit query variables. I won’t do it justice, but here are my notes from the session: Every wp_query has methods that mimic the global conditional tags. The global conditional tags apply to wp_query, the main or current query. Conditional tags only work after the data has been parsed; you can use it during get_posts. Make sure you restore to the main query by using wp_reset_query. Most of these functions have been around since 1.5 or 2.0. Core queries are all filterable, which is useful because the API will not always do what you want. His slides are all here.

Next up was a session on SEO by Ira Pasternak, Milen Cole, and Sarah Tetreault. They reminded us that SEO is an ongoing process; you can’t just set it up at the beginning and then forget about it. When checking your search engine ranking, be aware of Google personalized results; when you’re logged in to any Google account, your search results will be different from other people’s, since Google uses your browsing history, bookmarks, friends’ recommendations, etc. to tailor your search experience. Try logging out of your Google account to see if your business’ search results are the same.

They also talked a bit about search engine algorithms and how a site ends up at the top of search results. Relevance, of course, is key. Relevance is about content but also authority; traditionally this was measured by how many sites link to you and also how highly ranked those linking sites are. If you have a local business, citations are also important. The number of times that people mention your website along with your phone number or address (even if your URL is not used) raises your authority, which raises your rank. Link building is contextual; you’ll want links from sites related to your industry. Compare to your competitors to find out who is linking to their sites. Use a tool lie SEOmoz to find that out.

They closed with a reminder: SEO is not passive. You need to actively pursue links in the form of articles, blog posts, newspaper articles, local listings and directories.

Aaron Hockley, WCPDX organizer extraordinaire, talked about the future of personal blogging. Personal blogs are no longer necessarily focused on a single topic; a photographer’s blog, for example, might include posts about coffee and bicycling in addition to posts about photography. Aaron has consolidated his blogging to is personal site and his business site rather than dividing his energy between 4 or 5 different single-topic sites. This turned out to be a common trend for many other attendees: to have a single site that functions as a hub for their online identity. People are starting to follow people as opposed to topics. If you want to filter your feeds, you can organize by topic, etc – but is this necessary? Do people want to subscribe to targeted feeds, or do they want to read everything by the author? (We’ve found the latter to be true in our own experience.)

Feel like you missed out? Come to WordCamp PDX next year (or find a WordCamp in your area). The range of topics is hugely diverse & there’s always something new to learn. Keep your eye out for videos of these and all the other WCPDX sessions to hit sometime soon.

New office setup, new intern

Kendra Perez

Hi, Kendra!

There’s a LOT going on around the couldbe studios offices lately: fun projects for clients both new and old, an in-progress update to our WordPress book (and the corresponding from-the-ground-up redo of the WordPress book site’s theme), and more – but one of the things we’re the most excited about is hiring our first onsite employee!

Kendra Perez has joined the couldbe team as a part-time intern, bringing a knack for numbers (sorely needed around these parts) as well as a love for web design.

New office setup at couldbe studios

<- Intern / Jessica ->

To make room for the new addition we moved Matt’s desk into the smaller office (now that Matt’s got a fab new day job, he primarily develops for us nights and weekends – the smaller office works perfectly for him) and arranged the main office with two desks and a defined space for the kidlets to play while Kendra and Jessica work. (They have a TV, video games galore, snacks, and a couch – we’re jealous!) Aside: we’ve found that the more kids we have in the office, the easier it is for the grownups to get work done (although couldbe kid Ellison is pretty great about keeping himself entertained – or, as he calls it, ‘working’ – while mama cranks out a few websites). When the little ones are at school or day care, the kid area doubles as a snazzy reception spot (although, perhaps disappointingly, we rarely turn on the XBox for our visiting clients).

Kid area in the front

Kid area in the front

Kendra is just starting out with web design, and we’re eager to find out what works best for her in terms of tricks and tools. We’ve set her up with Coda for coding and Flow to keep track of to-dos, and she’s already got a head start using Illustrator and InDesign. Maybe there’s a blog post in there – what do you think, Kendra?

We’re all seriously excited about all the changes around here and are looking forward to a great second half of 2011.

Shopify Themes and Apps

This entry is part 2 in the series Shopify for Beginners

Themes and apps are the easiest way to customize your Shopify storefront without touching the code. Your theme dictates the look and feel of your storefront, while apps can add all sorts of functionality, from mobile access to inventory management and more. We’ll walk you through the basics of the Theme and Apps sections here.

Managing Themes

The Shopify Theme Drop-Down Menu

The Shopify Theme Drop-Down Menu (click to view larger)

In your Shopify admin screen, click the Theme link in the green bar to view the Theme drop-down menu. You will see the options available for your existing theme, as well as a link to the Shopify Theme Store, where you can choose a new free or paid theme.

If your theme has configurable Theme Settings, you will see a link to those in the drop-down menu. If not, you will see a link to the Template Editor, where you can edit your theme’s core files. NOTE: Editing a live theme’s template files is NOT recommended for beginners!

Making Changes to Your Theme’s Settings

Shopify Theme Settings

Shopify Theme Settings (click to view larger)

  • In the Theme drop-down menu, choose Theme Settings
  • You will see a page with all the configurable settings for your theme. This varies from theme to theme, so look carefully to see what is available to you. Click a gray header to expand each settings sub-section.
  • To update settings, choose from the available options. Once you are happy with your selection, click Apply Changes
  • Refresh your storefront in your browser to see the changes you’ve made

If you want to save your settings as a preset, be sure to select the checkbox next to Save current settings as a preset. Doing this will allow you to revert back to these settings at any time.

Making Changes to Your Theme’s Template Files

Editing a live theme’s template files is NOT recommended for beginners!

The Shopify Template Editor

The Shopify Theme Editor (click to view larger)

  • In the Theme drop-down menu, select Template Editor
  • You will see a list of all your theme’s core files on the left. Select one to open it in the Editor.
  • If you’re familiar with HTML, Liquid and CSS, you can make changes to your theme’s core files here. (Not sure what Liquid is? Check out Shopify’s Resources for more information.) Even if you’re not familiar with code, simple text changes will probably be easy to make here. For example, to change the message that appears when a customer searches for a page that isn’t on your site, click the 404.liquid template file and make changes to the text. Don’t make any changes to the tags if you’re not sure what they are.
  • Click Save to save your changes. NOTE: Any changes you make here will affect your live site!

To revert to a previously-saved version of your template file, click See older version at the top of your edit screen.

Exporting Your Theme

  • In the Template Editor, find the section at the top that says Export
  • Click Download your theme to start the process of compressing your theme for download
  • You will receive an email from Shopify when your theme is ready to download. Click the link in the email to download the theme to your computer.

Choosing a New Theme

Applying a new theme overwrites any theme currently on your site. ALWAYS export your current theme before applying a new one.

The Shopify Theme Store

The Shopify Theme Store (click to view larger)

  • In the Theme drop-down menu, click Find more themes to visit the Theme Store
  • Use the filters at the top of the screen to help you find exactly the theme you’re looking for. You can choose free or paid themes and search by color.
  • Click a theme’s thumbnail to learn more about it. If the theme has a preview, you will see a link to the preview next to the theme’s description.
  • Choose a New Theme

    Choose a New Theme (click to view larger)

  • To choose a theme, click the Get Theme button.
  • If the theme you have chosen is a Free theme, you can follow the onscreen instructions to apply it to your site right away. NOTE: You will lose ANY changes you have made to your current theme when you apply a new theme! Follow the instructions above to export your current theme if you have made any customizations to it.
  • If the theme you have chosen is a Paid theme, you must follow the onscreen instructions to pay for it before you can apply it to your site

Adding and Managing Shopify Apps

The Shopify Apps Menu

The Shopify Apps Menu (click to view larger)

Click Apps in the green bar to view the Apps drop-down menu. You will see a list of any apps you have installed as well as links to Manage your apps and to access the App Store.

Apps are small applications that can add functionality to your shop. The Shopify App Store contains both free and paid apps.

Adding an App from the Shopify App Store

The Shopify App Store

The Shopify App Store (click to view larger)

  • In the Apps drop-down menu, click Get more apps to access the App Store
  • Use the drop-downs at the top of the screen to help you find a specific app, or browse through all of them to see what’s available. You can search by category or integration, and you can also choose to only see free apps by clicking free.
  • The Shopify Mobile App in the Shopify App Store

    The Shopify Mobile App in the Shopify App Store (click to view larger)

  • To see more information about an app, click its thumbnail. You will see a description of the app, the cost (if any), and additional information like video walk-throughs or demos.
  • Once you’ve chosen an app, click Install App to add it to your shop. Each app’s installation process is different; follow the onscreen instructions to complete installation.

Managing your Apps

Manage Applications

Manage Applications (click to view larger)

  • Click Manage Apps in the Apps drop-down
  • You will see a page which lists all of the apps you have installed, along with links marked Login and Remove.
  • To edit an app’s settings or other information, click Login. To remove the app from your account, click Remove.

Next up: Promotions and link lists.