SEO for Shopify

SEO for Shopify

SEO for Shopify

I was honoured to be invited to speak at this panel on Shopify SEO and Shopify in general and how to make your Shopify sites work better.

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How to make your Shopify site look expensive

How to make your Shopify site look expensive

How to make your Shopify site look expensive

make your shopify site look expensive

Do you want to make your Shopify site look expensive but can’t afford to hire a designer? Read on, I have gathered all the tricks from my years working as a website designer that can upgrade your DIY website without spending any extra money.

First, I need to clarify, when I say ‘expensive’, it’s a short-cut to mean ‘trustworthy, classy and high-end’. It’s less about money and more about building this relationship with your site visitor that you know is crucial to making sales online. If people don’t feel confident spending money in your online store, your business will suffer.


The first decision you will face when creating your website on Shopify which will determine the look and functionality of your store is the theme you choose. As you probably already know, there is a selection of free Shopify themes available directly from their store. You may be wondering if the free Shopify themes are any good or if you need to be splurging on a premium one. The good news is that:

A Free shopify theme doesn’t have to look cheap

Let’s look at this example of two stores using the same free Shopify theme, Brooklyn.

shopify free theme example
shopify free theme example brooklyn

It doesn’t take a designer to instinctively know which one of these websites looks expensive and it has nothing to do with the theme that’s used.

The reason why a choice of the Shopify theme is so important comes down largely to the functionality it offers. Some themes will let you edit everything down to the spacing of items in your menu bar. Others will let you choose between 6 fonts and make everything unreasonably hard.

Here’s an example of the theme customisation panel from two different websites I worked on, to give you an idea.

shopify themes customisation options

That is why, even if your budget is limited, I would encourage you to consider some paid options. For my clients, I usually recommend Flex or Turbo which are both superb (here’s a nice discount code for you, if you decide to try it out: DOMITRACY10 ). But if you’re not ready for the investment, here are 3 themes I found below $100 which I believe are great value for money:

Roxxe – $59

Kalles – $89

Lezada – $49


Immediate giveaways of a DIY Shopify website

  1. Low quality images

Avoid using stock images or product photos supplied by the manufacturer, especially if you’re dropshipping and the same images will be used by your competitors. You can create high resolution, beautiful images using nothing but your smartphone.

  1. Default Shopify fonts

Research font combinations which will reflect your brand identity and add personality to your website. Pinterest can provide loads of inspiration for this.

  1. Low in Content

A dead giveaway that a store is new or not going to be around for long is lack of content, especially when it comes to copy. Provide as much information as possible to your potential customers, and don’t believe anyone who tells you people don’t like to read online. They may just scan the information but they still need it to make a purchasing decision.

  1. Clashing colours

Pick a colour palette and stick to it, for everything from site elements to product images.

  1. Default Shopify header
  2. Messy navigation

Keep your navigation contained to a single line and try to arrange the option in a way that would make sense to a customer. A great option you may want to add to your store is a mega menu using images, which can make site navigation much easier for some stores.

Observe the basic design principles

These principles are taught in every design course but you can adapt them to your Shopify website without any formal training. They are:







Negative Space





I won’t go into all of them here but here are a few examples I think are important to keep in mind when designing your own Shopify website.


You don’t want to leave the eye movement of your site visitor to chance. From research conducted by the Nielsen Group, we know that most people scan websites in a pattern that resembles the F or Z letter.

F reading pattern eyetracking

With intentional use of headers and spacing, you can guide the site visitor to consume your site content in a pattern that we call ‘layer cake’, like it’s done here by the designers of the Nordstorm website.

nordstorm eye pattern intentional


Be sure to align site elements consistently in relation to each other. So, for example, make sure all headings are either aligned centre or left, not a mix of the two.

correct text alignment on e-commerce website

White space

As a design principle, the use of white space is crucial, as it gives the elements in your composition the room to breathe. With not enough white space, pages will look cluttered and are hard to navigate. Be sure to leave some blank space around elements of your web page, especially the important ones. This empty space will make them stand out more and makes for a better user experience.

correct use of negative space on e-commerce website

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How to reduce abandoned carts in your online store

How to reduce abandoned carts in your online store

How to reduce abandoned carts in your online store

Have you ever watched a real time recording of an online visitor’s journey through your website?

 If you haven’t, I recommend you get a free version of Hotjar immediately!

It can be painful realising how many people visit your online store from Instagram or a google search, make their way to a product page, read through it, then click that beautiful ADD TO CART button and… then leave your website for no apparent reason!

You can almost hear the sound of money slipping through your hands, can’t you.

If you could, you may be tempted to check that person’s IP address, drive a few hundred miles to find their home, knock on the door just to ask ‘Why didn’t you buy from me???’

While I don’t recommend stalking your would-be online customers, I understand how frustrating it can be not understanding why someone went through the whole process of buying something from you and then changed their mind at the last moment. So, I gathered all the research I could find on the topic to talk you through the possible reasons someone might have to torture you like it.

But I didn’t stop there – I will also give you practical methods to deal with those non-buyers and help you reduce abandoned carts in your online store.

How to reduce abandoned carts in your online store shopify fashion store

What is a ‘good’ cart abandonment rate?

There is no universal figure that could be applied to tell you how well (or poorly) you’re doing when it comes to people not going through with their purchase. It depends on many factors, like for example your industry.

For beauty or fashion ecommerce brands, for example, people often user their baskets as a way to collect and compare items they’re considering buying.

The online average cart abandonment rate, as calculated by the Baymard Institute in 2021 is 69.80%. How does your online store compare? If you want to reduce abandoned carts in your online store, read on.

They weren’t going to buy anything to begin with

According to Baymard Institute’s research, when asked ‘why didn’t you proceed with buying this thing you put in your cart online’, 58.6% of US shoppers said ‘they were just browsing’ which means they had no intention to buy anything online that day.

Before you shout ‘well why did you add it to basket then???’ consider:

  • Have you ever added a number of dresses to basket as a way of ‘bookmarking’ outfits you liked from a store?
  • Or maybe you added something to basket to keep it there before you price compare with another store?

It’s not so unreasonable to use e-commerce stores ‘just for browsing’, same as we do it with brick-and-mortar shops. It also doesn’t mean that the shoppers who visit your site with no purchase intent, can’t be converted into customers.

Make it work for your store:

Instead of getting frustrated with this type of site visitor, make it easy for them to bookmark their favourite items and come back to them later. Use a Wishlist plugin, like this app (free, for Shopify) to encourage shoppers to save their favourite products online. You can request their email address at that stage and email them if any of the items goes on sale, or simply to remind them that the items are still available. A Wishlist is also easily shareable, which means they can forward the link to someone else who might be paying for their stuff.

The shipping costs were too high

Yes, I know delivery costs on your site are high because it costs you a lot to deliver your product. But Amazon changed the online retail space for everyone (for better or worse) and free shipping has become an expectation rather than a perk for most shoppers.

Research after research shows that customers would prefer a £12.38 product with free shipping over £10 product and £2.38 shipping fee. If you can incorporate the shipping fee into the product price, it’s likely to be a good move.

If you can’t, for example if the same product is available with other retailers and shoppers are likely to price compare, there’s still things you can do to avoid people bouncing off your website once they see your delivery charges.

shipping cost beyonce meme

One school of thought is to be as up front about your delivery cost as possible, meaning shoppers know what to expect before they reach the checkout stage. I actually disagree with this idea and believe (partly based on my own shopping experiences) that many times site visitors are more likely to get over additional shipping costs if they’ve already invested a lot of time and effort into choosing their items and adding them to basket.

The way to mitigate this hurdle is to advertise the trigger point for free delivery. So, for example if you offer free delivery on orders over £50, it’s good to remind shoppers how close they are to reaching this threshold. Bonus points if you can then also suggest products which will qualify them for free delivery without increasing the basket value drastically.

This free app for Shopify will do exactly that, encouraging your site visitors to add extra products to their basket, thus increasing their average order value.

The site wanted me to create an account

Hand up if you’ve ever abandoned your purchase because you would have to create an account to buy and suddenly it just seemed like too much hassle!

orange is the new black hands up

I’m not saying you shouldn’t encourage your shoppers to create an account with you. There are many benefits to them setting one up – most notably marketing and promotional permissions you gain access to.

But similarly as with shipping costs, it’s better to ask for it later than earlier. Ideally, once they’ve filled in their transactional info, (which they would have to do anyway), you can offer to convert this data into an account with one click. Lucky, with Shopify this is actually very easy to implement with their Shopify Pay option. Simply go into your Settings and select Payment Providers. You’ll see a section named Accelerated Checkouts that includes the Shop Pay or Shopify Pay option, which you want to enable and that’s it!

reduce abandoned checkouts with shopify accelerated checkout option

Or, if you want to generate loyalty and a feeling of community with your store (who doesn’t?), you can re-frame Customer Accounts as Regular Customer’s account and offer additional perks (discounts, free shipping etc) for those who sign up.

Here’s how Nike do it:

reduce abandoned checkout like nike - offer an incentive to join

I didn’t trust the site with my credit card information

Adding trust and credibility signals is a great way of mitigating those last-minute doubts shoppers sometimes get before parting with their credit card information.

Elements to add here are:

  • Refund policy
  • Ways of contacting you
  • Trust badges
  • Customer reviews

Don’t assume that the ‘selling part’ of your customer journey is done because the visitor reached the checkout. It’s not over until the credit card is confirmed and the Thank you page loads. Don’t be afraid to repeat your unique selling points here and reinforce them in the knowledge that they are making the right purchasing decision.

reduce abandoned checkouts by repeating your unique proposition at the checkout stage

There wasn’t enough payment methods / credit card got declined

I refuse to get up from my sofa and interrupt a good online shopping session to have to get my wallet and put my card information in and I’m sure I’m not the only one, as 7% of shoppers asked by the Baynard Institute also stated that as the reason why they didn’t complete their purchase.

Offering Apple Pay, Google Pay and Paypal is easy to do with Shopify and there is no reason why you shouldn’t include these in your store.

If your product is on the luxury side of life, it might also be worth offering credit, with services like Klarna. The possibility of spreading payments out in time (although it will most certainly encourage consumer debt and may be morally questionable) will also make it more accessible for many to purchase your products. Klarna claims that offering the payment in instalment option at checkout increases conversion rate by as much as 30%.

Even if your product may seem to you as priced so low, it’s not worth bothering with Klarna and the like, your customers may think differently. Fast fashion sites like Boohoo offer payment in instalments for products as cheap as £5:

reduce abandoned checkouts by offering payments in instalments with Klarna - like Boohoo


The research published by the Baymard Institute suggests that as much as $260 Billion could be recovered through optimising the checkout experience in the online retail space. How much do you think you could claim back for your own online store?

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What to post on your Instagram if you’re a product-based business

What to post on your Instagram if you’re a product-based business

What to post on your Instagram if you’re a product-based business?

If you’re an ecommerce brand or an online boutique owner, I could bet $10 you are struggling to come up with ideas of what to post on your Instagram. I’d be willing to risk another $5 to bet that you’re not posting consistently as you run out of ideas and go through periods of ghosting social media altogether.

How do I know?

I work with dozens of business owners like this – hell, I’m one of those business owners too. We all know we should be marketing on social media regularly but who has the time for that? One thing I’ve found to be universally true for all my clients is that if it isn’t pre-planned, it’s not going to happen.

My process for creating social media content for my clients as well as my own brands is to plan is to batch-plan it. I’m not going to tell you how to plan a year’s worth of content in 3 hours because I don’t think it’s necessary and to be honest the very idea scares me. I plan Instagram content a month in advance using a 4×5 grid. 

instagram content planning process

I go into detail about my method for coming up with ideas and the types of content I plan in my free mini-course but the general rule is – Make sure every post provides value to your audience.

You can provide value in a few different ways, and I’m still experimenting with the most effective categories. The 4 that are more or less timeless are: aspirational, inspirational, educational and story.

Aspirational posts make your user feel like they want what you have or what your product can offer. Think glowing skin for a beauty brand, edgy look for a clothing brand etc etc.

Inspirational posts are pretty similar but they are meant to inspire your audience – make them feel something. On a most basic level these could be shareable quotes but also inspiring photos, videos etc.

Educational – this one is easy. You know your audience, you hear what questions they have around your niche and as the expert, you are perfectly positioned to give them the answers.

Story – this one is seeing a rise recently thanks to TikTok, which reminded us all how much humans are drawn to an interesting story. In many ways marketing is about telling good stories – whether that’s about you, your product, or something that you’re vaguely reminded of that has some kind of relevance to your niche.

I then fill out the columns making sure to come up with at least five ideas for each column. This leaves me with 20 posts, which is the perfect amount for a calendar month. I can, of course, come up with more and fill in all 30 days but it’s not necessary and coming up with 20 original ideas doesn’t feel as daunting.

For more ideas of what exactly to post each day, I’ve created this handy infographic for you with 20 post ideas ready for just about any ecommerce brand.

If you need more ways to add a link to your site from your Instagram content, this tool from Mobile Monkey offers 3 new options. 

instagram posts for ecommerce brands

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The worst time of the year to launch an online store

The worst time of the year to launch an online store

The worst time of the year to launch an online store

worst time of they year to launch online store

I have been working on my new product launch for months. If you’ve ever launched a product-based business, you know.

There’s inventory to source

Product descriptions to write

Website to build

Photos to take

And a hundred other things before you feel vaguely like you have it all in place.

All of that takes ages.


Which means that, like in my case, your brand launch may be delayed by a week… or 4. And that it may fall on what is effectively The Worst Time Of The Year To Launch.


I’m talking of course of the Black Friday week. The hottest time of the entire year for online shopping, where almost everyone buys something they wouldn’t normally buy.

Why is this the worst time of the year to launch, if everyone is buying, then?

The reason why is simple, and a good lesson for anyone wanting to sell products online:


Don’t offer a discount to someone who doesn’t know you

If the person landing on your site never heard of you before, has no reason to trust you and can’t even be sure if they want your products to begin with, no amount of discount will convince them to buy.

The only thing it will do is permanently devalue your brand in their perception.

How you communicate with your audience must depend on where in their customer journey they are with you – or if you use marketing speak – where in the funnel they are.

If they are top of the funnel – they just don’t know you – your content needs to introduce your product and its benefits. It’s a good time to offer a free sample (or a lead magnet) so you can guide them down your funnel.

In the middle of the funnel – once they’ve joined your mailing list, followed you on Instagram or did something else to show they would like to hear from you again – you can hit them with more detailed and personalised information about how your product can change their life.

Only at the very bottom of the funnel, once the visitor already knows they want your stuff, but they may still hesitate a little because of price or risk, is it a good idea to offer a discount.

Reason number 2 why Black Friday (and probably all of November) is the worst week to launch is the general marketing noise around this time.

It’s enough that you open your mailbox in the days before Black Friday to convince you that this is the time when every newsletter list you’ve ever signed up for is sure to pop up inviting you to their sale.

And then, worst of all, is the advertising. There isn’t a more expensive time to try and promote your products on Google, Facebook or any other paid traffic platform. In fact, I would only recommend advertising on Facebook during this time to your retargeted traffic. Don’t even try to reach new audiences in November, it’s not worth it.


Yet, knowing all this, I’ve decided to launch my new brand this week anyway.


Because I bloody can’t wait and I want to share my new product with the world! And if you feel this way about your brand, the best moment to launch it is NOW.

I created this free Mini Course for product-based business owners to master creating engaging content for Instagram. Would you like to receive it?


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