It's a problem I see all too often. Client creates store, client destroys store, client hires designer, designer brings back store.

Where once proudly stood a thing of beauty, a store for the ages, now lies a pile of rubble. The culprit? A culmination of botch jobs, spaghetti code and app-crazed marketers.

As a Shopify Expert, I have worked to build these stores and I have worked to repair them. It is for this reason I offer up these words of warning that will guide you through the main offenders so you can avoid such pitfalls.

So let's get to it. How to eff up your Shopify store.

1. DIY it


I know. You have a big dreams and a tiny budget so really you have no choice BUT to install ALL the apps and hack away at this funny-looking code. Please don't. I know it seems like the best money-saving idea ever, but unless you know what you're doing under the hood, changing a line of code could wreak havoc with the rest of your store. Think of it like Jenga. You pull out one brick and the whole thing falls apart.

In a similar vein, avoid design marketplaces such as the likes of E-Lancer, Upwork and Fiverr. You get what you pay for rings true here. A lot of the repair work I've done is usually fixing code from non-Shopify developers. I'm obviously bias, but you wouldn't hire a Hyundai specialist to fix your BMW, so why hire a non-Shopify Expert to fix your Shopify store? Or maybe you would. Cars have moved on a lot since my day.

What you should maybe do instead

Focus on your core service. Let the professionals find a design solution to your business problem. The moment you start to concentrate on the minutiae, is the moment you lose sight of your business objectives. As a business owner, your job should be to set the goals and find the right team to help achieve those goals. Step back from micro-managing and step up to setting goals and investing in your storefront.

2. Install all the apps

I've seen many clients go and install every app that ever lived. This can be detrimental to your store because every time you install an app it injects code into your store's theme. If you install enough apps, all this extra code can make your store slow to load, which is very bad for sales. Even if you uninstall an app, the code remains in your theme.

Don't get me wrong, apps are very useful in plugging the gap where Shopify functionality falls short. But, remember the golden rule: all apps are not created equal.

Some apps are great, some are completely pointless. Indeed, some app developers sponsor agencies to promote their apps on client stores, regardless of whether it works well.

What you should maybe do instead

Before you hit that install button, ask yourself what you're trying to solve and whether you really need an app. Chances are a Shopify Expert can code this functionality into your theme.

3. Have a pop-up party


Ah pop-ups. The internet equivalent of a pushy salesman. An entire post dedicated to pop-ups is in the pipeline but just know that, for now, pop-ups are the spawn of the devil and thou shalt avoid them on your store. I'm also not the only one who thinks this. As of 2017, Google has been penalising websites who use pop-ups. 👊

What you should maybe do instead

Make signing up to a mailing list or grabbing a promo code part of the customer journey. Slapping a pop-up over all your content is a lazy way to grab a customer's attention and they will most likely bounce.

4. Pick an image, any image


I may be stating the obvious here but product photos are a 2D representation of what your product looks like in real life. If this is a given, why upload an image that looks like it's been shot on a Game Boy camera? There's no way a customer is going to think that you're A) legit and B) an actual business owner.

What you should maybe do instead

Invest in a product photographer and get your product photography professionally shot. Then get your images cropped and optimised for the web so they load super fast on all the devices.

5. Share everything

Sharing is not particularly caring. Social share buttons tend to clog up your page and offer no real benefit to the customer. Customers are on your store to browse and buy. Coaxing customers to share a tweet or update their Facebook status right now is not the goal here. The goal is to Always Be Closing.


What you should maybe do instead

An Instagram product feed to show your product in the wild is a good move. 

6. Make your logo bigger than the sun


There's no doubt branding is important when it comes to your store, but subtlety goes along way in web design. Your logo doesn't need to be front row centre and the size of a million pixels.

What you should maybe do instead

Having your logo to the side of your header is okay. People will still know who you are. 

7. All the stock photos

I shouldn't have to explain this one too much, as I'm hoping 99% of the human race can see how naff stock photos are. Plus, every blog selects images from the same pool of stock photography making every blog a clone of itself...[ahem].

cyber woman with corn from r/wtfstockphotos

What you should maybe do instead

This goes back to #4 and the need to invest in some original photography. I can't tell you how many cyber women with corn images I've had to include in a design. Okay, none...but let's keep it that way.

8. GDPR overload


We get it. GDPR is an important thing and everyone should know about it. Nevertheless, the amount of notices and pop-ups (grrrr!) is madness.

While you do need to be transparent about how you collect and use customer data, you probably don't need to install that XXL pop-up.

What you should maybe do instead

Find out which customer data your store is collecting and put together your own tailor-made pop-up. I think you'd be surprised at how little you need to put out there. You may only need a small notice linking to a privacy policy page with this information.

Also, if you happen to be meet the criteria of an 'all the apps' type person (see #2), don't forget to check out what data the apps are collecting on your behalf. Another reason to steer clear of the apps, eh?

So there you have it. Eight actionable steps to set you on the path to Shopify self-destruction.