I'm redesigning my store in a new development store because I want to do a major redesign with a new theme. Before putting a lot of hours I want to make sure that I'm doing it right.
By now, I've installed the theme, exported the products and imported them and I have everything set to start building it. My questions are:
- Is there a better way of redesigning an store? Maybe by uploading the new theme directly to the existing one? Is it possible to edit the theme without affecting the current site?
- If the best way is by using a dev store, how do you publish the new site?
I haven't find any tutorial. Is there a guide or a video tutorial posted anywere?
Thank you so much in advance.
Lisa here from the Shopify Support Team.
You can add up to 20 themes to your online store, but only one theme can be published at a time. A published theme is the theme that customers see when they visit your online store. Your published theme appears in the 'Current Theme' section of the Themes page, and your unpublished themes appear in the 'More Themes' section. That being said, you can edit any theme found in your 'More Themes' section without your customers seeing it. This is known as editing an 'Unpublished' theme and we have a guide available for that process here.
This works perfectly for you if you’re not planning on testing your navigation options. If you’re planning on altering your navigation area then you would want to look into creating a development store. The reason behind this is because your navigation is always live, so any changes you make for your unpublished theme would also apply to your published theme.
In this case, you could look into creating a 'Shopify Partner' account which will allow you to create a development plan. If you follow our guide for back up and duplication you can import your products, and theme to your development store. Keep in mind that you would still need to create your navigation/collection options however this workaround allows for a true testing environment.
Also one last note, if you purchase a theme template from our official Theme Store, normally, this theme is only licensed to the one store you currently have active. If you do decide to upload the theme to a different store, you may lose technical support from that theme’s developer. Before attempting to transfer any paid themes, I encourage you to first contact the theme developers directly to see what options are available.
If you do have any further questions on any of the above information, feel free to follow back up!
I'd like to ask a few more questions regarding this.
I've encountered this problem a few times with clients and never did find a good way to do it easily. It does seem best to create a developers site, and start from scratch, but then how do I transfer the site over? (this wasn't explained in the previous post).
Of course, it seems easy to transfer if the client doesn't have a site (or isn't a merchant yet), but does the site transfer work for existing sites? Existing orders, customers, etc also need to be taken into account so that they won't be erased or something...
Otherwise, it seems like these following steps need to happen and it's a little tedious:
- import products from dev store
- import theme
- recreate/update navigation
- recreate/update collections
- erase all old products, collections, navigation
... I'm probably forgetting something... and all this while the site is live and generating a lot of new orders...
Thanks in advance
The development stores which are built under Partners accounts must be started from scratch, or have the information transferred over. There is currently no way to transfer an existing/live store into your partner dashboard as this is intended for new builds.
The steps you've outlined are what you would need to do if you're wanting to transfer an existing site to your dev store to work on it. The Shopify admins of existing sites are build to allow rebuilds to happen in the back end while the store is still live. It is recommended if you're working with a live site, that you have the client grant you access via a staff account. This way you can be working on the theme using existing products and content in the store.
If you're building a new theme, you can do so in your own dev store, then upload it to the clients account once you get access and make the final tweaks on it setting up the homepage. Often site changeovers happen at early hours of the morning when traffic is low. It is important to keep in mind that the navigation should be the last thing you set up on the store as this will be shared with the live store. l suggest when you're ready to switch to the new theme, enable the store's password page, make sure the navigation and pages are connected, test the site, then make it live again!
What type of jobs are you doing for the existing sites? If they are actively processing orders and selling products, it is not recommended that you need to duplicate the entire site. The products, collections and admin settings will remain the same even when you completely change the aesthetics and layout of the store. If you need to update product descriptions, SEO or tags, using the CSV method is an efficient way to help clients update their products.
Hope this helps to better explain! Here's a great hub of resources for information on working with clients via Shopify.
I've done this many times and there truely isn't yet a solid way to do it. I do understand your explanations and basically that's what I'm doing until now. But I've had to create navigation menus called "new main menu" (as an example) and new pages called "new about page" and then change the names of the new and old pages, menus, products, etc. after going live with the theme.
The steps that I listed out were actually what I imagine need to be taken when transferring over the completed redisgn in the dev store over to the live site. Are these the steps? I can't "hand-over" the dev store to an existing merchant. Even if I could, I assume it would erase order history, customers, etc since they aren't in the dev store admin. Right?
Yes, the navigation is the main limitation when updating a new site since it's connected to the live site as well, therefore, it should be the very last thing you update. Sounds like you're using best practices to ensure a methodical changeover. It can be a longer process than expected having to change over and update all the elements when you're working with an existing site. Is there a reason you'd prefer to build in a fresh dev account, rather than have access to the existing store and update with all the available content?
When you're building a store within your dev account you can 'Transfer-ownership' so all aspects of the dev store will change to a live functioning store, when you're ready to pass over to the client. Most devs also make sure to add themselves to a staff account to ensure they still have access to make any tweaks requested after the store goes live.
You are correct that if the store is an existing account, aspects like order history can only be exported and filed outside of Shopify. In saying that, you do have the option to export and import customer lists which includes their total spent and amount of orders for marketing purposes. When making updates to an existing store that is why I stress again that it is best to be added as a staff account so you do not have to go through the hassle of starting from fresh and losing all the store's existing data.
This is a great document here for features and limitations of dev stores!
It's not only the timeline, but also products & collections. It's a problem if I'm adding new products that I want to appear ONLY in the new site. Any product that I add will automatically appear in the "all products" section, even if I don't include them in collections that are live. Same goes for collections. If I set the products not to appear in the channel, then they won't appear in the "offline" theme as well...
I've had this problem with a good few clients wanted to update their site & content. I've had to create products (or duplicate them) and when going live removing old products, renaming them, etc. I understand that there still isn't a clear way to do this, but would suggest that Shopify add some functionality. For instance, allow for hiding the product from the live theme could help.
bringing this thread back to life here in Jan 2020.
Am I reading this right? that while I can import a new theme, and customize that theme while it is unpublished, I can't:
- have different products on the unpublished site?
- have different navigation on the unpublished site ?
and what about sharing (via email) the unpublished theme with someone else (my biz partners, for example who are not admins)?
Have different products on the unpublished site?
-- You cannot have different products on an unpublished site as all of that is tied directly to the admin and that's where products are pulled from. You can create a Shopify Partner account, make a new developer store, download your theme file from your live store and upload it to your developer themes, and add new products to that store.
Have different navigation on the unpublished site?
-- You can use whatever navigation you want, you may just have to change the link-list either in the customize editor of the unpublished theme, or change the link-list that it pulls from directly in the code. I think most themes let you set your linklist from the customize editor.
For sharing a non-published theme, when you preview the theme you'll be prompted at the bottom of the screen that you are viewing a preview, and provide you a button that allows you to share a preview. This will generate a link that expires in an hour that you can share with anyone you'd like.
thanks for the responses. Just to clarify:
"You can create a Shopify Partner account, make a new developer store, download your theme file from your live store and upload it to your developer themes, and add new products to that store. "
Meaning I create an account like I'm a developer, then build a new (unpublished) store with new products, new look, etc, then when it's the way I want it, transfer the domain from the old store to the new one? would it then need a different 'store' name?
it's do that process, or work on an unpublished site, then swap all the products right before publishing?