Experienced E-commerce Agency for Magento/ Adobe Commerce/ Shopify/ Shopware Development

Shopify Theme Development: 10 Steps to Build a Shopify Theme from Scratch

First impressions in the realm of e-commerce truly matter, as a staggering 88% of online shoppers are less likely to return to a website after a poor user experience, underscoring the critical role of your online store’s appearance and functionality. Shopify, a leading e-commerce platform, powers over 2 million businesses worldwide, and the visual aspect of your store is essential. This is where Shopify theme development shines.

As businesses compete for the attention of the estimated 2.64 billion digital buyers globally, having a customized Shopify theme can be a game-changer. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of Shopify theme development, a skill that can be instrumental in capturing your share of the $6.3 trillion in global e-commerce sales

Join us on a journey to explore how to create a unique shopping experience and boost your e-commerce success.

Tables of Content

What is a Shopify theme?

A Shopify theme is a pre-designed template or layout that determines the visual design and structural layout of an online store on the Shopify platform. These themes are essential for creating the overall look and feel of your e-commerce website. They include various components and characteristics that are vital for your online store’s success.

What is a Shopify theme

Shopify themes have some important characteristics that you need to keep in mind:

  • Visual Design: The theme dictates the visual aesthetics of your online store, including the color scheme, typography, and overall style. It ensures that your store’s appearance aligns with your brand.
  • Layout and Structure: The theme defines the layout of your web pages, including the placement of headers, footers, navigation menus, product listings, and other content. A well-structured layout enhances user experience.
  • Responsiveness: Many Shopify themes are designed to be responsive, meaning they adapt and look great on various devices, such as desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
  • Customizability: Themes can be customized to match your brand’s unique identity. You can modify colors, fonts, images, and other design elements to create a cohesive brand presence.
  • User Experience (UX): The theme significantly impacts the UX of your store. It should make navigation easy and intuitive, allowing customers to browse and make purchases effortlessly.
  • Performance: Themes play a role in your store’s performance, affecting page loading speed and overall efficiency. A well-optimized theme ensures that your site runs smoothly.

Read more: Shopify Themes – What Are They & How to Choose The Best Themes For Your Store

Why Do You Need to Customize Your Shopify Theme?

Your online store is an extension of your brand, and it should provide an exceptional shopping experience that sets you apart from competitors. This is where the importance of customizing your Shopify theme comes into play. Customizing your Shopify theme is essential for several reasons:

  • Brand Identity: Customization allows you to tailor your store’s appearance to match your brand’s unique identity. You can incorporate brand colors, fonts, and imagery, strengthening your brand recognition and making your store memorable to customers.
Brand Identity
  • Stand Out from Competitors: Using a pre-designed theme may result in your store looking similar to others. Customization enables you to differentiate your store, making it stand out in a crowded e-commerce landscape.
  • Tailored User Experience: You can create a personalized and user-friendly shopping experience by customizing the layout and navigation. This can improve user engagement, increase time spent on your site, and ultimately boost conversions.
  • Optimized for Your Products: Customization allows you to showcase your products in the best possible way. You can design product pages that highlight their unique features, improving the chances of sales.
  • Mobile Responsiveness: Customizing your theme ensures that it is fully responsive on mobile devices. With a growing number of shoppers using smartphones and tablets, this is crucial for reaching a broader audience.
  • SEO Benefits: Customized themes can be optimized for search engines, helping your store rank higher in search results and driving organic traffic.
  • Security and Performance: Custom themes can be optimized for performance and security. This ensures that your store loads quickly, providing a seamless shopping experience, and that sensitive customer data is protected.

Read more: Shopify SEO Tutorial 2023: A-Z Guide to Rank #1

Pros and Cons of Building Shopify Themes Development From Scratch

Pros and Cons of Building Shopify Themes


  • Complete Creative Control: Building a Shopify theme from scratch allows you to have full creative control. You can design every element to align perfectly with your brand, ensuring a unique and unforgettable customer experience.
  • Optimized Performance: Custom themes can be optimized for better performance. You can ensure faster loading times, improving user experience and SEO rankings.
  • Minimal Bloat: Unlike pre-designed themes that might come with unnecessary features, custom themes are lean and focused. You can eliminate any bloat, enhancing your site’s efficiency.
  • Scalability: Custom themes are more scalable. As your business grows, you can make adjustments and additions more easily to accommodate new products, features, or services.


  • Time-Consuming: Building a Shopify theme from scratch can be time-consuming, especially if you’re not experienced in web development. It may delay your store’s launch.
  • Costly: Custom themes often require more resources, including hiring skilled developers or agencies. This can be a significant upfront cost.
  • Maintenance: Custom themes need ongoing maintenance. You’ll be responsible for updates, bug fixes, and ensuring compatibility with new Shopify features.
  • Lack of Features: Pre-built themes come with a range of built-in features. With custom themes, you may need to add features separately, which can be complex and costly.

10 Things to Consider When Building Your Shopify Theme

So, you’re ready to build your Shopify theme from scratch? Fantastic! But before you dive into the world of theme development, there are some important things you should consider to ensure your theme is both user-friendly and conversion-focused. Here’s a handy checklist:

1. Know Your Brand

First things first, your theme should embody your brand’s identity. It’s your store’s visual representation. Make sure it aligns with your brand’s values and resonates with your target audience.

2. Mobile Responsiveness

In a mobile-first world, your theme must be responsive. Ensure it looks great and functions seamlessly on all devices – from smartphones to desktops.

Mobile Responsiveness

3. User Experience (UX)

Customers appreciate an intuitive online journey. Organize your site logically and provide easy navigation to keep users engaged and encourage them to make those all-important purchases.

Read more: How to Design Content for better User Experiences?

4. Lightning-Fast Performance

Site speed is vital for user satisfaction and SEO rankings. Optimize your theme for speed by compressing images, streamlining code, and minimizing HTTP requests.

5. SEO Optimization

Your theme should facilitate good SEO practices. Implement clean URLs, meta tags, and structured data to improve your site’s visibility on search engines.

6. Security Matters

Don’t forget about security! Shopify provides built-in features, but consider additional steps like SSL certificates and regular security checks to keep your site and customer data safe.

7. App Integration

Think about the integrations and apps you’ll need. The Shopify App Store offers a plethora of tools for extending your store’s functionality. Ensure your theme accommodates these integrations seamlessly.

8. Cross-Browser Compatibility

Test your theme across different browsers and devices to guarantee consistent performance. Your site should look and function the same everywhere.

9. Customization Options

Give your users the power to tweak things. Customization options for colors, fonts, and layouts enhance user engagement and create a personalized shopping experience.

10. Scalability

Plan for the future. Anticipate business growth, and make sure your theme can adapt to your changing needs.

6 Most Important Pages to Incorporate in Shopify Theme Development

1. Homepage: Your Store’s Front Door

Picture your Shopify homepage as the front door to your online store. It’s the first thing visitors see when they arrive. So, how do you make that first impression count? Well, the key is to make it engaging. Think of it as a visual handshake. You want your visitors to feel welcome, intrigued, and eager to explore further.

Here, you should feature your best products or promotions. Use high-quality images and create clear calls to action. The goal is to guide visitors toward their shopping journey. Remember, it’s not just about what you sell; it’s also about how you present it.

2. Product Pages: The Heart of the Matter

If the homepage is the front door, product pages are the heart of your online store. These are the pages where your products shine. Every element here should be geared towards showcasing your offerings. High-quality images are a must, allowing customers to see the product from every angle.

Detailed descriptions are equally important. Provide all the information customers need, including specifications and sizing details. Don’t forget to add user-generated content, such as reviews and ratings. They build trust and can significantly impact purchase decisions.

3. Cart and Checkout Pages: The Finish Line

Once your customers have made their choices, they reach the cart and checkout pages. This is where the magic happens, where they finalize their purchases. You want this experience to be as smooth and user-friendly as possible.

Minimize the number of steps required to complete a purchase. Offer a guest checkout option for first-time customers. Keep customers informed about their progress during the checkout process. Remember, simplicity is key.

4. About Us: Tell Your Story

Your About Us page is your opportunity to tell your brand’s story. Share your history, mission, and values. Customers want to know the people behind the store. Building this connection can make a huge difference in trust and loyalty.

About Us

5. Contact Us: Stay Accessible

It’s essential to provide clear contact options for customer support. Whether it’s questions, concerns, or feedback, you want your customers to feel heard. Ensure they can easily reach out to you through contact forms, emails, or phone numbers.

6. FAQs: Anticipate Customer Questions

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page is your chance to anticipate common customer queries. Think of it as a way to provide valuable information and improve the shopping experience. Addressing these questions can reduce confusion and the need for additional inquiries.

Shopify Theme Development

Let's create an aesthetic, captivating, and high-converting storefront for your Shopify site!

Learn more
Shopify Theme Development

What to Prepare Before Building a Shopify Theme?

Before diving into the exciting world of Shopify theme development, there are several crucial steps to take. Here’s what you should prepare before you start building your custom Shopify theme:

  • Clear Business Plan: Start with a well-defined business plan. Understand your target audience, niche, and goals. This plan will guide your theme development by ensuring it aligns with your overall business strategy.
  • Store Architecture: Lay out your store’s structure. Determine what categories and collections you’ll have, as well as how products will be organized. This step is essential for creating an intuitive navigation experience.
  • Design Concept: Conceptualize the design of your store. Consider your brand’s visual identity, color schemes, typography, and any unique elements that will make your store stand out.
  • Budget and Resources: Allocate a budget for your theme development. Decide whether you’ll build it yourself, hire a developer, or use a pre-made theme. Calculate costs for design, development, and ongoing maintenance.
Budget and Resources
  • Choose the Right Tools: Ensure you have the necessary tools to build your theme. Shopify provides a Theme Kit and theme development environment that can be invaluable.
  • Familiarize Yourself with Liquid: Shopify uses Liquid, its own template language. Familiarize yourself with Liquid’s syntax, as it’s crucial for theme customization.
  • Content and Imagery: Prepare all content, images, and product descriptions you’ll need. High-quality visuals and well-written descriptions are essential for showcasing your products effectively.
  • SEO Strategy: Develop an SEO strategy for your store. Plan how you’ll optimize product pages, URLs, and meta descriptions for search engines.
  • Payment and Shipping Setup: Decide on the payment gateways and shipping methods you’ll use. Ensure you’ve configured these settings in your Shopify admin.
  • Legal Requirements: Check if there are any specific legal requirements for your type of products or location. This may include privacy policies, terms and conditions, or compliance with industry regulations.

Building a Custom Shopify Theme from Scratch Step By Step

Step 1: Plan Your Theme

Plan Your Theme

Begin by setting clear objectives for your custom theme. Understand your brand identity, target audience, and the user experience you want to create.

Create rough sketches or wireframes of your store’s layout and pages. Decide how you want to showcase your products and guide users through the shopping process.

Step 2: Set Up Your Development Environment

To work on your theme locally, install Shopify Theme Kit, a command-line tool that allows you to edit your theme’s files directly on your computer.

Log in to your Shopify admin and create a development store where you can experiment with your theme without affecting your live store.

Step 3: Create Theme Files

  • Use Theme Scaffold: Shopify provides a basic theme scaffold that includes essential theme files and assets. Copy this scaffold to create the foundation of your custom theme.
  • Develop Locally: Work on your theme files locally using a code editor. Customize Liquid templates, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to match your design.

Step 4: Customize Your Design

  • Modify Liquid Templates: Customize Liquid templates to control how different pages, such as the homepage, product pages, and collections, are displayed.
Modify Liquid Templates
  • CSS Styling: Apply custom styles to your theme using CSS. Ensure your design is responsive, meaning it adapts to different screen sizes and devices.
  • JavaScript Interactivity: Add interactivity using JavaScript. This can include features like product sliders, interactive menus, or custom product filters.

Step 5: Test Your Theme

Use Shopify Theme Kit to preview your theme changes in your development store. Make sure your design looks and functions as expected. Test your theme on various devices, including smartphones and tablets. Ensure it’s mobile-responsive and user-friendly. Check how your theme behaves in different web browsers to guarantee a consistent experience.

Step 6: Fine-Tuning and Optimization

  • Performance Optimization: Optimize your theme for faster loading times. Compress images, minify CSS and JavaScript, and use lazy loading to improve performance.
  • SEO Optimization: Ensure your theme is SEO-friendly. Create meta tags, optimize images, and use clean URLs for better search engine visibility.

Step 7: Backups and Security

Set up regular backups of your theme files. Shopify has built-in backup features to help you recover from any issues. Implement security best practices to protect your store from potential threats. Keep your themes and apps updated.

Step 8: Launch Your Custom Theme

When you’re satisfied with your custom theme, publish it to your live Shopify store. Your new design is now live for your customers to enjoy.

Step 9: Post-Launch Review

Keep an eye on your store’s performance, especially after the launch. Address any issues promptly. Encourage customer feedback and use analytics to understand how users interact with your new theme.

Step 10: Ongoing Maintenance

  • Regular Updates: Continuously update your custom theme to fix bugs, add new features, and stay current with Shopify’s evolving platform.
  • Support and Assistance: Consider hiring a Shopify development services like Mageplaza for ongoing support and to assist with more complex customizations.

How Much Does a Shopify Custom Theme Cost?

Shopify Custom Theme Cost

The cost of a Shopify custom theme can vary significantly based on several factors, including the complexity of your design, the features you want to incorporate, and whether you hire a professional developer or do it yourself.

DIY Approach

If you have web development skills and choose to create a custom theme yourself, your primary costs will include Shopify’s monthly subscription fees, which start at $29 per month. You’ll also need to consider any design or development software you might purchase.

Theme Development

If you’re hiring a professional Shopify developer or team, their fees will contribute significantly to the cost. These developers have the expertise to create a theme that perfectly matches your brand identity. Their fees are based on their experience and the complexity of the project.

  • Basic Theme: A simple, basic custom theme might cost between $1,000 and $5,000. This would include a clean design with standard e-commerce features.
  • Intermediate Theme: A more intricate theme with additional custom features can range from $5,000 to $20,000.
  • Complex Theme: A highly customized theme with advanced features, integrations, and a unique design can exceed $20,000 and go up to $50,000 or more.

Theme Customizations

Even if you use a pre-made Shopify theme and want to customize it to better align with your brand, you may still need to budget for Shopify theme customizations. This cost varies based on the extent of the changes and whether you hire a developer. These customizations could range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand.

E-commerce Features

The cost of your theme also depends on the e-commerce features you need. If you want advanced features like real-time inventory management, customer accounts, or complex product filtering, this will increase the cost. These features can add an extra $5,000 to $10,000 or more to your budget.

Content Migration

Content Migration

If you’re migrating your content from an existing site to your new Shopify custom theme, it can be a labor-intensive process. The cost will depend on the amount and complexity of the content. Budget between $1,000 and $5,000 for content migration.

Third-Party Apps

Shopify offers a wide range of third-party apps to enhance your store’s functionality. Depending on the apps you need and their subscription costs, you might need to allocate an additional $1,000 to $5,000 for app integration.

Ongoing Maintenance

Don’t forget the cost of ongoing maintenance. Technology evolves, and your theme will require updates. Budget around 15-20% of your initial development cost annually for maintenance.


In total, the cost of a custom Shopify theme can range from $10,000 to $100,000 or more. It’s a significant investment, but it offers you a unique online store that perfectly aligns with your brand.

Remember, when it comes to custom themes, you’re not just paying for design and development; you’re investing in your brand’s online identity. It’s crucial to work with experienced professionals who understand your vision and can create a Shopify theme that stands out in the competitive world of e-commerce.

Theme Development Cost in Some Reputable Development Countries

When it comes to Shopify theme development costs, different countries offer varying price points due to differences in labor and operating expenses. Here’s a brief overview of theme development costs and some pros and cons for each country:


Country Theme Development Cost Pros Cons
Vietnam $500 – $2000 Affordable rates
High-quality work
Skilled workforce
Time zone difference
Pakistan $1000 – $3000 Affordable rates, s
Skilled workforce
Language barrier
Quality and communication challenges
Time zone difference
India $1500 – $4000 Affordable rates
Large pool of talented developers
Language barrier
Potential quality disparities
Time zone differences
Australia $2000 – $5000 High-quality work
Experienced developers,
Good communication
Expensive rates
United Kingdom $2500 – $6000 High-quality work
Experienced developers
Good communication
Expensive rates, time zone difference
United States $3000 – $7000 High-quality work
Experienced developers, g
Good communication
Most expensive rates


Get Help Building a Custom Shopify Theme

Mageplaza, a member of the Avada Commerce Group, offers a comprehensive range of custom Shopify theme development services to empower businesses with visually appealing, high-converting, and engaging storefronts. Our expertise in Shopify theme development ensures that you can trust us as your go-to choice for creating the perfect online shopping experience.

Mageplaza theme development service

Benefits of Mageplaza’s Shopify Custom Theme Development Service

Embracing custom Shopify theme development can have a profound impact on your online store’s performance and success. Here are some of the benefits you can reap by engaging our Shopify theme developers:

  • Unique and Personalized Design: Custom Shopify themes allow you to create a unique design that aligns with your brand and business requirements. This distinctiveness sets you apart from competitors and solidifies your brand identity.
  • Improved User Experience: Tailored Shopify themes can optimize your store’s user experience, leading to increased conversions, lower bounce rates, and ultimately more sales.
  • Enhanced Functionality: Our experts can craft custom Shopify themes with advanced features and functionalities that are beyond the capabilities of standard themes, thereby improving your store’s overall performance.
  • Faster Load Times: Custom Shopify themes come with efficient coding and streamlined assets, ensuring faster page load times. This leads to superior user experiences and better search engine rankings.

Services in Our Shopify Theme Development Portfolio

Shopify Theme Development

Mageplaza’s Shopify theme development services encompass an array of offerings to elevate your website’s performance, engagement, and conversion rates. Here are some key services for your Shopify store:

  • Shopify Theme Development: We create custom themes tailored to your specific needs. This process includes consultation, design, efficient coding, and seamless integration with Shopify’s theme engine. A custom theme enhances user experiences and improves SEO and website speed.
  • Shopify Theme Customization: Modify existing themes to meet unique requirements, from small design tweaks to adding new functionality to the store. It’s ideal for clients who are content with their existing theme but want specific changes.
  • Shopify Web Design: Our Shopify experts will create a feature-rich, powerful, mobile-friendly, and high-converting store aligned with your branding and business goals. An optimized design enhances user experiences and boosts brand image.
  • Pixel-Perfect Shopify Themes: Our certified Shopify designers create pixel-perfect themes with meticulous attention to detail. This results in a polished and professional look that enhances trust and credibility.
  • Responsive Shopify Themes: We design responsive themes that adapt to all devices, providing a seamless user experience across platforms. This is crucial for improving website speed and SEO.
  • PSD to Shopify Theme Development: Transform PSD design files into fully functional Shopify themes. This is perfect for businesses that have custom designs but need technical expertise to make them functional.

Our focus on customer satisfaction, quality, and innovation makes us a trusted and reliable Shopify development partner.

Shopify Theme Development FAQs

Shopify Theme Development FAQs
Shopify Theme Development FAQs

Can You Edit Shopify Code?

Absolutely, you have the freedom to access and modify the code of any Shopify theme you’ve installed in your online store. This allows you to make intricate adjustments to your store’s appearance and functionality. In fact, if you possess expertise in HTML, Liquid (Shopify’s templating language), CSS, and JavaScript, you can even craft your very own theme from scratch.

What Coding Language Does Shopify Use?

Shopify leverages a diverse array of programming languages to power its platform. When it comes to themes, they employ a blend of programming languages. These include HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Liquid, which serves as its templating language. Moreover, you can transform Shopify into a headless Content Management System (CMS) and harness various technologies and frameworks, such as VUE.js, React.js, or Angular.js, for the front-end to fetch data from the Shopify API.

Can You Have Multiple Themes in Shopify?

Certainly, you can have as many as 20 themes installed in your Shopify store. The beauty of this is that you can work on, modify, and preview each of these 20 themes independently and simultaneously. However, it’s important to note that only one theme can be published and visible to your customers at any given time.

Does Changing Shopify Theme Affect SEO?

No, the act of switching your Shopify theme does not have an impact on your website’s URL structure. This means that your website’s settings, including its sitemap, analytics, and Google search results, remain unaffected by a change in theme. Nonetheless, it’s worth highlighting that installing an SEO-optimized theme can be a game-changer when it comes to improving your site’s search engine ranking.

Can I Change Shopify Theme Without Losing Content?

Certainly, you can rest assured that your essential content, such as products, collections, pages, navigation, blog posts, and payment configurations, will remain intact when you change your Shopify theme. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that any customizations you’ve applied to your previous theme, including HTML and CSS modifications, as well as custom theme pages, will be reset when you make the switch.

Final Thoughts

Your online store is more than just a website; it’s an extension of your brand, a gateway to a thriving business, and an opportunity to deliver an exceptional shopping experience that sets you apart from the competition. By investing in Shopify theme development, you’re taking a significant step towards ensuring your success in the ever-evolving e-commerce landscape.

An unique, customized Shopify theme is not just an option; it’s a strategic imperative. It’s the gateway to a world of endless possibilities in the realm of online retail, where your brand identity is brought to life, your customer experience is elevated, and your e-commerce journey becomes a true success story.

So, are you ready to embark on this exciting path to Shopify theme development and unlock the potential of your online store? The journey begins now.

Image Description
Marketing Manager of Mageplaza. Summer is attracted by new things. She loves writing, travelling and photography. Perceives herself as a part-time gymmer and a full-time dream chaser.
Website Support
& Maintenance Services

Make sure your store is not only in good shape but also thriving with a professional team yet at an affordable price.

Get Started
mageplaza services
    • insights

    People also searched for


    Stay in the know

    Get special offers on the latest news from Mageplaza.

    Earn $10 in reward now!

    Earn $10 in reward now!

    go up