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Shopify Monthly | February '24

Written by Eduard Fastovski

Mar 01, 2024

It has been a quiet month. After the excitement of Shopify Editions on January 31, we are still waiting for most of those changes to be published.

I do have a few videos to share, and some tips when it comes to hiring a developer.


📹 Color Filters tutorial

Color Swatches for Dawn (and other free themes). Yes, it’s finally possible to have swatches in the native filters on Dawn.

It isn’t very straightforward though. You need to set up metaobjects to store the colors, and then link those metaobjects to products using metafields. That’s why I made this tutorial.

You also must be using Dawn 12 or later. And no, this won’t give you swatches on the product page. Only in the filters.

📹 Judge.me vs LOOX

I’m working on some SEO tutorials involving reviews, so I had a look at the two most popular review apps. My verdict:

  • JudgeMe is a good basic app that I would recommend to beginners and Shopify stores on a budget.
  • Loox has a more premium feel and is much easier to set up and use. I personally like it a lot more and recommend it if you can afford $35/month.
  • For maximum SEO benefits, you should be using the paid plan for both apps. JudgeMe’s free plan lacks some SEO features.

📹 Choosing a Shopify Theme

An opinionated rant on the different types of themes:

  • Free themes
  • Official premium themes
  • 3rd party themes

Also, a quick reminder that if you want to see my favourite themes and apps, check out ed.codes/tools.


Finding a Shopify developer for small tasks

I’ve been hearing complaints from store owners recently about how difficult it is to find a good (and honest) developer, with some feeling they are getting ripped off with bloated time estimates.

A recent example was a job where one developer quoted 18 hours, and another quoted 2 hours.

Sure, different developers have different skill levels and work at a different pace. I’d even understand if one quoted 3 hours and the other 6 hours. But 18 hours and 2 hours is too much of a gap.

Anyway, here is my advice. If it’s your first time working with a developer, use an established company. I don’t mean a Shopify agency (they usually deal with bigger projects).

I mean companies that test freelancers’ skills and provide a platform through which you can find and hire them. It’s sort of a hybrid between an agency and a freelance marketplace like Upwork.

You still work with freelancers at cheaper rates than an agency, but the platform provides more security and certainty. You will get some experience hiring people, and get a feel for how much things should cost. Here are two such options:

  • Storetasker connects you with developers, designers and marketers and you will work with them one-on-one. They used to have a 1-hour minimum for theme edits but I believe that’s gone up and they are only doing larger projects now.
  • Heycarson still has the option to hire them for just 1 hour of work at $110/hr or to buy a package of hours. You are not guaranteed to work with the same developer, instead you have an account manager. The estimates I’ve seen (for real stores) seem very fair.

There are other such companies, but I don’t have much experience with them. Sometimes your theme developer will also provide small development services. Check their website for details.

I think when you don’t have much experience with Shopify or hiring devs, then this is a safe option. You won’t get badly ripped off.

In the long term though, it’s still better to find a developer that sticks with you over several years. Much like finding a mechanic or barber that you trust. They will get to know your store and might start suggesting improvements that you hadn’t thought of yourself.

Once you’ve found a good freelancer, make sure you pay them well, otherwise, they will be forced to find better work. I don’t think you should negotiate or haggle rates with developers. You don’t do it with your dentist, do you? Make sure they are happy and do a good job.

A word of advice if you’re a beginner freelancer. Overcharging and bloating your time estimates will not work out in the long term. It’s much easier to work with happy clients, rather than feeling like every quote is a battle. Eventually, a retainer agreement is probably the best way to work for both parties. But you need to prove yourself and build a high level of trust first.


📢 Shopify updates

It seems we are still waiting for most of the updates from Shopify Editions to be released. Some of those were said to be as little as “a few weeks” with other updates rolling out throughout 2024. I will keep you updated.


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Cheers,

Ed

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