Customizing your site

We're only able to provide a limited amount of support (questions and bug fixes — that's about it!), but we want to offer some pointers on what to look out for if you're thinking of customizing your theme code or installing a third-party app.

Finding experienced developers

There are, without question, going to be moments when you need a small tweak that you can't accomplish with the existing theme settings. In situations like these, you're going to need to engage a web developer. You may already know someone who's a web developer, and we recommend reaching out to them and beginning to foster that relationship.

If you don't know anyone, we would recommend going to Task Husky ↗ or consulting the Shopify Experts Marketplace ↗. Find someone who has solid examples of previous work, good reviews, and who is a good communicator.

When it comes to developers, experience matters a great deal. While more experience comes along with a higher hourly rate, it also usually comes with significant time savings.

Typical rates for freelance developers start around $50 per hour. It's a good idea to avoid anyone who charges less than $50, or more than $200 (which is more appropriate if you're a large corporation, but we're assuming you're not).

Editing custom code

If you are someone who likes to tinker, you can make a copy of your theme and access the code to play around with. Before you take this route, a couple of things to consider:

  • Always make a copy of the theme to test changes on. You can publish the copy if you're happy with it but if you completely break things (which is part of the learning process) you can always delete the copy and create a new one.

  • A good grasp of the basics of CSS and HTML will help you greatly. Codecademy has free courses on both HTML and CSS that can help you learn the ropes.

  • Our theme support does not include help with custom changes. If you break something, or can't quite get your changes to work in the way you want them to, it may be time to call in a professional.

Installing third-party apps

There are a lot of great apps out there that can expand what your store can do. However, it's not always clear to merchants how apps are related to themes and how they work. To help avoid any surprises or headaches, we want to outline a few things to consider.

The first thing to know is that our support policy does not cover app setup or any issues caused by apps. Simply put, there's thousands of apps on Shopify that go through a different vetting process than themes, so compatibility between apps and themes, and any bugs that may result, are the responsibility of app developers.

Another factor to weigh is that apps can affect the performance of your site and slow it down. Some apps may also add code directly into your theme file, which stays there even if you uninstall the app and this may cause problems. They can even break part of your theme functionality.

Here are a few questions you can ask when making a decision about whether to use a particular app:

  • Does it add value to the user experience and benefit your customers?

  • Does that value outweigh the tradeoff of a slower page speed, for example?

  • Do the reviews highlight any common problems?

  • Does the app have good documentation and provide active support if something goes wrong?

Related links

Online store speed Support policy

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