Shopify Website Launch Process
The short version:
- Your Shopify site is free while we’re working on it.
- We have to transfer the site to you in order to take the site live.
- Us transferring the site initiates an email to you (from Shopify) that will prompt you to signup for a paid account.
- Once we click the transfer button, the site is no longer editable until you’ve completed that process.
- Once you’re all setup, we’ll connect your domain name to the site.
- A security certificate will be installed within 20 minutes, and you’re good to go!
And for you detailed folks:
We initiate the creation of your Shopify account by setting up a Shopify Development Store. This is a free Shopify environment that allows us to build and work on the site without having to pay Shopify’s monthly fees. While the site is in development, Shopify allows us to use most of their features. There’s only two things you cannot do:
- Install paid Shopify applications
- Process orders through an active payment provider, for example, by completing a purchase through the online store.
You can place test orders while Shopify Payments is in test mode. More on that here
In short, when it’s time to launch your site, we need to convert the store to a paid Shopify account.
We’ll need to know who should be the “Store Owner”. That person will need to have an staff account on the store (don’t worry, we’ll do that) and that is who the store will be transferred to.
To help you decide who that person should be, know that the store owner is the only person who will have access to the following actions:
- Manage business settings like store name, credit card, and email
- Change pricing plans
- Update billing information
- View Shopify bills
- Manage payment options
- Create staff or choose a new store owner
- Enable or disable two-step authentication for staff logins
- Approve payment of paid Shopify Apps
Once a Shop Owner has been determined, here’s when we click the transfer button (literally, it’s just a click of a button).
Note a few things happen, once we click that magical button:
- An email is sent (from Shopify) to the new shop owner. This email prompts you to signup for a paid account with Shopify.
- The site is immediately locked to editability. We have no control over this, and it will not unlock until your account with Shopify has been established.
Once you’ve completed the signup process, the store is unlocked, and we all continue to have access to it. From here on out, the Shop Owner is the only one that can make adjustments to payment settings.
It’s important to note that you should not sign up with Shopify prior to this point (if this is a new website, and not just a redesign). We cannot easily move your store into another account. If for some reason we need to do this, we’d have to scope out a migration.
Note that the “Basic Shopify” plan only allows 2 staff accounts. The middle grade account “Shopify” offers 5 staff accounts. Know that we will always have access to the site (unless you remove us) as a collaborator account, which does not count toward your staff limit.
Connecting your custom domain name to Shopify.
We’re almost ready to go, the shop is in your name, Shopify is getting their $$$ and it’s time for you to launch. There’s just one last step, we need to use your real domain name.
We won’t get into the details on Domain Name Registration, DNS, SSL, and other techie stuff in this guide, just know we need access to where your domain name is registered. We’ll handle the techie stuff from there.
Once we make the necessary changes, and “attach” the domain name to the site, there’s two processes to be aware of. And apologies, this gets a little weird, and is only here as a reference to help you decide when to announce your beautiful new site.
There’s a small window where you may see the site live, and others don’t. This is a caution to not jump the gun and tell the world about your new site the minute you see it live.
- Domain name propagation - Once we make changes at your registrar (DNS changes), it can technically take up to 48 hours for those changes to be applied across the globe. Meaning not all people will see the site live at the same time.
This usually only takes a few minutes, hours ~maybe~. It completely depends on your domain name registrar, and it’s out of our control. For this reason, we typically recommend not announcing your new site until a few hours after you see it live.
- SSL - Once Shopify “sees” the domain name change, and connects it to your site, there’s a 20-30 minute process it takes to secure everything. Speaking technically, this is when your SSL certificate is installed.
Only noting this as it’s possible you’ll see your site marked “insecure” by your browser during this time period. Again, this is why you shouldn't announce your site the minute you see it live, as there’s processes running in the background.