Themes are used as the basis for putting the front-end of your store together in a way that is easy to navigate and looks professional for all of your viewers. Themes are helpful especially for stores with high-quality visuals or collections they want to feature. They make it easy to set up your store and be ready to go, pretty much out of the box. Unlike other e-commerce platforms, where you have to do every little thing from scratch, themes allow you to get the full functionality of a store that is easy for you to edit or update with new content.
But just because they're ready to go doesn't mean you can't put your own changes in them. Themes are customisable in many ways. This post goes over just one of those - Theme Sections.
What are theme sections?
The idea of theme sections is to break up a big web page into easy-to-digest chunks. You can have static sections that stay in place even as you scroll (like a header or footer) and you can have dynamic sections that appear differently as your user moves through your website.
Each piece of content has its own little chunk that fits together like tetris - rather than one longform page that incorporates a lot of different elements like text, video and testimonials. Although themes before sections (read: stone age) can look very good, sections make editing your site way way for merchants.
What can you do with sections?
Theme sections let you customise how your store looks and feels without needing to know a single line of code. This means you save time and money because you don't need to hire someone to make small changes on your website for things you can now easily do yourself.
Using sections means you can add images, text, blog posts, products, slideshows, collection listings, or videos. Each item is given its own little chunk that you can add, reorder or delete easily. You can even preview changes on mobile (and of course, desktop) before going live with them.
Sections come with your theme, and as you're building your site you can drag and drop new sections in. Each theme has its unique layout for sections, though most themes will involve the basics that you can play around with.
Sections make your life easier
The best part of sections is that you can easily edit them piece by piece. That means that if you're updating recent news, putting in a new video, or adding a testimonial, you don't have to mess with anything you've already done and saved.
Sections allow you more control over your content, how it's laid out and how easy it is to edit it. You can also use the same section for multiple purposes - for example if you copy and paste a slogan or call-to-action section on each page of your site.
Sections let you keep your website moving
The ability to edit your site quickly, reorder your sections and highlight new content means that keeping your site up to date can become intuitive and part of your weekly routine. Say you have a new flash sale, or were just mentioned in a magazine. Just add a new section, write a piece of text or add an image, link or video, and stick it front and centre. You don't have to touch anything else on your site, and you can usually pull a new section together in just a couple of minutes.
Why is it important to keep your website updated?
Well for one, your website is often the place most important for conversion. Consumers will find out about you from one of your marketing channels like Facebook, then be directed to your site. If they see that you're active, offering new things, staying relevant and paying attention to them, you're all the more likely to make a sale. You also definitely want to make sure you don't have outdated policies, sales or information so you don't run into customer service issues.
Second, it helps with your Search Engine Optimisation. Your website is picked up by GoogleBot more if it's being updated regularly.
And third, it gives you the opportunity to test out new content strategies and see what works, without having to pay for every experiment. Have a hunch that featuring a certain product on your home page will draw more traffic there? Try it for a week and see.
Here’s How To Add New Sections To a Theme
It's fairly straightforward - when you're logged onto your theme customisation tab, simply hit "add section" from the sidebar and drag it where you want to go.
Here you can choose whether you want the section to be static, meaning it stays in place always (aka a header or a footer), or dynamic meaning you can scroll through it.
You can also move around sections by dragging them throughout the sidebar.
Here's a more step-by-step version
You can add sections to your home page using the theme editor menu:
From your Shopify admin, click Online Store, and then click Themes.
Find the theme you want to edit and click the Customize theme button for the theme.
In the sidebar menu, click Add section:
Click the type of section that you want to add, then click Add. The options are theme-specific, so different themes will have different section options.
Change the section's content by adding and editing the content blocks using the sidebar menu.
When you like the way the section looks, click Save or Publish to save your changes to the theme.
What else can I explore with themes?
Although this post focuses on Sections, there are plenty of other features to explore within your Shopify theme. For example:
- Image Picker, which lets you access any photo you've already put anywhere on your site, rather than needing to re-upload it onto your "theme" folder
- Responsive themes, which automatically adjust depending on the screen size of your device, so you don't need to re-optimise (as much) for mobile
- Adjustable URLs, so you can easily direct people to a particular blog post, video, product or other content with its own page
- General Settings, which include adjustments to your colour, typeface, social media links and checkout experience
If you're wondering why your theme doesn't have sections...
Don’t worry, we’re here to help! If you don't see sectioning capability, here's why:
Using a theme template purchased from the Shopify store
All theme developers are rolling in the ability to create sections - but it takes a bit of time. If your theme hasn't been updated yet, you can contact your theme developer to ask when the sections feature will be available.
Using a custom-built theme
We build sections into all new theme builds. If you’re using a custom theme (either built by Elkfox or by another developer), contact us to enquire about the different sections we can install within your theme!
Elkfox is a developer that works with Shopify store owners to create beautiful, easy to manage and fully engaging websites. We can build custom themes - including the ability to section and adjust yourself in future.
Contact us for more details.