So, I am building a Shopify app for Shopify blogs that lets customers easily discover blog posts they like through dropdown filters powered by tags - it's finally near completion and ready to submit to the Shopify app store soon.
I foresee there would be a few more rounds of fixing needed before getting approved on the Shopify app store, nonetheless I am still super hyped about this app and can't wait to share with other Shopify store owners.
TLDR (Too Long Didn't Read):
Being grumpy about the Shopify's lack of features for its blog, I chanced upon the idea of a dropdown tag based blog post filter app - which I am super pumped to build as it can boost blog post discovery experience for Shopify blogs. Subscribe at the bottom of page to get alerted once it's released on Shopify app store in the next few weeks!
Warning: Long post ahead.
The Almost Perfect Shopify
I chanced upon Shopify after going through a few other ecommerce solutions out there with some client projects. Its simplicity coupled with a vibrant app store instantly got me hooked. In fact Shopify has been my only recommendation to all my ecommerce clients since then.
There are some imperfections here and there about Shopify. While most of them could be solved by an app or combination of a few apps, some of them remained unsolvable. These little issues are often overshadowed by Shopify's superior ease of use, but when you encounter them it could still be super annoying.
One of these issues is the obvious lack of rich features in the Shopify blog.
The Forgotten Blog
Like most online stores who didn't opt content marketing as their core strategy, most of my clients and I choose to live with the limitation of Shopify blogs. When it comes to blogs, we choose to focus on creating as many articles as possible without giving much thought to the blog reading and discovery experience.
I love Shopify's "generosity" in allowing store owners to create multiple blogs within a store. This means businesses can create different collections of content like recipes, lookbook, interviews, tutorials and more; all independent from each other - making the management of blog posts much easier.
While this sorta gives businesses a superpower to build more content, the storefront reading and discovery experience for customer is extremely underwhelmed. Without apps, most popular Shopify themes has a clunky blog reading experience. The content discovery experience is nothing more than lotsa scrolling and clicking from page to page - that's if the customers are even motivated enough to do this.
This causes a lose-lose situation, as customers miss out on great content while businesses sees no return on their investment in content creation.
Even with the thousands or more apps available in the app store, little cater to the need of better Shopify blogs. Not to mention the varied dimensions of improvement needed, including but not limited to reading and discovery experience, SEO, branding, media display etc.
Making Blog Discovery Experience Better
I first chanced upon the idea of dropdown blog post filtering from one of my clients who needed to migrate her business from WooCommerce to Shopify. Ecommerce aside, she has also amassed an impressive content collection like recipes in her WooCommerce website.
At the very top of these recipes is a set of 8 filters which allows her customers to discover recipes with criteria like cuisine style, preparation time, skill level, occasion etc. This is such an obvious and beautiful idea that could immediately boost the discovery experience of Shopify blogs!
Having faith in the almighty Shopify app store, I immediately went searching for an app that does that and found nothing.
Still pumped about a better discovery experience for Shopify blogs, I started working with a friend to kickstart the development of this app.
It's been a good 3-4 months with lotsa learning curve while building out the filter app using the time left from our day jobs. During the development process, we constantly discover the lack of attention paid by Shopify to its blogging features. There is constant pivoting of our technical decision but we are excited to finally reaching the other side of the tunnel.
I am managing my expectation to keep it as realistic as possible, knowing that there are more than 50 apps going lived on the Shopify app store every week. What makes me excited is how the blog post filter app can be a game changer in blog discovery experience, this means there are more on our roadmap than just tag based filters. I am putting a long term view on the impact we can bring to Shopify blogs.
If you have read all the way here and are keen to be one of the first stores to try our app, please feel free to subscribe to our release alert. We will drop you an email once the app is lived, and we are super excited (and nervous) to hear what you have to say about it.