Shopify VS WordPress – Which is Better?
When you have a working knowledge about websites, specially when you’re trying to build your own e-commerce store, one of the questions you might have is which platform to use. Technically, your platform choice depends on how much involvement you’ll have with the website—and how much working knowledge you have. Honestly, on my opinion, we can use any platform we choose given that we have the proper training to use it. But of course, that is not the only consideration we have to think about.
In terms on which platform to use, the main choices of many ecommerce stores are either using Shopify or WordPress. Let’s get to know these platforms better in this article.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is an e-commerce platform which allows suppliers and retailers to sell any type of goods to consumers around the world, and market these goods through an online store. It is a “one stop shop” selling platform which is designed to be user friendly for people who are not tech savvy specially in creating websites. For a monthly fee depending on your website needs, you will get domain hosting, free themes, drag and drop functionality in website design, and 24-hour customer service when you need support.
What is WordPress?
There are two types of WordPress available today: first is the hosted WordPress from WordPress.com, and the second is the self-hosted WordPress from WordPress.org. Hosted WordPress is also a software as service tool, where in you will have to pay a monthly fee to enjoy its features for you to build and maintain a website. On the other hand, self-hosted WordPress is a free software that you can install in your own web server. For clarification, we will be talking about self-hosted WordPress in this article.
WordPress is an open-source content management system, meaning anyone can use or manage this software for free. Most of the websites we’re seeing today are being powered by WordPress. It is being used for business websites, blogs, resumes and portfolios to name a few. You will need to purchase your domain and hosting separately—you would have to buy the place where your website will be kept so that it can be accessed by your audience. Since WordPress is an open source software, there are a lot of support forums you can find online that can help you fix virtually any problem you have by reading the solutions of actual users who previously encountered the same problem.
The two platforms have different merits and we can say that they have their own advantages and disadvantages when used. Let us get into the details and compare them based on different aspects and use. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you can get to decide which platform will be best for you and your business.
Audience or User
Shopify was specially made for users who don’t have experience at all in creating websites. This means that you don’t need to be a pro in coding and other technical stuff to get started with your online store. The step by step process are very straightforward, you can start building and publishing your website in a few hours. The downside of this is that when you use Shopify, you will be limited to the themes and customisations as opposed to using WordPress.
On the other hand, you will need to have basic knowledge of coding to use the WordPress platform. If you are looking to create an eCommerce website, you will also need to learn about the plugins that you can use as WordPress itself is not eCommerce ready just yet. While these might seem like a lot of work when you’re starting, it can also beneficial in the long run as you will be able to do simple troubleshooting on your website once you learn how the platform works. Depending on how fast you can learn this process and how big your website is, creating a website through WordPress can take more time than if you’ll use Shopify.
For most of us, we’d like to have all our bills in one place so it will be easier to manage and pay them. This is what you’ll get when you decide to use Shopify – an integrated platform that will cover everything you’ll need to have your website running including hosting.
The price ranges from USD 29 to USD 299 per month depending on the size of your website. The pricing table below came from the Shopify website which talks about the features of each plan.
Note that there is an additional credit card rate (2.9% + 30 cents) on top of the subscription plans, so the total cost will be higher than the prices above. There are also plugins that you will need to buy separately based on the functionalities you’ll need, although they are optional. Shopify also provides free domain, but you can also buy a domain from them at USD 9 per year.
The use of the WordPress software is free, but you will have to purchase the domain and hosting separately. As mentioned earlier, these two are needed in order for your website to function. Domains are the URL or the memorable name of your website that is being used to stand for the IP address of your website. Hosting is the storage of all the data of your website; this is where the server gets information to show internet users your website, and delivers that information through the user’s browser.
There are a lot of companies which offer domain and hosting services. Most of them offer free domain when you avail of the monthly hosting package. Some of the hosting companies we know are Bluehost, DreamHost, and SiteGround.
If you’d like to get hosting that includes personalized service, Confetti Design offers affordable WordPress hosting Melbourne based packages.
Full Security & Hosting
Monthly hosting with Confetti: Commence monthly hosting of $50 per month which we can organise a subscription payment thru PayPal
Annual subscription: Confetti can issue an invoice for an annual subscription of $600 payable each September
Full daily back-ups
SSL certificate valued at $120 pa
Full security provided by Sucuri.net. Valued at $199USD with daily malware scans and cleaning all inclusive (best quality website security)
Plugins updated fortnightly
One hour per month free support
Monthly hosting with Confetti: Commence monthly hosting of $20 per month which we can organise a subscription payment thru PayPal
Annual subscription: Confetti can issue an invoice for an annual subscription of $240 payable each September
A back-up kept for 30 days rolling
SSL certificate valued at $120 pa
Plugins updated fortnightly
Confetti Design also provide a Melbourne based domain name registration service too:
.com.au is $45 ex GST for 2 years
.com is $20 ex GST per year
Aside from domain and hosting, most of the themes and plugins that you will need to use to create your website are available free of charge specially if you are creating a simple one. The functionality and goal of your website will determine the plugins that you will need to use, so the more complex your website is, the more is the need for you to install plugins and some of them don’t have free versions.
User Friendliness in Setting Up
We will briefly list down the steps in setting up both Shopify and WordPress to give you an idea on how easy or difficult it is for either platforms. Although many say that setting up Shopify is easier, WordPress set up is also straightforward. It only involves additional steps that you will not need to do in Shopify.
Shopify Set Up
Step 1: Go to shopify.com and click on “Start Free Trial.”
Step 2: Fill in the details such as your email address, your password for your Shopify account, and your store name. Note that it might take a while for you to find a store name that is available, so you will have to be very creative in deciding what your store name will be. Click on “Next” afterwards.
Step 3: Shopify will ask you two questions; ‘Are you already selling’ and ‘What is your current revenue’ Choose your answers from the dropdown. There is also a tick box asking if you are setting up the store for a client, leave it unchecked if you are creating a store for your own business. Click on Next.
Step 4: There will be a question on whether you’d like to make a brick-and-mortar store or an online shop. Select the Online Shop option and then click next.
Step 5: The next page will ask to fill in personal information such as first and last name, address (configures currencies and tax rate), and phone number. You will then need to click the “Enter my store” button.
Step 6: The Shopify step by step process afterwards are pretty straightforward. You will be asked to add a product first. You will need to fill in details like title, description, price, and vendor. You can add a few products first to test and then add more later when you’ve completed the set up.
Step 7: Select a theme for your website. There are free themes that you can choose from which look amazing and are responsive as well.
Step 8: In your dashboard, set up your domain which you can also buy from Shopify, or you can use the free one they provided.
Step 9: Activate your payment by clicking on the payments tab on your dashboard. You will also need to choose a plan and put your method of payment on file.
Step 10: Once done setting up the payment, click on the Launch Website button to make your website live.
WordPress Set Up
Step 1: Choose a hosting service provider and get a hosting account subscription. In this example, we chose Bluehost as the hosting service. Go to bluehost.com and click on “Get Started.”
Step 2: Select the subscription you’d like to get. Click on Select. You will then be routed to the domain set up page.
Step 3: Choose your domain name. Afterwards, you will be taken to the account creation page.
Step 4: Fill in your details and billing method, then choose your plan subscription. At this point, uncheck the other extras its offering as you can add them later if you need to.
Step 5: Continue with the set up process including creating your login credentials for Bluehost. It will then bring you to the Bluehost CPanel where you can locate the WordPress button under Website Builders header. It will then walk you through the steps to complete the WordPress installation.
Step 6: Choose your theme. You can select one of the free themes of WordPress or purchase one that will suit your website needs.
Step 7: You then have to set up the appearance of your website. This is where you’ll use your coding knowledge. You can find video tutorials on how to add different functionalities in your website, as well as the plugins that you can use in order to make the website appear as you want them to.
As far as the setting up goes, we can agree that setting up a Shopify website is much easier specially for users that have little knowledge about coding. As a side note, Confetti Design can build your website (whether Shopify or WordPress powered) and create magnificent designs based from your requirement.
Whether you are starting up a business or thinking about your current digital marketing, give us a call.
We can help.
Shopify is primarily built as a dedicated online store builder, which means they have developed the platform with eCommerce in mind. This is its main advantage against WordPress, as WordPress alone is not built for online selling. Shopify’s all-in-one package makes it easy for a small business to put up their online store quickly. One disadvantage though of using Shopify for eCommerce is that even if you can sell limitless number of goods, each can only have up to 100 variants and a maximum of 3 options. There are apps though in Shopify that can get rid of these limits.
Although we mentioned earlier that WordPress alone is not created for eCommerce, there are third party plugins that you can add to create your functional online store, such as Woocommerce or WP Ecommerce. The key to making a beautiful yet functional online store using WordPress is to identify what functions your store needs and research on high ranking plugins that can do the job. You can even use Shopify Lite to integrate Shopify eCommerce functions to your WordPress site.
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is a key factor that website developers look into since it is helps drive traffic to the website. Whether you’ll be using Shopify or WordPress, you will need to optiimise the same areas in order to rank better in search engines.
Shopify has built in SEO features such as letting you edit the meta descriptions, using SSL, automatically creates 301 redirects when you change a page name, and even creating XML sitemaps. One disadvantage of using Shopify in SEO is that you cannot choose the server that will be hosting your site, and this is important as you would want to use a fast server as page speed is one of the elements of SEO. We can argue that Shopify’s hosting is at par with the other hosting servers, but it is not the fastest so to speak.
WordPress gives more flexibility in terms of optimising your website for SEO. You can install the Yoast plugin in your website, and this tool does in-depth analysis of your content in an SEO perspective. It also gives you suggested steps to further optimise your website and rank higher in search engine results page. Yoast is not available in Shopify although there are equivalent apps that some use to optimise their Shopify websites. Aside from that, WordPress allows you to choose a faster hosting which is excellent for SEO.
You can turn to Confetti Design’s SEO Services if you’re not sure on how to get your website optimised for search engines to rank you higher. Whether you are on the Shopify or WordPress platform, our SEO specialists will audit your website thoroughly to ensure that every little section are fully optimised.
When you encounter a problem with your website, it will be great to know that someone will be available to help you fix it, specially if your website is already live and generating money for your business. In this aspect, we will discuss in detail how “supported” you are comparing Shopify and WordPress support.
Shopify help center (https://help.shopify.com/) provides comprehensive solutions to different types of problems. It has topics that Shopify users can browse on, such as video tutorials, theme tutorials, and many more.
In the event that a problem is not answered on the list of solutions they have, Shopify also has support channels via chat, email, phone, or twitter. Their response time is usually quick as well.
There is also a Shopify Community wherein Shopify users share experiences they had with the platform. This is useful specially because the solutions are being provided by merchants all over the world.
WordPress.org also has a dedicated support page (https://wordpress.org/support/) to provide help on topics and problems that users usually experience. They outline the entire process here, from installation to administration, customization, and maintenance of your website.
They also have support forums where WordPress users and Web Developers answer queries about WordPress as well as the plugins. However, WordPress doesn’t have a support channel who will attend to inquiries individually and real-time.
Confetti Design’s web development services include the support you’ll need when you encounter any problems with your website. Whether its for Shopify or WordPress website, our years of experience ins web design has given us enough knowledge to troubleshoot and resolve the issues.
In conclusion, we can say that Shopify and WordPress have their own pros and cons that you will need to consider when deciding on which platform to use. We hope that this article articulated the aspects you that are most valuable to you in creating your website, helping you make that intelligent decision for platform of choice. Regardless if you will choose Shopify or WordPress, we at Confetti Design can absolutely help you with your website design and development. Our team is proficient in performing all of your website needs—from creating your website, maintenance, and even SEO. Talk to us now and learn about our packages!