In the next guide, we will talk about one of the most important decisions that need to be made when setting up an eCommerce – the platform on which you will build the store.
There are quite a few platforms that allow you to build an online store, and this time we will focus on comparing two of the most popular and best platforms for eCommerce – Shopify or WordPress.
In case you are not really sure what these platforms are, let’s briefly explain each of them.
Shopify is a platform that allows people to build an online store even without knowledge of code, design, or website building.
The platform provides access to many templates (Themes) with which anyone can open an online store that looks great and works well without much effort.
In addition, the platform also makes it possible to change the code of the store, and this opens up possibilities for those who know the code to build a store with greater freedom and customization to the customer.
The platform makes it possible to build stores for the trade of digital products as well as physical products, as needed.
Shopify is a platform as a service and is a closed system, which means that you do not own the software but that you pay a monthly fee to use it.
In addition, your store sits on Shopify servers and not on an external server, and it also has advantages but also quite a few disadvantages.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is the most popular website building and content management system in the world today.
It allows you to build sites from any field in a very in-depth way, and although it is accessible even to those who do not have knowledge of code, it also allows a lot of freedom of movement and you can build special and complex sites.
In comparison, we will focus on the version of WordPress that is installed on the site (WordPress.org) and not on the closed version of WordPress which is more similar to Shopify, (WordPress.com) where your site sits on a server and domain (URL) of WordPress.
The significant advantage of WordPress is that it is an open-source system, meaning its code is changeable.
It also means that there are lots of plugins that can be installed on WordPress sites which provides endless flexibility, and it also includes plugins that turn the site into an online store like the WooCommerce plugin.
You can read in an article I wrote about 16 Types Of WordPress Websites
Shopify or WordPress – Pros and Cons
Having clarified what the platforms are, let’s compare them and talk about the pros and cons of each.
Note that I’m going to focus on the pros and cons of WordPress for building online stores, but a lot of them are relevant for other types of sites as well.
Design – both are good, but WordPress is more flexible
It is possible to build not bad sites at all in Shopify and the templates (Themes) of Shopify allow you to design websites that look quite professional in a relatively short time.
The same can be said for WordPress, but WordPress has a lot, but a lot more space for flexibility.
Shopify offers about 10 free templates and 64 paid “premium” templates. In addition, there are also additional templates that can be purchased from external designers who build special templates for the platform. If you’ve been around with the fact that your site does not look particularly unique, Shofifei will totally do the job.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a special site that looks different from the rest and has real differentiation, WordPress is the right choice.
WordPress offers hundreds and thousands of Themes, some paid and some free.
Now let’s talk for a moment about the difficulty level of website design.
Although WordPress really does not require a degree in computer science, it is a little less accessible than Shopify, which is specially designed for people without a technical background.
Designing a shop is definitely simpler, but it also means that the end result will be simpler – which is something to consider.
Speed – WordPress store a much faster
Website speed is determined by all sorts of variables, but one of the most significant of these – and the one that is also usually the easiest to change – is the server on which the website sits.
A quality server that is closer to your user audience will allow your site to load much faster than a cheap server on a distant continent.
On the Shopify platform, you have no choice but to store the site on the Shopify company servers.
In WordPress, on the other hand, you are responsible for choosing a storage service that suits you and can change your service over time if the needs change.
In terms of website speed, if you have the ability to research, understand and choose a quality storage server – then WordPress wins this criterion and you will have the option of a much faster website.
I will mention on this occasion that the speed of the site is important not only because of the user experience – but also because Google ranks higher sites faster.
SEO – Shopify is not bad, but WordPress is better
So let’s talk for a moment about the SEO of WordPress online stores versus the SEO of Shopify stores.
SEO is super important and I explained a lot about it so we will not dwell on it.
Read my article regarding Tips For Writing SEO Articles – Content Writing SEO
If you are not closed on why this is important, read the guide I wrote about what SEO is and Digital Marketing Abbreviations.
To the credit of Shopify, it is a good platform for SEO:
There are quite a few plugins that help make SEO for Shopify sites
- There are quite a few plugins that help make SEO for Shopify sites
- The platform builds a sitemap automatically
- It allows you to write and edit meta-titles and meta-descriptions with relative ease
It has all sorts of other benefits, and by and large, it is far from bad when it comes to SEO.
However, there are also a lot of issues with Shopify that can hurt your SEO efforts.
For example, Shopify pushes all sorts of fixed prefixes to the URL of your pages, like products / before products.
The problem with this is that Google (and users) like nice, clean, and minimalist URLs.
This is easy to do in WordPress, and more or less impossible in Shopify.
Another disadvantage is that although there are not bad supplements of SEO for Shopify stores – Shopify does not have the Yoast Plugin, about which I published a guide recently – the How to Use Yoast SEO
So true, that’s not what’s going on for most people – but anyone who’s a little experienced in SEO knows that the Yoast plugin makes life a lot easier.
In addition to all these, another important aspect in promoting an online store is the content, so let’s talk a bit about what the two platforms offer in this segment.
Content – The WordPress Blog Ten Steps Ahead
Although we are talking here about an e-commerce store and not a blog, your store also needs its own blog.
There are several reasons for this, here are some of them:
- In the blog, you can upload content that will allow you to promote keywords and place the site on Google results pages
- A blog with quality content related through internal links to the products you provide will allow you to attract surfers by providing value on topics that interest them
- A site with a blog that includes reliable and quality content helps to build trust with the surfers and increase the chances that they will actually buy from you.
- So this blog is important – we understand. But which platform is better in this sense?
The short answer is again, WordPress.
WordPress is a phenomenal content management platform and is pretty much the perfect platform for blogging.
Why? What does it have that is not on the Shopify platform?
WordPress also has categories, sub-categories, and also tags, while in Shopify there are only tags.
This difference does not sound so critical, but in practice it allows you to manage content in a more orderly manner, improve the user experience, create a better website structure and make the content search process much more convenient.
Another point is that in WordPress, previous versions of pages and posts are saved in the system, which helps to switch between versions without re-creating the page every time.
This option does not really exist in Shopify, and in some cases, it can take up valuable time.
In addition, as we already mentioned in WordPress there is the Yoast plugin, which helps to perform SEO and improve text readings as part of the content writing process.
Yoast uses the traffic light method to help each and everyone promotes keywords more effectively, and also make the content more appealing for surfers.
There are other topics and criteria not reviewed in the guide such as integrations with clearing companies and shipping companies and more, but the purpose of this guide is to review the main issues so we can make a decision – on which platform we should set up our Online Store – Shopify or WordPress?
So which platform is right for you?
There is no unequivocal answer here, these two platforms are good for online stores.
Shopify is a great platform for building online stores, no doubt about it, but overall – it has a very clear target audience.
Its target audiences are people who do not have the budget to build a custom online store, and people who do not have the technical knowledge.
It provides an all-in-one solution.
There is no need for your own storage server, it does not require the installation of plugins to turn an existing site into an online store and it is easy to design and manage sites on it.
And yet, in many cases to get exactly what you need, even in Shopify you will need to use third-party plugins and apps.
In contrast, WordPress, which on the face of it requires a little more technical knowledge. In practice – the WordPress learning curve is not so steep.
You can learn in a short time promotion and building a website even without touching the code of the site, and installing plugins is really not a story.
While WordPress does not include commerce within it, with the help of plugins like WooCommerce it is possible to build an online store that looks good and works smoothly.
In addition, if you are planning to organically promote your store (SEO), you should take into account that the whole issue of promoting an online store is much easier and higher quality in WordPress.
In conclusion, if you are willing to invest time and money in your site to do it right, I think WordPress is more suitable.
WordPress is better in almost every parameter, and also in those, we have not talked about in this guide.
I think the bottom line is that the most important parameter that leads me in making this decision is that the WordPress site is yours and yours, in Shopify the site is not yours. It’s just like renting a house versus buying a house.
Still – if you do not have the time and you do not plan to invest resources in your store, Shopify is a good option.