Photo by Blake Wisz
You’ve decided to take the plunge and start your own online business. There are so many ecommerce platforms you can choose from, but for beginners with little coding experience then Shopify and WordPress are two of the best right out of the box.
Shopify vs. WordPress, which is the best for you? Choosing between the two isn’t simple because they both have pros and cons that make one better over the other for certain situations. We’re going to take an in-depth look at these two platforms so you can decide which is best for your new ecommerce business.
It doesn’t matter if you’re selling digital or physical products, you’ll learn which platform is best for you.
A Tale of Two WordPresses
If you’re unfamiliar with WordPress, you’ll come across wordpress.org and wordpress.com when searching online.
WordPress.com is a self-contained website builder that hosts everything on wordpress.com. While the setup is easy, the vast majority don’t use it. Instead, they choose wordpress.org.
This is a platform that you download and install on your website to create it from scratch. This allows for the greatest customization and you host everything yourself instead of WordPress doing it.
When we talk about WordPress, we’re talking about the self-hosted platform and not the online website builder.
Shopify vs. WordPress: The Bare Basics
Shopify and WordPress are two very different platforms. WordPress started out as a blogging service people could use to create blogs and advanced to entire websites. WordPress does not come with an ecommerce capability right out of the box.
Instead, you need to install a plug-in that allows for a shopping cart and ecommerce capability. There are millions of WordPress sites and it’s used by smalltime bloggers to major corporations.
Shopify is an e-commerce platform and designed for business. Unlike WordPress, Shopify is all about ecommerce and allows for it as soon as you sign up. It has many features built-in that other platforms require third party companies to provide for you.
Which is the Easiest to Use?
WordPress as thousands of themes you can download and create for your website. If you’re creating an informational website, there isn’t a better platform. You can also purchase themes, so you have even more creative ability.
When it comes to ecommerce, you need to use WooCommerce for your store. WordPress is very user-friendly when it comes to creating a website but creating an e-commerce store is a little more difficult. You need to set up the website by downloading WordPress and various plug-ins to help with everything from SEO to social media.
You then need a plug-in like WooCommerce that provides the ecommerce integration and configure your store for everything including products, store details, shopping cart, etc.
Shopify is a self-contained unit with ecommerce feature built-in. It’s designed to make an ecommerce site for the get-go and doesn’t require any additional downloads. Shopify is also user-friendly when it comes to creating your website.
What About Digital Marketing?
In today’s competitive business climate, every website business needs digital marketing to grow its business and get its name out there. Digital marketing includes email marketing, SEO, Google Ads and more.
WordPress is designed for content. It started as a blogging platform and Google loves content. Many ecommerce businesses don’t have a lot of content, but it’s important to have a blog and WordPress lets you set one up easily.
It’s also got numerous plug-ins for SEO.
WordPress has some SEO and blog functionality, but not nearly as robust as WordPress. Blogging on Shopify can be clunky and isn’t as intuitive as on WordPress. SEO can be a little more difficult on Shopify because there isn’t anything created specifically for like there is on WordPress.
Built-In Business Functions
WordPress has no built-in functions for a business. You need to download the proper plug-ins for that functionality and they’re not all free. There is also very little business support for WordPress. If something goes wrong or you have questions, it’s not easy to find the information.
WooCommerce plug-in does have business features built-in including automatic tax calculations, product review features, unlimited products and categorization to find products easier.
Shopify has many ecommerce functions built-in, so you don’t need to go looking for them. One of its most impressive features is abandoned shopping cart emails. When someone adds something to their shopping cart and then leaves the site without buying, it’s called abandoning the shopping cart.
Shopify lets you send emails to these people reminding them they’ve left something in their cart. You get unlimited products, unlimited bandwidth, product coupons or discount codes and sales tax calculation from the very start.
You also get some of the best customer service in the business. If you have any problems with Shopify, you can call and get help.
Which is the Right Platform for Your Business?
If you plan on having a blog on your site and use it frequently for SEO and content generations, then you might want the flexibility that WordPress provides. WordPress also gives you customization options that Shopify doesn’t. The biggest downside is you need to download plug-ins if you want to add ecommerce functionality.
Running an ecommerce site isn’t easy and Shopify helps bring that business functionality right from the gate. If you don’t want to deal with figuring out what plug-ins to download and what features you need, then Shopify provides a simple and easy interface for both website creation and business. The downside is you don’t have the digital marketing abilities for SEO that WordPress does.
They both have their benefits, but ultimately the choice on which to choose is up to you and your business needs.
Start Your Business
Regardless of which platform you choose, Shopify vs. WordPress, you’re embarking on a journey by starting your business. It’s going to be a bumpy ride with ups and downs but choosing the right ecommerce platform is a great start to a great business.
If you want to learn more about e-commerce platforms, then please explore our site. Visit the Web Dev and Retail pages of our business blog for more articles on ecommerce.