Shopify vs. WordPress: Which Is the Better Website Platform for Your Business?
Shopify and WordPress have grown into top website platforms for businesses. While both offer robust ecommerce solutions for retailers, appointment scheduling for service-based companies, and tools to make your brand look beautiful, one may be better suited for you. By evaluating each website platform, comparing costs, and setting your digital priorities, you can make your digital presence more effective.
What to Consider When Selecting a Website Builder
Picking the right website platform (or “content management system” [CMS], if you dig jargon) is especially important if you plan on taking payments, tracking inventory, applying cross-channel marketing strategies, or letting clients book appointments or services online. Shopify and WordPress take different approaches in accepting payments and offer different tools for multi-channel selling.
To figure out what the best website builder is best for your business, think about your specific goals.
Shopify vs. WordPress for Drop-Shipping
Many retailers rely on drop-shipping services to avoid warehousing costs or having physical products sitting around. Both Shopify and WordPress offer connections for print-on-demand services like Printful and the ability to send orders to remote warehousing services on your behalf.
Shopify vs. WordPress SEO Tools
Both Shopify and WordPress offer SEO tools like on-page optimization, XML sitemap editing, robots.txt editing, and the ability to adjust (or automate) page titles, meta descriptions, and other SEO basics. These functions are all built into the paid Shopify subscription. On WordPress, one of the simplest ways to use these features is to apply the free Yoast SEO plugin, but you will need a paid subscription to WordPress to use it.
Benefits of WordPress
WordPress has tremendous upsides and nearly endless customizations, but it can take more development experience to get the form and function of your site exactly the way you want it. Don’t worry; we do that.
WordPress will support you well in doing the following things:
- Build an excellent online store.
- Host online forums and message boards.
- Easily add a blog (or add a store to an existing blog).
- Sell product through a drop-ship service.
- Sell services, appointments, memberships and subscriptions.
Is WordPress Easy to Use?
Using WordPress involves a steeper learning curve. Because it lets you choose elements of your website like hosting, themes, SEO, calendars, and other functions, it can require you (the user) to put more pieces into place yourself. In a sense, the customization aspect is both a benefit and a drawback, depending on how comfortable users are with these tasks.
How Much Does WordPress Cost?
In addition to your domain costs, WordPress requires monthly subscriptions that are billed annually. The plans range from $4 per month for personal to $45 per month for ecommerce. You’ll need at least the $25 per month business plan to use premium themes, SEO tools like Yoast, and tools like Google Analytics. Some plugins also require monthly fees on top of your WordPress subscription.
Benefits of Shopify over WordPress
As the name suggests, Shopify is designed to make it easy to set up and start selling quickly. At its core, Shopify caters to business owners who don’t have website development or design skills to get online. It offers quick-start sites that can make your goods or services available to customers in minutes. (One of our team members set up a Shopify store in less than an hour, no coding required! Of course, we recommend customizing after that to optimize for UX, page speed, etc.)
For those looking for a more custom look, Shopify does allow HTML and CSS editing.
Shopify does the following things well:
- Build an online store quickly with an easy-to-follow quick start guide.
- Use a built-in payment system
- Inventory and product management tools
- Sell across multiple channels (Amazon, eBay)
- Built-in tools for remarketing and abandoned cart recovery
- In-personal sales with Shopify POS
Is Shopify Easy to Set Up?
Shopify is easier to set up and start selling, hands-down, for those who don’t have development and design experience. The platform is tailored toward ecommerce, which does mean you may need to spend slightly more time optimizing the design and feel of other site functions, like blogs and navigation. These tips for building an ecommerce site will help you determine the legwork you need your CMS to accommodate.
How Much Does Shopify Cost?
Shopify offers three plans, starting with the Basic plan at $29 a month. The Shopify plan ($79) offers more features, and the Advanced Shopify plan ($299) does even more, but many of these features aren’t necessary for most users. You’ll have to dig through the perks to find the right fit, but the standard Shopify plan is a great place to get started.
It’s also worth noting that Shopify takes a cut of online and in-person credit card transactions and applies additional fees for transactions completed by other payment processing providers like Stripes. If your business completes hundreds or thousands of transactions per year, these fees can add up.
Additional Considerations for Your Website
Plugins and apps. WordPress calls them plugins. Shopify calls them apps. By any name, these are third-party tools that are either free or premium add-ons that perform specific functions. These can make adding social media integrations, events, and calendars much easier than creating or managing by hand.
Both WordPress and Shopify have excellent plugin (or app) options.
Themes. Themes are a pre-packed design set for your website. Both WordPress and Shopify offer free themes and paid themes. Paid themes are more unique and often more customizable than “cookie-cutter” free themes. Paid themes are also typically better for SEO, UX, accessibility, etc. – e.g., they often load faster, due to cleaner code.
Multi-language capabilities. For businesses with an international or multilingual audience, having a site that allows for multiple languages helps to serve content that is easier to understand. Both WordPress and Shopify offer multi-language capabilities by manually uploading your translated content as a .csv. This means you’ll have to translate existing content yourself and translate any additional content as it is added to your site.
To automate translations for your website, both platforms offer paid plugins. We strongly recommend using these tools if your business has an international footprint.
Multi-site capabilities. WordPress and Shopify allow for multiple sites to operate from a single online store. In the case of Shopify, you’ll need to set-up your additional sites separate before integrating them into your initial account. This also changes how your site subscription is billed. WordPress offers a more streamlined Multisite Network for paid uses that allows for many customizations and permission levels between users.
Picking a Website Builder
To pick the right CMS and ecommerce solution, ask yourself these questions:
- Does the annual cost of this solution suit my budget?
- Can I easily set up and manage this platform?
- Does this site builder work in all countries where I do business?
- Can I use all the payment options I need on this platform?
- Does this site builder offer the SEO tools I need to reach a wider audience?
- Does this site builder integrate with my drop-shipping service?
- Does this platform integrate with the rest of my technology stack?
- Can I design my site to meet my brand standards?
Let’s Build Something Together
We help companies identify the best website solutions to meet their needs now, with plenty of room to grow. Our graphic design and website development teams can create an exceptional user experience, while our SEO experts make sure the right audience gets to experience it.
Whether you’re looking to improve an existing site or are starting from scratch, we’d love to answer your questions about whether Shopify, WordPress, or another CMS is the right fit for you. Get in touch today!