Which is better, Shopify or WordPress? A 2021 Guide
There are plenty of platforms out there with a variety of functions, and if you are a business or a startup, you’ve probably asked yourself the question: Which is better for my ecommerce business, Shopify or WordPress?
Both platforms are extremely well known and have made a name for their site that businesses and brands recognize, and it’s a large topic with many considerations. We’re going to dive into this subject with an in-depth examination of both platforms.
In this detailed article you will learn a range of different information, giving you a complete overview and examination of each platform and the features that they provide; in addition, you’ll learn why you should choose one over the other when you are considering an e-commerce site for your business or brand.
After reading this guide, you’re bound to have much more confidence in making the right decision for your business with an informed decision that will surely meet your business needs in the best way.
Let’s first take a look at a brief overview of each platform.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is one of the premier e-commerce websites that allows merchants to build and launch an online store; it is considered a web application that has been created with this purpose in mind.
Shopify is a hosted web solution that runs everything on their own servers, and you don’t have to do anything in order to get your website to run in terms of installing software or buying web server space.
Shopify is an SaaS platform, also known as software as a service, meaning that you’ll never own the software and will pay a monthly fee to use it; it runs in the cloud.
Your Shopify store can be managed from anywhere, at any time, as long as you have a working internet connection and browser access.
One of the main principles of Shopify is that a business or brand, or even an individual user, can create an online store without any prior technical or design skill; no coding is required.
In order to achieve that, Shopify provides a variety of templates that businesses can customize and adjust to their specific needs. If you do have skills in coding and website creation, you’ll still be able to customize your store through HTML and CSS editing.
Both physical as well as digital products can be sold via Shopify, allowing diverse business needs to be met.
Who Uses Shopify?
The main audience of Shopify is going to be a distinct type of users that likely have these things in common:
- Lack web development skills
- Lack a cushy budget to hire a web developer to build their store
- The reason this type of user would be interested in Shopify is that the platform is built for the creation of an online store without the use of coding or web design at prices that won’t completely break the bank.
How Many People Use Shopify?
It’s a good idea to know more or less how many people are using a platform when you’re looking for a website building solution. Why?
If a platform has a large amount of users, it’s likely that their platform is also well developed in terms of elements like support, resources, as well as additional apps and plugins that you can use to enhance it.
Also, you don’t have to worry about the platform going out of business, shutting down your site, and leaving you high and dry; this often happens with free web hosting.
Shopify boasts over 1,000,000 hosted stores, showing that it’s quite popular amongst users with an online store.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is self-described as the world’s most popular website builder.
It is principally used to create and publish a website or blog. It’s one of the easiest and most flexible websites to manage your content, especially if you have no experience.
As a content management system, CMS, WordPress is one of the most popular and it expanded into a website building platform a little over 10 years ago, showing that it has longevity in it’s market.
There are two principal types of WordPress versions that are available, so let’s check them out in detail.
If you’re looking to use WordPress on your own web server, you can do so through self-hosting. You download software from wordpress.org and then you’ll install it on your own web server. You can then customize it with code since it is an open-source software.
This is a big draw for experienced web builders because you can customize them at pretty much any level. It will surely meet any business needs with the right developer behind it, or even just with simple plugins.
It’s important to know just who you are choosing for your host, however, as you can lose everything if you don’t choose a reputable host.
It’s not uncommon for free web hosting services to litter your site with ads as payment, or even just decide to stop offering services with your site never to be seen again. It doesn’t happen every day, but you do run that risk.
You’ll also be in charge of all updates and backups, but this can be easily managed through WordPress plugins as well.
Hosted WordPress is accessed through wordpress.com, and it’s a SaaS (software as a service) tool just like Shopify is. You’ll pay a monthly fee for access to their wide array of features so that you can build and maintain a website for your endeavor.
WordPress has many different purposes and possibilities, but it isn’t going to be a one-stop shop for e-commerce. It doesn’t include these features from the get go.
If you use WordPress and are geared towards e-commerce, you’ll also need to use a third party tool such as WooCommerce, or even Shopify, to add the e-commerce elements that you need.
That’s not to say WordPress is useless for those who are looking to run an online store; there are plenty of benefits to hosted WordPress for e-commerce, which we’ll get into later.
One of the most reputable options for WordPress hosting is WP Engine, and here are some of the things that they can offer you:
- Extremely quick load times
- Almost 100% uptime
- 60 day money-back guarantee
- Extensive support and tutorials
- High level security— WP Engine always protects your security and will also cover any damages in the event that your site was hacked.
- Automatic daily backups
- Tech support— this is a big draw since you’ll have someone to help you with WordPress best practices and will serve as a resource in the event that you need any WordPress support. This isn’t available if you choose to self-host your WordPress site.
There are plenty of benefits to using WP Engine, and there are also plenty of alternatives. When you use WordPress, you’ll want to make that decision early on.
Even if you start out as self-hosting and then want to move to managed hosting, many top companies offer free site migration and will help you with that process when the time comes.
Who Uses WordPress?
WordPress, in contrast with Shopify, has a wider user base due to the nature of the software. Users of WordPress are likely to be:
- Users with web development skills
- Web design novices
- Users whose budget can afford a web developer
There are plenty of options for WordPress and it can be as simple or as complex as you desire; it’s completely viable for users with no background in web design or tech skills.
You’ll be able to avoid using HTML or CSS if that’s what you’re looking for and still build a beautiful and functional website.
With the amount of features, however, WordPress is also a bit more complex than Shopify for the average user and some tech skills or web development skills may help reduce the learning curve.
And, of course, those who can afford to pay a web developer can create an incredible website using WordPress with high speeds and loading times.
WordPress is easily the more modifiable of the two platforms.
How Many People Use WordPress?
Since we know that user base and reputation is important for your safety and security as well as functionality, you’ll be happy to know that WordPress boasts roughly 75-90 million self-hosted WordPress sites.
WordPress also states that 40% of the internet’s websites are based on WordPress. That’s a pretty big market! There’s no doubt that WordPress has a lot of authority in terms of website building.
WordPress is used by nearly 75 million websites compared to Shopify’s 1 million. WordPress sites are viewed by over 409 million people on a monthly basis— that adds up to about 22 billion pages.
If so many people are using WordPress, it’s got to be an accessible platform that can be managed by even those with lower-level tech skills.
After all, 75 million websites weren’t all created by coding experts. WordPress is possible for many different types of people.
At the end of the day, no matter if you choose WordPress or Shopify, you can rest assured that both of these sites are reputable and won’t be going under anytime soon. You’re safe to build your site on either.
Pricing: How Much does it Cost to Use Shopify?
As with most things business-related, cost is always a factor. While we’d all love unlimited budgets to create the online shop of our dreams, it’s just not the typical case.
Here, we’ll discuss the pricing of both Shopify and WordPress so you can decide what is feasible for you, especially if price is a huge driver in your decision.
Shopify Fees include the following 5 pricing models:
- Lite: $9/mo
- Basic: $29/mo
- Shopify: $79/mo
- Advanced: $299/mo
- Plus: starting at $2000/mo, negotiable
You can also access a free Shopify trial before you decide, and that will be available for 14 days before you have to make your choice.
Here are some of the different features and drawbacks of each plan:
- Lite isn’t going to provide you with a standalone online store; you’ll be able to sell on existing sites with a Shopify “buy” button only.
- Credit card fees and transaction fees are lower with higher paid plans.
- Depending on the plan, the number of users with account access increases or decreases (number of staff accounts on Basic: 2, Shopify: 5, Advanced: 15).
- Phone support isn’t included on the Lite plan.
- Shopify Plus is usually for larger companies or organizations, or those with a larger need for server uptime, support, and APIs.
- If you’re looking for a physical local point-of-sale (POS) system, you’ll need the add on (Shopify POS Pro, $89/mo).
These are some of the most prominent distinctions between Shopify plan options.
Pricing: How Much does it Cost to Use WordPress?
WordPress isn’t as cut and dry as Shopify due to the number or variables involved in creating a WordPress site.
WordPress is commonly perceived as a free web building solution, but this isn’t entirely true. The CMS (content management system) is a free software, but there are probable costs that you’ll incur in other areas.
- Hosting: Server space to install WordPress and host your site
- E-commerce integration: tools to turn your WordPress into a functioning online store
- Templates: website design
- Plugins: additional functionality through apps and installations
- Developer: if you want someone to help build your site, you’ll need to pay for that service.
So, at the bare minimum, you’ll need to pay for WordPress hosting. There are plenty of options out there for this, but you’ll need to decide:
- Do you want to use a shared hosting company that hosts multiple sites on the same server, such as GoDaddy?
- Do you want to use a managed WordPress hosting provider such as WP Engine that offers a variety of benefits and hosts only WordPress sites?
Managed WordPress hosting is by far the better option with better security, speed, as well as features, so you’ll need to decide on what your budget will allow.
WP Engine costs roughly $25-$30 in comparison to other shared options that start at a few bucks per month. If your project is small, this may suffice, but businesses and e-commerce sites will reap the benefits of managed wordPress hosting.
All in all, aside from hosting, you can manage without paying for many other elements of your WordPress site through free templates, e-commerce integration, as well as free plugins; that said, it’s a worthwhile investment if you go for paid options.
Here are some typical costs that you may run into while using WordPress:
- Annual hosting through managed WordPress hosts such as WP Engine: $300 (recurring, usually charged monthly)
- 4 fee-based plugins: $100
- Annual cost for e-commerce integration: $180 (recurring)
- Premium theme: $175
These are just potential costs but you will ultimately decide how much it costs to run your WordPress site; the recurring costs would total roughly $480 annually to run your WordPress site.
So, how do the numbers stack up when comparing WordPress and Shopify? Let’s look at a few examples.
Which is Cheaper, Shopify or WordPress?
Ultimately, it’s really tough to give a complete and direct answer to this question because there are plenty of variables that can affect the total cost of each platform.
For instance, let’s say that you are using a developer to build and maintain your WordPress site; you’ll definitely be spending quite a bit more, but you will be receiving a top quality product and have high level support.
In terms of Shopify, it seems like it would be straightforward since there are four monthly payment options; that’s not the case, though. There are other considerations to keep in mind.
Shopify also offers paid apps that add functionality to your website, so you may need to opt for some of those as well. Some of them are monthly payments as well.
In addition, you may want to purchase a paid template for Shopify, which will also cost you.
Here are two Shopify cost breakdowns in real scenarios so you can get an idea:
- Shopify $29/mo basic plan plus one $10/mo app, plus one paid Shopify theme ($180), annually you’d spend roughly $468 with a total of $648 for this year including the theme.
- Shopify $299/mo Advanced plan plus 4 $10/mo apps come out to an annual spend of $4060
As you can see, your costs can vary on Shopify as well depending on your business needs and how you set up each platform.
Your best bet is to see what your budget will allow, list your requirements, and then choose an option after considering how that would fare on each platform.
There’s plenty more to think about, though, when making this decision, and we’re going to dive into a thorough examination of the features and functionality of both Shopify and WordPress in the subsequent sections.
Let’s do it!
Shopify Vs WordPress: Compared
In this section, we’re going to talk about any and everything that is related to Shopify and WordPress. We’ll discuss everything from templates to user experience to SEO and even email marketing.
Let’s begin with templates as this is one of the most common considerations for those developing a website.
One of the most important factors in any website is how it is going to look. If you’re a business or brand, you want a site that is going to reflect your company and product as well as look professional and appealing.
When using both WordPress and Shopify, you’ll be able to choose from a variety of templates to help you create a beautiful web layout without worrying about coding anything yourself. Let’s see the different offerings.
Shopify offers a total of 73 templates (9 free, 64 paid) in their Shopify Theme Store. Each theme has a couple of variants, making the theme count larger when considering all of the options available to you.
These themes are easy to edit and are designed by a professional, allowing you to avoid any heavy lifting when it comes to building code. The themes will also adjust for any device from which a user is viewing it— tables, mobile, desktop, and more.
You’ll be able to access support for these themes easily; if you want more options, you can also use a third-party Shopify theme provider, such as Shoptimized and Template Monster (who also provides WordPress themes).
Shopify templates are designed for users with little to no tech skills, so they’re easy to customize and adjust.
There is, without question, many more templates available for WordPress, with free and paid options spanning into the thousands. This is a big plus if you’re looking for more design flexibility.
It’s more difficult to choose a template with so many options, and you’ll need to make sure you get a safe template that doesn’t contain any malicious or harmful code, but that should be no problem if you obtain it from a reputable source.
This is the case when buying from any third party, so even if you are buying for Shopify outside of their official site, this same idea applies.
WordPress templates are highly customizable as well; while some of them may be more challenging than Shopify, it shouldn’t be too tough to get it where you want it to be.
Shopify templates will all automatically adjust for any device that it is being used on, including mobile.
For WordPress, there are also plenty of responsive WordPress templates that adjust for mobile, but you should always double check before you install it as there are still some out there that don’t have this feature.
There’s another optimization tool for mobile usage, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) that allows your load speed to increase through the removal of unnecessary code. This is a Google-backed tool that will not only increase the loading time but also may include search result visibility.
How can you get AMP on Shopify or WordPress? You’ll need a third party app for Shopify, and a plugin for WordPress.
Now, let’s turn to the overall user experience and interface.
User Experience and Interface
There’s not a huge difference in terms of the basic interface of both Shopify and WordPress. You’ll see a menu on the left side of the screen giving you options for editing and settings.
If we’re splitting hairs, Shopify’s looks a bit more neat and modern, but not by much.
In terms of editing and publishing content, you’re going to locate, access, and edit your content all on the back end; once you’re finished, you can move on to preview and then publish.
Some website builders allow you to see real-time edits, but you won’t get this on neither Shopify nor WordPress. You’ll have to make changes and then view them in preview mode.
If you want a visual editor, WordPress visual editor plugins can allow you to do exactly that. This is helpful for those that are just starting out in web design; this type of visual editor is not available on Shopify at the moment.
When choosing a visual editor, ensure that you choose one that won’t bog your site down in code which can have a negative impact on speed and SEO.
While WordPress can be used for e-commerce, Shopify has geared their interface towards e-commerce management; this is no surprise as it is the primary purpose of the platform. It’s very intuitive for managing products, sales channels, and collections.
WordPress will require a third-party plugin for that, and we’ll discuss this in detail in the next section.
E-commerce Functionality in Shopify and WordPress
Since many of our readers are looking for comparison of WordPress and Shopify in terms of e-commerce, we’ve got the breakdown of how they measure up. It’s not an easy question, but we’ve got some key advice.
Shopify could arguably take the advantage in terms of e-commerce since the platform was designed for literally that purpose. Shopify was made for users that want to build an online store with as little headache as possible.
It’s become a household name in e-commerce and is one of the most well-developed tools that you’ll find in this space for web development. That said, there are a couple considerations that may hold Shopify back:
- You can sell an unlimited quantity of products, but you can only include 100 different variants of the product with 3 options max (there are apps that can override this, though).
- You will often find yourself forced to buy an app for the functionality that you’re looking for on the platform.
- The Mailchimp marketing tool is no longer able to be officially integrated with Shopify (although there are ways around this, just not as simple as in the past).
It’s an all-in-one solution for sure, but you’ll be able to have much more choice when it comes to WordPress— you can choose the exact tool that you want to use for your e-commerce.
Some of the most popular e-commerce third-party plugins for WordPress include:
- Easy Digital Downloads
- WP E-commerce
When deciding amongst these options, ask yourself these questions:
- Is it easy to use?
- Does this solution offer competitive pricings?
- What payment gateways can I use with it?
- What are the SEO features of this solution?
- How many product variants and options am I allowed?
- Does it facilitate multiple currency sales?
- Does it offer POS (point of sale)?
- Is there a mobile app available for this solution?
- Does it allow AMP on product pages?
Shopify checks almost all of these boxes with room for improvement on variants and options, as well as multi-currency sales. You can even use Shopify as your e-commerce solution for WordPress and get the best of both worlds.
The $9 Lite plan for Shopify allows you to embed your products on your WP site and also add a shopping cart functionality. You won’t have to worry about not having a solid option for e-commerce on WordPress, as you have many options.
In terms of flexibility, WordPress takes the cake. It has many uses outside of e-commerce and was created before Shopify, meaning that there is even more support, plugins, templates, and integrations for WordPress.
In addition, since WordPress is an open source software, you can take complete control of your WordPress hosting and create websites that are completely unique and tailored to your needs with ease.
Even still, Shopify puts up a good fight. There are roughly 4,000 apps that can help to boost or expand the functionality of your Shopify site, and you’ll also have access to all CSS and HTML on all plans above Lite.
This is plenty of flexibility for the average user, and even for larger companies with bigger needs, Shopify Plus will most likely cover all of your bases.
Site Maintenance and Security
Both site maintenance and security are two elements that could be potentially overlooked but are equally important.
Shopify users won’t have to think much about these two elements since all technical website duties including hosting, server, and software updates will be done by Shopify itself.
WordPress is managed by you, so you will have to be on top of ensuring that your WordPress is up to date, the server is configured properly, and that all of your plugins and themes are up to date.
This isn’t a huge problem considering most people understand the basic concept of updates due to the sheer number of apps we use on mobile devices these days. Also, using a host such as WP Engine can help you to streamline updates and take care of that.
In terms of security, Shopify is also going to be in charge of ensuring that their system and servers remain secure for all of its users. They are responsible for this.
When it comes to WordPress, the same is true if you’re using a managed hosting solution such as WP Engine. If not, the responsibility falls on you.
You should always vet all of the plugins and themes that you install so that you can avoid using ones with harmful or malicious code. Also, keep your site backed up regularly (plugins available for automation).
Regardless of which platform you use, you should take care in creating strong passwords and keeping your sensitive information safe and out of the hands of others.
An online business depends on email marketing so that you can increase sales and send e-newsletters and other marketing materials to your leads and mailing list.
For this reason, Shopify has a feature called Shopify Email that allows you to take care of all of your email marketing right from the Shopify platform. This is especially beneficial for those who like to manage all online business-related elements in one spot.
It’s still a basic email marketing feature; you can send branded newsletters, but there aren’t high-level automation features that some third party marketing solutions offer. The good news, however, is that you can send 2500 emails for free, and only $1 for every 1000 emails over that amount.
This is extremely competitive pricing in comparison, so depending on what functionalities you need, it may be a good solution.
WordPress doesn’t offer any built-in email marketing solutions; you can still seamlessly connect marketing solutions such as Mailchimp and Getresponse with a breadth of plugins, one of which is called Gravity Forms.
Content Management in Shopify and WordPress
WordPress is going to be more sophisticated and optimized for content management of static pages and posts, on the whole.
One of the most attractive features in this category is that WordPress will archive your content versions. What that means is that you can save every version of a page or post and go back to it at any point that you’d like.
This function is simply not available on Shopify.
Next, WordPress is more flexible when it comes to categories and tags for content, allowing you to go as far as to create custom content types. Shopify doesn’t support categories and will only allow you to use tags.
When you use categories and tags, your content is presented in a way that enhances the user experience and puts them in control of filtering and finding just what they’re looking for on your site.
Finally, the Gutenburg drag-and-drop editor on WordPress will give your page layout process more flexibility that the WYSIWG editor that Shopify provides.
You can, though, get alternate drag-and-drop editors on Shopify through, you guessed it, a third-party app. You can find them ranging from $13-$20 per month and up.
Here is an example of one that is popular, called Buildify.
Shifting to e-commerce content management, the comparison isn’t as cut and dry, mainly because you’ll have to use a third party tool for e-commerce on WordPress and the comparison depends on that decision.
It is worth noting, however, that Shopify makes it very easy to manage products and collections; it’s a dedicated e-commerce solution, so this should come as no surprise. You can even create automated collections.
You can use rules such as product title, price, and more to create collections automatically, saving you so much time!
SEO in WordPress and Shopify
If you want your website to perform well and bring in high levels of leads and conversion, you’ve got to maximize your Search Engine Optimization, commonly known as SEO. You’ll never reach your traffic or sales goals without it.
In terms of general content including static pages and content posts, WordPress can certainly be considered to have the upper hand in SEO over Shopify. There are a number of reasons for this.
WordPress allows the installation of one of the best SEO tools on the market, Yoast. You’ll be able to get content analysis based specifically on SEO best practices with actionable solutions that are easy to understand and address.
In addition, WordPress provides the opportunity to build SEO-friendly sitemaps as well as canonical URLs so as to avoid any content that may be duplicate, something that Google deems very important.
Speaking of URLs, WordPress is constantly optimizing for shorter, simple URL structures that are highly approved of by Google.
Finally, you can host your WordPress site with any host, putting you in full control of load time and site speeds, another factor that can impact your visibility and ranking in search results. This is where a host like WP Engine comes in extremely handy.
In terms of specific e-commerce SEO for WordPress, you have to consider the strengths of your e-commerce tool. How clean can you make the product page URLs? Can you use AMP to boost speeds? How fast does your page load? How much can you edit titles, alt text, and meta descriptions?
These are vital considerations when choosing an e-commerce tool for WordPress.
Shopify as an e-commerce solution has strong SEO features. SSL is there, it’s simple to edit info like alt tags and meta descriptions, sitemaps are already created for you, 301 redirects are created and suggested when you change the name of a page, among other features.
Shopify does offer clean URLs, but they aren’t as clean as they could be due to the mandatory prefixes that Shopify adds to them. This can hinder their SEO performance, but it’s not a total deal breaker.
You also won’t have access to Yoast, but there are other tools available on Shopify that can perform similar checks.
Let’s take a quick look at what SEO can bring you and why you should care about it when deciding between Shopify and WordPress.
WordPress SEO has been considered to be the best content management system for SEO integration, and this is a big deal. If you’re looking to drive real business results through your online store, having a strong SEO presence can gain you the traction you need for higher leads, traffic, and conversion.
There are plenty of things that WordPress does well when it comes to SEO:
- WordPress is a general content platform, meaning it has much more flexibility than Shopify. For this reason, the possibilities with WordPress are pretty much endless.
- WordPress focuses on the user experience through attractive templates, themes, and plugins; you’ll no doubt have an attractive and professional WordPress site.
- You can create attractive permalinks on WordPress and you can edit them, giving you greater control over your SEO results.
- As we mentioned earlier, Yoast is available for WordPress, and this plugin is absolutely invaluable when it comes to successful SEO for those less experienced. It’s a huge pro that isn’t available on Shopify.
- Images can be easily optimized for SEO on WordPress, and you can also resize images for optimal load times.
- WordPress allows for seamless social media integration through social media buttons.
- SEO Plugins including Yoast, Google XML SiteMaps, and Google Analytics are game changers.
The main difference between Shopify and WordPress when it comes to SEO is that you can build a huge, powerful site on WordPress and also offer dedicated e-commerce services, but Shopify is mainly geared towards e-commerce only.
That means you’ll be relatively limited by the Shopify platform if you’re looking to grow your business or content marketing. If you start with WordPress, you’ll be able to continue to develop that over time, creating a powerhouse website with top SEO performance.
The main purpose of Shopify is to provide e-commerce web services, so the main focus is going to be having an online store and promoting that.
For this reason, the SEO functionalities on Shopify are centered around that, and it does provide you with the necessary SEO features for your store to succeed.
Here are some of the benefits that you'll reap in terms of SEO for Shopify:
- Shopify allows you to arrange your site into categories, and it’s actually a big part of how Shopify functions in general. This is something that serves you well in terms of search engine performance and user experience.
- Shopify’s SEO is built specifically for e-commerce, so for your online store you’ll have all the necessary functionalities to create a strong search engine optimization strategy. The interface is straightforward, including tools for high rankings in regular searches, as well as image and shopping-centered searches.
- You’ll be able to access features like meta title, meta description, custom URLs, headings, image alt, as well as good speed and uptime levels.
- You’ll get built-in 301 redirects, helping assure that users make it to your site.
All in all, for an e-commerce site, you have options when it comes to Shopify, they’re just not as expansive as when it comes to the possibilities with WordPress.
What’s more, you’ll have a lot of apps to choose from when it comes to optimizing your Shopify for SEO, but that may be seen as a downside for some because many of these apps could add on to your monthly costs.
WordPress and Shopify for Blogging
While it seems that running an online store is a completely different field than blogging, the two are more interconnected than you may think— if you want a successful e-store, blogging is a vital element that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Content marketing and inbound marketing allows you to use content to drive traffic to your site; this then turns to increased lead generation and ultimately conversion. This is why content and general SEO is a must-have.
Shopify’s blogging functionality pales in comparison with the blogging functionality offered by WordPress. The best functionalities that WordPress offers for blogging includes:
- Using categories and tags in blog posts
- The ability to create posts with clean URLs favored by Google
- Archiving the changes made to existing posts
These are only a few; WordPress has had a head start on Shopify in this area and it comes as no surprise, especially considering that WordPress has been known for years as one of the best professional blogging platforms.
That’s not to say that you can’t blog on Shopify— there is a section that allows you to add blogs. You can do this by visiting your Shopify admin area. You’ll see the option under online store in the menu bar; you’ll then click blog posts, and manage blogs. From there, you can add blogs.
If you’re looking to solidify your store’s authority and content marketing offerings, you should be adding blogs to your Shopify. It will offer you more possibilities for growth and for gaining traction through SEO.
You’ll have more control over your content on WordPress because the site is totally yours and you make all decisions. Shopify does allow you to post what you’d like, but if it goes against use policies, your content or even the whole site can be removed.
It’s also easier to get content out of WordPress than Shopify because there are plenty of built-in export tools that allows you to backup and export content from WordPress. It’s quite seamless and if you ever want to change hosts you will be good to go.
Shopify won’t allow you to migrate any of your previously posted blog posts or static content pages, which is a huge inconvenience. You’ll need to manually copy and paste them to save; you will, however, be able to export product data into .CSV.
You’ll have much more control and liberty with your WordPress site in the long run than with Shopify.
Multilingual and/or Multiple Sites
With a global society emerging, it’s not uncommon for businesses and online stores to need more than one version of their site in order to support use in other languages or territories.
WordPress takes the lead again here, since there are plenty of plugins that can help you create multiple versions of your website in different languages. You can also configure your e-commerce solution to accommodate multi-language use.
Shopify also creates multilingual sites, but you’ll be limited based on your plan. Basic, Shopify, and Advanced will allow you up to 5 sites in other languages; Shopify Plus provides 20.
Generally speaking, the language support and multilingual site creation will be sufficient on Shopify for the average user; if you have special requirements or larger needs, WordPress could work better for you.
Both Shopify and WordPress offer mobile apps which is an added benefit for anyone who likes to edit or update their website whenever and wherever they please. Both platforms offer apps for both iOS as well as Android.
In terms of e-commerce, the Shopify app will have more functionalities— you can manage your products, follow up with customers, and much more. For WordPress, this depends on your e-commerce solution.
Both WooCommerce and Ecwid do have apps for their e-commerce tools, so that’s a plus.
The WordPress standalone app is geared toward creating and editing pages and posts, not so much on the e-commerce side of things since you need that third party tool.
Other apps that come in handy for e-commerce include POS apps for physical location selling, messaging, task management and team collaboration, logo makers, and business card makers.
GDPR Compliance in Shopify and WordPress
GDPR compliance is a legal issue, and the following information simply reflects opinions and perspectives on GDPR for those with a website. We aren’t legal professionals, we are simply offering some information.
Although this is a law that is based in the EU, it’s still important that those outside of the EU understand it, especially if you expect traffic from EU visitors. If you’re not familiar, GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation.
The GDPR came into effect in May of 2018 and there are now complicated legal requirements that aim to protect internet users in the EU. If you have doubts, speak to a lawyer, as the requirements are quite complex.
That said, there are four very important elements to GDPR compliance that can help you:
- Store and process data securely
- Provide appropriate website terms and conditions, cookie notices, and privacy policies
- When people sign up for a mailing list, obtain explicit consent from those signing up.
When you use Shopify, it will meet the security requirements quite easily since they understand secure data storing and capturing. The one area of weakness is the cookie consent— you won’t have a pre-created cookie notice generator, and you’ll have to invest in this.
One option is to use Cookie Pro; even still, it can add money and time to your Shopify investment.
WordPress on the other hand, places much more responsibility on the user and you’ll have to install plugins to capture and store data in ways that are GDPR compliant. WordPress offers plenty of these plugins.
Shopify will make GDPR compliance a little easier, and with WordPress you’ll have to navigate the issue more on your own; if you use a WP host like WP Engine, you’ll get some support from them in that area.
You never want to be caught up the river without a paddle, so support is going to be an important element of your website development and e-commerce store. Shopify is going to edge out WordPress here in some ways.
Support comes along with all Shopify plans, which includes live chat, phone, and email support; Lite is limited to live chat and email. If something goes awry, someone will be there to help you.
This is good both if you’re building a site yourself or even if you’re building it for someone else. You’ll always have a go-to in case something doesn’t go the way you’d planned. Also, when building for someone else, you don’t have to provide continued support— Shopify can.
WordPress doesn’t come with this type of support and it’s less clear where you should seek assistance. You may need to visit the WordPress forums, check in with a hosting company, a plugin provider, and even people you know who have experience in WordPress.
There are two solutions to this: you can work with a WordPress designer or agency that will offer you support when you need it, or you can work with a host like WP Engine that has some of the best support teams in the industry.
There are solutions and support for WordPress, it’s just not as streamlined as it is for Shopify due to the nature of the platform.
Conclusion: Shopify Vs WordPress
So, here’s the final breakdown. In the end, WordPress is undoubtedly a more flexible platform with a longer track record than Shopify.
It has a much larger user base, more themes and templates, many more plugins, and more functionality. You can build literally any type of website your heart desires on WordPress.
While that’s all well and good, it doesn’t mean it’s automatically the right choice for you; there are some occasions that Shopify is better, namely for those with lower budgets or no web design or tech skills.
If you care about content management and production in addition to your e-commerce, there’s a lot to be said for choosing WordPress. You will have much better potential with their CMS, blogging, content archives, and more.
WordPress is a much more sophisticated content management solution than Shopify in virtually every way. Not only that, you’ll have a better chance for SEO punch using Yoast as well as creating cleaner URLs over Shopify.
That said, there is still an argument for Shopify in the sense that it can meet all needs for those that are looking for an e-commerce solution, and even more so if the user has no tech or design skills.
Shopify was created in order to make building and running an online store as simple as possible, and it does an outstanding job of doing that. You’ll have support, security, as well as simple, headache-free maintenance.
If your end goal is to simply create an online store and it’s your first time creating a website, Shopify will get the job done easier and quicker. WordPress is still an excellent option, but you’ll have to invest a bit more time in understanding the configuration and functionalities.
In a nutshell, if you’re looking for a flexible CMS for content marketing, higher SEO performance, and e-commerce, WordPress is probably a better option; you may need to hire a developer or take time to learn a bit about the configurations on WordPress.
If you need a simple e-commerce solution with less emphasis on CMS, you have a lower budget, and/or don’t want to deal with tech elements or designers, Shopify may provide you better results.
Still on the fence? Don’t worry— we’re going to list the benefits of choosing each one below so that you can get one final picture to the pros and cons you can expect with each one.
Reasons to Choose WordPress over Shopify
- WordPress allows you to build any type of website, while Shopify is only focused around e-commerce, limiting your options
- WordPress is completely free and open source software
- There are thousands of templates available for use in WordPress; Shopify is much, much more limited
- You have more e-commerce options for WordPress than Shopify because there are more tools available
- WordPress performs better in terms of SEO
- WordPress plugins are widely available, paid and free, allowing you to boost functionality. Shopify offers them, but they are limited and often paid.
- WordPress allows you for more content control and a more sophisticated CMS
- WordPress has a longer track record and a larger user base
- It’s easier to export pages and posts in WordPress
- WordPress provides better options for multilingual sites
If you’re looking for a powerhouse option for your website creation, WordPress is without a doubt a good choice. It’s a bit more complex, but it offers you so many possibilities with only a slight learning curve.
It can make all types of websites— business websites, e-commerce websites, portfolio websites, magazine and online journals, blogs, personal websites, Q&A websites, and so much more. You can combine any type of website with e-commerce features to make your site exactly what you want.
WordPress offers quality e-commerce through integration with platforms such as WooCommerce, and you can even use Shopify itself to add e-commerce functionality to your WordPress site.
With WordPress, you’ll also have a lot of room for future growth and expansion, which is so important.
You can literally reinvent your site whenever you’d like and WordPress makes it easy to manage your content through archived content pieces and pages for each version that you create.
Reasons to Choose Shopify over WordPress
- Shopify is easier for those with no tech background and has a more straightforward setup process
- Shopify offers themes, e-commerce features and payment gateway integration, things that WordPress doesn’t; these would need to be integrated separately
- Shopify includes hosting; you need to find your own hosting solution for WordPress
- Shopify takes care of all website maintenance and security issues, and with WordPress you have to take care of that on your own
- Shopify provides 24/7 support via email, phone, and live chat; there’s no direct support for WordPress
- Shopify will get your e-commerce store up and running quicker
- GDPR compliance is a bit easier with Shopify since they are partly responsible
- Shopify offers a free trial; you’ll need to find a hosting solution and download the software in order to try, even though it’s free.
If your main goal is to get started with a simple, user-friendly e-commerce site, then Shopify will definitely make that happen. If you are intimidated by the world of website building, you’ll feel at ease with the streamlined process of Shopify.
Shopify has affordable plans and offers a lot of apps for expansion, as well as professional templates and themes that enhance the user experience.
Shopify offers a free trial, so you can take advantage of that to test it out and see how you feel about the platform before making a final decision.
Are There Any Alternatives to Shopify and WordPress?
With the amount of information this article provides, you might think that Shopify and WordPress are the only solutions available. Nope!
You have plenty of choices out there and there is actually a huge number of alternatives for both building a website as well as an online store. Just before we let you go, we’re going to discuss a few of the options out there in brief detail.
We know, like you didn’t have enough to think about already!
As long as you assess your business needs and are clear about your priorities before you make your choice, we’re sure that you’d be happy with either Shopify or WordPress.
Even still, it’s great to know what else is out there before making a definitive decision.
Here are some of the most popular alternatives to Shopify and WordPress:
- BigCommerce: also an SaaS platform, BigCommerce has been around for a little over 10 years and is one of the most popular alternatives to Shopify and WordPress for e-commerce. You’ll get support for over 55 payment gateways, extensive SEO features, page editor, drag-and-drop visual editor, and much more. They also offer 24/7 support just like Shopify. One possible downside here is that there are only five free themes available in comparison with Shopify’s 9. You’ll also have more features, which means it may take a bit longer to get the hang of things.
- WooCommerce: another option for e-commerce is WooCommerce, which is going to be something that you’d have to use in tandem with WordPress since it’s an open source plugin. It’s very easy to integrate and includes hundreds of free and paid extensions. It’s a bit more complex but can give you a lot of freedom and is widely used for online stores around the globe.
- Squarespace: One of the best-known site builders alongside WordPress, Squarespace is an alternative for website building. You’ll have access to a plethora of templates, blogging and gallery features, email marketing tools, as well as a paid-access members’ area. Squarespace also includes options for e-commerce, so that’s another plus for their platform. Squarespace is an SaaS option, meaning you’ll have to pay monthly or yearly to access their services.
- Wix: Having been around since 2006, Wix offers a lot of experience in website building as well as e-commerce. Wix offers a simple web builder that rivals that of Shopify’s, so for beginners it can be a viable option. Wix offers plans not only for e-commerce but also for standard website building. They also boast a plentiful help center for quick searches. The one problem with Wix is that they don’t offer Apple Pay or Amazon Payments, and there is also no live chat support; phone or ticket submission is the only option.
- Jimdo: Jimdo offers you the opportunity to build your own professional website or store with a website builder that is geared towards those that are self-employed or small businesses. All sites are optimized for mobile devices, there are flexible layouts, as well as a drag-and-drop editor. They even offer a free image library. E-commerce options are also available directly on Jimdo, so it could be a choice for smaller projects on a budget that are looking for a professional and easy-to-use website builder.
Here we’ve listed five popular alternatives to WordPress and Shopify, but they are by no means the only options out there.
You can find many different sites to fit your needs and that’s the reason why it’s important to know what you’re looking for first and foremost.
All in all, you have plenty of choices to make but we hope that we’ve given you a clear picture of what to expect with both Shopify and WordPress.
The best thing you can do now is to assess your needs and wants, check your budget, and start weighing the benefits for your own personal scenario.
What questions do you have about Shopify or WordPress? Have you made your choice and want to let us know how it went? We want to hear from you! Drop us a line in the comments.