If you’re trying to decide between Shopify vs. WordPress to host your eCommerce site, you have come to the right place. Although both of these platforms are powerful, popular, and suitable for an eCommerce store, they come with different features and functionalities – each more suitable for different users and website goals.
To help you figure out which one is best suited for your particular needs, this article will list the differences between the two platforms, including pricing, ease of use, features, and search engine optimization opportunities.
By the end, we hope you can make a well-informed decision and know which platform between Shopify and WordPress is more likely to run a successful eCommerce site.
Shopify vs. WordPress: A Brief Overview
To understand the fundamental difference between Shopify and WordPress, let’s go over a brief overview of each platform.
Shopify is a popular eCommerce website builder, powering more than 1,7 million businesses worldwide.
It is a standalone eCommerce platform, where everything needed to start and run an online store is already included, like hosting, payment gateways, store management, and shopping cart functionalities.
That way, those new in the field can focus on creating and growing their online store without taking care of any technical aspects of maintaining an eCommerce site.
Furthermore, this platform comes equipped with free tools, such as a logo maker and business name generator, to help beginners jumpstart their businesses.
Appmaker offers a seamless mobile app builder for Shopify that lets you build native android and iOS app for your eCommerce store.
In contrast to Shopify, WordPress is a self-hosted platform where users need to have web hosting and a domain name to get started.
That said, WordPress remains the most popular content management system, powering 35% of all websites.
A lot of its popularity is due to the platform’s flexibility. For instance, its directory is filled with thousands of free plugins and themes to support your eCommerce store.
Its vast variations of plugins can help scale your business by adding new features such as forms, email subscriptions, as well as memberships and loyalty programs.
For that reason, WordPress is a great option if you’re looking to grow your business in the long run. What’s more, customizing and personalizing your online store using custom code is also an option.
The Differences of Shopify vs. WordPress
This section will compare the differences between Shopify and WordPress from various angles, starting with pricing all the way to search engine optimization opportunities.
WordPress is open-source software that’s free to download. However, you need to get a hosting plan and domain name to run it.
A hosting plan can start from $4 up to $25 per month, depending on the type of plan and hosting provider you choose.
However, because an online store requires a lot of resources to handle traffic and media uploads, it’s best to choose a hosting plan that can cater to that. Look for sufficient storage, bandwidth, SSL for security, backups, and WordPress acceleration for speed.
Some providers also include a free domain name with some of their plans. If not, consider purchasing from a separate domain registrar, which typically starts from as low as $1 up to $100 per year and more.
Being a hosted online store builder, Shopify charges users upfront with a fixed monthly price. There are three plans available, writing pricing ranging from $29, $79, to $299 per month.
All Shopify plans have 24/7 support, unlimited product uploads, and discount codes.
WordPress offers its users thousands of theme options on its official directory, with over a thousand free eCommerce template variations.
You can also browse for more free and paid themes on reputable websites, like ThemeForest and Template Monster. The pricing for premium templates on these third-party marketplaces starts as low as $19.
If you want to add an extra feature to your theme, simply download a plugin. You can also install a third-party page builder to have a drag-and-drop visual editor for editing your WordPress theme.
Consider editing the theme’s code if you want to add more customization and don’t mind getting technical.
On the other hand, Shopify is more limited when it comes to templates. While a hundred selections are available in their gallery, only 10 of them are free.
Compared to WordPress, Shopify’s paid templates are quite expensive, ranging from $100 to $180.
The theme customization is also limited to adding new sections and changing colors and fonts only. If you’re well-versed in coding, however, Shopify offers Liquid – a custom templating language to modify your layout.
Ease of Use
For those familiar with WordPress, the platform is user-friendly with an intuitive dashboard interface.
However, if you’re new to the platform, setting up your store comes with a learning curve.
As it’s open-source software, users need to be purchase web hosting and a domain name before they can use the platform. You also need to install WooCommerce, an eCommerce plugin, to set up an online store with WordPress.
Shopify, on the other hand, Shopify has a simple setup process that doesn’t require any technical knowledge. Users can simply sign up for an account and follow the setup guide to get their online store up and running.
eCommerce Tools and Features
WordPress uses extensions and plugins to add features to your eCommerce site.
In addition to the official plugin directory, which is home to more than 50,000 free plugins, your online store is also scalable by using extensions from the WooCommerce marketplace.
Setting up WooCommerce will also add built-in tools, ranging from payment and shipping options to calculating taxes and shipping rates.
Since Shopify is a dedicated eCommerce website builder, it comes equipped with features to run an online store.
For instance, an inventory management system is available to track stock counts and automatically stop selling products when the items run out.
Furthermore, it integrates with Odoro for creating a dropshipping business.
An App Store is also available to extend the store’s functionality using free and paid add-ons.
That said, both WordPress and Shopify come with a centralized dashboard to track business performance.
The two platforms also come with mobile apps available for iOS and Android to run your business on the go.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Implementing SEO practices is essential to gaining online visibility. When done right, it helps you rank on search engine results pages and attract customers to your online store.
WordPress doesn’t come with built-in SEO tools. Fortunately, the platform has a vast selection of popular SEO plugins like Yoast, SEMrush, and Google Keyword Planner. Using the right plugins can do wonders for your WordPress site’s SEO, as they come with comprehensive SEO features to help you rank on page results.
On the other hand, Shopify comes with basic SEO opportunities like meta tags and URL customization. It also supports sitemap to help search engines crawl your pages better.
Shopify vs. WordPress: Which One to Choose?
Both platforms come with their own pros and cons. Because of that, selecting the right one between Shopify and WordPress will depend on your goals and preferences.
While neither one of the platforms mentioned above has an overly complicated setup process, Shopify is the more beginner-friendly option.
For that reason, Shopify is an excellent choice for newbies and those who prefer a quick and easy setup process.
Shopify is a robust eCommerce platform for building an online store despite its ease of use. It also comes with 24/7 support to assist you along the way.
WordPress, on the other hand, is excellent for entrepreneurs who want total control over their online store as the platform offers a plethora of functionality and customization options.
That said, maximizing its potential also requires technical know-how, making the platform most suitable for those comfortable spending time learning about it.
With such a large user base, WordPress offers plenty of documentation and tutorials online to help users navigate through issues.
After learning about Shopify vs. WordPress for building an online store, we hope you can make a well-informed decision based on your budget, store size, and needs.
At the end of the day, each platform caters to different uses and will perform best if you understand its features and strengths.
So make sure to assess your current and future business goals. Good luck!