When it comes to building your website, there are a lot of options available in 2018.
I will start by informing you that in the past decade, I have used not only WordPress and Shopify, but also offerings from Wix, Weebly, SquareSpace, UnBounce, LeadPages, Kartra and more. For the sake of this article, we are just going to point out the pros and cons of Shopify and WordPress - 2 of the major players online.
The main difference between the two is that WordPress was designed as a blogging platform initially and has since expanded to become more than 'just another blog site'. Shopify on the other side of the ring comes in punching hard with an out-of-the-box ecommerce solution, designed to make creating an online shop easy.
Both do great jobs, but which is better for your site. Lets break it down a little more.
First up, the world's favourite blogging platform, WordPress.
We are talking about the standalone version here, not the offering from WordPress.com
To run WordPress, you can buy a domain name and web hosting and use their famous 5-minute install to set it up. Alternatively you can use a SAAS platform like WPengine who offer hosted WordPress solutions.
Is one better than the other? We believe so. If you're not looking to worry about installations, updates and tech-related hosting issues, the WPengine option is definitely the way to go, and their support service is great.
Depending on what you wanted to achieve with your website will determine what add on (or plugins) you will install. If you were looking to create an online shop, majority of people turn to Woo Themes and their eCommerce plugin WooCommerce.
This turns the blogging-friendly WordPress website into a shopping cart system allowing you to add and sell products, invoice and report on sales, and integrate payment and shipping gateways.
WooCommerce is free, and so is the WordPress CMS, meaning your costs will be in hosting the platform. Many people skimp on costs here but pay for it later in terms of site speed and reliability.
Having built and used over 500 WordPress sites, we have always found that the WordPress/WooCommerce combination is very cost effective, but can be both clunky and unstable depending on how much you modify it.
If you do decide to use WordPress, and you are building and maintaining the site yourself, do consider a hosted solution like WPengine. It not only provides the right bandwidth and PHP options, it also offers staging/testing sites and easy back up options.
Now lets look at Shopify, a Canadian based hosted shop solution. There is no installation here, just signup and get started customising your shop.
If you're looking to sell products online, and you are looking to create a base shop to link to Facebook and Google Shopping, eBay, Amazon, etc. this is definitely one of the best options.
The interface is simple to use, there is plenty of support options and online documentation. The platform is focused on one thing - making beautiful online shops.
This site is based on Shopify, and it works well. The platform has a lot of expand-ability allowing you to link to external marketplaces, along with capabilities to sell digital products and dropship/affiliate products.
The reporting built in to Shopify is great for business, and the platform can also tie in really well to your POS if you already have a physical shop space (or you sell at the markets).
As well as the shop pages on Shopify, you can also create extra pages as well as blog content.
Considering WordPress is known for blogging, I really see no real advantage when its compared to the blog on Shopify. SEO metadata is built in to your page and post builders (no need to add a plugin like in WordPress) and images upload and display easily.
The layout of your site comes down to your theme. There are free themes just like WordPress has, as well as a myriad of paid options that look amazeballs.
The theme file editor in Shopify I find much easier to use after years of creating child themes and using the editor built in to WordPress, or uploading modified files from my computer.
It all comes down to what you are looking to achieve. The future online is definitely call to action pages and online shops that make getting products and services easy.
If you have a product or service to sell, make it easy for your customers to find and use your website.
In our opinion, WordPress can and will do the job, especially for blogs. When it comes to a comparing the platforms for eCommerce, Shopify kicks arse! Its simple and you don't need to worry about installation and hosting settings, and you can very easily add a blog and extra pages.
A big rowdy mention needs to go out to NETO, an Australian 'Shopify-like' platform that is getting legs in the eCommerce market, although at this stage, I don't believe it has the expansion capabilities or compatibility that Shopify has globally.
What do you use for your website? Does it work for you?
Let us know in the comments below....