Shopify or WordPress? Which popular platform is right for your website? We build websites using both Shopify and WordPress, but each has its own unique benefits for small business owners.
The good news? It’s easier than ever to launch or refresh your website on Shopify or WordPress using professional web development services. Or even on your own if you’re willing to invest some time!
To find out which platform is best for your small business website, read on.
How Will You Use Your Website?
Do you need a purely informational, educational site that prompts clients to sign up for a consultation? Or a dynamic e-commerce solution that lets you quickly add and promote hundreds of products? No matter your needs, Shopify or WordPress are both excellent choices.
Estimates show that by 2021 online stores will have generated nearly $5 trillion in sales. We generally suggest using either Shopify or WordPress with WooCommerce for eCommerce sites.
Shopify is best for businesses with thousands of simple products. Shopify allows you to quickly add and edit products and is very user-friendly. If you’re planning on maintaining your own website and you won’t be posting much SEO content, this might be the right choice for you. While Shopify does have SEO features, it’s definitely not as dynamic as WordPress and it doesn’t have as many plugin options. But it DOES help newbie businesses get a handle on things like shipping with easy, native solutions.
We suggest WordPress with WooCommece for retailers that have a more modest number of products and want to really focus on SEO strategies to bring organic traffic to their site. If you want a blog that brings in tons of consumers that would not otherwise find your products, WordPress might be for you.
We also suggest WordPress with Woocommerce for businesses that need to have shops with more product variants—like size, flavor, color, or formula.
Portfolio and Career Sites
We suggest WordPress for portfolios and resume-type websites. Especially for creatives. There are a ton of amazing themes out there that can give you the gallery, blog, and social media integration features you need without shelling out for custom website development. The result? A clean, easy-to-use site that makes you look like the best candidate for the job.
Blogging and Lifestyle Websites
We always go with WordPress for bloggers or lifestyle influencers. WordPress simply has more features that appeal to content creators with a focus on SEO and growing their mailing list and social reach.
Medical and Private Practice Websites
We recommend WordPress builds for medical websites and for doctors. WordPress has many more options for secure file transfer, account gating, and other mandatory features needed by health care professionals to keep their patient information safe. Local SEO is also extremely beneficial for health care providers, and WordPress has more SEO benefits.
A self-hosted WordPress site with Square or a specialized payment processor is what we suggest for CBD retailers. This is because of the more complex laws surrounding CBD. WordPress allows for the location and age-based gating your business will require for sales and account creation. Plus, WordPress offers better SEO for CBD.
Educational and Nonprofit Websites
WordPress is the clear winner for educational websites. It allows your resource content to reach the audience that needs it faster through SEO. WordPress is always best for content-centered websites that want to appear at the top of search engine results.
- Shopify is one of the leading e-commerce platforms—and it’s popular for a reason!
- The platform allows users to choose from a library of plug-and-play website templates, simplifying the website building process for less tech-savvy business owners.
- Users pay a flat monthly fee to keep the site up and live.
- Shopify currently powers over 600,000 websites run by businesses large and small and is expecting to continue to grow as market demands rise.
- Shopify Shipping also helps merchants ship their products—a nice add-on service solution.
- WordPress is the leading website platform, powering over 30% of all websites on the internet today.
- The platform is powered by a diverse library of templates, plugins (free and paid) that make it one of the best platforms to use for business owners.
- WordPress itself can’t execute an e-commerce store, but developers pair it with e-commerce plugins like WooCommerce for an awesome shop with premium features.
- WordPress has many features for content creation and promotion that are highly beneficial for SEO and SEM.
- Paired with visual page builders like Divi, WordPress can be more user-friendly, helping business owners perform simple edits on their own websites.
Comparing Ease of Use
Shopify and WordPress can both be very user-friendly and easy to use. WordPress requires more initial setup, where Shopify is an out-of-the-box solution. The trade-off? WordPress can have more SEO and content creation benefits once it’s set up. But Shopify does have some other undeniable benefits for large eCommerce businesses.
Shopify allows users to set up their site without any coding knowledge using a library of impressive website templates. To make any major changes to a Shopify template, you’ll still need a developer to help. Shopify sites don’t usually have a huge emphasis on SEO content like blogs, resources, or social media. This is perfect for business owners who want a simple, no-fuss site with an easy-to-use shop that requires no gating for age/location. If you can’t sell your product in certain states or to people under the age of 18, Shopify might not be the platform for you.
WordPress can take more technical knowledge to set up, so it’s more intimidating for do-it-yourselfers. But with all-in-one website builders like Divi and Elementor, WordPress is much more approachable. Hiring a website developer and designer is still a wise choice to get your business website up and running. But once it’s launched, you can make small changes and updates yourself easily.
WordPress requires an e-commerce plugin to build your shop. There are a lot of awesome options out there, including WooCommerce, BigCommerce, and OptinMonster.
What About SEO?
WordPress is better for SEO and content marketing. Period. While you can certainly implement back-end SEO on Shopify, it doesn’t compare to WordPress when it comes to publishing SEO-driven content to increase site traffic. Or taking advantage of search engine marketing strategies to sell your products. WordPress also has far more diverse plugins, SEO tools, and integrations for SEO. Shopify is gaining traction, but it won’t catch up for a long time.
Does Shopify or WordPress Have Better Features?
Both Shopify and WordPress come packed with useful eCommerce tools and features—many of which are comparable.
Shopify offers dozens of features to power your e-commerce store. Here are just a few we love:
- A Shopify website allows you to sell an unlimited number of products on any of their pricing plans.
- You can sell physical products and digital downloads.
- Shopify’s marketing, inventory, shipping, and analytical features are built-in. The more advanced versions of each tool are offered in the Shopify app store as well.
- Shopify has multi-channel integrations. This feature allows you to sell across platforms including Amazon and Facebook Marketplace.
- Abandoned Cart Recovery is a powerful tool that lets you send automated email reminders to customers who leave your site with items in their cart before checking out.
- Shopify sites offer a free SSL certificate, which means your site is secure.
WordPress with WooCommerce Features
WooCommerce offers many features to power your e-commerce store. Here are some we love:
- It’s entirely open source. This means developers are empowered to modify and customize anything and everything, no matter your pricing structure.
- It works with unlimited product types, physical and digital. Including products with many variants.
- WooCommerce has useful product reviews and ratings tools that help your customers feel confident enough to make a purchase.
- Customer account creation features are superior and allow for complex gating, guest checkout, returning customer login reminders, etc.
- Inventory management for products with variants to keep your stock levels synced, whether you’re selling in-person or online—or both.
- You can add shop managers, giving team members access to manage orders and view reports without being an admin. This is great for businesses with sales teams.
Shopify vs WordPress Pricing
When comparing Shopify vs WordPress for your e-commerce store, another major factor remains—cost. Comparing the operating costs of these two e-commerce options can get a little complicated, so we’ll try to keep it simple.
Shopify’s operating costs breakdown into tiered options based on certain functionalities. The base tier is $29/month. This is great for those just starting a business, but many retailers will find they need more functionality as their business grows. This is when Shopify gets a bit more expensive.
Their Advanced tier is $299 a month but offers an accommodating 15 staff accounts and 8 locations. If you don’t anticipate your business reaching this size, Shopify can be a very inexpensive solution. But you also have to factor in hard costs, like shipping and transactional fees.
Calculating the cost of an e-commerce store using WordPress with a plugin like WooCommerce gets a little more complex. Startup costs are generally higher, but overall yearly costs can be more manageable.
WordPress is free, and the plugins you’ll need to launch your shop are cheap, if not fully free. In theory, you can launch your store for next to nothing, just the price of your hosting fees (typically ~$7/month) plus your credit card transaction fees, and shipping costs. However, larger business owners can expect to pay development fees to set up their new website and shop, slightly higher hosting costs, and the cost of the premium version of their chosen eCommerce plugins—a few hundred dollars per year.
Shopify or WordPress: The Verdict
Comparing Shopify vs WordPress requires a thoughtful review of your business and marketing goals, as well as your short and long-term budget. Both Shopify and WordPress have their distinct advantages.
On one hand, Shopify’s simple, straightforward system opens the e-commerce option for small business owners with little upfront investment. But WordPress paired with an e-commerce plugin like WooCommerce, while more costly to launch, often means a more modest yearly investment.
Shopify is a streamlined solution for small businesses that just need to get a site up quickly. And large businesses with thousands of products that don’t want to invest in organic SEO. But WordPress can be just as user-friendly with the right setup and offers many more plugin and tools options. Plus, it’s much better for SEO and content creation.
Why Choose? Get the Best of Both Worlds
Shopify offers its own e-commerce plugin for WordPress sites, offering an approach that combines both platforms. This could be your perfect solution if you want the SEO functionality of WordPress, combined with the shop benefits of Shopify. Many business owners go this route!
Would you like some professional input on your website platform choice? We offer website consulting services and are happy to help you weigh your options and pick the solution that’s best for your business. Bonus: we won’t throw pointless marketing jargon at you or mansplain—unless you ask us to!
Fill out the form on our contact page and tell us a bit more about your business today! We’d love to help you execute your marketing goals with style. 💃