We asked our web dev guru Pash Pradhan all about the differences between Shopify and WordPress for your eCommerce site.
What are the main differences between Shopify and WordPress?
Shopify is an online platform for eCommerce sites. It’s a website builder where you can build your online store without much technical knowledge. You can choose a prebuilt template and start adding the products. All the required eCommerce functionality and tools are already provided along with the web hosting.
WordPress.org is an open-source platform which means you need to install everything manually. You need to choose a website host (we love Ventra IP), buy the domain name then manually install each element of the site. There are themes you can buy or a designer/developer can create your design from scratch. You also need to install a separate plugin like WooCommerce to convert WordPress sites into an eCommerce website.
What are the pros and cons of WordPress vs Shopify?
- It’s easy to install and you don’t need much technical knowledge.
- You don’t need to pay for hosting or external security – it’s all set up for you.
- All the sales tools like payments are ready to go.
- You need to reformat your content if you want to change the theme.
- It can be quite expensive, with the basic plan starting at $29 per month.
- There are extra transaction fees unless you use Shopify’s own payment gateway.
- It’s completely customisable, which means you can get exactly the website you want.
- It’s more scalable when building a bigger eCommerce solution.
- There are plenty of demos and help available online.
- You have to purchase and install everything individually – hosting, domain name, security, plugins for payment gateways etc.
- You need a reasonable level of technical knowledge.
- There isn’t a helpdesk for any technical issues, you’d need a developer to sort them out or do research online.
Which one is better from an Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) perspective?
Getting your products found on search engines like Google is obviously a huge priority for any eCommerce business.
In terms of SEO, both platforms are great. Shopify has many tools built in and there are instructional videos to help you out. You can add titles and descriptions to all your pages so they are found by the search engine crawlers (this is called metadata). It also allows you to customise your site structure and URLS which further enhances SEO.
With WordPress, it’s all done through external plugins and tools. One of the most popular ones, Yoast, is free to download and will guide you through how you can improve your SEO. Yoast is one of the biggest SEO plugins online and has lots of resources to help with SEO.
WordPress is also a content marketing and blogging platform, which means all your blogging tools are set up and ready to go. Blogging is important for SEO as it keeps your website current, gives your customers an idea of who you are and helps give your website credibility.
From a developer’s perspective, which one would you prefer to use?
It depends upon the client’s needs and requirements. Shopify is easy to use and anyone, regardless of their technical knowledge, can install and use it. If you need a simple and fast eCommerce online store then Shopify is a great option.
However, if you need a more customised eCommerce solution with custom requirements then I prefer WordPress. WordPress is more flexible to customise and is highly scalable compared to Shopify.