When you’re getting ready to create a website that will represent your business, there are many great content management systems at your disposal, the primary of which include Shopify and WordPress. Shopify is a type of software that was designed to provide businesses and merchants with the capabilities that they need to create and launch an online store. This software offers many pre-made templates that can be readily customized with the branding elements that your business has. You can use the storefront that you create with Shopify to sell digital and physical goods.

Shopify was designed to allow businesses to build websites without having any knowledge of coding. However, it’s possible to edit the CSS and HTML of your Shopify website for enhanced customization. Once you create a website with the tools available through Shopify, every facet of the site will be hosted on Shopify servers, which means that you don’t need to go through the hassle of finding your own web host. The Shopify services are available through a monthly subscription.

As for WordPress, this is another type of content management system that you can use to build your website. Keep in mind that there are two separate versions of WordPress, which include hosted WordPress and self-hosted WordPress. Hosted WordPress can be found at wordpress.com and is considered a SaaS service, which means that you gain access to the software and its features by paying a monthly subscription fee as opposed to buying separate software. Keep in mind that this version of WordPress doesn’t offer as much functionality as Shopify for businesses that want to create an online storefront. You’ll need to add third-party plugins for extra eCommerce functionality.

When looking specifically at self-hosted WordPress, this is a kind of software that can be downloaded directly through the WordPress.org website. If you have your own server, you can download and install the software on that server. It’s considered to be open-source software, which means that it’s free to use and can be altered without issue. Because customization is possible with coding or through plugins, a WordPress website can look and function exactly as you want it to. Even though you can install the WordPress software on your own server for free, you’ll still be required to pay costs associated with domain registration and hosting.

If you’ve never created a website before, an eCommerce site is any website that allows for the sale and purchase of goods, which include digital products and services. These sites are highly popular at the moment because of how easy it is for a business to create an online store with WordPress or Shopify. It’s believed that eCommerce retail sales will reach an estimate of $5 trillion in 2021 alone. If you’re interested in building an eCommerce website, it’s important that you choose the content management system that’s right for your company. This article provides a detailed comparison of Shopify and WordPress.

Pros and Cons of Shopify and WordPress

pros and cons of shopify vs wordpress

While both Shopify and WordPress are effective content management systems that will allow you to build any kind of website, each service has its pros and cons that you should be aware of.

Shopify

The positive aspects of Shopify include:

  • Knowledge of coding and similar technical aspects of building a website isn’t necessary to create a site with Shopify
  • You won’t need to pay for security or hosting
  • This service is designed specifically to accommodate a business that wants to create an online storefront, which means that you’ll have access to all of the eCommerce features you need

Some of the issues that occur when using Shopify include:

  • The content on your website will need to be reformatted if you decide to change the theme that you use
  • Additional transaction fees of 0.5-2.0 percent must be paid unless you use Shopify Payments
  • It’s not as easy to build a website with Shopify as it is with a platform like Wix that has a simple drag-and-drop builder

WordPress

The main benefits that you’ll have when using the WordPress CMS include:

  • WordPress has recently introduced a new website editor called “Gutenberg”, which makes the tool easier to use
  • WordPress is more powerful and has more flexibility when compared to Shopify
  • Online resources are plentiful and can put you in touch with other users who can assist you in troubleshooting any issues that arise

A few of the drawbacks to the WordPress service include:

  • To get the most out of the platform, you should have some technical expertise and knowledge of coding
  • Using WordPress can be expensive if you purchase numerous plugins for your website
  • If you use the self-hosted version of WordPress, you will be required to obtain web hosting, a domain name, and security

Templates and Themes of Shopify Vs WordPress

Templates and themes allow you to create a layout for your website. When you use the Shopify platform, you’ll gain access to just over 70 different themes that you can select from, 10 of which are free. Even though the paid themes can cost $150 or more, it’s a one-time expense for a feature that’s essential for any website. The best aspect of Shopify themes is that they are all responsive, which ensures that the theme will automatically accommodate smartphones, tablets, and similar devices.

WordPress offers more than 1,000 different themes for eCommerce alone, which means that they have much more variety when compared to Shopify. Third-party providers give you access to more than 5,000 additional themes. Unlike Shopify, some of the WordPress themes aren’t responsive, which is why it’s important that you do your research before selecting a WordPress theme for your site. In general, Shopify themes are considered to be more limited.

Costs of Shopify Vs WordPress

costs of shopify vs wordpress

Shopify offers five separate pricing plans that you can select from, which include:

  • Lite – $9 each month
  • Basic – $29 each month
  • Shopify – $79 each month
  • Advanced – $299 each month
  • Plus – Starts at around $2,000 per month

A 14-day free trial is also available if you’d like to try out the Shopify CMS. Keep in mind that the higher-priced plans come with better transaction rates. If you opt for the advanced plan, you’ll only need to pay additional transaction fees of 0.5 percent when you don’t use Shopify Payments. These fees increase to two percent if you purchase the basic plan. All plans come with fraud analysis. If you’d like phone support, make sure that you purchase the basic plan or a higher tier. The lite plan doesn’t offer phone support and a number of other features.

The WordPress fees are much more difficult to describe because of the high variability that comes with using WordPress. While WordPress is technically free to use, the features with the free option are limited. You’ll be required to purchase a large number of plugins and eCommerce tools if you want full functionality, which means that costs can quickly add up. The fees that may occur when using WordPress are tied to:

  • The template or theme you use for your site
  • Hosting and a domain name
  • Tools for eCommerce integration
  • Plugins

The hosted version of WordPress offers plans that range from $4-$25 per month. For the self-hosted version, purchasing a premium theme may cost you around $160. Hosting your website with a separate service will cost you around $300 per year. Additional eCommerce integration could also be around $200 each year depending on the tools you obtain. If you purchase 4-5 paid plugins for your website, your costs will increase by $100 or so. If you want your WordPress site to be regularly maintained, an additional maintenance fee of $50 per month will be required. This amounts to a total cost of around $1,360 per year.

Ease of Use

ease of use with shopify and wordpress

If you want to select a CMS based on which option is easier to use, coding is considered to be the main difference between Shopify and WordPress, which means that one is much easier to use than the other. When you use Shopify, it’s possible to create an online store and fully customize it even if you don’t know how to input a single line of computer code. You can manage every aspect of building a website from the Shopify dashboard. Since you don’t need to use coding, Shopify is considered to be easier to use than WordPress.

Even though WordPress isn’t too difficult to use, it’s somewhat more complex than Shopify. Basic knowledge of coding should help you get the most out of this particular platform. Because WordPress doesn’t automatically allow websites to be converted into eCommerce sites, you’ll need to know how to install a plugin that adds eCommerce functionality. The most popular eCommerce plugins for WordPress include BigCommerce and WooCommerce.

Because of the flexibility that comes with using WordPress, it’s possible to create a more visually appealing website with this tool. On the other hand, you may need to hire a professional developer to assist you with building a website on WordPress if you don’t want to take the time to learn some basic coding.

Overall Consensus of Shopify Vs WordPress

Based on the research detailed above, WordPress is the ideal platform to use if you have some knowledge of coding and want to have the customization tools necessary to create a website that’s completely unique and matches your brand. Shopify is, however, a fantastic tool for beginners and anyone who wants to have all eCommerce functionality in one location.

Keep in mind that you’ll also want to consider what happens to your website once it’s placed online. The key to increasing site visibility and bringing in more customers is to obtain higher rankings on search engines like Google. To that end, Shopify has some built-in SEO features that can help you improve your rankings. WordPress SEO can only be done with external plugins.

The comparison between Shopify and WordPress is an important one because of the strength of both platforms for building eCommerce websites. Even though Shopify was designed specifically to facilitate businesses that want to build online storefronts, WordPress has some fantastic flexibility that makes it possible to build a robust storefront. If costs are your main concern, the expenses that come with using Shopify are more straightforward. The Shopify platform is also very easy to use. In the event that you want to make a website that’s versatile and visually appealing, WordPress offers thousands of themes, which gives you the opportunity to select the option that best matches your brand. Both Shopify and WordPress are impressive CMS platforms for eCommerce businesses, which is why it’s recommended that you compare the pros and cons of each before making your decision.

Bryan Miller of Bryt Designs Long Beach Web Design, Development, & SEO
Author
Bryan Miller

Bryan Miller is an entrepreneur and web enthusiast specializing in web design, development and digital marketing. He is a recent graduate of the MBA program at the University of California, Irvine. Feel free to send Bryan a message here.

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