The most common question that anyone looking to start an online store and make money online is which platform to use, WordPress or Shopify? I have personally coached over 10 start-ups that rely entirely on online sales.

At WebHosting-10, we’ve covered several topics on web builders such as Wix, Webstarts, WordPress, Squarespace, and others. However, in this article, I won’t dwell on the WordPress as a web builder but as another eCommerce platform as this will give me a good basis to compare them as near equals.

This article will, therefore, answer the basic questions such as:

  1. When is it better to use Shopify over WordPress and vice versa
  2. Which solution is best for an eCommerce store?
  3. What are the pros and cons of each?

Before we go into details of the two platforms, let’s focus on what an online store requires and why you should consider an eCommerce platform as opposed to a regular website.

Why Use an Ecommerce Platform and Not a Regular Website?

An Ecommerce platform is different from a regular website built with WordPress. A WordPress site is open source and is really built around content – content developed for users online with no paywall. You can post content – videos, images, texts/posts and anyone who comes across your site can consume it.

Related Helpful Reading:   Squarespace Vs Other Site Builders

On the other hand, an eCommerce platform’s content is behind a paywall. You’ll need to login to interact and actually make purchases. The most important difference is that an eCommerce platform such as Shopify or Worpdress’ Ecommerce needs to be secure. Since the site will be collecting credit card info and processing incoming orders, the reliability and the security of the platform is key.

It is important to note that while WordPress is built to support content creators to disseminate content for free, it can also be customized to support online stores.

In the next section, we explore the difference between WordPress as a store and Shopify.

About Shopify

Shopify is an online eCommerce store based in Ottawa, Canada. It is publicly traded in the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: SHOP). It has been around almost as long as WordPress has been operational having been launched in 2004.

The 2018 revenue was $1.07 B and according to Wikipedia, it has over 4,000 employees. In their 2019 4th quarter earnings report, Shopify reported that over 1 million businesses in 175 countries are using their platform.

About the Shopify Store

Shopify store is a platform that enables anyone to create an online store by providing a holistic solution that includes hosting, order processing, payment gateway, among others. Unlike WordPress, you won’t need to look for hosting such as Bluehost or Siteground (some of the few we recommend).

Shopify for online store vs WP
Shopify Homepage

Since you won’t have to pay for hosting, you can imagine that it’s only natural that Shopify would charge a fee to host your store with them. However, they offer a 14-day trial if you sign up with them.

Related Helpful Reading:   Webstarts Vs Others

Shopify offers three plans, the cheapest starting at $29/m, the mid-tier costing $79/m and the most expensive called Advanced Shopify for $299/month.

Shopify pricing vs WordPress

A Shopify site has most of the basic features you’d get when you create your website and host it with a hosting company such as GreenGeeks or Siteground.

About WordPress as an Online Store

WordPress is a web building platform that is open source and powers more than half of all active websites. While Shopify is an online store offering store sales (POS), WordPress is stand-alone software that you need to install yourself.

Below are the steps you’d need to follow to create a WordPress store:

Obtain domain and hosting

Purchase a domain name and find a good host to launch your website. Choose from WordPress-recommended hosts such as Bluehost, Dreamhost, and Siteground. If you are starting out and want a cheap one, Bluehost is your best option and if you think your site will have over 20k visitors/month within the first year, you’re better off going with Siteground. Siteground’s performance is unmatched. We’ve moved most of our heavy-traffic sites there.

Launch your wordpress site

Launch your WordPress site using the one-click install and pick a theme. I also recommend these plugins.

Download WooCommerce Plugin

Download and activate your Woocommerce plugin. As of this publication in Jan 2020, more than 4 million sites rely on Woocommerce to power their online stores, almost 3 million more than Shopify’s.

Woocommerce with WordPress

Configure your eCommerce store by:

  • Adding store details
  • Adding products,
  • Complete your payment gateway integrations, etc.

The process to create a WordPress store could take some time as you don’t really have support. If you’ve used WordPress before, it may be easier. On the other hand, Shopify provides 24/7 support.

Related Helpful Reading:   Free WordPress themes

The table below has more differences between WordPress and Shopify

WordPressShopify
1. WordPress has a large number of templates that can be easily customized.1. Shopify has fewer templates than WordPress. It offers 10 free templates and over 60 that are not easily customized.
2. It is an open platform that allows you to build different websites eg online store, a blogging site. 

2. It is only focused on helping you build an online business store website. 

3. It requires one to have at least basic technical skills for one to be able to use it.3. It does not require one to have technical skills to be able to use it. 

4. There is no transaction fee charged when making sales online.4. There is a transaction fee charged when making sales online unless you are using the Shopify payment gateway.
5. It has limited ways for users to reach for customer support

5. It offers a 24/7 customer support system including video tutorials and live chat. 

When do use Shopify:

WordPress and Shopify Similarities:

  • They both offer free and also paid themes.
  • They both have to offer all-rounded payment options.
  • They are both used to create online business store platforms. 
  • They are both popular and have a large number of users thus have longevity stakes making them safe for starting an online store. 

Video Reviews of WordPress Vs Shopify

WordPress vs Shopify for Ecommerce

WordPress Shopify
1. It is an open-source platform where you can build an online store and also a blogging site.1. It is only focused on creating a business store.
2. You have to look for hosting first then customize it before having an online store.2. You only need a Shopify account to open an online store.
3. One needs to have basic technical skills eg coding to be able to set up an online store.3. One does not need to have technical skills to set up an online store.
4. You need a plugin to set up eCommerce tools.4. It has it’s own eCommerce tools but you can customize them using liquid coding language
5. There is no transaction fee charged when you are making sales online.5. There is a transaction fee charged unless you are using Shopify’s gateway.

WordPress vs Shopify for dropshipping

If you are considering a drop-shipping business, Shopify and WordPress are great platforms.

WordPress Shopify
1. It is cheaper even when plugging in other web hosters for a business store.1. Shopify’s basic plan is expensive and would coast a lot more if one was to set up various business stores.
2. It offers an option of choosing managed eCommerce hosting which enables one to set up an online in a very short time.2. It takes time to set up an online store.
3. It offers a large number of themes including very many free themes.3. It offers a limited number of themes and only 10 free themes.
4. It has a wide range of extensions which are mostly free.4. It has an option of limited pluggings that are paid for and are only free for trial.
5. It has limited ways of reaching customer support.5. It has a 24/7 customer support system that is very effective

WordPress vs Shopify for SEO

WordPress is better with SEO when compared with Shopify. Shopify adds slugs such as news, categories, etc to the page URL. This syntax places Shopify at a disadvantage when compared with WordPress that allows you to use clean URLs that are short and URL-friendly.

The table below has more:

WordPress Shopify
1. It has limited content editing options for the store but allows you to develop content to rank high on Google SEPR1. It is very easy to add and edit content but the URLs have a syntax that can’t be removed. For example, the URLs have slugs for tags and categories which is not great for SEO.
2. The site speed depends on the host. If you choose Siteground, you’re guaranteed a fast-loading online store. Since the site speed impacts SEO, consider your hosts before picking one2. The site’s speed is decent.

WordPress vs Shopify vs Wix

wordpress shopify wix
1.It has a large number of
templates that can be easily
customized.
1.Has less number of
templates that are not easily
customized.
1.It has unlimited number of
templates including the option of
tailoring your own.
2.It is an open platform that
allows you to build different
websites eg online store,
blogging site.
2. It is only focused on helping
you build an online business
store website.
2.Its a package platform that
allows one to build a website
from scratch.
3. It requires one to have at
least basic technical skills for
one to be able to use it.
3.It does not require one to
have technical skills to be
able to use it.
3. It is not easy to use since it
requires time as it does not
simply its features.
4. There is no transaction fee
charged when making sales
online.
4. There is a transaction fee
charged when making sales
online unless you are using
Shopify payment gateway.
4. There is no transaction fee
charged when making sales
online.
5. It has limited ways for
users to reach for customer
support
5.It offers a 24/7 customer
support system including
video tutorials and live chat.
5. There is a 24/7 customer
support system

Wix vs Squarespace vs WordPress vs Shopify

wix Squarespace WordPress Shopify
1.It has few templates
that are limited to
what the site offers..
1.It has a large
number of templates
that can be easily
customized.
1.Has less number of
templates that are not
easily customized.
1.It has unlimited
number of templates
including option of
tailoring your own.
2.It is mainly used for
blogging and gives
on option of multiple
bloggers running the
site.
2.It is an open
platform that allows
you to build different
websites eg online
store, blogging site.
2.It is only focused on
helping you build an
online business store
website.
2.Its a package
platform that allows
one to build a website
from scratch.
3.It is not easy to use
as it requires time
and technical
knowledge  top operate.

3.It requires one to have at least basic technical skills for one to be able to use it. 3.It does not require one to have technical skills to be able to use it. 3.It is not easy to use since it requires time as it does not simply it’s features.
4.A transaction fee is charged when selling products online. 4.There is no transaction fee charged when making sales online. 4.There is a transaction fee charged when making sales online unless you are using Shopify payment gateway. 4.There is no transaction fee charged when making sales online.
5.It has a specific time when it offers customer support services. 5. It has limited ways for users to reach for customer support 5.It offers a 24/7 customer support system including video tutorials and live chat. 

5.There is a 24/7 customer support system
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