Shopify vs WordPress: What’s the Difference?
Both Shopify vs WordPress comes with crucial features on building websites.
Shopify is one of the leading hosted eCommerce software platforms where everyone can build an online store and start selling their products online. In particular, Shopify can directly create an e-shop without requiring you to have any website construction background.
On the contrary, WordPress is an open-source CMS (aka Content Management System), that was originally designed to create blogs. Presently, thanks to changes to the core code, as well as WordPress’ massive ecosystem of plugins and themes, you can create any kind of site with WordPress, from a real estate marketplace to online magazines. WordPress is separated into WordPress.com (hosting service) and WordPress.org (self-hosted), more on that later.
In this article, we have a more in-depth look at the differences between Shopify vs WordPress, especially eCommerce features and website builder to help you pick the best one for your needs.
1. Shopify vs WordPress: Pricing
First of all, Shopify gives a 14-day free trial process, you don’t have to enter any payment details. You will only need an email and can test Shopify for two weeks at little cost or no expense.
Shopify offers three main pricing plans:
If you have the budget to pay upfront, you can reduce your Shopify fees by purchasing an annual or biennial plan — 10% and 20% discounts are available if you pay for one year or two years of service respectively, instead of paying on a monthly basis.
You had the choice of using an existing domain or registering a domain through Shopify. Prices begin at $14 per year for common domains such as .com and .net, $14 per year for a handful of country domains, and then they rise up to $46 and higher for custom domains.
In view of the transaction fee, if you use Shopify Payment you are supposed to pay 30 cents and a credit card rate from 2.4% to 2.9% per transaction. On the other hand, additional transaction fee applied for other payment methods is ranging from 0.5% to 2% depending on the plan you choose.
Before going to compare further, let’s cover how WordPress.com varies from WordPress.org. The biggest difference between the two programs is who’s actually hosting your website.
- WordPress.org: You have full control of your website, it means that you and your hosting provider are responsible for your WordPress installation.
- WordPress.com: They will take care of all of that for you. It will depend on price and functionality, and you have to figure out if WordPress.com offers what you need.
Because WordPress.org is open-source and 100% free for anyone to use. All you need is a domain name and web hosting. It also means that you need to do backups, security updates and any upgrades that are necessary yourself. From there, the cost of a WordPress site when using WordPress.org:
- Domain name: $12/year.
- Hosting: from $3.95/month.
- Plugins: $0 — $1,000 (ongoing or one-off charge).
- Security: from $50 (ongoing or one-off charge).
- Developer fees: $0 — $1,000 (one-off cost).
Depending on your needs, your cost to start a WordPress website can range from $100 to $500 to $3000, to even as high as $30,000 or more, but you have full control over the hosting expenses.
Like other hosted solutions, WordPress.com offers various plans that users can sign up for and those plans usually dictate what sort of domain name is available.
With the WordPress.com hosting service has 5 plans:
For users that don’t want to pay for anything, their site will reside on a subdomain of WordPress. For example, a free domain will be something like litextension.WordPress.com.
And for those who do pay, you can get a custom domain name to use on your site. Every plan, even the free one includes an SSL certificate pre-installed, free themes (about a dozen or so). Besides, all paid plans include Email and Live chat support, plus a free domain for a year.
In closing, which one on WordPress is better with your budget?
When you own a small-scale business or just want to share your ideas with the world but don’t want to worry about paying for hosting or handling the more technical side of owning a website, then go with WordPress.com.
Opposite of WordPress.com, you should do it on WordPress.org software as long as you want to launch a more serious website — be a robust business site, a project site, a pro-blogging project. This is also your choice if you want to get an unlimited number of possible customizations with a technical support team behind.
2. Shopify vs WordPress: Help & Support
When in need of technical assistance, Shopify offers outstanding customer service. You can get help 24-hours support via phone call, support ticket, or chat live with a customer care representative.
In case you don’t want to contact support for each tiny question you have, there is also self-service that offers the knowledge base, video tutorials, and webinars.
It has plenty of articles and video tutorials that help beginners to make the most out of this digital eCommerce tool. Alternatively, you can browse Shopify discussion forums for more insights on common topics.
It is important to understand that the support offered for the free version of WordPress.com is self-guided. Only the paid plans with WordPress.com come with good support, which can be a strong incentive for merchants to choose their plans. When you pay a monthly subscription fee, you get email support, and live chat, depending on how high your tier is.
Unfortunately, there’s no support from the official WordPress.org channel itself. Apart from the official support channels, you’ll find a wealth of advice and tutorials on WordPress-related topics throughout the web. In the same way, you can also come across multiple texts and video manuals, guidelines and tutorials compiled by other system users.
3. Shopify vs WordPress: Ease of Use
If you used WordPress before, you would feel instantly familiar with Shopify’s interface and have no problem accomplishing most common tasks. With Shopify, you don’t have to be an expert at store building and you can start an online retail store in just a few minutes. S
Shopify's dashboard makes it easy to view all the components of the front and back end of your store in one place. From here you can configure your store’s settings, view order and customer information, add/delete/modify products, and design your site.
Besides, there is a 14-day free trial for any of the available plans. It is a good chance to test how the system works and if it is suitable for newbies.
Since both Wordpess.com and WordPress.org operate in WordPress software, they run in a kindred way. You can use it to launch blogs, company websites, landing pages, online stores and portals that imply the need for user registration.
The back-end is simple and clean, and everything within the dashboard is easy to use. Along the left side of the page are the various content areas of the site as well as the settings that can be manipulated. There’s absolutely no question as to where you can go to customize your design, set up social sharing, or add a new blog post.
4. Shopify vs WordPress: Theme Design & Customization
If you wish to make your online store look better than the rest, check out the Shopify Theme Store. Shopify offers over 100 professionally-designed themes, all of which are mobile-ready. All themes come with a holistic list of customizations you can make without having to touch a line of code (e.g. colors, fonts, or social media buttons).
But what if you are an experienced user with enough HTML knowledge and want to make a few changes to a theme? Don’t worry, you will also have access to edit the source code and customize. Shopify creates a template language which is named Liquid.
With Liquid you can possibly change the existing Shopify’s template or layout as well as add the new one. Unlike the ordinary HTML/CSS languages, Liquid is a bit different. It will take your time to accommodate or hire a Shopify technical expert to do it for you.
There are tons of themes on WordPress.com. Some are free and others are premium (they cost money), you are constrained to the themes they allow. However, the Business Plan provides access to all of the most popular WordPress themes.
With WordPress.com, you can change the body page (the center part) such as change colors, upload logo, change the background, create beautiful sliders. In addition, you don’t have direct access to the HTML source and sections of your page unless you add Custom CSS to the site with the Premium Plan or higher.
WordPress.org has a huge truckload of templates. It has much better customization options. You can edit the source code as you please, and even use plugins that let you build a theme yourself through drag and drop tools.
5. Shopify vs WordPress: Plugins and extensions
Shopify offers APIs for any merchant to scale up their stores on Shopify by employing an API to integrate with several apps. You can integrate third-party plugins or even create and integrate your own extension.
There are over 2400 plugins available, from a variety of paid and free apps. The costs for paid apps vary and some of them even have a recurring subscription. The premium ones fall in the range of $15 to $50 per month.
By default, you get access to 50,000+ plugins. With a self-hosted WordPress.org site, you can add and custom any WordPress plugins/apps to your website. Otherwise, if you use WordPress.com, it allows you to install plugins only if you’re on the Business or eCommerce plan, which goes for $25 and $45 a month, respectively.
6. Shopify vs Wordpress: Ecommerce features
Shopify comes with many inbuilt eCommerce tools for store owners to use. In contrast, WordPress depends on intermediary plugins to be able to open an eCommerce store.
WooCommerce is the most popular and arguably the king of WordPress eCommerce plugin for WordPress. This plugin includes most of the essential features you’ll need to set up an eCommerce site.
Because of its reputation, we’ll put them on scale to distinguish their eCommerce functions:
7. Shopify vs WordPress: SEO and Blogging
For most eCommerce blogs, Shopify’s embedded capabilities will be plenty to meet your needs. The key benefit here is that settings are very easy to manage and configure — like inserting images and video, a nice visual editor, automatic SEO for the title and description, ability to schedule posts in the future, comments, and tags. It’s not as powerful as dedicated blog systems like WordPress, but you may not need all that functionality.
With WordPress, you can bet everything is in there to make it as easy as possible for you to post, preview and publish content. You can:
- Add media from your media library
- Embed images, links, text, videos, audio etc…
- And much more…
In fact, I will go as far as saying that WordPress is the most powerful blogging platform in the world, whether you install it yourself or run it on WordPress.
If you are a content freelancer, and you don’t care about monetizing your site, then go with the free WordPress.com.
That’s where SEO comes in. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and is the process of maximizing your site’s chances of getting found in Google’s search results.
The platform has a favourable SEO functionality to create content that search engines would love. No special skills are necessary. Users will be able to edit meta title and description, add 301 redirects, change page URL, and more. When you add products, Shopify even prompts you with SEO best practices.
One of the main drawbacks of using the Shopify platform is that they have predetermined ordered structure that your website and URLs have to follow. Following a logical structure on your site is essential for performance in search, as it indicates a clear path for both users and search engines. Therefore, if you want your site to be fully optimised, having control of your site structure and being able to create custom URLs is essential.
On Shopify, every page you create on your site will have a folder that cannot be changed, for example: domain.com/blogs/wordpress-vs-shopify.
Because of this issue, you are unable to create a subcategory of the root blogs, you will have to create a new category altogether. This creates multiple URLs for the same page, leading to further problems. There’s no workaround for this.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is one of the most important sides that WordPress focuses on, as it’s mainly a blogging platform.
That’s probably why you get the Jetpack Essentials features with any pricing plan (even free ones) with WordPress.com.
Jetpack Essentials (a series of features to help optimize your site and protect it from spam comments) provides some SEO and social-sharing tools as well as performance tools which have become an important ranking factor. You won’t have much more control over your SEO unless you have the Business plan and can start installing other SEO plugins such as Yoast SEO.
Unlike WordPress.org, WordPress.com purports to do 80–90% of your optimization for you, which includes things like automatically generating and submitting sitemaps, etc.
The good news is that WordPress is one of the best platforms to use for SEO options.
8. Shopify vs WordPress: Maintenance
Shopify is fully-hosted, so you won’t have to worry about server maintenance and costs. Their servers do not need maintenance regularly. In general, a Shopify store (or any SaaS-based eCommerce platform) is a lot simpler to maintain than open-source eCommerce software (like WooCommerce, Magento or CS-Cart).
This is because Shopify pushes out technical upgrades and bug fixes regularly, so you benefit from having the latest features and security fixes at all times. Therefore, a Shopify store owner would only need to devote a few days per year to maintenance issues when working with Shopify.
WordPress itself is a fast-moving platform, and new features are added and regularly improved. A WordPress website has many different parts and if these become too outdated it can affect the functionality of your website. In essence, when your website is using the latest WordPress update you are ensuring that your website is as healthy as it can be.
With WordPress.com, they do everything for you. No need to update, worry about plugin compatibility, or check release notes. It’s one of the great benefits of having someone manage the hosting for you.
With WordPress.org, it’s your job to keep the software and plugins updated. But it’s not as hard as it sounds. You usually get notifications in your dashboard, so it’s simply a matter of clicking the update button roughly once every two weeks.
Shopify vs WordPress: Who wins?
In conclusion, if you’re building a full-on online store or a large eCommerce business, WordPress.com simply doesn’t measure up to hosted eCommerce platforms like Shopify or WordPress.org (need to install eCommerce plugins like WooCommerce).
On the other hand, if you just want to launch a personal project, either for testing, sharing your thoughts, hobby site, etc., do it on WordPress.com. You can get started for free, the setup is easy, and you don’t have to worry about any maintenance at all.
Hopefully, you’ve already identified either some key differences that will determine whether WordPress or Shopify is the right website builder for you. Our team at LitExtension offer an optimal solution to help you switch to another platform speedily and entirely your data. In case you need any assistance about migrating, please contact us. We are always here for help.