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WordPress vs. Shopify for Ecommerce – From an Expert

wordpress vs shopify

You’re maybe thinking which platform to start with when starting your new store. If you aren’t familiar with either then it’s hard to find the details, right? WordPress vs. Shopify, here’s my experience.

Well I’ve developed many stores now and used both of these platform multiple times. So I thought I would break it down by my experience on which ones are best to use by giving you the information in one blog. Let’s break it down into categories that are most important.

Blogging

Blogging is important for all websites, whether it’s Ecommerce or just a blogging site. Blogs drive traffic from keywords to your website, which can grow your sites overall authority.

WordPress has some great features that Shopify doesn’t have. Some of them will need the PublishPress Capabilities app but here is a list of some:

  • Block writers from editing published posts
  • Only the author of their own blog can edit their own blog, with Shopify every staff member with access to the blogging section can edit all blog posts

Also another note is that you cannot get a sidebar with Shopify, but WordPress you can. The sidebar is a bar that sits alongside your posts on the left or right.

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WordPress Blogging

Blogging on WordPress is by far the easiest blogging system available on the web that I have used. It’s been mastered over the years and it shows. Their editor works super well with structure and settings. Another plus is it’s super easy to understand for new beginners.

It has countless apps that integrate with WordPress such as Yoast, Link Whisper and much more. These apps make it super easy to perfect your SEO and help you and your writers to make top quality blogs. Shopify lacks this heavily.

You can also use a page builder with WordPress but I would highly recommend not to. Using page builders can be messy causing compatibility issues and glitches. It’s best you choose a good WordPress theme to begin with.

wordpress blog ui

Shopify Blogging

Blogging on Shopify has never been great in my experience. Depending whether you use a page builder or not, blogging can be quite limited with Shopify.

There are some SEO apps for Shopify but they don’t stand out anywhere near as good as Yoast. You can see another blog of ours about the best SEO apps for Shopify if you’re interested.

Another issue I find with Shopify’s blogging system is setting up staff/writers. To have a writer, you need to set them up as a staff member. Depending on your Shopify price plan, you can only have a few staff members so you’re limited unless you pay for the high end Shopify plans.

Also every staff member with access to blogging will be able to edit all blogs, so there’s no protection to stop writers editing other people’s blogs.

shopify blogging

Using the native Shopify blog editor

First of all, their in-built blogging editor is super basic with only basic text functions. It’s nowhere near the level of the WordPress blogging system.

You have no control over the design of the page within the editor. You will need to edit your themes design in the theme customisation page. Even then a lot of Shopify themes are known to be very limited with editing the design unless you know how to code.

Another thing I found is that it’s really awkward to embed photos or videos that fit on the page nicely. You end up needing to go into the custom HTML section to fix spacing and sizes.

On the plus side, you can use apps from the Shopify app store to help bring more features to the blogging editor. You can use apps such as Link Whisper which helps you build better internal linking.

Using a page builder app

Some developers say it’s good to use a page building app to build your blogs in Shopify. This will give you more control over the design on your blogs. BUT it comes at a cost. From my experience I’ve found this route quite complicated and causes a lot more work in the long run if you want to make any changes to the design. There are no global settings which is a pain. Global settings basically mean if you change on setting, it changes that on all blogs.

For example – if you change the color of all your H2 headings to blue in the global settings, then all your H2 settings will change to blue on every blog. Generally using page builders, its much more difficult to do this and requires custom code, but even sometimes the custom code can be buggy.

I had issues with using custom code in PageFly to change the colors of all H2 headings. Sometimes the color would just revert back to the original without me changing anything.

Ecommerce

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Shopify Ecommerce

Shopify is an all-in-one online store solution. There is no need to setup extra apps for Ecommerce activities unlike WordPress.

Once you create your Shopify store, all you need to do is design, add products and set up your payment settings. With WordPress, you will need to rely on getting third party apps set up, making sure your hosting server can handle the load, fast CDNs and much more hasstle. It’s just not worth the hasstle if you don’t know what you’re doing.

WordPress Ecommerce

With WordPress you will need to install a third party application such as WooCommerce or BigCommerce. This will add the Ecommerce capabilities to your store.

A lot of very large stores have used this route so it’s proven to be respected and trusted.

WordPress is known to give more flexibility with website design depending on which theme you have bought. so going down the WordPress

Integrating Shopify with WordPress

Another plus side, you can actually integrate Shopify’s Ecommerce system onto a WordPress store. You can do this by using the ‘Buy Button’ app. It allows you to add the checkout button onto your WordPress pages. Once the user clicks through to buy something, it will take them to Shopify’s checkout system. The only issue with this route, it’s not a full integrated method. It directs you to Shopify’s domain for checkout then back to your website domain.

Security

WordPress Security

Well, let’s start with WordPress. WordPress was well known for having security flaws in the past. Of course with age it has gotten better, but you will need to install extra third party apps to add Google Authenticator etc.

In my opinion, there is another app which is important to install when using WordPress. I will explain why – the standard WordPress login URL is website.com/wp-admin. Of course hackers will know exactly where to go to hack you with this. So there’s an app called WPS Hide Login which allows you to customise the URL login path so hackers don’t know where to login to your admin. Basically changing the ‘wp-admin’ in the URL anything you want.

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Shopify Security

Regarding Shopify, I would say it’s the most secure Ecom platform out there. They have a quality controlled app store giving power to the store owners. Apps devs need to apply to Shopify to get access past order history and other sensitive data.

Also apps are not allowed to access your Store settings without requesting collaborator access that needs to be approved by the store owner. Even then as a store owner, you can tick checkboxes to allow app devs to only see things you want them to see.

Shopify also have an all-in-one integrated system for using Google Authenticator. There’s no need to install external applications for security.

App/Plugin Stores

Just for noting, Teckers got our Ecommerce pros create some ‘Best app suggestions’ blogs that could come in handy for you:

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Shopify App Store

I have submitted my own app through the app store so I know the process very well. Shopify have a quality controlled app store. For an app to be added to the app store, they need to go through a verification process to ensure they are secure.

Also as a store owner, when you install an app from the app store, Shopify tells you what the app devs will be able to see such as orders, emails, customer data etc. Some apps of course need access to all this data to perform. But it just gives clarity to the store owner on what apps can see.

I’ve seen Shopify suddenly take down apps from the app store from not following their policies. They have a strict policy and if devs don’t abide by it, they will be punished permanently.

Overall I have seen that majority of Shopify apps are pretty decent quality as they need verification and are quality controlled.

shopify app store

WordPress Plugin Store

Regarding the WordPress app store, I’m not 100% sure if there is a strict verification process as I’ve never submitted an app there. Please let me know in the comments.

But from experience using their app store, I’ve noticed there are a lot of useless and dodgy apps there. I’ve had to sift and cycle through many to find good ones. It seems overly saturated with apps that I bet slow down your website badly.

wordpress plugins

User Interface

Both Shopify and WordPress have a similar structure in terms of their dashboard.

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Shopify UI

shopify ui

WordPress UI

wordpress ui

SEO URL Paths

One thing I need to mention so everyone is aware is about the URL paths on each platform.

Shopify URL Paths

Shopify has a set URL structure that cannot be changed. So when creating a blog post, it will be assigned like – website.com/blogs/news/post-name

You can only edit the post-name part. This has been one of the pain points of Shopify as SEO experts say it’s best to keep your URLs clean and short. Apparently Google prefers this but it doesn’t mean your blog won’t rank. It’s just frustrating that there is no way to custom edit the URL path.

WordPress URL Paths

With WordPress, you can set a global setting to make all posts have a specific URL structure. One of the most recommended methods is using the structure of – website.com/post-name

But it’s very important to never change the structure of your URLs on a live website. It will damage your SEO and this should only be done on brand new websites.

Extra features to think about

Shopify extra features

I believe Shopify stands out here. Shopify has some leading extra features that Ecommerce apps for Worpress don’t have such as:

  • Shopify Multi-currency
  • International pricing

I written a blog with the top tips & tricks for Shopify. Feel free to take a look at some cool things you can do in Shopify.

WordPress extra features

Of course WordPress has the leading blogging features over Shopify. While Shopify have the leading Ecommerce features. So it completely depends on which you want more – Ecommerce or Blogging.

Pricing

One important thing you need to realise about pricing is toalling the amount it will cost to have the store set up fully.

With Shopify you pay for Shopify and any apps you need on their app store, that’s it. With WordPress you need to consider your hosting and other systems. WordPress is free which is great, but you will need to pay for WooCommerce or BigCommerce apps, hosting for wordpress, Content Delivery Network if wanted,

Shopify Pricing

Apps are quite expensive on Shopify compared to WordPress as most are monthly recurring fees. But I see it this way – if the apps are there to make your store and make money, then pay for what you get.

You’re supporting the ecosystem for app developers to expand and make better applications that will only make your stores better. If you use free apps, then you’re likely to not give the devs much room to grow.

There’s a good reason why in business we need to pay for our services, because they cost to run and build.

shopify pricing
Click for more Shopify pricing information

WordPress Pricing

Apps are generally cheaper on WordPress. Majority are yearly pricing or free. But the bad side to this is that the devs don’t put as much time into making the apps better.

BigCommerce

bigcommerce pricing
Click for more BigCommerce pricing information

WooCommerce

woocommerce pricing
Click for more WooCommerce pricing information

Summary – WordPress vs. Shopify?

Overall I see Shopify as the Apple of the Ecommerce space, and WordPress as the Android. Android gives the user more flexibility and function, but has many more issues and crap to soft through. But Shopify is quality controlled but limited in terms of blogging and functionality.

I’m sure Shopify will get better with time as all these big tech companies will continue to grow. WordPress has been around longer and has progressed more as a blogging platform with extra apps to allow you to create an Ecommerce store.

Shopify is built strictly for Ecommerce so there Ecom tools are superior to WordPress in my opinion.

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My opinion – Shopify

I would love to have Shopify’s platform but with WordPress’s blogging capabilities.

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About Author

Will is a professional Filmmaker from the Isle of Man, UK. He also is an E-Commerce expert using Shopify/Wordpress & is experienced in SEO.

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