Wordpress vs Shopify

Wordpress vs Shopify

I often get approached by clients who have existing Wordpress websites who are looking to make changes, improvements or just try and get it finished and out there to the public. 

When I had an e-commerce business we started off with a Wordpress website but after a year or so we moved over to Shopify. There were a few reasons for this move which we found suited us so much better.

Wordpress, whilst a powerful and versatile web platform, can also be quite tricky to manage if you're not an out and out techie. We obviously learnt enough Wordpress skills to develop our website and keep it running but it wasn't a happy happy joy joy experience. We found the dashboard a little unintuitive, managing hosting elsewhere was an admin chore and getting support could often be a bit time consuming. Shopify on the other hand was a platform that, as a business without a dedicated tech support person, we could really manage well ourselves.

Just to give a few points for comparison here are a few reasons why I think Shopify is often considered an easier-to-use platform for small businesses compared to WordPress.

Purpose-Built for E-commerce: Shopify is specifically designed for e-commerce -  it comes with built-in features and tools tailored to the needs of online businesses. In contrast, WordPress is a really versatile content management system that requires plugins and customisation to turn it into a fully functional e-commerce platform, which can make it more complex and potentially confusing for small business owners, especially if you're not very techie or you don't have a lot of spare time.

User-Friendly Interface: Shopify's user interface (what you see behind the scenes) is intuitive and pretty user-friendly. It employs an intuitive builder and a straightforward admin panel that doesn't require extensive technical knowledge. Small business owners can easily manage their online stores without getting too bogged down in technical details. WordPress, while user-friendly for blogging and basic websites, can become more challenging when used for e-commerce, especially for beginners.

Managed Hosting: Shopify takes care of hosting, server maintenance, and security, eliminating the need for small business owners to manage these technical aspects. Shopify hosting is, in my experience, really good. In contrast, WordPress requires users to find and manage their own hosting, which can be daunting for those who are not tech-savvy.  Whilst this is not hugely difficult to do it is just another layer of admin for a small business and requires another log in with another admin panel etc etc... 

App Store: Shopify's App Store offers a really wide range of applications and integrations that can enhance the functionality of your online store. Some are paid and some are free - it's surprising what great apps and functionalities you can get for free! Small businesses can easily add features like email marketing, social media integration, and inventory management without needing to code or rely on multiple plugins, as is often the case with WordPress.

Security and Updates: Shopify handles security and software updates automatically, reducing the risk of vulnerabilities and ensuring that the online store remains secure. WordPress websites, especially when relying on many plugins, can be more susceptible to security issues if not regularly maintained and updated.

Customer Support: Shopify provides dedicated customer support to assist users with any issues or questions they may have. My experience with Shopify support (as well as Shopify app support partners) has been excellent. Their live chat function is so helpful, is staffed by real people and has helped me learn a lot and sort out any tricky issues I've come across.  WordPress relies more on a community-driven support system, which can be helpful but may not provide the same level of personalised assistance, you can spend a lot of your time browsing through many a forum post in search of your answers.  When things aren't going quite your way the support you can get makes a huge difference to your mental well-being!!!

Scalability: Shopify is designed to scale with your business. Small businesses can start with a basic plan and easily upgrade as they grow, without needing to worry about server capacity or technical limitations. WordPress scalability can often require more manual intervention and technical knowledge.

In summary, Shopify's focus on e-commerce, the user-friendly interface, managed hosting, app store, security, and scalability make it a compelling choice for small businesses, the beauty is you don't even need to be an online shop to take advantage of these features. While WordPress is a versatile platform that can be used for various types of websites, including e-commerce, it can require more technical expertise and effort to set up and maintain for online stores. Shopify streamlines the process, allowing small business owners to concentrate on what matters most – growing their business.

If you're in this situation and want to talk then please, just get in touch with me for a friendly chat. If you're Edinburgh based we can meet face to face but if you're anywhere else in the world then we can organise a video chat!

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