Shopify vs WordPress- Cost shouldn't be your only factor.

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Shopify vs WordPress

When deciding between using Shopify or WordPress there is one major question that you have to ask yourself- “Are you developing an ecommerce or a blog/website?”  This question is important because if you are developing a business and are expecting to make money from your online activities then you are going to want to use a tool that is meant for this purpose. While many stores are built on WordPress, I would not recommend this platform for someone who is new to ecommerce.  There is an allure with WordPress because it seems inexpensive. You can have a WordPress installation installed for the cost of the domain, hosting, and your time.  We offer a very good plan for about $8 per month. These plans are great if you are only planning on selling a handful of items or selling a service that requires quotes.  Anything involving a lots of products will very quickly become a daunting task for a person who is new to ecommerce. Here are a few examples of just how involved this process can become:

Plugins

WordPress uses plugins for solving a variety of issues as does Shopify but Shopify refers to these small programs as applications.  Both plugins and applications are just programs that are meant to add features to the site such as popup box for discounts.

Application

This is an example of an application used in Shopify

When building a site in WordPress you will very quickly run into situations where you need to install plugins. Plugins are the WordPress answer to most issues but using plugins can very quickly escalate cost.  This is true of applications in Shopify also but there is less of need to use applications in Shopify.  Plugins and applications almost always have two versions which are the “free” and then the “premium”.  Soon after installing these applications and plugins you find that the “free” versions are often very limited and if you begin paying for premium versions this can get costly.

It has been my experience that most WordPress plugins tend to do more in the free versions than Shopify applications, but Shopify has less of a need for these applications to begin with. For example, WordPress does not have sitemap built into its themes or functionality so people use plugins to build their sitemaps.  In contrast to WordPress, Shopify has a sitemap that is automatically generated and you only need to have your URL to access it.  There are many simple things in WordPress that require plugins. 

Learning Curve

Many WordPress developers and people who are extremely proficient in WordPress will argue that it is easy. Many of these people are thinking about the system in comparison to other platforms such as Magento which require a large degree of skill to setup and use. What these individuals forget is that most people who are running a business are not interested in working on their website endlessly and what they want is something that is easy to learn and use.  For the average person or company, WordPress is not the solution.  There is simply too much time needed to work on the site and too much time needed to learn WordPress.  As a person running a business, do you really want to be learning about your website, or would you rather be working on your marketing and business administration?  

Cost

When you look at WordPress it is very appealing because it costs so little to start. A domain and cheap hosting will get you started. However, there are many hidden costs in WordPress.  As we discussed plugins can become a major cost if you use the premium versions. Beyond plugins, you will quickly discover that in order to sell online you will need a SSL certificate to make your site secure for selling.   There are other cost drivers such as payment processing and security.  The point is that to run an ecommerce on WordPress- there is cost:

WordPress Cost

$23 per year for the domain.

$14 per month for Hosting

$65 per year for SSL certificate

Annual cost= $256 per year. (This is with a basic site that does not have a shopping cart or any specialized functionality.) 

Yes, you can get the domains cheaper and the hosting but just remember that you will get what you pay for!

Comparatively, Shopify is more expensive.

Shopify Cost

$23 per year for the domain.

$7 per month for Hosting

$29 per month Shopify

Annual cost= $455 per year. (This is a fully functional site with SSL and shopping cart capability as well as many other features.)

The bottom line is that with Shopify you will save enormous amounts of time and have a functional website that is easy to use.  Being extremely frank, cost should not be an issue with either of these sites because neither WordPress, or Shopify is expensive when you consider the cost of doing business. I hate to sound pretentious, but if you think $30 per month is a lot of money to run an ecommerce you should not be running one.  Businesses cost money and time to run and you need to look at the larger picture which is the time you need to market, build a customer base, and to sell. 

Who will you call when there is a problem?

It’s an important question that you need to consider. Inevitably, you will have a problem with your website and you will need to fix it.  Most of the calls I get from WordPress users are related to an issue that they need to fix. WordPress offers support through their documentation and community forums. Forums can be helpful for a lot of issues but it can also be a time-consuming process.  I don’t know how many hours I have burned up looking through forums to find answers.  This is major factor to consider with WordPress. If you cannot find an answer for a problem you are going to have to hire a developer. There are lot of WordPress developers out there but they do cost money.  This is major difference that really makes Shopify shine. You have forum. email, and phone support. If you are working with a Shopify developer you will also have this support as well.  I find that this is the best selling point for Shopify because simply by choosing Shopify you are guaranteed to save yourself many hours and cost when problems occur. 

Being familiar with both platforms, I find that for running a business Shopify is a better more practical choice for most businesses. Don’t let the monthly cost of Shopify turn you away because you get a lot for the expense.  If you need help choosing a website? Contact Us.