When I started my first ecommerce business 13 years ago selling niche fitness supplies & herbal products I started with WordPress. From there I tried 1ShoppingCart, Volusion, Wix, then ecwid, Magento, Marketecture-Stores Online, BigCommerce, Shopify, and 15 other ecommerce platforms.
You name it, I’ve probably tried them and used the ecommerce builders and platforms quite extensively. Some shopping platforms and systems were just horrible. Many of them were good. A couple of them amazing.
The two website platforms that have continued to shine among all the rest are WordPress and then Shopify. In today’s article I’ll explain why. I’ll also share with you the pros and cons of both systems so you can make a better decision for yourself.
The Nutshell Of What System I Use
If you want a nutshell answer of what system I use for all my sites and stores I will tell you that WordPress is by far the best website system on the planet for me. There’s a reason why it powers over a third (33.6%) of all websites in the world as of 2019. (source)
I continue to build all of my dropship stores using WordPress for many reasons I discuss in detail later in this article. The summary though is I can have unlimited stores and sites at no additional cost. With Shopify you only get one store. I don’t get nickeled and dimed compared to Shopify. With WordPress I gain 100% control over my website files and data. There is much more flexibility and available 3rd party apps to connect with (most for free). And finally WordPress is catered to the type of person I have coined as “the holistic online marketer”. What that means is you can literally use WordPress to build any type of site you desire including a dropship store. You can build funnels, a blog, affiliate site or store, membership sites, service business sites, etc.
Shopify came into the picture much later than WordPress did. Shopify does have its place though for those who prefer to have 24/7 live customer support and to have a system that specializes strictly in ecommerce only. It is really the best system to use for people who are only going to focus on ecommerce and that’s it. You will have more hoops to jump through when setting up your business email and you should expect to pay bigger bucks to use their system and apps. While many Shopify apps are free, the best apps you will need to pay for. Most successful ecommerce stores pay anywhere from $50 to $2,000 a month for the use of Shopify apps. Many students and clients I work with world-wide complain about being nickeled and dimed paying for apps and features that otherwise are free using WordPress plugins.
So I promised this would be a nutshell for all you quick starters. To get more details about the pros and cons of WordPress and Shopify and to understand what may be the best choice for you, keep reading on…
WordPress or Shopify? Which is best for you?
Making the right decision for you is important of course for many reasons. One of which includes avoiding the pain and hassle of having to transferring stores in the future from one platform to another. Transferring stores is a pain in the keister. After you learn the pros and cons of WordPress and Shopify you can avoid that hassle altogether because you will have chosen the best system for you to use in the long-term.
Let’s get rolling…
First, let’s talk about about WordPress.
Without going into too much about the company of WordPress, let’s stay focused on why using WordPress for your dropship/ecommerce store could be the best choice for you.
8 Pros of using WordPress for your dropshipping business
- It’s Free but requires your own secure WordPress host (I use these guys for only $2.95/mo)
- The open-source software called WordPress itself is free. The only thing you’d invest in is a great hosting provider. Once you’ve set up your host you would simply click on a few buttons to install the WordPress software on the domain name of your choice. From there you’ll be set to customize your site and store the way you want. Follow this tutorial to walk you through the process.
- The WordPress system I use here you can set up WordPress for around $2.95 a month. They give you immediate access to having the ability to set up unlimited WordPress stores, a Free SSL and CDN, plus top-notch hosting support and great tools to help you build your dropship business.
- Unlimited sites and stores at no additional cost!
- That’s right. When you want to build a new store it won’t cost you another fee. With Shopify you would need to pay at least another $29 a month ($348/yr) for another store.
- Greater privacy, control & flexibility
- Since WordPress is open-source there are thousands of designers and coders constantly contributing to improving WordPress every day. Because of those great people you gain the advantage of using software that is extremely flexible and gives you 100% control over your dropship business. It’s your asset. It’s not built on someone else’s system or platform which also gives you more privacy from prying eyes of 3rd parties.
- Well documented tutorials
- Any time you have questions about using WordPress simply go to Google or YouTube and you’ll immediate see all types of specific tutorials for your problem.
- Free domain name
- A domain normally costs around $10 to $18 with other companies. When you set up your secure WordPress site/store here you will receive a free domain name of your choice or you can save that credit and port in a domain name you already own and use the free domain credit in the future.
- Free SSL certificate for WordPress
- All of your WordPress stores that you create can also be easily secured which is awesome. This means you can confidently connect your store to one of the best free payment processors, like Stripe.com to accept payments directly from your customers on your store which increases conversions for you!
- Free business emails
- With the WordPress platform I use & recommend here you can create as many business emails as you need for free. Business emails for example are email@example.com You’ll want to use your business email on your site’s contact page, when you receive orders, on your business cards and many other places.
3 Cons of using WordPress for your dropshipping business
- A little more technical (not much though)
- There’s no such thing as a “perfect” system. It’s no different with WordPress. There is a learning curve to go through just like there is using any other system including Shopify. There are more bells and whistles with WordPress which means it can seem a bit more involved but after you learn the system it’s simple to use. Follow this tutorial here to walk you through. Using WordPress will mean that you’ll need to get familiar with using plugins and themes, or have someone else help you out. Schedule a free 30-minute call with me here and I can help you.
- No 24/7 live customer support
- Since WordPress is an open-source software built by thousands of contributors there is no live support of course because the software you’re getting is free. The 24/7 customer support is offered through your WordPress host. You can also access a wealth of support through free tutorials, videos and articles on the internet. All you need to do to get help using WordPress is to make Google and YouTube your best friend.
- You would need to get your own CDN
- While having a CDN is not absolutely necessary or needed for new dropship stores, it is a good thing to have in the future. A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a system that drastically speeds up the loading time of your website or store (test your site speed here). Most hosting providers will not provide a CDN, but the best WordPress host systems like the one I use will give you a Free CDN. You can easily get your own free WordPress CDN using CloudFlare by clicking on the button inside your cpanel. With Shopify a CDN comes as a part of their system. It doesn’t mean though you don’t need to resize or optimize your images. Regardless of using WordPress of Shopify it’s still important to optimize your product and store images before loading them to your site if you want to have a fast loading site that improves your conversions.
Now let’s discuss the pros and cons of using Shopify in more detail:
5 Pros of using Shopify for your ecommerce business
- Very easy to set up and use
- Shopify is a very impressive 3rd party, all-in-one ecommerce platform. They make it extremely easy for someone wanting to quickly set up a store and start selling products. For this reason they continue to be the most popular 3rd party ecommerce platform in the world. The set-up process of your store is as simple as signing up. That’s it. There is no software or plugins to install because Shopify created and hosts all website code and files for you. Once you sign up all you would need to do from there is customize your store’s domain, email, design, apps, add your products and you’re ready to sell.
- 24/7 live customer support
- One of the best things about using Shopify is their customer support. You can call them day or night, any time of the day and speak with a live, living, breathing person to get help with your store. You don’t have to search for tutorials or videos to help you out, although they have many you can access for free on their blog. For people who like fast, professional help with their dropship or ecommerce stores this benefit makes a huge difference.
- Easy to Integrate Payment Processing
- Accepting payments on your store is very easy with Shopify. They are also very well connected into another payment processing and gateway companies. You can use Shopify’s default payment gateway with Stripe, or connect your own. The process with WordPress is fairly simple as well by installing a plugin and adding in your payment gateway keys to connect to your store.
- Free SSL Certificate
- All Shopify stores by default come secured so you can accept payments from your customers directly on your website.
- Comes with a CDN
- A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a system that drastically speeds up the loading time of your website or store. With Shopify a CDN comes as a part of their system. So there’s no need to go through setting one up for yourself. It does not mean though you do not need to resize or optimize your images. Regardless of using WordPress of Shopify it’s still important to optimize your product and store images before loading them to your site if you want to have a fast loading site that improves your conversions. There are many other factors to a fast loading site as well.
4 Cons of using Shopify for your ecommerce business
- Costs more to have more stores
- For one Shopify store at the basic payment plan will cost you at least $29 a month ($348 a year) for each store.
- Costs more for themes and apps
- Some Shopify themes are free, but the best ones will cost around $90 to $180 and more. Also, many of Shopify’s apps are for free, but most of them cost, particularly the advance marketing apps to help you grow your store. It’s all a part of running a business though. That’s the right mind set to have. With WordPress though, many of the advanced marketing apps are free through installing WordPress plugins. It widely depends though on what you’re after but for the most part just plan on paying allot more overall using Shopify apps and themes.
- You have to buy your domain name
- To have your Shopify store appear on a custom domain name that does not have the word “shopify” in the URL you have to buy your own domain name which is only around $15. You can buy domain names though very easily directly inside your Shopify account.
- No business email
- It’s important to set up professional emails for your store such as order@ yourstore.com or yourname@ yourstore.com and so forth. With Shopify you can’t set up email with them which makes it more of a hassle to set that up with a 3rd party such as with Google. It’s not too difficult to set up though. Shopify has a tutorial or live support to help you out with getting your business email set up properly.
Wrapping it up
You can’t go wrong with either WordPress or Shopify. Both are excellent choices. Are either of the platforms without their flaws? No. There are always going to be technical things that will bother you. Just remember that it comes as part of the territory of building an online business. The two most amazing platforms and systems for ecommerce and dropshipping, WordPress and Shopify, are outstanding systems for anyone wanting to easily and quickly launch & grow a profitable dropship store and have fun doing it.
If you would like some hand-holding and personal guidance from me navigating through the waters of ecommerce and dropshipping click here to set up a Free 30-minute breakthrough call with me. I’ll be glad to discuss any questions you have and help you out.