Shopify - 30 Jan 2024
What’s the Best Website Builder: Wix, WooCommerce, or Shopify?
When you visit a website, do you ever wonder what platform the owner used to develop the site? Chances are, if you are in the market for a new website, you have. The question as to which platform to choose is one of the most frequently asked questions by small business owners and here is why. The website platform you choose has far-reaching implications; this platform will shape your website’s user experience, functionality, and overall performance, which will significantly impact the success of your digital outreach. No pressure!
The e-commerce website builder market is as competitive as the e-commerce market itself, with established players and new entrants all competing for their slice of the pie. However, amid this fierce battle for e-commerce dominance, three platforms have emerged as top contenders: Wix, WooCommerce, and Shopify. But which one is best for your business ambitions? The answer depends on what you need from your website.
The blog will cover the basic features, pros, and cons of each of these website builders to give you a clearer sense of what platform is right for your online store.
WooCommerce: The WordPress E-Commerce Solution
By a wide margin, WordPress is the world’s most popular Content Management System (CMS), powering a whopping 45% of all websites on the internet and commanding a 64.3% share of the CMS market. However, unlike the other website builders we will discuss, WordPress, and by extension, WooCommerce, is not for the average DIYer. While it is possible to build a no-code WordPress website with drag-and-drop page builders, professional development becomes crucial for more projects requiring higher degrees of customization.
What makes WooCommerce unique is its open-source format which allows unmatched freedom to create a truly tailored website experience. Users benefit from the flexibility and functionality of WordPress’s robust CMS capabilities in conjunction with WooCommerce’s powerful e-commerce features. Developers can stretch their powers to create customized solutions by building custom themes and plug-ins for unique business requirements.
Another area where WooCommerce shines is SEO. Leveraging WordPress’s industry-leading content management with a vast library of powerful SEO plug-ins, mobile responsiveness, customizable URL structures, robust blogging features, and integration capabilities, WooCommerce is the ultimate search engine ranking machine.
In terms of cost, WooCommerce is technically free to use. However, it does require additional services such as domain names, SSL certification, and hosting. And if you are looking to outsource your website development to a professional, that is another extra cost. Other website builders, like Shopify, operate on an all-inclusive subscription model, which may prove to be less expensive but also offer less in terms of customization.
For all its advantages, WooCommerce is not for everyone. One notable drawback is that managing a WooCommerce store may require more technical knowledge than all-in-one solutions like Shopify. The initial setup and configuration can be complicated, especially for users unfamiliar with WordPress, basic coding, and e-commerce concepts. Additionally, the reliance on third-party plug-ins for certain features might lead to compatibility issues with upgrades or potential security concerns. Furthermore, as WooCommerce operates on self-hosted WordPress sites, users are responsible for their website’s security, updates, and overall maintenance, which could be daunting for beginners. But despite these challenges, many find that the flexibility and customization options offered by WooCommerce outweigh these cons, making it a popular choice for those willing to invest time learning about and maintaining their online store.
Shopify: The E-Commerce Powerhouse
Shopify is a dynamo of an e-commerce platform and has become synonymous with the online marketplace. In fact, in 2023, more than 700 million customers purchased through a Shopify retailer.
Unlike WooCommerce which was created as an e-commerce plug-in for WordPress, Shopify was built for e-commerce. Everything about Shopify was designed for online retail success, offering users unparalleled e-commerce features and design simplicity with pricing plans starting at $50 a month. From pages and inventory management to integrated checkout, payment processing, and shipping, Shopify is the ideal choice for businesses that focus primarily on selling products online.
Shopify was also created to be extremely user-friendly. As a fully hosted solution with hundreds of free and paid themes, thousands of integrations, and drag-and-drop editing, you can get a reasonably custom-feeling store up and running quickly with very basic computer skills. If you want to take your Shopify store a few steps further, you can also explore custom themes.
Custom Shopify development allows you to tailor your Shopify store to your business needs, improve performance, and improve usability while allowing you to showcase your unique brand identity. However, tweaking under the hood of your Shopify theme or creating one from scratch will require some skill in web design and knowledge of several coding languages – or professional help.
When it comes to SEO, Shopify has come a long way in improving its performance. All Shopify themes are mobile-friendly, eliminating the need for custom mobile versions, while built-in schema markup for products, collections, and pages makes it easier for search engines to crawl and understand your pages. Shopify also offers integration with popular third-party SEO tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and other SEO plug-ins that can help improve performance and performance tracking.
However, there are some drawbacks to consider when considering Shopify for your e-commerce business. Monthly subscription costs and transaction fees can add up quickly and while customization is possible, it has limitations compared to open-source platforms like WooCommerce. Advanced customization also requires expertise in Shopify’s proprietary Liquid templating language. You may also depend on third-party apps from the Shopify App Store which can lead to additional ongoing costs.
Wix: The Original Drag-And-Drop Website Builder
Between WooCommerce’s robust content management and e-commerce capabilities and Shopify’s initiative interface and e-commerce functionality lies Wix. Wix is a free-to-use website builder that offers a little bit of everything a small business needs to get up and running.
Believe it or not, this lesser-known website builder was the first to introduce drag-and-drop editing, and even though it’s no longer the only kid on the block, the platform was designed for this feature and is probably the most intuitive. In addition to being extremely user-friendly, Wix is also a highly versatile website builder that delivers an impressive range of standout features.
Wix offers over 800 design templates, extensive design flexibility, and more than 300 third-party integrations, allowing you to tailor your Wix site with features like lead generation, traffic analysis, visitor engagement, and online selling. Moreover, the platform caters to both content-rich websites and satisfies basic e-commerce needs. The platform also includes a free custom domain and SSL certificate, making it a one-stop-shop solution for your website.
If you need more than what’s offered with the free plan, Wix offers a variety of pricing options, starting from $15 per month for basic websites and $25 monthly for e-commerce functionality. This plan comes standard with features like abandoned cart recovery, unlimited products, and the ability to accept secure online payments, which makes Wix one of the most affordable e-commerce website builders on the market.
However, Wix’s ease of use comes at a cost; advanced users may find the platform restrictive when it comes to custom coding and implementing complex functionalities, especially when compared to options like WooCommerce and Shopify. What’s more, once your site goes live, you can no longer change your template without taking the site down and starting from scratch. The platform may also not be as suitable for users looking to build extensive online stores with advanced e-commerce features, as its primary focus is on content-rich websites. Like most e-commerce website builders, Wix charges processing fees for online payments, and shipping options are limited compared to some competitors.
So, Which Website Builder is Best?
Wix, WooCommerce, and Shopify each cater to distinct needs, and a thorough evaluation of their features, pros, and cons is crucial in selecting the right fit for your business.
WooCommerce, built for WordPress, offers unmatched open-source flexibility and SEO prowess for content-heavy websites that also require robust e-commerce functionality. Shopify, on the other hand, stands out as an e-commerce powerhouse with user-friendly features tailored for online retail. Wix, the original drag-and-drop builder, strikes a balance between content-rich websites and basic e-commerce functionality, offering versatility at an affordable price. Ultimately, the decision on the best website platform depends on what you need from a website, your technical expertise, and your budget.