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WordPress v Shopify v WIX

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WordPress, Shopify and WIX are the three most commonly used platforms for building websites worldwide. But which do you choose? In this article we compare WordPress v Shopify v WIX for their ease of use, features included, cost implications and more.

WordPress is an open source (free) content management system (CMS) for building websites. Shopify is a commercial website builder platform that is designed for eCommerce. WIX is a website building platform that can also incorporate eCommerce. All are hugely successful, although WordPress powers the most websites, followed by WIX and then Shopify.

DIY or hire a professional?

Whether you go down the DIY route or hire a professional to build and maintain your website will depend to a large extent on your budget and time constraints. In this article we focus on WordPress v Shopify v WIX for a DIY site.

WordPress, Shopify and WIX are all systems designed to be easy to use without having to learn how to code. However, if you start down the DIY route and find it too tricky, there are people who can help. Some professionals can help with Shopify or WIX, but the vast majority (including us) will prefer WordPress due to the extra flexibility this platform provides. If you are looking to hire a professional please take a look at our website design packages.

Ease of use

Both Shopify and WIX are easier to use for a beginner than WordPress. However, this also has its downside because the simpler interface gives you less control. We think WIX is easiest for a basic brochure website or small eCommerce store, with Shopify easier for most eCommerce sites.

WordPress is very flexible, so it can seem daunting to choose the best plugins and configuration for your initial setup. Getting help with the initial setup largely overcomes the downside of added complexity.

Website design

All three platforms have templates which can be used by a novice to create a good looking website. However, WIX, Shopify and some WordPress templates can be difficult to customise if you want to change these designs. You may have to compromise on how your site looks to achieve simplicity in building.

If you know HTML and CSS you can design your own website or modify an existing template with WordPress. Or you can use a commercial plugin like Beaver Builder to customise a WordPress template, but you will need to make sure it is compatible first.

Ownership

Here WordPress gets a big tick, since it is open source and you are free to use it for ever. In other words, you can take all of your website with you if you choose to do something different in the future.

With WIX and Shopify you only rent the core website code. This means that if you want to move to another company you will have to start again. (However, you should be able to export your text and any images you own.)

SEO

All of the platforms have search engine optimisation (SEO) built in, but you’ll still need to learn how to use these features properly. Take a look at our guide to affordable SEO for some pointers about what you’ll need to learn. All three platforms have their pros and cons with SEO. Our preference is still WordPress for flexibility, but you can probably do a good enough job with any of them.

Platform maintenance and cost

This is a win for WIX; the system is maintained for you and the monthly cost is very low. The Shopify system is also maintained for you, but the cost can be a lot higher than WIX.

For WordPress you’ll need a hosting provider and keep it updated yourself (or buy a WordPress Care Plan). You may also need to pay for any commercial plugins you add to extend WordPress’s features. For most businesses these costs are usually relatively small, but may be significant if you are on a very tight budget.

Conclusion

WIX and Shopify might suit a beginner on a very tight budget with no experience as it is easier to get started. However, a successful website project relies on more than website design alone. (See our ultimate guide to building a website for more on this.)

We believe that a pre-built WordPress template coupled with a plugin such as Beaver Builder can provide simplicity close to that of WIX or Shopify for a little extra cost. In the long term this will prove a much more flexible option both for ongoing site updates and if professionals need to be involved at any time to support your online business.

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