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A compelling online presence is essential for any business, whether you’re building an e-commerce shop, pursuing your passion as a content creator, or launching a service-based business. When venturing into the world of online platforms, the choice of the right website builder can significantly impact your business’s success. Two of the most popular platforms for creating an online presence are Shopify and WordPress. Understanding their strengths and ideal use cases can help you make an informed decision based on your business needs.

We wanted to provide you with an easy-to-follow guide based on what we have learned in our years of working on website projects to save you time. We will dive into both platforms and help you determine which website builder suits your entrepreneurial needs.

Shopify: All-in-One E-Commerce Solution

Shopify stands out as a top choice for businesses looking to establish a store. It offers a comprehensive suite of tools tailored for e-commerce, making it an ideal choice for businesses that sell digital and/or physical products. Physical products are the more important determining factor.  The reason is Shopify bundles all the tools you will need to start selling, such as calculating shipping costs, automating taxes, printing shipping labels, and more. This platform pieces together the “online store puzzle” for you, including everything you need to begin selling and fulfilling orders with ease.

Here’s why Shopify might be the perfect fit for your online store:

  • User-Friendly Interface: With its intuitive design and user-friendly interface, Shopify allows even the least tech-savvy entrepreneurs to set up an online store quickly. Making it super easy to get started selling.
  • Secure Transactions: Security is a priority for any online business, and Shopify provides secure transactions, protecting your customers’ data and ensuring a smooth shopping experience.
  • Scalability: As your business grows, Shopify can seamlessly accommodate the expansion, providing various plans and add-ons to cater to your evolving needs.
  • Automated Sales Tax Calculation: You can set up automated sales tax calculations for your online store. Trust us. It is 100% worth it if you are an origin-based sales tax state.
  • Website Hosting is Included: With Shopify’s plans, every one of their plans includes website hosting. No matter your plan, you will make one payment to keep your online store up and running.
  • Ability to Sell in Person: If you plan on opening brick-and-mortar stores, Shopify offers all the equipment you need to start selling at your storefront. Literally, everything you need to start selling.

WordPress: Best for Content Creation and Management

WordPress, on the other hand, is renowned for its flexibility and customization options, making it a top choice for businesses looking to build content-focused websites, such as blogs, podcasts, service-based websites, and more. One thing to note with WordPress. You will need to purchase website hosting and install WordPress on the host. Whereas, Shopify has this bundled with their subscription.

Suppose you are wondering where to start with website hosting. We recommend Dreamhost for a WordPress website, as this is the host we use for our own website. With their managed WordPress hosting plan called Dreampress, we get reliable website hosting (prioritizing sustainability using renewable energy sources), professional emails, an SSL certificate, and more. View the full list of features of their Dreampress plan here.

  • Content Management: WordPress excels in content management, making it an ideal choice for businesses that primarily focus on creating and managing content, such as blogs, podcasts, and articles.
  • Customization: With a vast array of themes and plugins, WordPress allows for extensive customization, ensuring your website reflects your brand’s unique identity.
  • Versatility: While it’s often associated with content-centric sites, WordPress can also be utilized for selling both digital and physical products with the integration of various plugins and tools.

When to Choose Shopify or WordPress

Choosing between Shopify and WordPress depends on the nature and goals of your business. Oftentimes, the choice between what website builder to use can get too complicated. As a result, we wanted to provide an easy way to decide between the two. Here’s how we decide which platform is best for a website project:

Choose Shopify as a Website Builder If:

  • You prioritize an easy-to-use platform for setting up and managing an online store quickly.
  • You aim to focus primarily on e-commerce, selling both digital and physical products.
  • You know will you will have a brick-and-mortar store.
  • You seek a secure and scalable platform that can accommodate your business’s growth.
  • You want an all-in-one solution to start online and/or in person.
  • You need your sales tax calculated automatically.

Choose WordPress as a Website Builder If:

  • You prioritize extensive customization options and want plenty of features/plugins.
  • You primarily focus on content creation, such as blogs, podcasts, and articles, with occasional product sales on the side.
  • You prefer a versatile platform that can be tailored to meet both content and e-commerce needs with the help of various plugins and tools.
  • You primarily will sell digital products like courses, digital downloads, etc. (not physical products).
  • You are a service-based business owner with a need to display information and perhaps a portfolio.

In conclusion, both Shopify and WordPress as website builders offer unique advantages, catering to different business needs. Assessing your specific requirements and understanding the strengths of each platform will enable you to make an informed decision that aligns with your business goals and vision. Whether it’s a seamless online store setup or a customizable content-focused website, choosing the right website builder is an important step toward establishing a successful online presence for your business.

We hope this helped you decide on what website builder will be best for your website project. If you have any questions, send us an email to hello@thoroughfaredesign.com. We would love to hear your thoughts!

Disclaimer:

*This post may contain affiliate links, which provides us with a small commission, at no cost to you, if you complete a purchase through one of our links. We only recommend products that we use ourselves and that we genuinely recommend to other business owners. The small commission that we do earn allows us to continue creating free, valuable content and resources for our audience.

About Savannah and Dillon

As self-taught designers and entrepreneurs, we have had the privilege of accompanying countless business owners, investing our time in assisting businesses to drive meaningful impact and foster thriving communities. With a genuine passion for sustainable design, we specialize in crafting one-of-a-kind brand identities, customized website designs, and captivating visuals that leave a lasting impression and inspire purposeful connections.

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