WordPress vs Shopify Websites - Sparx Digital

WordPress vs Shopify websites – which is best?

WordPress and Shopify are both website-building platforms for eCommerce that hold a large market share of overall web content. The right choice of platform for your business is important. One is not better than the other – but each has its benefits and drawbacks for website owners.

In simplest terms (and very generally), WordPress is a robust open platform (meaning it can be hosted on any server) that has a greater amount of flexibility with design and functionality. Shopify is a hosted platform that must operate on the Shopify servers. It is great for basic eCommerce setups and is simpler to self-manage, but as a closed system, it has far fewer customisation options than WordPress.

WordPress vs Shopify

Building an eCommerce store has never been easier, and of the many options available, WordPress and Shopify are the most prominent eCommerce platforms.

WordPress is used by a vast number of reputable sites including:

  • New York Post
  • TIME.com
  • Spotify
  • National Post
  • TED
  • Fortune.com
  • CNN

Shopify is used by many renowned sites which include:

  • PepsiCo Inc
  • Kraft Heinz Co.
  • FitBit
  • Nestle
  • Penguin Books
  • Tesla Inc.

The decision about which of these website building platforms to choose depends on the type of business you operate, your preferred approach to web design and development, and the onsite functionalities you require.


WordPress is a free, open-source website building platform. Extremely popular worldwide, 17 posts are published every second on WordPress sites globally. Any designer, programmer, or other user can alter its code, particularly if they have a background in coding or basic knowledge using HTML, PHP or CSS coding.

If you already have a WordPress website, this is also the best option for your eCommerce purposes. Simply installing the WooCommerce plugin to your existing WordPress site enables you to launch your store as an additional element to your site. (To use WooCommerce, you must have a WordPress website).

WordPress is a hands-on platform that offers a huge array of additional functionalities, including but not limited to:

  • 100% customisable
  • A vast selection of themes
  • Apps and plugins
  • Flexible content management
  • Search engine optimisation Capabilities
  • Mobile-Friendly
  • Cybersecurity
  • Fee-based extensions

It’s easy to create a bespoke website using a wide catalogue of high-quality, professional-grade themes. Your unique website design is tailored using customised headers, footer, product pages, layout, plugins, checkout, and more.

WordPress Plugins are apps specific to use with WordPress and enable the addition of new site features. There are more than 52,000 of these to choose from! They are important for search engine optimisation (SEO), to improve onsite user experience, and for spam mitigation. Some of the most important WordPress plugins for eCommerce websites are:

  • WooCommerce – This plugin is the most popular eCommerce solution for WordPress websites. It adds all eCommerce functionality to your site including managing your products, orders, sending notification emails and lots more.
  • Stripe for WooCommerce – This add on adds the Stripe payment gateway for WooCommerce. Stripe is a robust & reliable way to process credit card payments on your website, and is our preferred payment gateway to work with.
  • WooCommerce PDF Invoices & Packing Slips – Does your website need to send customers a PDF invoice? Or do you need a simple packing slip that you can print in bulk to help fulfill orders? This plugin makes it a breeze to add both to your website.
  • Checkout Field Editor – If you need a bit more information from customers when checking out, this plugin is perfect for adding additional fields that show during the checkout process. Perfect for adding a delivery date, agreement checkbox or extra delivery instructions.
  • WooCommerce Subscriptions – If you need customers to use recurring payments, you can use WooCommerce Subscriptions to set up products to automatically recur on a set schedule – such as weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually.
  • Product Add Ons for WooCommerce – If you sell customised products, this one is a must. WooCommerce does allow you to setup variations by default (eg shirt sizes or colours), but if you need more custom options this plugin will help add it to your store.

There are some drawbacks to using WordPress:

  • Can be complex for beginners – minimal maintenance support is offered by the platform so you may need a professional web developer to help.
  • Most advanced themes are not free – the best user experience will cost you money.
  • Frequent updates are essential for optimal security but can be time-consuming to implement (e.g. data backup and testing).
  • Installing too many plugins can result in glitches in performance – e.g., large memory use, reduced download speed, average performance.


Shopify is a good, flexible option for business owners who are building their website for the first time and who seek a simple, dedicated, hands-off solution with an array of advanced features to use if desired.

As an all-in-one solution, Shopify can provide you with a high-quality website quickly and easily.

  • 24/7 customer support
  • Hosted server
  • Custom domain name for branding purposes
  • 10 free themes
  • 64 premium themes (fee-based)
  • Mobile responsiveness
  • 100% SSL for fast website load times
  • Integrates with multiple payment providers
  • Extremely cyber secure
  • Built-in analytics features
  • Scalable as your business grows

Spotify themes are visually appealing and extremely mobile responsive.

Drawbacks with using Shopify include:

  • Monthly transaction fees – begin at $29 per month for the most basic plan.
  • Limitations on customisation – requires coding to unlock additional features.
  • Limitations on product categorisation and filtering – difficult to narrow search terms onsite.
  • Steep learning curve – jargon used differs from other platforms and this can complicate the user experience.
  • Does not incorporate an email hosting facility – email forwarding must be set up.

Are you unsure which platform is best for you?

Choose WordPress:

  • For open-source, free downloadable software
  • For utmost versatility and flexibility
  • More eCommerce strategy options
  • For sophisticated content management and more control
  • Outstanding plugin options are available
  • Better SEO outcomes
  • Ideal for multiple sites and multiple language stores

Choose Shopify:

  • If you are a beginner and wish to DIY
  • Want hosting included in your product
  • Seek certain standard features
  • For security to be managed by the platform
  • For fast, simple website performance
  • For 24/7 customer support
  • For a 14 day free trial before committing to the platform

Chat with our expert web developers at Sparx Digital – we have the industry experience and insight to understand your business and your goals and to help guide you in the right direction for the highest return on your investment.

Build Your New Website With Sparx!

Do you need a brand new website?

Or are you looking to revamp your existing site? We can help!

Sparx Digital is a boutique digital agency situated in southeast Queensland, working with clients all over Australia. We deliver captivating, creatively designed websites to help you showcase your brand, engage your audience, and drive traffic your way. We even offer a free website analysis!

Drop us an email at hello@sparx.com.au or call us today on 1300 477 279 – we look forward to having a chat and exploring how we can help set your business up to thrive online.

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