Should I Use Shopify or WordPress For My Online Store?

Jul, 2024

At Garaj, we love using any system that gets results for our clients, but it is pretty hard to not recommend either WordPress or Shopify to most businesses. Here we’re sharing the reasons behind that, and why we also use other systems on occasion.


Why WordPress?

WordPress is an open source CMS that is (mostly) run by a company in San Francisco called Automattic.


Where does WordPress begin to fail?

WordPress is as good as it is maintained. We maintain all of the WordPress websites on our platform by keeping their databases clean and optimised, Pagespeed scores super high, technical SEO always optimised plugins updated, and everything secured and we do this monthly.

Plugins may become outdated and may break the styling or functionality of your site if not maintained – very rare, we’re talking over the course of years of being unmaintained – and paid plugins may with time become unsupported – this last reason applies for all platforms though. If the business that built the plugin goes under… well, there’s no one to support it.

To mitigate this, we keep an eye on plugin updates and use a select few plugins, to ensure that we know exactly what’s happening.


We almost never use templates for WordPress

Also, we don’t use template sites unless our clients started working with us with their own site, or really just want nothing else other than for us to install their template for them (for a quick and simple ecommerce set up for example).

For all other cases we design everything from scratch, and for WordPress we use either Divi or Elementor which are builders rather than templates. They’re also very popular and maintained by stellar companies.

These builders are loved by almost all of our clients who have come over to WordPress from WIX, Webflow, Squarespace, and other platforms – even Shopify – when they want to start managing their sites themselves.


Why Shopify?

Shopify, is a mostly closed source system run by Shopify Inc. in Ottawa.

Unlike WordPress, which focuses on power and infinite possibilities. Shopify focuses on simplifying running a store simple and easy for all size businesses. It isn’t as capable as WordPress on many fronts – that is of course you spend a good deal of money on developers.

For 80% of ecommerce stores, Shopify is brilliant and does everything you need.


Where does Shopify begin to fail?

Shopify begins to fail where custom code comes in to play. While it is totally possible to build anything into Shopify, it takes longer due to the nature of Shopify’s design. Shopify simply isn’t as accessible to developers as WordPress because it isn’t open source, meaning we can’t just grab a file off your server, add functions to it, and then style it up so that it looks nice.

Everything needs to run through a custom app instead, or through the front-end of the store, meaning more time goes into development.


We occasionally use templates for Shopify

We try our best to get you more for your budget , and that’s why for Shopify we might use templates and customise them so that they’re unique to your business, as opposed to starting from scratch with a builder as in the case of WordPress.

We try our best not to lock you into anything like Shopify page builders, because those cost a lot (recurring) and are only helpful for the first day or two when compared to using a template and going from there.


So which one should you choose? Shopify or WordPress?

Both options are awesome, and we use them where appropriate but there are a few things to consider when choosing one or the other, so we thought we’d share!