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Selling Online: WordPress vs Shopify vs Magento

How to sell online and pick between wordpress, shopify and magento

If you’ve ever wanted to get your own store up and move into eCommerce, you may have wondered what the difference is between WordPress, Shopify and Magento.

All three are used to build online stores. So which one should you use and why?

That’s the topic we want to cover in this article. We’ll touch on the pros and cons of each platform – and when they’d each make sense for you to use.

Selling Online With WordPress

As you may already know, WordPress is basically the king when it comes to building websites. In the case of eCommerce, it’s no different.

The biggest and most scalable solution for WP is called WooCommerce. A plug-in that allows you to build your entire online store on WordPress.

Within the plug-in you have options for managing your inventory, customizing your product line-up and assigning SKU’s at the click of a button.

All of this means you can relatively quickly build out your product line; even if you’re doing something like clothing and have hundreds of SKU’s for different sizing, colors etc.

WordPress Pros

1. Scalable and flexible platform

WordPress is one of the most popular website building applications. The platform is easy to use and learn, which means WordPress developers typically come at a lower cost than other higher-level developers.

They simply have to use a plug-in like WooCommerce to build upon your website and craft out your store. This ease of access passes a time and cost savings down to you.

2. Extendible functionality

WooCommerce has a very large library of extensions. There are more than 450 to choose from, allowing you to build functionality like coupons, email marketing and more into your store.

Some are free, while others are premium/paid options.

This extendibility gives the freedom to “make the site your own” and grow into more diverse marketing and sales opportunities.

3. Free to use

While there are of course premium extensions you can purchase, WooCommerce is completely free to use.

This is great as beginners can set up their store and begin selling risk free. No need to worry about monthly payments right out of the gates (like Shopify. More on this below).

WordPress Cons

1. WooCommerce can be expensive

While it is free to use, adding premium extensions onto your store for additional functionality can get pricy.

Some of the extensions cost upwards of $150. A large upfront investment you do not have when using Shopify. This is a trade-off as Shopify does come with a monthly fee.

Selling Online With Shopify

If you’re not familiar with Shopify – they are a standalone eCommerce platform.

Once again you have all the tools to set up your own store, start selling and processing payments. They also have a marketplace of “plug-ins” you can use to build functionality into your site.

Shopify Pros

1. Strong integrations built for commerce

Shopify is built for business owners of all kinds. Not only do they have the platform for online purchases. They also have tools to help you integrate into the offline world.

If you have a retail location, you can utilize Shopify’s POS system to help centralize your transaction management and order processing (good for organization and accounting).

This can also help you better define and manage your customer rewards programs and discount offers.

Shopify Cons

1. Monthly fee(s)

Shopify’s cheapest plan is $29 per month, and goes all the way up to $299. There are a huge variety of free plug-ins to choose from. However, many are paid as well.

The difference is most plug-ins are a monthly fee, versus WooCommerce which gives you a flat rate. On the plus side, Shopify offers a 2 week free trial so you can test them out before paying.

2. Weaker SEO

As WordPress has a large emphasis on its utility for bloggers, they have much better SEO features than Shopify.

If you are planning to blog, you may want to keep this in mind. You could however set-up a WordPress blog and link it to your Shopify store if you wanted to.

WordPress vs Shopify

Now that you have a basis of comparison, how do you decide between WordPress and Shopify?

You may want to start by asking yourself the following questions.

  1. What platform do you feel most comfortable with?
  2. Would you prefer monthly payments or one-time fees?
  3. Do you do business offline or have plans to?
  4. Do you plan on making content marketing a major strategy?

If you are planning to only sell online, prefer a free platform to start, and want to focus on content, you might be best off with WordPress.

If you want to integrate your business online and offline into one system, and prefer something that “does it all” right out of the box, you might be best off with Shopify.

Now, how do you decide if you should go with Magento?

If WordPress seems like the better solution for you, pick WordPress. However, if you are interested in the Shopify system, you will gain value from seeing how it compares to Magento as it is another complete commerce solution.

Selling Online with Magento

If you like Shopify, but feel a little constrained by what you see available in their marketplace, or think you may outgrow the software, Magento may be for you.

They specialize in more “enterprise solutions” for the commerce world. See: Magento homepage. A few clients they mention right away are Burger King, Coca Cola, and Christian Louboutin.

Magento Pros

1. Built to scale

As Magento is an enterprise solution, they’ve built their software to help large companies scale up their product offerings and increase their traffic with as little friction as possible.

2. Seamless integration to the offline world 

Magento takes the Shopify commerce system to the next level. If you’re looking for a strong “omnichannel” solution – this is basically THE only option.

They help you no matter where, when or how you sell.

3. Good community of “partners”

The software is a bit complicated (as we’ll touch on below), but there is a strong community of data-driven web specialists to help you build your website.

This can help you build your store with conversion optimization.

Magento Cons

1. Complicated software

The learning curve is much bigger here than the one you’d have with WordPress or Shopify. This means a bigger up-front time investment to get situated.

2. Costly development

Given that it is more of an enterprise solution with more complex software – the Magento developer skillset is more specialised.  For you, this means the development cost when hiring will be markedly higher than Shopify or WP.

Shopify vs Magento

For the typical small business owner, Magento is going to be a big headache to try and get your store online and running smoothly. By comparison Shopify makes setting your store up as quick as a couple hours.

In Conclusion

For most business owners trying to build their store online, the decision is going to be between WordPress and Shopify. Use the information here to determine your needs and decide on a platform.

If you decide to use WordPress, remember that you’re going to need a domain and hosting. Check out our web hosting packages to get started.

CanSpace is Canada’s leading domain name registrar and web hosting provider. Let us help you launch your store! Our support team is on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to help with any questions or needs you have.


How to Set Up an Online Store With WordPress

How to set up an online store with a wordpress website

What do you need to take your business online and create a store with WordPress? You don’t need much, just the following.

  1. Domain & Hosting
  2. WordPress (and theme)
  3. Shopping Cart Plug-in
  4. Payment Gateway & SSL
  5. Bank Account

Let’s go over each of these now.

Domain & Hosting For WordPress Stores

You need a domain so that you can link your store to a web address that customers can easily find by searching or through ads. Your domain should be your business name or the product you sell.

Ex: mensleathershoes.com OR kevinsleathershoes.com

If you don’t currently have a domain, start your search for the lowest priced .ca domains guaranteed. Once you have a domain, you’ll need to have hosting set up so you can actually start building your website and have it hosted online.

Click the following link to find a Canadian web hosting package, starting from $5 CAD per month. With CanSpace it’s super simple to get started and you’re not tied into any contracts.

Setting up Your Store Theme

Once you have your domain and hosting set-up, you’ll need to begin making your website in WordPress.

You should take a look at the following themes for your WordPress store. The WordPress store theme however should be for the specific WordPress store plug-in you pick.

WooCommerce “StoreFront” Theme

This is a clean and versatile theme built for the WordPress plug-in WooCommerce which we will touch on below.

It is built by WooCommerce’s team. Since they have intimate knowledge of the entire system’s functionality, you’ll find it has many smart and easy to use features.

EasyShop Theme

This is a theme built on-top of EasyCart by a 3rd party developer. It is mainly tailored to apparel companies, but can be modified for other purposes.

Let’s look at the actual shopping cart plug-in now.  

WordPress Store Shopping Cart Plug-In

When looking for the plug-in to set up your WordPress store and manage purchases – you’re going to need a few things.

  1. Good inventory management
  2. Easy to use admin interface (for uploading/changing products)
  3. Strong integrations to payment processors (like PayPal)
  4. Good front-end user experience (for those browsing your store)

The two plug-ins that check those boxes are WooCommerce and EasyCart.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a free plug-in with an extensive marketplace of free and premium extensions.

Basically any features and functionality you need can be installed into your WordPress store with extensions for reasonable monthly fees. However, for the novice user, WooCommerce should be good enough right out-of-the-box.

EasyCart

EasyCart is a one-time payment plug-in option – that ranges from $50-180 for a lifetime license. This includes all of their extensions. No monthly fees like WooCommerce.

There is a bigger upfront investment, but many people find they end up spending a decent amount of money per month with WooCommerce once they start scaling anyway.

I personally prefer the look and feel of WooCommerce. It is also the more popular choice.

Payment Gateway, SSL & Bank Account

Once you’ve got your website and WordPress store up – you’ll need to link the shopping cart plug-in to your payment gateway.

If you’re not sure which one to pick, I’ve placed the most popular ones below.

  1. Paypal
  2. Stripe
  3. Square

You can also use Payoneer or Payfirma, which are two other options.

Before you do this though, you’ll need to ensure you have an SSL – which stands for Secure Socket Layer. It’s basically the technology that secures your website while processing your customers’ credit cards.

You can get SSL’s from most web hosting providers for under $200. At CanSpace our SSL is $39 per year.

Both WooCommerce and EasyCart have instructions that will tell you how to easily link your payment gateway and begin selling. From there, all you have to do is make sure your bank account is connected so you can take out your earnings!

In Conclusion

Now you’ve seen how simple it is to get your WordPress store up. If you’ve always wanted to sell online but never knew how… now is a perfect time to start.

Remember, you’ll need a domain and web hosting. So start your search for domains and find the perfect web hosting package for your needs today.


Why Should I Use WordPress to Build my Website?

Should you use WordPress to build your website?

Building your website with WordPress is a smart idea. Why?

For anyone who has tried to get into the “website world”, I’m sure you’ve noticed the labyrinth of tools, coding languages, web platforms etc.

It all can get very confusing, quickly.

This is where WordPress shines. It’s simplicity & intuitiveness has made it one of the most popular web platforms (over 30% of sites online run on WordPress).

Ease of Use

WordPress has a great user experience. It takes a little bit to learn the entire system – but to get the basics and manage your website, you won’t find anything easier.

The correct term for WordPress is a CMS; Content Management System.

Basically, it’s built to help you manage all of the content on your website… From your logo, website theme to your blog articles etc. It’s all there in one location, helping even beginners at all things computers/technology run their own site.

There are also “themes” which give you super simple drag-and-drop page builders, so you can build awesome looking webpages without knowing how to code at all.

Flexibility

For most budding website owners – there are usually a list of functionality that you want built into the site.

Do you want to have something to pop-up and get the information of people on your articles, get them to share or put your YouTube video on the site?

Any “features” you could ever want are available in the WordPress MarketplaceAll you have to do is download a “plug-in” that automatically sets your website up with new features.

You can get free plug-ins for almost everything but there are also great paid solutions.

Support

Since there is such a huge community of people using WordPress, finding help online is usually one click away.

Of course, if you were hosting your site with CanSpace you would have our team of 24/7 customer support representatives (click here to find a hosting package).

If you’re not though… There are tons of resources for WordPress users out there. Including forums and groups dedicated to building and managing your website.

You can use these places to support you… Especially when you’re brand new to websites.


Improving WordPress Website Speed

How to improve your wordpress website speed

If you are the proud owner of a website running on WordPress, you may be asking yourself how to improve your website speed. The answer starts with: content.

Basically, the amount of data stored on your website affects the time it takes to load. This data can be in the form of images, PDF’s, plug-ins etc. Also important are the systems used to load that information. Aka hosting. Let’s talk about the actual content first.

1) Minimizing Your Plug-ins

WordPress plug-ins are awesome for setting websites up with cool and valuable functionality like social sharing and email list building.

The only problem? There is a ton of data chugging along to keep those plug-ins running. So while useful, the data for the plug-ins and the strain it puts on your server while “executing” plug-ins can get out of hand fast.

You will likely be able to immediately improve your WordPress website speed by cutting out some plug-ins.

2) Optimizing Images & PDF’s

Large files have the biggest drain on your hosting and is the fastest way to not improve WordPress website speed. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to fix. The first step for pictures is to make sure their dimensions aren’t too big.

In most cases, you’ll never need a picture bigger than 850 pixels wide.

A lot of people upload images without ever realizing their dimensions are 2000, 4000+ pixels which can triple file size or more! So get that taken care of first.

3) Reducing Image/PDF File Size

Instead of “saving for web” in photoshop I recommend using “lossless/lossy compression” software which basically means it removes unnecessary data from your content without reducing quality.

Try the following places:

Tiny JPG/PNG also have a plug-in you can download right onto your WordPress site to automatically optimize images when they’re uploaded.

4) Analyze Your Website

Tools like GTMetrix will analyze your website and give real-time advice for areas of improvement. Sometimes you’ll be able to implement these changes yourself (even beginners).

Outside of the easy fixes, you may need to hire an expert to come in and fix your code. At any rate, this a great avenue to see where you can immediately improve your WordPress website speed.

5) Choose a Good Hosting Provider

Even the most optimized website will run slow if the servers keeping it live are slow themselves.

You’d be surprised. The difference between good hosting providers and bad ones can mean a 50% +/- difference in speed. So make sure to inquire about this when choosing a company.

At CanSpace, we’re always working on new ways to improve server speed.

In Conclusion

As you can see, optimizing your website comes down to five major areas. As long as you focus on what we covered in the article, you should have no problem speeding up your website or creating a fast one from scratch.

If you’re interested in getting a website live or want a new host to improve your WordPress website speed, click here to see our web hosting plans.

We’d love to help you get online!


Which Hosting Provider is Best For WordPress?

What is the best hosting provider for WordPress websites

Planning to build a WordPress website and not sure how to pick a hosting provider?

That’s ok. There are tons of things to think about if it’s your first website. We understand how things can get confusing or overwhelming very quickly.

So what should you be looking for from your hosting? The very first thing is: make sure you’re protected.

The Hosting Best For WordPress is Secure

Unfortunately, there are scammers and hackers online trying to steal sensitive information and simply destroy websites… It’s important to have the proper security measures so hackers can’t take advantage of you.

Good WordPress hosting providers will make sure you have strong firewalls in place protecting your information.

Hackers won’t be able to access your website and make attacks. For example – DDOS attacks are a popular method for taking down websites, which would be a red flag for your firewalls.

With the right host, you won’t have to worry (nearly as much) about falling prey to this kind of thing.

Speed

The speed of your website is very important for a number of reasons. It plays a big factor in how well you “rank” on Google results. Meaning, when you make a specific search… Where will your article show up on the results?

On the first page? What spot?

In addition, speed is very important for user experience. If your website is really slow, no one will stick around long enough to read about who you are – and the blog articles you write.

So make sure your site is fast.

Get the Best Hosting for Your WordPress Website

Remember to take a look at our web hosting packages if you’re looking to get your WordPress site up. CanSpace is the leading domain registrar and hosting provider, working with some of Canada’s largest corporations.

If you have any other questions about hosting your WordPress website, just contact our team and we’ll help you figure it out!