Shopify vs WordPress vs Squarespace
There are ‘ready made’ services such as Squarespace, Shopify or Wix among others that allow people to set-up a quick website online.
Then there is wordpress which is different to these services?
To explain the difference simply… do you want to rent or own your own site?
I have clients who own their own websites using wordpress/woo-commerce and clients who rent or subscribe to a website service from a provider like shopify, squarespace etc.
Personally as a web designer and I think I speak for most designers, I tend to encourage the more sophisticated WordPress approach which offer more versatility and options for growing businesses, while it might cost more to set up initially it can be much cheaper also in the long term.
The ‘ready made’ sites such as Shopify are a service you rent by the month. This is the main difference as WordPress are not paid services. The wordpress software is free to use, you develop your site using the software and you host it on a server for an annual fee. Outside of the web designers fees there are no other costs.
Hence with WordPress you can move your business to another host, back it up, store it or modify it anyway you want. With WordPress you control the software, you can add any software to add additional features to your website, mostly free of charge. Web developers and designers are more comfortable with WordPress because they find it easier to customise and meet their customers needs. Websites are marketing platforms so a lot is asked of web designers, every business is different so the platform needs to be very customisable.
WordPress far outshines any platform in terms of client options.
Don’t be fooled by a pretty face
So does a ‘great’ template have any bearing on the purchasing decision?
Well simply put, they scan a website as you would newspaper or magazine. And we all know when scanning a Sunday newspaper we tend to look at the photos, if one catches our attention, we might glance at the caption underneath. If still interested, we might delve further and read the article attached with the photo.
Your website statistically is hostage to an even more frenzied reader, statistically you only have a split second to engage a customer on your homepage or they are gone, moving quickly to greener more interesting pastures.
So think …
First, what should the site look like, develop out a mood board.
Second develop a clear marketing message, what problem you solve in the market place and why should they buy from you?
Third, use visuals to deliver that message fast. You have less than two seconds on average.
And Fourth a CTA , known as a Call to action or what I like to call a ‘No Brainer’ a button or offer so they can take advantage of the marketing message you developed on the page.
Now if you use this formula throughout the website you will have a content plan formulated before you need to pick your website platform.
How versatile are these platforms?
The WordPress code is open to all, which is why the platform sees massive innovation each year. Open to all, the imagination of the massive wordpress developer community is infinite which has helped WordPress to be a leader as a marketing platform. Plus when you consider the ecosystem there are thousands of free extensions that attach to WordPress, so you can literally get the platform to do anything. I continually find myself answering client questions with …
“if it’s on WordPress I might know how to do it right now but I guarantee you there is a way.”
What computer code do they use?
How does Google look at these pre-built platforms?
Where is your business located?
These platforms tend to more expensive than a WordPress website with a bill arriving in your inbox every four weeks. WordPress websites tend to be relatively free if you build it yourself. Plus, if you have several websites hosted on your hosting account the cost benefits really accumulate.
“I believe full control of your website options is the most cost effective approach.”
So when is a subscription service suitable?
Don’t get me wrong we work every week with the subscription services they are for the most part solid and very useful to many businesses. There are plenty of reasons to subscribe, for example if you are a ‘one person show’ and you sell some very basic products. Shopify for example has a very solid e-commerce platform. It is well designed and can be implemented with your cash register POS system easier then WordPress.
If you are going to do everything yourself quite often the subscription services are kinder to the non-technical person, also the security and maintenance of the website is part of your subscription cost so if there is a problem you can call technical support. Where we see the subscription services in our own business is quite often we take over the website subscription where the client is having problems modifying the platform or where they want us to investigate do they need to upgrade to WordPress, quite often we will make some tweaks and this subscription service will still be good for them for another year or two or until they outgrow it.