WooCommerce vs Shopify: The Ultimate SEO for Ecommerce Guide

Written by: Branko Ilishev
Feb / 14 / 2024

If you want to start an online eCommerce store, you first should know that Shopify and WooCommerce are two leading solutions at the forefront of the eCommerce world.

Choosing the right eCommerce platform is crucial for the success of your online store. Two of the most popular options are WooCommerce and Shopify, each catering to different needs and skill levels. 

However, how would you know which of these two is best for your business? Which one should you choose considering Shopify vs WooCommerce?

Of course, there isn’t a perfect eCommerce platform. Each of them comes with a set of great features but also limitations. It’s essential to find the platform that suits you best since, with excellent eCommerce SEO, you will be able to achieve a high ranking in the SERPs afterward – resulting in revenue.

While it’s not easy, this WooCommerce vs Shopify comparison can ease the decision:

Shopify vs WooCommerce Overview

WooCommerce: An open-source plugin built on the WordPress platform, offering flexibility and customization but requiring technical knowledge. It only works with WordPress support, and you may need to install many plugins and extensions to customize the looks. Still, it’s a popular choice, knowing that WordPress is the leading CMS in the

Shopify: A SaaS platform offering an all-in-one solution with ease of use but limited customization options. Almost all eCommerce features are already integrated, including stock availability, pricing, POS integration, payment methods, etc.

Ease of Use and Accessibility

Another aspect to compare WooCommerce advantages compared to Shopify is the ease of use and accessibility. It’s important to remember that these two platforms work quite differently, so let’s explain it:

Shopify: The Drag-and-Drop Platform 

Shopify is designed for beginners, offering an intuitive interface requiring minimal technical knowledge. The welcome wizard helps you understand how to build your store, customize it, and set a clear navigation – with no need to code! It’s like IKEA in the world of website builders. You have all the pieces available, and it’s up to you to put them together.

WooCommerce: The Flexible eCommerce Platform

WooCommerce is more like a DIY project that requires some coding skills. It’s powerful and flexible at the same time, letting you customize your eCommerce store the way you want. You have an initial setup, but with plugins and some coding, you can turn any WooCommerce basic store into a custom eCommerce solution.

So, WooCommerce or Shopify? It’s up to you and your specific needs. You can test both platforms and decide what works better. Remember, Shopify is easier to use, but WooCommerce is more customizable.

Building a Store Using Shopify or WooCommerce

The goal of using an eCommerce platform is to build an online store. As you can suppose, Shopify is really straightforward in building stores. 

It’s simple like drag-and-drop your preferred elements or use pre-built themes and templates. This way, you avoid technical hurdles and struggles. It’s like having an empty physical store waiting for you to paint the walls and put together the products on shelves. 

On the other hand, WooCommerce comes with various themes and plugins. It’s like building the store from scratch while deciding on the location, size, interior design, and even deeper customization for different product categories. The result is hard work for your dream store. 

The path to choose?

Shopify is for beginners who need a quick solution with little to no extensive customization. WooCommerce and WordPress are perfect for those who want flexibility, comfort, and custom functionalities. 

Content Management System Comparison

A great eCommerce platform offers more than selling products. It’s a hub for engaging content like product descriptions, testimonials, blog posts, user guides, and every other format that builds your brand identity. 

So, this is the WooCommerce vs Shopify approach when it comes to content management:

The Simplicity of Shopify

Shopify’s CMS is pretty basic and great for product descriptions, landing pages, and blogs. Still, the editing capabilities are pretty limited. To unlock the advanced editing and formatting features, consider using Shopify+, especially if your brand is already established and you earn well from it. 

WooCommerce’s Advanced CMS Features

Knowing that WooCommerce is perfectly integrated with WordPress, it’s surely a great way to publish and promote content beyond your products. You can craft and optimize great blog posts, build landing pages, and create in-depth product descriptions. You have complete freedom to make your eCommerce website the way you imagined.

The decision? Consider your specific needs. While WooCommerce wins when it comes to flexibility, Shopify can be better for those looking for simplicity.

woocommerce seo audit - a woocommerce as great ecommerce solution

The eCommerce Features of Shopify and WooCommerce

We’re getting to the most exciting point – the eCommerce features that guarantee sales success. These features help you run the store and control the sales. So, let’s see who wins this round:

Shopify – Ready to Sell Immediately

Shopify is an eCommerce platform, so it comes with built-in features to help you quickly launch a store, like:

  • Inventory management to track stock levels and manage product variations
  • Setting shipping profiles to connect with post services and carriers
  • Automatic tax calculation based on location 
  • Discounts, promotions, and vouchers to boost your sales
  • Secure payments through many integrated payment methods

WooCommerce – Customizable Powerhouse

One of WooCommerce’s disadvantages is that it doesn’t come with integrated eCommerce tools. On the other hand, the plugins and extensions give you an advantage in creating a store the way you want it. 

  • Flexibility to choose from various plugins to add cart recovery, product subscriptions, loyalty programs, etc.
  • Control over each feature you integrate with your WooCommerce store
  • Open-source benefits for constant development

So, WooCommerce or Shopify?

Choose Shopify if you want convenient built-in features to run an online store. 

Choose WooCommerce if you prioritize flexibility and various plugins for more functionalities. 

Still, consider that some plugins come with additional costs, while they require technical expertise to be integrated and managed with your WooCommerce store.

Plugins and Integrations for eCommerce

We can use an interesting analogy to better explain what to expect from WooCommerce vs Shopify when it comes to plugins and integrations. 

Shopify – An app buffet with a vast offer of apps and integrations. Some of them are free, while others may come at cost. It’s like choosing a meal from a buffet. You have many options, but you may need to pay for some of them. 

WooCommerce – An open kitchen with ingredients you can combine to make a custom dish. While the plugin library offers both paid and free additions to your main dish, you still need to control the ingredients. You won’t put fish sticks on a cheesecake, right? You can, but it may cause conflict, just like badly chosen plugins on WooCommerce stores.

Both platforms offer essential integrations, but Shopify keeps things simple with paid apps, while WooCommerce gives you more control with a wider (and sometimes messier) plugin ecosystem.

Marketing and SEO Features

SEO is an integral part of each website. With no SEO, you can’t have a marketing strategy for online growth. The good thing is that you can target specific keywords and optimize your content, but let’s see how it’s done using Shopify and WooCommerce. 

Shopify SEO Essentials

Shopify offers a basic map through marketing and SEO. You can optimize product titles, descriptions, and meta tags for search engines. Additionally, you can integrate social media buttons and email marketing campaigns and track basic analytics using your Shopify website

WooCommerce SEO Features

A WooCommerce website, as you suppose, doesn’t offer pre-set SEO and marketing features. Still, you can integrate tools and plugins for advanced SEO, email automation, social media marketing tools, and loyalty programs. Still, be careful that the plugins do not conflict with each other. 

So, what can we say about the WooCommerce vs Shopify SEO and marketing features?

Shopify comes with built-in tools and features, while WooCommerce requires plugins, extensions, and tools to accomplish all that. Again, it’s on you to compare and choose according to your specific needs.

Shopify vs WooCommerce Payment, Fees, and Pricing

Owning an online store doesn’t come for free, but when you do that properly, the revenue helps you keep up with pricing, fees, and monthly payment obligations. 

So, here’s what to expect:

Shopify comes with some fees like 2-3% per transaction, depending on your location, the market you cover, and the products you sell. There are some monthly subscription fees that may vary from one plan to another. Some integrated apps come with monthly fees for maintenance. 

WooCommerce, in general, doesn’t require transaction fees except for the processing fees and conversion rates between currencies. Still, you have monthly hosting fees, as well as plugin costs for paid plugins. 

So, there is no cheaper option when it comes to WooCommerce vs Shopify since the overall financial obligation depends on different factors. 

Security and Support Comparison Between WooCommerce and Shopify

Security is a top priority when running an online store. No matter if you use WooCommerce, Shopify, or any other platform, security comes first since people enter personal information and payment details. 

Additionally, support is always needed for you or your customers. So, let’s break this down:

Shopify Security and Support

Shopify has built-in security measures and features. It’s a specialized eCommerce platform with robust security, and both you and your customers are protected. 

They offer 24/7 support through live chat and email, and you can even call the Shopify support center for more information.

WooCommerce Security and Support

This matter is more complex for WooCommerce than Shopify. Security depends on hosting and plugins, so make sure you choose wisely. 

Support is mostly outsourced, but the vast community can surely help you figure out some solution, no matter what problem you face. Still you can find some basic instructions here.

So, the verdict is that Shopify is for those who want to play safe and always have support. WooCommerce is for those who are more confident in their technical skills and ability to choose a trustworthy hosting provider.

Scalability for Both eCommerce Platforms

Your online store is insufficient for growth if you lack the ability to scale and adapt as your business expands. Many are unprepared for this aspect, but here we are to remind you that your business may grow unexpectedly, so you need to have a plan for that.

Shopify’s Scalability

This platform handles an increased number of website visitors and orders as well. At some point, it will suggest you move to a higher tier to avoid limitations. If you decide to stay on lower pricing plans, it may restrict your freedom to grow.

Think of it as a mall with pre-defined stores. If you want to expand, you need to buy or rent the next-door store and merge it with the existing one or move your business to a larger store.

WooCommerce Scalability

With custom development, integrations, and upgrades, you can tailor the online store according to your specific needs. It’s like owning a business space with no customization limits. You can enhance performance with more resources and construction activities and still keep it scalable long-term.

What to Choose?

Shopify is great for those who expect moderate growth with manageable scaling options. WooCommerce is better for those expecting more peaks in their growth, as well as extending the offer. By understanding these key aspects of each platform, you can confidently choose the one that empowers you to build and scale your dream online store.

WooCommerce vs Shopify Pros and Cons 

We’ll complete the WooCommerce or Shopify battle by first addressing the WooCommerce pros and cons. It helps you summarize all the above comparisons and ease the choice of the perfect eCommerce platform for your new online store.

WooCommerce Pros and Cons

WooCommerce is an open-source plugin for WordPress that’s designed for all-size online merchants. It began its journey back in 2011, and it quickly became highly popular worldwide. 

So, let’s see what you can use as an advantage if you pick WooCommerce.

  • Simple Reporting Options – Statistics are crucial in eCommerce to optimize your business. The biggest advantage is that you can monitor your critical business KPIs from your website’s WordPress Admin, allowing you to monitor daily performances. In addition, you can filter reports according to the requirement, and the granular analysis is a tactical tool, available thanks to WooCommerce’s ability to filter by brand, discounts, class, and even revenues by period. 
  • Practical Mobile App – Your online store has to be mobile-friendly, even if you are not a fan of this practice. The mobile traffic grows rapidly every year. People use their phones to shop online, so the need for a mobile version is real. 
  • Multi-Functional Extensions – WooCommerce offers a wide selection of multi-functional extensions. There are thousands of WooCommerce plugins that enhance your performance and let you customize the online shop. Also, the plugin library is supported by a substantial collection of dynamically made community extensions.

Now, it’s time to address the WooCommerce cons:

  • Speed Can Be An Issue – WooCommerce may load slowly because of the plugins and extensions. Still, you are able to optimize the loading speed by compressing the multimedia and using only the plugins you really need. 
  • Code Problems – With WooCommerce, you may need some technical skills to maintain your online store, control the plugins, and manage the loading issues like a pro. It often means you should know how to code a little or who to hire to minimize the existing code without losing functionalities.
  • Update Policy – It mostly affects the plugins, as they require some updates every now and then. Also, WordPress offers improvements and new versions, so updating your eCommerce website means you can run the WooCommerce store smoothly with little to no technical issues. Still, be careful, as sometimes, updates aren’t perfect, and you need to wait until someone else confirms it’s fine to download them.

Shopify Pros and Cons

Since a WooCommerce vs Shopify comparison wouldn’t be fair without seeing both sides of the coin, let’s move on to the Shopify pros and cons by first seeing its advantages.

  • Great for SEO Marketing – Shopify is pretty straightforward for search engine optimization and marketing, due to built-in features. You can sync your SEO strategy easily and track analytics through Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
  • 24/7 Customer Support – Shopify has a team of people to help users if they get stuck at any point. There is a 24/7 customer support team with which customers can communicate via live chat, email, and hotline. Also, there is the FAQ database one can refer to any time they desire.
  • Security and Hosting – Shopify covers both these aspects with no need to outsource anything. It comes with built-in security, included hosting, and no extra cost to integrate with in-house apps.

Let’s also see Shopify’s cons in fulfilling the entire WooCommerce vs Shopify comparison.

  • Customization Limitations – While there are some customization options, the limitations can be a disadvantage. The built-in themes and templates may not be enough for ambitious eCommerce website and store owners.
  • Pricing Is a Bit Expensive – Paid plans for Shopify may not fit everyone’s budget. While the least expensive ones are affordable, the limitations can be discouraging for the online store owners who consider using Shopify.
  • It’s Not Easy to Exit – Some Shopify features make the migration process harder than you can imagine. They don’t want to lose the subscribers, so the process is complex and exhausting for many.

Woocommerce vs Shopify Final Thoughts

Here you have the ultimate WooCommerce vs Shopify battle with all their pros and cons. It’s time for you to decide which eCommerce platform of these two is the most suitable one for your business. 

Be as it may, we wish you success in your eCommerce journey with whatever platform you decide it’s the best!

FAQs

Are WooCommerce and Shopify free?

The WooCommerce pricing vs Shopify comes down to this: Shopify has 14 days free trial, but then you need to sign up to a paid plan. WooCommerce is free, but you need money for domains, hosting, security, etc.

Is store migration possible between WooCommerce and Shopify?

You can migrate your website from Shopify to WooCommerce and vice versa. Still, the process is far from ideal, but it’s possible.

Should I use Shopify or WooCommerce?

For a new store owner with no technical experience, Shopify is a better choice since it will secure your site automatically. If you have technical experience, you can use WooCommerce because you can get a PCI compliant, SSL certificate, and other things yourself.

Is WooCommerce really free?

The core software is free. Still, you will have to plan the expenses for hosting, custom themes, plugins, and extensions.

Which is better: Shopify or WooCommerce?

It depends! Shopify is easier for beginners, while WooCommerce offers more flexibility and control but requires more technical skills.

Is WooCommerce more expensive than Shopify?

Not necessarily. WooCommerce upfront costs might be lower, but plugin fees and hosting can add up. Shopify has monthly fees and transaction fees. Choose based on your needs and comfort level.

About the Author

Picture of Branko Ilishev

Branko Ilishev

Branko is your SEO prodigy. He manages the SEO team and finds creative solutions for your online visibility problems by thinking out-of-the-box. He also translates the collected data of analytics into understandable information that gives you concrete insights.