You’re about to set up your online store and it’s time to choose a platform (or CMS) to do it.
But you know it’s not a lighthearted decision to make.
Above all else, your CMS must be:
- Easy to operate and configure.
- Convenient to customize.
And, of course, it should:
- Perform well.
- Be optimized in terms of SEO positioning.
- Offer some extra marketing functionality.
That’s why today’s article revolves around one of the most popular CMSs around right now: Shopify.
In this post we’re going to tell you:
- What Shopify is and what’s special about it.
- The different pricing plans it has to offer.
- Its pros and cons compared to other software.
But that’s not all – as an added bonus, we’ll also give you some tips on how to optimize SEO for Shopify if you decide to use it in the end.
Let’s get to it.
👉 What Shopify is and why you should consider it
Contrary to other e-commerce platforms, Shopify functions as SaaS (Software as a Service).
That means you don’t need to install anything on your computer to use it because it’s all stored in the cloud.
Plus, the platform takes care of setting up the technical aspects of your shop including the server, payment gateways, updates, etc.
So all you need to do is personalize it and attract clients.
Mind you, this comes at a price – if you want to use Shopify, you’ll have to pay a monthly fee.
✅ 1. What’s the cost of Shopify?
Initially, Shopify offers you a 14-day free trial.
But once that period is over, you’ll need to choose one of its paid plans to keep using it.
These are the three options they offer:
- Basic Shopify Plan ($29/month): The simplest plan. It allows you to create unlimited products and categories.
- Shopify Plan ($79/month): In addition to the features in the Basic plan, this plan allows you to create discount codes and performance reports.
- Advanced Shopify Plan ($299/month): For large businesses. If you have various external suppliers, this plan allows you to automatically calculate the shipping costs for each one.
On top of that, there’s a fee added (between 1.8% and 2.4% depending on the plan you’ve chosen) to every credit card payment you accept.
✅ 2. Advantages of Shopify
If the idea of paying for a CMS puts you off, keep in mind that the number of Shopify users has been growing and growing over the last few years.
That wouldn’t happen for no reason, right? ;)
This platform has several strengths, some of which we’d like to highlight:
- Intuitive use: Shopify’s menu has been designed so that anyone can set up their online store in half an hour (even those who’ve never done it before).
- Hosting is included: Want to select a server but no clue where to start? No problem. Shopify includes hosting, so no need to worry about your shop’s loading speed.
- Nice customer service: If you have any questions, Shopify provides assistance through forums, email, or chat (the latter only in English). There’s even “Shopify Academy”, a platform with free courses to help you manage your business.
- Client stats: If you choose one of the advanced plans, the platform will automatically give you a performance report of your e-commerce so you can adjust your sales strategy.
Take a look at how prominent brands like Hawkers, the popular sunglasses company, have made use of Shopify to set up their online store.
👉 What are the alternatives to Shopify?
Still wondering whether Shopify suits your needs?
Before making up your mind, you should see for yourself what sets Shopify apart from other platforms like PrestaShop, Magento, and WordPress.
To put it simply, we’re going to base our analysis on the following five aspects:
- Simplicity of use
- Store management
- Customization options
Let’s see how they stack up!
✅ 1. Shopify vs Prestashop
We’re going to start the comparison with PrestaShop, which has no reason to envy Shopify in terms of the number of users:
- Simplicity of use: Shopify takes this category by a large margin. Its menus are much more intuitive and it allows you to get your shop up and running much quicker.
- Store management: In this case, PrestaShop takes the cake. This platform gives you the possibility of creating discount vouchers and setting up different payment options, something Shopify only includes in its second-tier paid plan.
- Customization options: In terms of plugins, both platforms are quite comparable. However, Shopify’s template shop is more complete, which makes it the winner of this category.
- Costs: Apart from being a paid platform, Shopify also charges you commissions for every credit card transaction. PrestaShop, on the other hand, is completely free.
- SEO: PrestaShop is an open-source platform. If you’re good at programming, you’ll be able to take advantage of that. Otherwise, its functionality is quite similar to Shopify’s.
Overall, PrestaShop is more suitable for businesses that want full control over the design of their website, while Shopify is the better option if you’re just interested in selling.
✅ 2. Shopify vs WordPress
Now it’s time for WooCommerce, the WordPress platform for online stores.
- Simplicity of use: Both platforms have highly intuitive designs that you’ll be able to master right away. The only difference is that you’ll have to pay close attention to WordPress updates and plugins if you go for WooCommerce.
- Store administration: Again, Shopify’s priced plans hinder this platform considerably.
- Customization options: Both Shopify and WooCommerce have a vast inventory of plugins and responsive templates.
- Costs: Contrary to Shopify, WooCommerce doesn’t charge commissions on payments.
- SEO: WordPress is much more optimized for positioning than any other platform, so working on your store’s SEO through WooCommerce is much easier.
WooCommerce is a very versatile platform to set up an online store, though its learning curve is slightly steeper than Shopify’s.
If you decide to go with WordPress + WooCommere, this post will come in handy.
✅ 3. Shopify vs Magento
Last but not least, Magento, another giant among e-commerce platforms.
- Simplicity of use: Magento’s learning curve is one of the sharpest among the different CMSs. If you’re programming-illiterate, this CMS will seem very complex to you.
- Store management: Magento’s management settings in its free version are much more advanced than with Shopify and they give you more flexibility to configure your shop too.
- Customization options: Magento’s offering of free templates is larger, but Shopify’s typically have more appealing designs.
- Costs: Just like the previous platforms, Magento doesn’t charge you for your transactions.
- SEO: Again, Magento’s SEO options are similar to those of Shopify – unless you have a good web programmer or SEO expert.
Despite giving you more options, Magento is a platform geared toward more experienced users that will be hiring professionals to create their store.
👉 [Tutorial] How to optimize your shop’s SEO on Shopify
All these features are quite nice, but how well does Shopify work in terms of SEO?
At the end of the day, a well-positioned website on Google is what will lead to you getting potential customers, right? ;)
Well, rest assured, Shopify is highly optimized for positioning. Overall, it has a very clean code and all its templates are responsive designs.
But what else can you do to make sure your online Shopify shop shows up before every other search result?
Here are some tips:
✅ 1. Create appealing titles and meta descriptions
As you know, they’re both key elements when it comes to getting users to click on your website among the Google results. Also, the more clicks a website gets, the more likely it is to rank higher. ;)
That’s why it’s important for your products to have customized meta descriptions and titles.
✅ 2. Work on your product cards
If you want to sell, the first thing you need to put some effort into is the description of your products.
- An attractive description leads to increased conversions.
- If you settle for the same description as the one on the manufacturer’s website, Google will penalize you for duplicate content.
Use copywriting to create product cards that drive sales and use each card to hone in on the keyword that corresponds to the product model (learning about the basics of SEO writing will also give you a hand on this).
✅ 3. Create a good sitemap (and upload it to Search Console)
A sitemap is a file that provides the map of your website by including all the URLs on it.
With a sitemap, Google’s tracker will find it easier to understand the structure of your website and index all the products contained within it.
The good thing is that Shopify automatically generates a sitemap of your entire website, so you don’t have to search for any other apps to do it.
Once you have it, don’t forget to upload it to Google Search Console.
👉 Now do you understand everything Shopify has to offer?
Shopify’s strongest selling point is its simplicity of use. It’s very intuitive and saves you loads of time. The problem, as you’ve seen, is that it’s not free like other CMSs.
That said, if you settle on Shopify in the end, don’t forget that our search engine is completely compatible with it.