Shopify or Managed WooCommerce Hosting in 2019?

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Shopify vs WooCommerce

The Power of WordPress

I’ve always used WordPress for all of my different websites including affiliate sites, learning membership sites and this blog too. The main reasons being that WordPress is extremely powerful, great for SEO and that it has a ton of plugins which are widely available to fulfill any function you might need on a website whether it’s SEO, security, membership management, payment integrations and so on.

Yet for most of my eCommerce stores, I’ve always used Shopify instead of using the WooCommerce WordPress solution. It has always been the default solution I use without even thinking.

The Power of Shopify

It’s easy to set up and they take care of all the little details so that you can focus on just getting up and running. However, once you start to grow and you want to make customizations, that’s where you can start running into issues. It’s spawned a large developer base that can code in Shopify’s proprietary language, liquid, to be able to make the store how you’d like it. So the plus side is you have something to get you running fast but the flip side of that is you’re stuck with a rigid system that’s difficult to customize later on without having to hire costly developers.

The content management system on Shopify is also terrible and for some of my eCommerce sites, I’ve had to create a separate WordPress installation on a subdomain (blog.store.com) to be able to do the content marketing that I want. To make things worse, the loading speed is terrible (a very important ranking factor for Google’s organic search) unless you use Shopify Plus which starts at $2,000/month.

Honestly the perfect eCommerce solution for me would be the marriage of Shopify Plus with WordPress.

But that doesn’t exist so after fiddling around with this arrangement for a while, I decided to give WooCommerce another try. Shopify is a hosted eCommerce solution (they host the website for you), but WordPress/WooCommerce is not. So I needed to find a host for my WooCommerce installation.

Since I’ve been a LiquidWeb customer for a while (I use them for most of my hosting actually) and I knew that they had really fast customer support that actually took care of a lot of the technical details I would actually pay someone on UpWork to do for me for free (!), I wanted to see if they had any good options available.

Still a customer today… even after 6+ years

The Liquidweb Managed WooCommerce Overview

It turns out that they have a specific solution designed just for WooCommerce which is a good because the eCommerce market is growing rapidly while the hosting market generally is getting saturated and not growing as fast. LiquidWeb have identified the needs of the eCommerce market and developed an all in one package for WooCommerce including for Dropshippers and Marketplaces.

Managed WooCommerce Solution

The advantage of using WooCommerce generally is that you have pretty much unlimited customizations, access to thousands of WP Themes that are mobile optimized, and a massive library of plugins that are largely free.

The downside to using the WooCommerce solution has always been that you needed to be somewhat technical minded and needed to get your hands dirty to get your store where you want it to be and a big part of the reason why Shopify took off, although WooCommerce is still by far the most widely used eCommerce solution according to BuiltWith.

Source: BuiltWith

The advantage of LiquidWeb’s all in one solution is that you get the easy installation solution of Shopify plus all of the benefits that come with WordPress’ powerful infrastructure.

Features

The most basic plan on LiquidWeb gets you the following:

  • No transaction fee (Shopify is around 2% and this is actually how Shopify makes most of its money, not from the monthly fees)
  • Unlimited staff accounts (Limits vary on Shopify but starts at 2 on the Basic Plan)
  • Reporting (You need a higher plan on Shopify to get this)
  • Live Shipping Rates (Not included with Shopify)
  • Exit Offers (Separate Shopify App, paid monthly)
  • PDF Invoices (Separate Shopify App, paid monthly)
  • Product Bundles (Separate Shopify App, paid monthly and some apps charge based on percentage of revenue)
  • Landing Page Builder (Separate Shopify App, paid monthly)
  • Upsell and Cross Sell (Separate Shopify App, paid monthly $47 + 1.5% of revenue)
  • Wishlist (Separate Shopify App, paid monthly)

These features should be included as part of Shopify’s plans because they’re essential to successfully running any eCommerce shop but unfortunately most of the features are paid extras. Of course, this makes a great business model for Shopify but not so much for us as customers.

With LiquidWeb’s basic plan at $39/month, you’d be saving at least $100 per month depending on how much revenue you do and which apps you end up installing on your Shopify store.

Some I didn’t bother to include like the Shopify eCommerce SEO App which is $20/month and you get something much better for free with the WooCommerce hosted solution (e.g. clean URLs, keyword indexing, product schema, metadata, sitemaps which by itself is $2.50/month with this app on Shopify).

Start Your Store Today

You can try them Shopify and LiquidWeb for yourself and see which you prefer. I’m happy to answer any questions either by email or in the comments.

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