If you intend to create a website, you probably have seen a lot of discussions about whether one should build a website using a pre-built template website building tool like Shopify or create a tailored-for-you one. Each has its own perks, and each is suitable for different business goals. So, Shopify vs own website, which way fits you best?
Here we’ve gathered some pretty helpful informative Shopify comparisons for you to make the decision on your own.
What are the differences between Shopify vs own website?
Shopify offers three main monthly pricing options for businesses:
Basic Shopify: $29 per month
Shopify (standard): $79 per month
Advanced Shopify: $299 per month
Moreover, you can also opt for the Shopify Lite plan at only $9 per month or the premium Shopify Plus plan starting at $2,000 per month if you are an enterprise. A 10% discount will be applied for a 1-year subscription, and it will increase to 20% if you pay upfront for their 2 year’s services. Luckily, Shopify offers you a 14-day free trial so that you can explore the platform, understand it better before spending any penny.
Find out more about Shopify and Shopify Plus plan.
In addition to the subscription fee, you also have to weigh the extra expenses required to set up external applications, themes, and annual domain payments.
The price of apps in the Shopify app store varies greatly, but in general, they are relatively expensive. Newbies in e-commerce tend to spend from $10 – $150. There is also a wide range of high-quality free apps for you to choose.
Besides 10 templates you can have for free, if you choose to buy one of Shopify’s paid themes, they will charge you from $140 to $180.
Finally, the cost of a custom domain on Shopify starts at a rate of $11 per year.
The price of building your own website can range dramatically and it’s really hard to narrow down the range because people have different needs for customization. In general, expected expenses you will need to cover to have all the essential features include:
- Web hosting: $5 – $100/month
- Domain registration: $10/year
- SSL certificate: Free – $100/year
- Template: $40 – $170
- Web development: $2,500 – $7,500
- E-commerce extensions: $50 – $150/one extension (plugins)
- Payment processors: $100 – $1,000
Building your own website can be a larger initial investment, and in the long run, there may be rising unanticipated operation and maintenance costs. However, many of them are one time things that won’t charge you monthly and you will reach a break-even point over time.
Ease to build a website
Comparing Shopify vs own website, building a store with Shopify is much less exhausting than doing it on your own for the majority of online store owners.
You won’t have any worries regarding the domain or web hosting if you decide to use Shopify as you are given a .myshopify.com domain for free or you can buy a custom domain subscription yearly at a comparatively cheap price.
On the contrary, you will need to contact hosting and domain service providers, for example, Bluehost and GoDaddy.
In terms of coding knowledge requirement, Shopify has been long known as a super user-friendly, easy to use website building tool for those who have little to no technical skills. You will be provided all the necessary back-end functionalities and detailed step-by-step guides on how to make your site.
Meanwhile, for your own website, of course, coding knowledge is a must, either from you or from hiring an in-house/external web developer.
When it comes to CMS (Content Management System), Shopify’s pre-built templates which are tailored for e-commerce allow you to edit and reorganize content on your store whenever you want to. In addition, advanced and professional analytics are available to give you insight into your current performance and recommendations for future marketing tactics.
Setting up a CMS should always be on your to-do list for better management of website and blog when creating your own store. Ecommerce plugins are required if you want to have further customization, such as WooCommerce integration for WordPress users. This would also enable you to add products and edit your website from the WordPress dashboard.
Amount of time required to build a website
With Shopify, you are guided step by step and provided with the best e-commerce prompts so it will take you much less time to get started, you can literally dive right in and get your store building finished within just a day.
On the other hand, this process will take a comparatively large amount of time for a custom website. It might be tough and complicated at first as just one tiny mistake can do harm to the whole thing. Just like Shopify, you also have to set up some elements in your store such as domain and web hosting or SSL installation, and a suitable web developer needs to be chosen from bunches of those out there. It’s very likely that you will also be required to spend time running some tests to see if things all work out.
There are more than 100 templates in the Shopify theme store and they are also very diverse. You can for sure find a theme that matches your needs. Themes from Shopify are obviously well-functioned for e-commerce purposes, they are responsive, speed-optimizing, and mobile-friendly. But in case you need more than just some basic adjustments, you have to edit a bit of the liquid code, which also calls for technical skills.
Creating your own store comes with unlimited flexibility and customization. When choosing a theme, you should go for the one that has excellent customer reviews, tons of active users, and more room for additional in-store design editing.
In case you don’t want to hire a website designer, huge theme marketplaces like Themeforest or MOJO offer hundreds of visually appealing and fully-optimized themes and they are also more affordable than those from Shopify Theme Store.
Features and tools
Needless to say that between Shopify vs own website, Shopify is one of those that provide the best and largest number of eCommerce features and tools. To name a few, there must be:
Fraud analysis: You can based on this function to get an automatic notice of potentially fake orders and cut down on demand for chargebacks as Shopify gives useful proof for any disputed transaction.
Payment gateways: You can use Shopify’s own gateway – Shopify Payments to process payments via Visa, Master Card, Apple Pay, etc., which is totally transaction fee-free and compliant with PCI (Payment Card Industry). Or else you can choose from over 100 other third-party payment gateways, including major ones like Amazon Pay, Square, and even cryptocurrency but there will be a 2% transaction fee for your business. Manual payment methods such as COD (Cash on Delivery), bank transfers, money orders, and email money transfers (only for Canada based stores and customers) are also available on Shopify.
Applications and integrations: The Shopify App Store has an incredibly wide range of both free and paid apps that serve countless functions, from marketing, analytics to inventory management. For more business extension, Shopify lets you integrate several sales channels including Amazon, Pinterest, or Facebook so that you can keep track of customers and orders across all platforms with little effort, or even incorporate online and offline selling through Shopify POS. Integration is easy too.
Moreover, there is a Shopify Community where Shopify Experts are there to help you out with everything from technical to marketing problems
For a custom-built website, the first thing is that you have to decide which platform and software to use, then weigh different payment gateways to pick a reliable one, and finally what plugins/extensions fit your needs. This would take you a significant amount of time and extra fee to research as none is available.
It goes without saying that running a business is a continuous process, which requires maintenance and upgrading on a regular basis.
Shopify users just have everything at hand. If you are one of them then your store will get updated to the newest version of the software automatically and work with almost all software will be free of error.
Having a custom website, on the other hand, is equivalent to updating it manually. There might be a monthly fee if you want to ensure consistent website maintenance. Apart from these, you may need to be aware of possible conflicts, downtime, or misconfigurations. To prevent problems from happening, there are web hosting providers like Bluehost that let you have one-click installs and automate the update procedure.
In terms of security comparing Shopify vs own website, Shopify gives you an SSL certificate to protect both you and your customers as soon as you set up your store. While, with your own website, you must pay for it separately and the setting up process can be frustrating too.
For customer support, with Shopify, you have three channels: 24/7 live chat, call assistance, or email support. You can also find help yourself first by going to the Shopify Help Center that covers tons of FAQs. If you need advice on running your business, there are Shopify Academy, Shopify Blog, or discussions on Shopify Community for you to refer to.
With the self-hosted option, you can learn from online sources such as Google, YouTube, forums, or blogs, etc, or from your website developer. While resources aren’t limited, they are also decentralized and chances are that you might come across an unreliable source.
|– Require no coding knowledge
– Easy to use
– A wide range of e-commerce features
– All-in-one package solution
– A great number of supported payment gateways
|– Limited customization
– Not fully optimized for content, visuals, etc
– Transaction fee if using third-party payment gateways
– Require content reformatting if you want to switch template
|– More flexibility
– No need to worry if your store outgrow Shopify capacity
– Unlimited options of third-party services
– Resources to learn are everywhere
|– Require technical coding skills
– Time to set up might be longer
– Larger initial investment
– Domain, web hosting, SSL aren’t available
– Manual maintenance and update
Shopify vs own website, which one is better for you?
In short, Shopify is more suitable for those who don’t have a technical coding background, have a limited budget and time, and want an easy approach to e-commerce. If you also want to sell things online but need much more space for scalability and customization, or if you are a blogger or a photographer, then a built-for-you website is definitely an ideal choice.
We hope that so far you have had an idea of what platform to opt for. And remember, Shopify offers a 14-day free trial, so it’s no harm taking advantage of this to play around with it first before making your final decision.