Building a website takes a little bit of dedication and the right website builder. However, websites often vary drastically in the type of functionality they deliver to end users.
For example, many businesses simply need ways to show off what services they offer. Websites often deliver platforms for business discover online, with the help of search engines. So, you may only need a website to display business hours, contact information, services, About details and the people who are working for your company.
However, when you’re interested in making an online store, you need a website builder that’s designed just for that.
For example, Weebly, WIX and other solutions like WordPress are great for making a website, but they generally require a plugin for ecommerce, or they don’t put much focus on the online store business.
That’s why Shopify is our favorite solution. Let us make this clear: If you need a general website now, and you’re considering adding an online store later, Shopify is not for you. The ability to make an online store is the primary feature, so running a regular website by itself is not really the best idea.
How Many Sites Have Been Made With This Website Builder?
Reportedly, over 100,000 online stores are made with the Shopify website builder. Keep in mind that this is rather high considering it only caters to websites with ecommerce stores.
The majority of features you’ll stumble upon are made to directly effect how useful your online store is. Therefore, you receive mobile responsiveness, support for dozens of payment processors and included hosting and domain names.
You can sell through Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, while also connecting with a POS if you run a physical store. A free SSL certificate is provided for each store, and your users get to generate automatic tax and shipping rates. Although it depends on the plan you choose, most of the options include support for web hosting, analytics, products, marketing and store management.
Shopify Ease of Use
You shouldn’t have any problem walking through the Shopify dashboard. This is mainly because it looks super easy to use, and most of the steps you need to walk through are outlined right when you land on the dashboard. I enjoy that if you’d like to test out Shopify, they give you a free trial. Not to mention, you can complete quick tasks right from the dashboard, like importing products, making individual products, choosing a theme and branding your site.
Although most of the web building tools are there to help you with your online shop, you’ll also find some easy options for running your blog, constructing pages and more.
Shopify gives you a free 14-day trial, and no credit card is required to test it out. Four plans are presented, so it all depends on what type of store you’re trying to open.
- Lite – $9 per month for a small site without an actual online store. This means that all of your transactions go through a Shopify Buy button, not your own hosting and domain. You can sell through Facebook and your POS, while also getting 24/7 support, Fraud analysis, manual order creation and discount codes.
- Basic – $29 per month for everything in the previous plan, except this one actually gives you a full online store. Sell on Pinterest and Twitter, use the ebsite and blog, and receive a free SSL certificate.
- Pro – $79 per month for everything in the previous plan, along with better credit card rates, gift cards, professional reports and abandoned cart recovery.
- Unlimited – $179 per month for everything in the previous plan, slightly better credit card rates, advanced report builder and real time carrier shipping.
Shopify Templates and Design
The Shopify templates are some of the best you can find in the online store building world. Compared to general web builders, it’s still pretty far up there. You get to choose from 21 free themes and over 100 paid options. We like the themes because they are made for customization without knowing any code. It’s also nice that Shopify has themes for many industries.
The only unfortunate part is that you don’t have access to an FTP client. However, if you’re a more advanced developer, the CSS and HTML modules are there for you to change around styles and customize to your heart’s desire.
Shopify SEO and Marketing
SEO is built right into the Shopify website builder, meaning that your meta information and tags are sent to the search engines without you having to touch anything. However, you can also go into the Shopify builder and optimize each page to your liking. For example, if you’d like to target a few particular keywords for one product page, go ahead and do so.
Shopify Customer Support
Shopify provides a decent amount of customer support compared to other website builders out there. In fact, I would argue that they are one of the best in the business. The 24/7 support is complemented with forums and documentation to complete your own research. We enjoy that both email and phone support is offered, and they are even quite responsive if you send a message through social media.
A full blog is provided for you to read through and get emails from on a consistent basis, while the Ecommerce University is one of the more comprehensive classes you can find about ecommerce and building an online store.
Overall, the Shopify support gives you just what you need.
Shopify is hands down the best site builder for online stores, but if you’re more leaning towards an informational site that includes a small ecommerce shop, WordPress and WooCommerce may be more suitable. Shopify gives you the ultimate beginner and advanced user packages for online stores, so I wouldn’t recommend anything else, besides maybe Bigcommerce or Squarespace.
If you’ve had a chance to play around with Shopify as your website builder, let us know in the comments what you think. We see it as the leader in the ecommerce world, but we’re always looking for additional feedback from users.