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Nowadays, anyone can start a business online in no time at all. The creation and improvement of various online commerce platforms has led to an explosion of small companies taking to the web, which has led to even more e-commerce platforms and plugins. In short, business owners now have a wealth of options when they migrate online, but choosing one can be exceedingly difficult. Not many companies have the in-house expertise to manage an online commerce platform and make informed decisions regarding web design, online marketing, and search engine optimization. One platform, in particular, has stepped up to help out these business owners: Shopify.

It’s no surprise that Shopify is one of the fastest growing e-commerce platforms online, but there are significant drawbacks associated with it, and many business owners would be better off sticking to WordPress’s WooCommerce plugin.

Shopify requires business owners to cede some control of their business, while WooCommerce allows business owners to maintain it.

The primary difference between the two is one of control. To sell through Shopify, a company has to migrate their web hosting to Shopify-approved hosting, and the business does not own their site. This can be quite harrowing because Shopify can take down a site at any time, for any reason. If a rival company files a deceptive IP claim against a business it is competing with, Shopify might take that site down and ruin their ability to sell or market their products. This isn’t common, but it can happen. Without an independent web hosting, a company is also completely reliant on Shopify’s servers, and cannot move if they are not performing adequately.

WooCommerce is a plugin, not an all-in-one service. While Shopify provides business owners with a number of design templates and tools to work with, WooCommerce is an open source platform, so companies have much more control over the look and function of their site. Businesses are allowed to select their host and can finely customize how their site handles inventory and such.

Shopify is made for businesses that want something quick, while WooCommerce needs a little more preparation to manage efficiently.

Shopify offers a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) interface, which allows business owners to make major changes to their site without technical expertise.

Developers are constantly adding plugins to WooCommerce’s arsenal, allowing for extreme customization and fine tuning, but these plugins have to be implemented correctly to function, and some of them require knowledge of coding. Also, sites that use WooCommerce will have to secure their site independently, which requires expert assistance.

With a reputable development and marketing firm, sites that use WooCommerce have greater potential.

Many business owners want WooCommerce for its additional options and for complete site ownership, but work with a marketing and development firm to realize its full potential. For example, WooCommerce offers a much better blog platform, which is ideal for superior content marketing, an essential component of SEO. WooCommerce also allows site owners to alter their tags and titles, which can assist with SEO as well.

In the online world, the easier something is, the lower its potential. In short, if it’s simple to execute, it’s probably not going to offer a major return on investment. That’s why as businesses grow, they tend to switch to WooCommerce (either from Shopify or another platform) and bring in a team of marketing and development professionals to generate additional sales.

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