On the face of it, it might seem like a Shopify store and a custom site serve the same purpose. The truth is, this is where the prime difference is between the two options.
Shopify’s intent as a hosted platform is to help merchants create an online store. On the other hand, a custom website is not limited to stores but can be made for writing, audio and visual content, and other entertainment.
The type of business you are in and what kind of work you wish to put into building your store would ultimately decide which platform is better for you. In this article, we put the two options against one another, weighing out the pros and cons of both.
Read ahead as I reveal if Shopify would be better for your business than a custom website.
Key Differences between Shopify and Custom Sites
So, does it make a world of difference when you use Shopify instead of a custom website? Truthfully it does not.
Here are a few key differences between Shopify and Custom Site:
- Custom website designing requires prior coding knowledge while Shopify can be used by beginners with no technical knowledge
- In Shopify, users are allowed to choose between the available templates, themes, and features. In custom sites, one is required to design from scratch with no available themes to choose from
- Shopify plans are much more affordable and include most third party tools. Custom websites are much more expensive
- Custom websites require more time, skills, and effort to create while Shopify can be used to create a store in little time.
- Custom websites are riskier. Shopify allows merchants to test out the platform for free before committing to it.
Shopify Versus Custom Site: All you need to know
This article certainly demands a side-by-side comparison of Shopify with a custom site. Here are major features and functions that make them different:
Ease of use
One of the biggest reasons why Shopify attracts millions of users each year is its usability, even for beginners.
Shopify’s interface is user-friendly, making it fuss-free for anyone to use and navigate. In terms of ease of use, Shopify certainly has the upper hand in comparison to custom websites. Being a self-hosted platform, Shopify serves its users all the templates on a silver plate.
If you know how to drag and drop, you’d be good to go. In contrast, custom websites would require you to know and understand coding.
Rationally, signing up for Shopify is child’s play. You would only need to enter your basic details before Shopify asks you questions that would narrow down most of what it requires.
No extra plugins are required in Shopify but you would need extra CMS for managing your custom site. For instance, if you ever used WordPress for website building, you would know how important a plug-in WooCommerce is.
As for a custom site, your research before opening a page is as important as your design of the page.
Time to build the site
We’re not weaving myths when we say that Shopify requires minutes to set up and get started. To build a store, you would only require a few hours. By the next day in your Shopify store, you would find yourself adding and importing products. Custom website building, on the contrary, is time-consuming.
There’s surely more depth to a custom site and can be as detailed as you want, but the technical aspect of website building means you would need ample time to find a domain and host, install plugins, manage the costs, and do hours of coding before you can get started.
Templates and Themes
Shopify offers its users hundreds and thousands of themes and templates to choose from between free and premium ones. The more professional themes cost anywhere from $140 to $180.
This is one major difference between Shopify and a custom website, where you would have to find your themes and templates online for the latter. Don’t worry, even if you don’t have a developer working with you, there are several affordable options online.
Remember, that Shopify provides its users with tailor-made themes designed for e-commerce.
Hence, they fit well when you attempt to make a store online. This also means that custom websites can be designed more unique and personalized to a greater extent than Shopify, while Shopify will let your shop free for templates without having to waste any time or money.
Extensive collection of apps and features
Once again, even when it comes to adding app extensions and features, you are on your own to find and code your way to integrate the most reliable as well as suitable features to your custom website.
Whether it’s payment gateways or one of the computations of your metrics, you would have to know which feature or app might suit your business best.
Shopify, much unlike a custom website, already has a plethora of such pivotal features installed. Inbuilt payment gateways and apps for features like fraud analysis are just two to name. Product management, data and analytics, and shipping configurations are all integrated into the platform.
Easy integration of Third Party apps
When it comes to the ease and availability of third-party apps that you can add to your websites, it would be fair to give the medal to Shopify. Third party apps are available all over the internet, made by thousands of developers.
However, reliability and efficiency are not guaranteed. That’s where a custom website owner might suffer.
Not only would a custom site owner have to invest time into finding the right third-party app, but they would also have to wait to find out if they’ve been able to find a working app that serves. As for Shopify, The Shopify app store is a ready-made market for third-party apps. If you want it, you search for it on the app store. Download and install it.
When a merchant is on trial on a paid plan, entering Shopify means you would have unending customer support. Shopify supports its customers through emails, live chats, and forums.
If you have a problem in your store, you can either directly contact Shopify and write about it or simply post it in one of the forums. You would be responded to by a Shopify employee in little time.
Other than that, for any technical support you can also find designated Shopify experts on their websites. When you are just starting, Shopify also aids out by providing video tutorials and 24/7 customer support.
As for custom websites, you might not have a team waiting to respond to you on the very platform, but the internet is where you find unlimited customer support. You can have access to several blogs, forums, and discussions where people are willing to help you.
Search Engine Optimization
When it comes to search engine optimization, the contest is nip and tuck. If you’re wondering, are custom websites better for SEO, well they might be.
Template sites like Shopify may be limited in SEO when compared to a professionally designed custom website. This means, when you hire a good developer to design your custom website, they will optimize the site to the fullest.
Custom sites can do a better job of targeting and personalizing the site with SEO. Shopify does lack advanced optimization which also means that it is hard to avoid duplicate content with Shopify.
Unique brand personality and SEO optimization can be more complex and advantageous when done through coding.
However, Shopify provides the right SEO for your online store. Shopify too is good for SEO because the platform allows all basic on page SEO. With the correct keywords in meta and product descriptions, it is easy to be visible. Your site’s URL is also editable to suit the target.
It is also important to remember that Google is smart and ranks pages according to content structure. In that case, Shopify is a winning platform to have your store on.
This is because Shopify’s site structure is hierarchical and well organized, meaning Google will find and rank a Shopify page more often.
Additionally, Shopify has 303 redirects instead of 404 error redirects which can impair a website’s SEO ranking. This also allows automatic tagging and retagging for better visibility.
Payment processing gateways are perhaps one of the major features that you would need to set up on your online website, and you may want to do it right.
With Shopify’s payment gateway available, users need transaction fees to receive payments. The integrated payment gateway is PCI compliant, meaning customers can use the major payment cards to sanction orders.
This includes Visa, Mastercard, and Apple cards. It does not end there. Shopify does allow third-party payment apps to be facilitated at the cost of a transaction fee. Additionally, payment processing is made easy by Shopify with the grant to use a bank or email money transfers as well.
Local pickup and delivery options are also available. As for custom websites, a reliable payment gateway is imperative to have. Custom website owners require merchant accounts for themselves along with payment service providers.
While some people buy a payment gateway, a few others decide to create one for themselves. It may become difficult to find a gateway that best suits your business transaction. That’s how Shopify users get a sigh of relief.
Custom website users may choose Paypal, Stripe, Gumroad, or Amazon to pay for their payment processing.
Design and User Experience (UX)
The design of Shopify reeks of simplicity. There’s a minimum effort that one has to put into trying to create a store on Shopify.
Shopify has pre-designed the templates in such a way that customers find it convenient to navigate through the website. The user experience can be best described as convenient.
Additionally, Shopify is also a lot more mobile-friendly. Custom websites usually have heavy formats and coding for designs. This makes custom websites laggy and at times glitchy when accessed through a phone.
With Shopify’s highly professional design of the site, the platform adjusts its interface according to the device being used to access it. You can also change the format or template of your website in Shopify, but it requires reformatting.
Shopify’s payment gateways and shipping processes are reliable and safe. More importantly, Shopify provides its user with an SSL certificate which works to protect a merchant and their customers legally.
You may also achieve a security certificate for your custom website, by setting it up on your own and paying loads for it. Shopify also allows HTTPs usage for an additional layer of security in your online store.
Shopify lets its users choose between a number of paid plans. You can choose to start at as low as $5 a month or choose the highest, most advanced plan of $299 per month. Each tier is an upgrade to more advanced segments and more staff accounts.
There are a few additional or hidden charges outside of the subscription fee, but nothing that you would not be aware of. As for a custom website, it can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be. Depending on the type of host, payment and shipping apps, and other features, your bill would vary greatly.
Pros of Shopify
- No technical or coding knowledge needed
- Easy to use, navigate and configure
- Packed with features, tools, and apps
- 24/7 Customer support from set up through guidelines
- Available payment gateways
- Easy to integrate Third-party apps
- Excellent user interface and mobile friendly
- Little time and effort required
- All in one solution
Cons of Shopify
- Transaction fees can be high
- Higher costs for advanced features or third-party tools
- Switching content is not seamless.
- Lack of personalization and brand image building
Pros of Custom Site
- Ideal or building brand identity
- Can be search engine optimized to rank better
- Third party integration options are unlimited
- Learning materials all over the internet
- More competitive
Cons of Custom Site
- Prior coding and technical skills required
- Time and effort consuming
- Web developer required for optimized design
- Limited customer support
- Maintenance is manual
- Can incur high costs
- Not mobile friendly unless professionally designed
Why custom websites are better?
Custom websites are better than Shopify when you have a business that thrives on brand identity. If a brand image is what sells your products, custom websites could help you drive audience conversions.
If you have a website that’s more than just an online shop, you would need a custom website. For instance, you might want to publish your content, photography, audio, video, or written blog.
This type of online content demands custom websites because they require more personalization than online or drop ship stores.
Custom websites can have updated SEO practices, prompting these sites to rank higher on Google.
With enough coding knowledge yourself or by hiring a web developer, you can build a website that is both quick and easy to use.
The back end coding does not have to be bulky for a website to have many features either, and that can be achieved with your custom website.
Custom websites, when compared to Shopify, can be better due to the liberty of creativity, depth, and customization it allows. For bigger branded businesses, a custom website is always the answer.
Factors to Consider Before Investing in Shopify or Custom Site
Is It better to create your own website or use Shopify can only be determined if you understand what your business needs.
There are several factors that you need to keep in mind before investing in one of the platforms. Here are a few major considerations to make before choosing between Shopify or Custom Site:
You have a business to set up and not considering the budget before it all would be foolish.
A custom website can cost you a lot more depending on what features, tools, and apps you’re using. Designing and maintenance of the custom website can cost up to $10000.
With Shopify’s integrated tools, it can be a lot more cost saving. You may also want to remember that the more advanced features you choose to add, the more it will cost in your Shopify store. In that case, custom websites have the benefit of having a one-time cost.
Time and effort
Before deciding which one to choose, ask yourself whether you have enough time to invest in the building of a custom website.
When coding and designing it all by yourself, remember that Shopify is a time saver. Shopify’s user friendly interface and quick sign up process require little effort as well.
You can’t build a website from scratch without having technical knowledge and skills. You would have to know coding to design your own website unless you hire a developer.
With little to no coding or ecommerce knowledge, you can still use Shopify’s backend functions to fully create and manage your own business online.
Business size and future growth
When deciding which host to use, scalability is necessary. You should also keep in mind your goal and what you intend to achieve.
Shopify sites and custom websites are both scalable, no doubt, but with a custom website, you would be allowed to grow at your speed.
If you already have a business and wish to expand your online presence, a custom website, tailored and optimized might do a better job. If you’re just starting in the world of e-commerce and drop shipping, Shopify would pave the way for you.
Required features and functions
What are the features and functions that your business store would need?
Shopify offers thousands of themes, hundreds of features, and functions but does it have what you are looking for?
After all, pre-made templates might limit your freedom to be as creative as you wish to be. That’s when custom websites stand out.
Brand identity and image of a company or an online store are what make customers connect to the business.
It’s unique and personalized, which means it requires more custom tailoring than just fixed templates and themes. If the brand image is what you’re looking to build, you may want to choose carefully.
In this case, custom websites make it easier for brands to create and present their brand identity better.
How much should I pay someone to build a Shopify website?
To hire a Shopify expert who would build your store from scratch, you’d have to pay about $500. This would include extra fees for features and tools your expert uses in the process. For more specific customization in your Shopify store, you would have to pay anywhere from $100 to $300.
What is the average cost for a custom website?
The average cost of a custom website can vary greatly depending on what your website demands. It might cost you anywhere up to $3000 if you are designing it yourself. The cost would be made up of additional features and apps. If you hire a developer to design your website, it could cost from $10000 to $30000. If your website is too complex and deep, the cost can shoot up to $60,000 for big earners. Freelancer web developers may charge $30 to $100 per hour.
Which is better for ecommerce Shopify or a custom website
Shopify is better for e-commerce when compared to a custom website. Shopify is tailor-made to suit all ecommerce processes. The features, templates, and user interface are specially designed for ecommerce stores.
Can you use a custom website with Shopify?
It is possible to host your website on Shopify, which could allow merchants to use Shopify features and third-party apps on one’s custom sites.
How long does it take to make a Shopify website?
It may take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to completely make a Shopify website. The time required would depend on the complexity of your website. If your website is more personalized and feature rich, it would take about two weeks at most.
To conclude it all, the needs of your business and your goals for the future would determine whether Shopify is better for you or a custom website.
If your aim is to open an online store where you would list or import products or would have a thrifting store, Shopify could be your call. For beginners alike, Shopify would be the platform that can help you to ease into the biz world.
If you’re looking to build personalized websites with great SEO, you might want your own custom site designed according to your own needs.
Many people look for the easy way or a shortcut to get a code for a trial version. Some, for instance, believe that there’s a way that allows you to get the trial version forever. Well, if that is the case I have bad news: those codes do not exist, and it’s a form of digital scam. If you’re unlucky, your details could get compromised.
The codes given to you in places other than Shopify to crack the system are a way to deceive the user. They put you on a fake site so that you empty your information on a fake server and they can steal all your data.
Shopify And Trial Codes
In the field of web development, many companies create special discount codes. The codes reach you through your email, and you must insert them in a text field for completing the process. An example of this is Godaddy, which creates monthly codes to give a considerable discount to the customer.
Other companies generate promo codes from tools and software combos. Godaddy once released a promotion where the WordPress platform was free.
There are virtual stores that also use this system for code discounts. An example is Amazon or eBay, where sellers can send a promotion code. The vast majority are discounted, but you can also find many diverse promotions.
The codes are fantastic, but the problem is that Shopify does not use this award system. Shopify does not have a promotion system by email or promo codes; they only have promotions on their website. For this reason, no one can receive a code when they do not even exist.
Swindlers take advantage of people’s ingenuity to steal money, information, or both. People put their data on fake Shopify promo codes and send it to a fake server. A computer vice is to put the same password on every personal account we have.
With this in mind, Hackers can get your password and access your email. If you have a Paypal or other payments processor account they can leave you blank with your information.
The Best Trial Code Isn’t A Code
The best trial versions do not have specific codes, which are sent to you by mail or a social network. The perfect trial code is the one that generates for you when you register on the platform for the test service. Shopify applies this principle, only creating a user code when you register.
Shopify allows you to register on the website from various links. You access the test version with a single click, and they show you all the data required for registration. The data is encrypted for identity protection and secured with a strict system.
When the data is filled in and sent, the system sends a confirmation email to ensure registration. By clicking on the activation button, the system initializes the account, and the person’s trial period begins. It clarifies that, by policies, the activation has to be done between 24 and 48 hours; otherwise, Shopify will terminate the account.
At the beginning of the trial period, you will be able to access the system and its features entirely by using your email or username and your password. The system will validate your data and provide you with all the tools for website design and digital marketing.
A feature of the trial version is the day counter until the end of the free period. At the top of the page, you will see an indicator with the days you have been in the system and how many days you have available.
What Features Do You Get With the Trial?
By accessing the Shopify test system, the company makes almost all of the tools available to you. In the designing part, you will have the free templates offered by the network, but you will not be able to access the paid models. The templates you have access to are for a blog, virtual store, and corporate websites, among others.
The available tools are free, such as marketing tools like Woocommerce. You can download the tools or programs to your desktop and add them to your website. You can configure it and adapt it to your taste, to improve the performance of your web portal.
Shopify also provides tools such as statistical analysis of all traffic on each page. You will be able to see the number of visits for each page, post, and product within the website.
Shopify allows you to publish publications or web articles for blogs, with topics or news of interest. For these items, you use an editing tool where you can place the elements to your liking. You will be able to put images and embedded videos from both the server and YouTube.
Other tools available in the trial version for blogs are comments and subscriptions. The blog posts allow comments and suggestions from readers on the subject. You can embed the subscription form so that readers can receive notifications and promotions of interest topics.
An essential feature is sending broadcast promotions for both articles and products. You will be able to send Webinars and newsletters to share promotions massively.
What Happens After 3 Days?
What happens at the end of the 3 days of testing? (You can view it here). Shopify freezes all tools available in the system. The website will remain as you left it, but you will not be able to manage it in any way. The system is blocked until you pay for the affiliation or payment of the platform management service.
The created website and the domain are maintained not to damage the person’s work. At the rate of 30 days, if you have not paid the cost of the service, the domain and the page is removed from the system forever.
If you wish to buy the platform, you will be able to do it with a credit card or certain payment processors. When the transaction is made, the platform will be activated again, and additional paid elements will be available to you.