Venturing into the ecommerce business can be intimidating, this transition can be made easier with the online store platforms Magento and Shopify. Whilst you may have heard of both platforms, each are vastly different and depending on your needs one may be more suited to your business.

magento vs. shopify - Sydney SEO Company
Source 

Functionality

Both Magento and Shopify are functional and easy-to-navigate platforms, each being premier ecommerce software, this is expected. Basic features such as product pages, shopping carts, checkout modules and collections are included in both platforms. This makes Magento and Shopify great options when considering functionality.  

best ecommerce platform functionality - Sydney SEO Company

Flexibility

Magento:

Magento is an open source platform which means the source code is available for modification by users and developers, having the ability to alter the code allows for unlimited creative power. Complex coding experience is required to maximise the customisation options of Magento. Personalisation requires a steep learning curve which may require the outsourcing of developers or coding experience to achieve your desired results.

Shopify:

Shopify is a more beginner-friendly platform favouring a simple menu-driven method to change the basic features of your store such as colours and fonts. Although Shopify does give access to the HTML/CSS code it is not to the same degree of customisation offered by Magento’s source code. Often to expand the operating features of Shopify, additional apps must be downloaded.

best ecommerce platform flexibility - Sydney SEO Company

Themes

Magento:

Magento offers 17 different themes; these themes are the base for further customisations, due to the open source code which means themes can be created from scratch (although expensive and requires a lot of coding knowledge).

themes for magento - Sydney SEO Company
Source: Magento

Shopify:

Compared to Magento, Shopify has a far larger number of fully customisable themes. There are 72 themes which are fully customisable. These allow for customisations such as adding new pages, changing the colour scheme, moving page elements (such as titles) and implementing social media feeds. Due to the extent of available customisations without the complex coding knowledge required for Magento, Shopify holds the edge.

shopify themes - Sydney SEO Company
Source: Shopify

best ecommerce platform themes - Sydney SEO Company

Support

Magento:

Due to the complexity of the problems that may surface because of the open source code, there is a large community to support users. The Magento Forum has comprehensive solutions for a wide range of problems. These solutions are user generated so you know that the answers have worked for other users. Magento also offers consultations with certified solution partners and a wide range of tech resources.

Shopify:

Shopify similarly to Magento offers support in community forums but in extension to this they also have 24/7 support through phone, live chat and email functionality. This support improves the speed of solutions which means any problems with Shopify are swiftly solved.

best ecommerce platform support - Sydney SEO Company

Costs

Magento:

As previously outlined Magento is an open source platform, this means that because the source code can be changed a hosting plan is required, the cost of this plan will vary depending on how much traffic the online store will receive. As there is a significant amount of coding required, for inexperienced coders a developer will be required, this cost will most likely be incurred when the website is first constructed and for any future updates as well.

Shopify:

With Shopify there is an all-inclusive monthly price, these plans are Basic Shopify, Shopify and Advanced Shopify.

shopify monthly plans - Sydney SEO Company
Source: Shopify

The additional fees won’t be incurred if Shopify Payments is used, further reducing fees. The advantage of an all-inclusive price is that monthly prices can be easily accounted for without the chance of inflated monthly costs. Due to the stability and predictability of monthly fees Shopify will be the preferred option in terms of cost for most businesses.

best ecommerce platform costs - Sydney SEO Company

SEO 

Magento: 

There is far greater complexity with Magento for SEO. Magento adds certain terms to the URL making it less user friendly to read. For example, .html is added to the end of product and category URLs, this can be easily changed in the Admin Panel. However, there is a /index.php/ string which requires access to the .htaccess file to remove. Without significant technical knowledge about the backend of Magento there is a risk that you may disturb your website. Although more complex, the flexibility in being able to edit the URL structure is extremely advantageous. 

Shopify:   

Shopify is far more rigid compared to Magento. Strings which include /pages, /collections and /products are fixed in the URL. The URL base structure for Shopify cannot be changed and because of this the additional terms in the URL can hinder SEO. 

The base structure for Shopify URLs is domain/collections/category/products(or pages)/product(or page). A problem surfaces due to this structure which causes product pages to exist at two different URL paths. The /products/ canonical URL path and /collections/…/products/ non-canonical path. This causes Google to judge whether the content is a duplicate when it crawls these pages. The way to link the canonical and non-canonical URLs is to change the product link in the collection page template, this will result in the category path not being included in the URL. The result is the canonical URL will match the URL linked across the website, improving internal links. The solution is expanded upon by a Shopify partner posted on the Shopify Community discussion forum which can be found here.

Overall, Magento due to its flexibility to completely alter the URL is more favourable when considering SEO. 

shopify vs. magento - Sydney SEO Company

So, what’s best for you?

There are a variety of different features to consider when starting out in ecommerce, Magento and Shopify have individual features that make them appealing solutions. Shopify shines with its large number of themes, clear cost structure, 24/7 support and simplicity. Magento tends to stand out in its flexibility and strength in SEO. 

You should use Magento if…

–          You have advanced coding technical skills.

–          You require unique personalisation for your ecommerce business.

–          You’re creating an ecommerce platform that is expected to greatly expand in the future.

–          Require a platform with strong SEO potential.

You should use Shopify if…

–          You’re just starting out in ecommerce.

–          You value the ease of set up with a low learning curve.

–          Prefer a clear all-inclusive monthly payment.

Contact us here to find out how we can help you with your Magento and Shopify SEO Sydney needs. 

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