Until recently, content marketing wasn’t a big priority for most eCommerce firms. Instead, they focused on selling products and driving traffic through paid ads to get their online business making profit – and it worked quite well, too.
However, things are very different now. The consumer journey users take these days is generally much longer, with more content guiding them along the way. So content marketing is just as important to eCommerce brands as any other client, which gives you something else to think about when choosing which CMS to set them up with.
So how do the two biggest eCommerce CMS weigh up when it comes to content marketing?
Content management vs content marketing
First of all, let’s make it clear that neither Shopify nor WordPress are designed to be content marketing tools. A content management systems (CMS) allows users to publish and manage content without the need to write any code.
However, the features and performance of WordPress and Shopify will have a notable effect on the success of your clients’ content marketing efforts. That sounds a bit vague, I know, but I’m about to explain in more detail. But first, let’s compare WordPress and Shopify as content management systems to see which one wins the first race.
WordPress vs Shopify: Which is the better CMS?
There’s no doubt about it, as a pure CMS platform WordPress will edge it for most users. It’s the more feature-rich platform and it also comes with more tools (mostly plugins) that take care of specific tasks for you (including content marketing).
I would also say WordPress is the easier platform to use for most people, but this comes down to personal taste as much as anything. Shopify could be the preferred option if you want a quick, no-frills CMS that covers the basic essentials and little else.
All I can say is the vast majority of people I speak to who use both platforms will say WordPress is the easier platform to use.
In terms of content management and marketing, there are some key areas wroth comparing between the two:
- Content management: WordPress wins in terms of features and usability, but this may not apply to every eCommerce store.
- Content marketing tools: WordPress also beats Shopify for dedicated content marketing tools, thanks to its huge library of plugins.
- SEO-friendliness: Both WordPress* and Shopify come SEO optimised but Shopify is more consistent with its developer guideline, meaning you kind of know what you get while WordPress can be a bit of a mixed bag (*just about every modern WordPress theme is SEO optimised but developers aren’t required to optimise their themes).
- Speed: Shopify wins here and often by a large margin, depending on how well/poorly a WordPress site is maintained. This also gives Shopify an extra SEO advantage – especially for mobile users.
- Performance: Shopify has the edge on all-round performance, thanks to cleaner code and optimised eCommerce functionality.
So WordPress is the clear winner, right?
So, on paper, WordPress is by far the better CMS platform. The Shopify blog tends to stand out as its weakest feature, while WordPress excels here.
Hint: WordPress is designed to be a CMS platform, not an eCommerce system. While Shopify was built specifically for eCommerce, not to be another blogging tool. That pretty much sums things up between the two.
However, there’s a big problem with WordPress that I think deserves more attention.
Speed and performance have a direct impact on your SEO ranking and how users engage with your content. Aside from the quality of the content you publish, these are the two most important factors in SEO and content marketing alike.
This is especially true for eCommerce stores as they tend to have more code working under the hood. Unfortunately, this is where WordPress starts to struggle. Let’s remember, WordPress was designed to be a blogging platform, not a website builder – and certainly not an eCommerce platform. It is capable of being all of those things, but performance can be a question mark for the latter two.
Shopify, on the other hand, was built specifically to be an eCommerce platform. So, while the blog side of things kind of lets it down, it has a good edge on WordPress in terms of performance.
Why is this important if we’re talking about content marketing, though? Well, Google certainly considers it important enough to include various performance related metrics in its search algorithm. So poor performance is a great way to kill your search ranking – especially in the mobile SERPs.
Google isn’t your main worry though; it’s the users who expect fast loading pages and solid UX you need to worry about. We already know page speed is a direct ranking factor in search engines. But slow loading times and sloppy performance also increase bounce rates, prevent users from seeing content and drastically reduce its sharability. So none of that is going to do you or your clients’ content marketing any good.
It’s actually pretty simple: why should anyone waste their time interacting with content that fails to perform? They have no reason whatsoever.
Note: WordPress can be developed, customized and managed to maintain speed/performance, but a lot of it has to do with what developers do before you and what your clients do after – neither of which you have much control over.
You can have the best of both words
So, to sum up, WordPress is definitely the better CMS but there’s more to content marketing than publishing posts. Shopify’s blog is good enough but it’s the performance that gives it the edge for me.
That said, why settle for compromise when you can have the best of both worlds? Why not have the performance of Shopify and the blogging perks of WordPress? Well, you can give your clients both by building their eCommerce store in Shopify and only using WordPress for the blog page.
All you need to do is install WordPress in a subfolder of your client’s domain and name it “blog”. Then you simply run through the WordPress setup and define the blog’s URL to yoursite.com/blog. This allows you to choose a minimal theme without the bulky code, which won’t affect the main site in any way but keep the blog page operating faster.
It’s probably no surprise that WordPress is the better blogging platform/CMS – it’s hardly a secret. That’s not why I wanted to write this article though. I wanted to highlight the fact there’s more to content marketing than simple blogging features – especially when it comes to performance that affects user experience.
Besides that, I wanted to make it clear that you can combine WordPress with Shopify quite easily, if you want the best of both worlds.