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WordPress Vs. Magento – Which Is Best For Your Online Store?

wordpress vs magento
  • Written By Livie
  • Posted July 18, 2018
  • 8 minutes Read Time

Are you currently operating a website and looking to integrate some eCommerce functionality in order to grow your business? If so then you may be feeling slightly overwhelmed with the vast variety of choices that are currently available to you. We have previously written about Magento Vs Shopify, but this time we decided to put our favourite platform up against another favourite, WordPress. So, if you are considering any of these platforms for your eCommerce store or just interested to hear our thoughts on them then stay put.

See also: Shopify vs Magento: Which Is Better?

The Similarities

On the surface, both platforms are architecturally very similar. They are both customizable, SEO friendly, can be broadly themed and also have a very strong online support community.

Both are essentially content management systems as they allow you to add, modify and manage your content in the most simplified but still the most effective ways possible. However, their differences lie in their core purpose. WordPress being more content oriented and Magento being devoted exclusively to the eCommerce world.

WordPress: Essentially, WordPress is an open source blogging platform and content management system. At the moment there are over 60 million websites, comprising 17% of the total websites who are running on WordPress. Even sites such as eBay which as a matter of fact owns Magento, actually use WordPress for their blogs. In addition to being user-friendly, it is also famous for providing an easy-to-embed plug-in architecture and template customisation. The basic eCommerce functionality in WordPress can be achieved through various third-party plug-ins, such as the popular WooCommerce plugin.

Magento: Just like WordPress, Magento is based on an open source technology. It’s an eCommerce platform with many dedicated eCommerce features that have been trusted by over 150,000 online store owners including some of the worlds most prominent brands, ranging from small niche businesses to the biggest multinational corporations around. Magento offers a high-level of customisation and functionality that renders merchants with the flexibility to set up online stores according to their business needs and also providing rich features such as multi-store management, generating reports, mobile commerce, marketing, SEO and other vital management tools. The Magento interface also facilitates the creation of complex content page and menus and the version controls very much like WordPress, furthermore, Magento is far more secure than WordPress third-party extensions. Just something to think about.

If you have come to the conclusion that Magneto is right for your business, the next thing to do is then decide which edition you should be opting for.

The Enterprise Edition is a paid tailor-made solution that provides higher performance and scalability for the faster growing and larger businesses out there. This edition also gives you access to expert support as well as hundreds of extensions and features that you can use to power your store and generally give you more control over your site.

The Community Edition is available for free download and is more aimed for developers who know their way around Magento or alternatively for the smaller businesses who are planning to hire a developer on their own behalf. This edition of Magento is an open source solution and gives you access to community support, as well as basic Magento functions, such as adding product categories, coupons and user groups etc. In addition, you’d also be able to use really cool features that are unique to Magento, such as multi-stores, related products, upsells and cross-sells.

Identify Your Sites Actual Purpose

Choosing one among both mainly depends on the purpose of your site. If you have come as far as reading this article, then you are wanting to start your eCommerce adventure, but what kind of activity would you like to cater for on your online store? Some options may include the following.

Establishing a Multi-vendor marketplace – This is the sort of complex solutions that where you are far better off using the more powerful Magento. Although some solutions also exist to WordPress, they are far from perfect, and can’t compete with the robustness that Magento has to offer.

Selling virtual products – Since virtual products do not require any kind of complex arrangements, following up and tracking of orders, they can easily be done with WordPress using Easy Digital Downloads or WooCommerce.

Offering Company Services – This can be done with both platforms, none of which is entirely straightforward when integrated with a shopping cart solution. While Magento has built in accommodation for this kind of activity in its product types, with WordPress you will need to use additional plugins such as WP events which are used for scheduling meetings, WP contact form and other modules, depending on what exactly it is your wanting to achieve.

Selling physical Products – Again, this is something that can be done on both platforms and in various different ways. The ultimate questions here should be how many products you wish to be selling. If your answer is over 500 products, you should probably go with Magento.

As you are probably realising there is no one-size fits all solution, and while Magento’s functionality is definitely more suitable for eCommerce, it takes a lot more knowledge, skills and money to maintain that with WordPress. It is also worth mentioning that the functionality of the WordPress eCommerce plugins is pretty limited. If you would want to integrate different shipping options, multiple payment gateways or have your store operating in several languages, WordPress may not be able to cater for all those needs. On the other hand, In the Magento Admin Panel, you will find a major part of it which is committed to eCommerce capabilities, and not so much for content marketing.

Magento’s functionality is definitely more suitable for eCommerce, it takes a lot more knowledge, skill and money to maintain that with WordPress.

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Here are some questions that are worth asking yourself before making your final decision.

  • Will your shop contain more than 1000 products?
  • Do you need to build a Marketplace or a multi-vendor solution?
  • Do you need to integrate your store with a POS system?
  • Are you expecting heavy traffic to your store from day one?

If you have answered yes to most of these questions, then you should probably favour the use of Magento.

  • Do you have a small budget or very few products?
  • Do you wish to have your store quickly off the ground?
  • Do you want to have minimal customisation to your theme?
  • Do you need to add lots of content to your store, for example, a blog?

If you answer yes to most of these questions then go towards WordPress.

Differences In Development

As soon as you begin development, the differences between WordPress and Magento will become extremely apparent. For example, if you have previously worked on WordPress, the world of Magento may seem really overwhelming, rather confusing and complicated to learn due to its vast differences in terminology and applications. However, actually learning Magento could be a lot easier if you figure out the similarities between both the platforms, after all, they are both content management systems.

Templates

WordPress is made up of multiple pages and posts that are editable. When developing template files, a set of functions and loops are used to call the post and page content. Custom template files can also be created and applied to just a single page. Magento functions in a similar way, but sometimes, something that can be carried out through WordPress in a few clicks would be done in a more programmatic fashion with Magento. For instance, with Magento, you can’t set up additional CMS page templates simply by creating a new template file. Instead, you would also need to create a new module that updates the list of templates available to it.

CMS Static Blocks

CMS Static Blocks in Magento functions kind of like a combination of posts and widgets in WordPress. CMS Static Blocks are required for placing texts and images on a CMS page. They act pretty much in the same way as widgets in WordPress, which manages structural elements and design in a template. Also, not that Magento offers its own widgets too, which providers and much higher level of functionality that Static Blocks. The major difference between the two is that programming contained in WordPress is based on a set of PHP scripts, while Magento is powered by the object-oriented concept, and involves a number of files and folders. Moreover, WordPress has a unique naming convention, and most files are largely contained in the same folder, while in Magento several files and folders share the same name.
These are just a handful of tips of WordPress developers who are struggling to get their hands on Magento.

The Golden Path – Combining WordPress and Magento

A great way for drawing traffic to your Magento store is by connecting it to a WordPress blog, where you can tell potential customers about the products you sell from a consumer’s point of view rather than a marketer’s one. This fast-growing trend lets you manage your blog straight out of the Magento backend interface, all while displaying a WordPress layout with its own URL on the front end.

Conclusion

Thus, this article has made it very clear that Magento is far more efficient and recommended an alternative to WordPress when it comes down to selling products online, but it is also far more complex and requires the expertise of a professional which can be pretty expensive. As WordPress continues to grow and evolve, we can expect far better solutions for the larger businesses, and easier to use management tools that may change the situation in favour of WordPress. Until all this happens, WordPress will continue to provide a more reliable content marketing channel while Magento still remains the ultimate choice for selling products online.