Craft CMS vs WordPress: Ecommerce Edition
Last update: May 23, 2019
If you’re looking to build your ecommerce website from scratch or maybe you are moving your website onto a new platform, the questions running through your head are probably along the lines of: Which platform is the most secure? Is my team going to be able to make site updates internally or will we need a developer? Which platform will allow me to create an original design and user experience? Which one offers the most?
If you’re looking for a do-it-yourself ecommerce website, head over to our BigCommerce and Shopify platform comparison. If you want a custom website built on an open-source platform, read on for Craft CMS vs WordPress: Ecommerce Edition, where I will compare Craft Commerce (Craft CMS’ ecommerce platform) and WooCommerce (WordPress’ ecommerce plugin).
Wordpress Security or Craft – Which is safer?
You might have read our article about the security issues that can arise on a WordPress website. A WordPress website is very vulnerable to hacking due to the various third-party plugins and hosting platforms used across the 75,000,000 WordPress sites out there on the web. More than 70% of those tens of millions of websites are vulnerable to hackers.
These statistics are very important to know when picking your ecommerce platform. Although it is dangerous for any website to get hacked, think of the ultrasensitive information that would be at risk to hackers on an ecommerce website, where shoppers are creating user profiles with their name, address, maybe even credit card information.
On the other hand, Craft requires the website components to be running the most current versions. For example, Craft Commerce websites must be running on PHP 7.0 or higher, while WordPress only requires PHP 5.2.4, which was released way back in 2007. The internet was a much different place over a decade ago, so this is a major security flaw.
Next, one of the biggest and most important questions that you’re probably asking is: Can I build this myself? And once of the site is built, can I make updates myself?
Developing on Craft CMS vs Wordpress
If you’re a developer, yes of course you can make your website on both Craft and WordPress. But for normal folk, probably not. WordPress does offer many themes that make it easier for a non-developer to build a website, but it’s not going to be pretty bare bones and not as aesthetically pleasing. That being said, you’ll have a much better shot at creating your own website on WordPress compared to Craft, but if you can, you should hire a developer for the build.
Once the site is built, both are super easy for anyone to go in and manage products, change copy, replace images, and basic changes that don’t alter the functionality of the site.
Because Craft and WordPress are both open-source platforms, the opportunity for total customization is there. All WordPress sites run on a “theme” which are typically third-party plugins, but a developer can create a theme custom for your online store. This is how you will get an original design for your website. If you’re using a third-party theme you can customize fonts and colors, but the overall style has been duplicated across several other websites. If you find a third-party theme that seems to be perfect for your brand, there’s a good chance that your competitors thought the same thing and used it, too. You want your website to stand out, especially from your competition, which is one reason why unique web design is so important.
Craft doesn’t offer themes so your Craft Commerce site will be unique to you. In addition to standing out, a custom web design is important for creating a great user experience that works for your individual business. You know your customer better than anyone, and especially better than the developer who created that third-party theme you would otherwise be using. An ecommerce site designed with your consumer in mind can help increase engagement and ultimately get you more sales.
Hosting and CMS CostsWhat does each platform come with right out of the gate? You’ve bought your license – $999 for Craft Commerce and free for the WooCommerce plugin, so price would be contingent on your other website costs (domain, hosting, etc.) – so, what’s next？
WooCommerce is automatically bundled with several payment options. The platform will accept all major credit cards, PayPal, bank transfers, and cash on delivery. In addition, there are over 140 additional payment gateway integrations including Stripe, Amazon Payments, and Authorize.net.
Craft Commerce currently only has 20 supported payment gateways, although they are widely used gateways including Stripe, SecurePay, PayPal, and Coinbase. In the instance of integrations, you will usually have more options available to you when you choose a largely used platform that’s been around for a long time, like WordPress. Although, Craft allows many popular plugins and when choosing integrations, you usually are picking a popular, widely used one.
Plugins are responsible for most of the functionality of WooCommerce websites. From cart abandonment to product management, there’s a plugin for it. This can make your ecommerce store difficult to run because it leaves you subject to plugin updates and ensuring all of the plugins run compatible without breaking your website. Craft Commerce, on the other hand, is a platform for developers. It allows you full customization in all aspects of your website, from design to features like dynamic pricing and cart abandonment strategy.
At first, this might look like a downfall of Craft; but actually, this is a much better situation to be in. As an ecommerce business, you want your website to run as smoothly and predictably as possible since you can’t be in an actual store looking after your customers, employees, and product. Customizing the design and functionality of every corner of your website allows you to pick when your site engages the customer, how the user sees your product gallery, and the entirety of the user experience.
WordPress has made some positive movement in customization features with their new Gutenberg update. The Gutenberg editor, a part of the WordPress 5.0 update, gives users more free rein when building out pages. It uses a sort of "drag and drop" process, allowing users to make better looking pages without much developmental knowledge.
Ecommerce SEONow let’s talk about how your website is found. Your ecommerce website should be optimized for search engines just like any traditional website. There are a lot of different avenues to take when implementing an SEO strategy, which you can learn more about in “How to Drive Sales with Ecommerce SEO.” But, which platform is the most SEO-friendly?
WordPress requires the Yoast SEO plugin in order to update meta tags and social sharing (Facebook OpenGraph, Twitter Cards), which is a pretty good tool for inputting this SEO information. Otherwise, WordPress is known for having issues with SEO – their permalink structure, duplicate pages, and slow page load speeds all factor into poor search rankings. Craft’s backend is much more user friendly, especially when it comes to SEO. Craft’s SEO plugin, SEOMatic, is an intuitive tool that allows you to update search metas and social sharing cards with ease, customize your global site meta tags, and set up site redirects. If you want to learn more about the SEO capabilities of Craft CMS vs Wordpress, read our guide.
All in all, Craft Commerce and WordPress with the WooCommerce plugin are both viable ecommerce platform choices, but when you think about the most important elements to your online store: security, staying true to your brand, and making the customer experiences a good one. Craft wins in all categories, which is why we recommend it to all of our clients. See what we were able to do with YumEarth, which is a Craft website build, and their wholesale store is Craft Commerce.