Updated: May 5
Both are popular in the world of website building, especially when it comes to e-commerce sites for online businesses.
However, they aren’t quite the same thing.
Wix is a multi-purpose site builder geared toward making it easy for small business owners without design experience to build their site. E-commerce is merely one of the functionality options Wix offers in its suite.
Shopify, on the other hand, is solely focused on e-commerce and offers a dedicated content management system (CMS) geared for this kind of website.
The good news is you won’t need any coding knowledge to use Wix or Shopify. However, having some experience with coding will always make them easier to understand.
So how do you know which platform is the better option for the business website you want to build?
Join us as we take a look at everything you need to know – from pricing, design, and SEO to ease of use, e-commerce, and more!
Let’s take a quick look at websites built on either platform, so you can get a visual reference for what’s possible.
Here are 3 sites we’ve built using Wix:
And 3 sites built with Shopify:
These examples show you can use either Wix or Shopify to build a good-looking website!
This means the design you have in mind won’t necessarily be much help as a deciding factor, because the final result can look extremely appealing and professional on either platform.
So how do the design tools compare?
When it comes down to the front-end design, both Wix and Shopify make it relatively easy to bring your ideas to life.
Both platforms keep things as simple as possible, while also offering a lot of customization options for the more creative (or technical) website builder.
Wix Editor is as intuitive as can be.
The WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editing area allows you to start with one of its built-in, dynamic templates and use the drag-and-drop function to customize your design and layout.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the more advanced design features and functionality more advanced users might look for when building a website, you’ll find them pretty elusive.
This is especially true once you get to the e-commerce side of things.
Shopify’s editor is more restrictive than Wix’s and it’s in a separate section to the CMS dashboard. There’s also a steeper learning curve, especially if customization is a priority for you.
However, when it comes to e-commerce, Shopify’s extra structure ends up making the creation of a full online store and website a lot easier.
Being much easier to use out of the box might help Wix pull ahead at first glance, while that steeper learning curve and added restriction means you’ll spend some extra time reading how-to guides to make the most of Shopify.
However, that effort definitely pays off in the long run – if not necessarily in terms of design, then certainly when it comes to function.
And because Shopify is already focused on e-commerce sites as a platform, a lot of that does pay off in the long run.
Just how important is the popularity of one platform over another?
To be clear, popularity isn’t simply chasing after the crowd or believing because more people favor one over the other that it’s automatically better.
Instead, it’s about recognizing the more popular a platform is, the more effort they put into creating educational content and offering support.
And this means it becomes easier to use that platform to make a living.
Wix: Growing Fast
Shopify: Growing Faster?
Shopify has a smaller client base with over 1 million businesses powered by the platform worldwide, according to their website. The platform’s total revenue was $470 million for the first quarter, which shows a 47% growth compared to last year.
Wix is the clear winner when we look at pure numbers, but it’s hard to ignore the astronomical growth spurts Shopify enjoyed at the beginning of the year.
For now, however, Wix remains the more popular option between the two.
Pricing and Cost of Help
Nothing in this life is free, especially a website. No matter what, you’re going to end up paying something.
For starters, you have to pay server fees to a hosting company so the files making up your website have somewhere to live. Hosting fees typically range anywhere from $3 to $40 a month.
You’ll also have to pay an annual fee of $10 to $15 for your domain name. All told, you’re looking at $50 to $500 per year just to keep a standard website up.
Even if both Wix and Shopify are relatively easy to use, you may end up choosing to pay someone else to build your business website for you.
Agency and freelancer prices vary widely for doing so. Of course, you can find outsourced amateur designers on Fiverr who’ll charge as little at $40 to build a website for you.
You might be wondering why the cost of a website varies so much.
It all comes down to the fact website values vary just as widely. For example, you can’t expect a lackluster site that was built in a day to drive $1,000,000+ in revenue, especially for a new business.
A new site for a major company, on the other hand, could easily do so.
Designers aren’t just charging for the base service of building a website – they also deserve to be rewarded for the impact their work has on the company’s performance.
For reference, we charge $600 to $1,500 for a Wix website. These price ranges seem to be the sweet spot for the small but growing companies we enjoy working with.
Wix is a great entry-level platform for businesses that don’t have a lot of money to put into their website right away.
However, most will outgrow their basic plans pretty quickly. The cheapest plan starts at just $13/mo, which is a great deal considering it comes with everything you need for a basic website.
If you want to do any e-commerce at all, however, you’ll need to start with a Pro plan at $22/month or (better yet) the VIP plan at $39/mo.
For small businesses, your most common needs – things like pop-up boxes, forms, and galleries – are all available with Wix as is.
If you do feel the need to add more advanced features, there are free and paid apps available on Wix’s App Market catering to that demand.
Unless you opt for Shopify Lite at $9/mo, using the platform is quite a bit pricier.
The Basic Shopify plan starts at $29/mo for businesses just starting out, though growing businesses may want to look at the $79/mo Shopify plan instead.
Luckily, it’s only once your business has grown quite a lot and you’re ready to start scaling that you need to consider upgrading to Advanced Shopify at $299/mo.
The mid-range package will last most small businesses for quite some time.
Another bonus is you won’t have to turn to paid apps to help you fill in the gaps. Even the Basic Shopify has everything you need to run a business (especially e-commerce) site built-in.
This is a tricky one. Wix is a bit more affordable as-is with a starting price of $22/mo for the Pro plan.
However, the fact you might end up needing to pay for premium apps to make up for a lack of e-commerce features could easily push that price above the Basic Shopify fees of $29/mo.
That said, if you don’t need e-commerce functionality, then Wix (which never gets more expensive than $39/mo) is certainly the winner. For e-commerce, however, the extra money you’ll pay for Shopify is more than worth it.
Ultimately, this one comes down to a matter of intent: e-commerce or no e-commerce?
In Wix’s case, these can be divided according to business type (hairstylist, plumber, etc.) or website function (e-commerce, forum, brochure site, etc.)
For Shopify, of course, all of them cater to e-commerce functions!
There are nearly 800 Wix templates to choose from in total.
All of them have been designed by professionals, and the newer ones look especially great. Because they’re designed specifically for Wix, they’re also guaranteed to work with the platform. We also have some unique Wix templates for sale.
Even though all of the templates designed by Wix are available for free, once you go live with your site you’re stuck with that one template for as long as you have your site with Wix.
This can be a major drawback if you want to rebrand and change your website layout in the future.
While they also have a page advertising templates, this actually redirects you to the themes page, so Shopify uses the two terms interchangeably.
As mentioned above, all of the Shopify themes – there are 73 to choose from – are already optimized for helping you create an e-commerce site that sells.
However, only 9 of the Shopify themes are available for free.
The remaining 64 cost $100 to $180 each, but this is a once-off investment… and you can switch to another theme at any time you want.
Wix simultaneously offers greater variety and a more restrictive limitation.
The fact their templates are all free to use doesn’t quite make up for the fact you’re stuck with one theme for the rest of your website’s life. However, so much of Wix design is custom and not template-dependent that this almost doesn't matter.
Shopify, on the other hand, has fewer themes in total, though more if we compare e-commerce to e-commerce. And even though most of those themes aren’t free, you do get the option of switching in the future.
Ease of Use
There’s isn’t really much more to be said for the ease of use for either platform.
However, for what it’s worth, here are some personal observations that build onto what’s already been said.
Wix is Easy
Hands down, Wix is way easier to use out of the box. The platform is built to be as accessible for non-technical amateurs as possible, and it shows.
Granted, your cousin still won’t be able to design a Wix website that truly compares with what a professional can do with it, but unless you’ve got next to zero experience you’ll barely even need to reference the educational material.
All you really need is creativity, an internet connection, and to spend some time getting familiar with the platform. Some CSS and HTML will also help, but isn’t strictly necessary.
Shopify is… Intermediate
Even though it’s more difficult to learn at first, Shopify is technically a relatively easy platform to use.
Once you get past that learning curve in the beginning, it may even be easier to use than Wix. This is partially thanks to it having a solid structure and focusing entirely on e-commerce (so less distractions).
Again, coding isn’t necessary at all, but some CSS and HTML will go a long way.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a practice you use to improve your website so it ranks well for the keywords your target market cares about.
It’s a huge part of running a successful online business. So which is better for SEO – Wix or Shopify?
Wix SEO: Not As Bad As You Might Have Heard
A lot of SEO professionals knock Wix.
However, Ahrefs did a huge study of 6.4 million websites and found that compared to other CMSs, Wix performed just as well in search engine rankings. The platform has all the standard on-page SEO features you’ll need and expect to see.
And unfortunately, site speed affects search rankings, so that’s a serious complaint.
Shopify SEO: Not As Great As You Might Hope
SEO, strangely, seems to be a weak spot for Shopify – at least compared to Wix.
The platform boasts many of the same features, but you’ll definitely need to follow a good how-to tutorial for optimizing a Shopify site compared to sites in general.
One of the weak points is the lack of keyword support, which Wix does offer. Even so, Shopify sites tend to do fairly well with SEO, though Hren.io shows some alarming speed issues in the top ranking Shopify sites.
It’s hard to choose one over the other for SEO, but Wix ultimately wins this round.
As mentioned in the previous section, speed plays a crucial role in the success of your website.
Sites that take longer than 3 seconds to load on mobile browsers lose more than half their visitors. It’s a bad user experience, bad first impression, and bad SEO.
So how do these two platforms compare?
Wix is Irrevocably Slow
Using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool, I tested a small site we built using Wix.
It took longer than 3 seconds just to load the first contentful paint – which means it takes longer than 3 seconds before a visitor can see anything on their screen. Unfortunately, Wix doesn’t offer much in the way of optimizing speed.
Shopity is Slow… But Redeemable
If you take a look at Hren.io’s Shopify analysis, they found the fastest 1.67% of the best ranking sites took 2.5 to 5 seconds to load. That’s not great, but it’s better than waiting just as long for only the first contentful paint.
Again, it’s hard to pick a winner when you know you can get much better speeds. But Shopify beats Wix here, if only because most of the speed issues are user-error.
Basic Wix Blogs
While not particularly great, Wix does have a decent blogging app that has all the standard features you need.
There isn’t much you can do to customize it, unfortunately, but I have noticed Wix regularly improves and adds to their blogging app. It might become a more competitive blogging feature in the future.
Shopify Drops the Ball
As mediocre as Wix’s blogging app currently is, it’s streaks ahead of what Shopify brings to the table. It’s missing a lot of the basic functions you need to properly manage a blog, including analytics, blog-specific search function, and social bookmarking.
There’s no doubt about it – when it comes to blogging, Wix blows Shopify out of the water.
Ultimately, an honest Wix vs. Shopify comparison has to focus on e-commerce.
Shopify is the clear winner in this area, but the platform definitely loses to Wix in other functions – including ease-of-use and blogging.
The fact Wix is incredibly beginner-friendly and can be used to build websites serving a much wider purpose may edge Shopify out in the end… especially considering you can actually integrate Shopify into a Wix website!
However, if your main goal is to create an e-commerce website, you’d be better off with Shopify. For other purposes – such as a general business site rather than an online store – Wix is the better option.
So, Wix vs. Shopify: which of these platforms are you going to use to build your website? Let me know in the comments!