Magento and Wordpress are both open source web platforms which offer free and paid templates and plugins. They also both allow you to code your own site within their platforms, if you have web development knowledge.
If you want to build a web shop you have to define the parameters of your needs before you can start comparing the two platforms.
Ask yourself these questions before you start:
- How many different products are you going to sell through your e-commerce store?
- What size market do you expect to service? Will it be national, regional, or only on your local area?
- Is your site a blog with a sales component?
- Or, will your site have a blog component?
- What’s your budget for building your e-commerce store?
- What does your growth plan look like?
- How much security do you need?
Once you’ve answered all these questions you will have a clearer picture of what you want to create in a web shop. Now you can start to compare your answers against what each platform offers you as the merchant.
The Biggest Difference between Wordpress and Magento
The most notable difference between these two is that although both offer e-commerce options, they are not the same kinds of platform. Magento is a dedicated e-commerce platform while Wordpress is a content management system who offer an e-commerce component via plugins.
That is not to say Wordpress might not be the platform for your store, just that e-commerce is not it’s primary function.
What is Magento?
Magento is a dedicated e-commerce platform. They are open source and offer free options in their community edition. Magento is used by large and small brands alike. They sport big brands such as Coke, Nike, and Fox Connect. They offer a large range of features which can be personalised for your e-commerce needs, which we will get into a little further on. They are owned by ebay.
[caption id="attachment_17102" align="aligncenter" width="600"]
Nike on Magento[/caption]
Magento is ultimately suited to larger e-commerce websites whose primary focus is on sales.
What is Wordpress?
Wordpress is also open source and free (offering paid options if you want more features and personalisation), and is primarily a blogging software platform. Wordpress is a great option for company websites and blogs, and you can use e-commerce plugins to use your Wordpress site to sell your products. Well known Wordpress sites include The NewYorker, Sony Music and ebay inc (the e-bay blog is powered by Wordpress, although they own Magento).
Wordpress is ultimately suited to a blog-like website with some products for sale.
Both Wordpress and Magento are open source. This means that thousands of web developers and web designers have created their own plugins, templates and customized code for both of them. Some of this infrastructure is available for free, most of it is for sale. There are also many forums where you can discuss issues you’re having with either of them.
Point by point comparison of Wordpress and Magento
Probably the easiest way to compare features and functions on the two website platforms is to look at them side by side.
|Payment gateways and data security||Wordpress allows you to add plug-ins for payment gateways. These are additions to your website. This can be secure provided you use a reputable plugin. You may require additional plugins for security.||Magento offers options for most common payment services. These are built into the site structure itself, keeping data internal and secure.|
|Your outlay budget||Although you may have to buy some components to set up your Wordpress as an e-commerce site, the basic Wordpress paid packages are not expensive.||Setting up a full sized Magento site may cost you more than a Wordpress site because you may need to hire professional assistance for the set up. Once it is set up adding new products and adjusting anything on your site should be easy enough to handle yourself.|
|How user friendly is the backend?||Wordpress is known for being easy to learn. The plugins you purchase are entirely dependent on who developed them. Some are easy and others break.||Using Magento for the first time takes getting used to. Once you have your own website set up adjusting smaller features, prices and products should be easy enough to do.|
|How many products can I add? Can I add more later?||Wordpress allows plugins that let you add a store component to your website. This is fine if you only carry a few products with few variations (for example sizes) for customers to choose from.||Magento’s offers you an unlimited ability to add new products, variations and e-commerce features. All of these are within platform itself and don’t require additional plugins or add-ons. You can keep adding products to your Magento site after it’s been set up.|
|Can I house a blog?||Yes. Wordpress was originally a blogging site.||Magento offers extensions which can house a blog. Some of these are even through Wordpress.|
|SEO and organic ranking||Wordpress allows various places for Search Engine Optimization and best practices. If you know a bit about SEO these should be easy to capitalize on.||Magento sites can rank well if you pay attention to your SEO and apply best practices in your product descriptions, URLs, Headers and image alt codes.|
Are you going to build your e-commerce website yourself?
If you are then there are a pros and cons for both platforms.
If you choose Wordpress for an e-commerce site you are going to be managing at least three or four plugins. They may not all be built by the same web developer, and therefor they won’t all work the same way. You must make sure that the plugins you use are compatible with each other.
If you are going to use Magento then you may need to watch a few “how-to” videos on Youtube and read up on the basics of how to use the platform. It is not laid out as simply as Wordpress for first time users. However, everything on your site will work together seamlessly and you won’t have to learn different sets of information for different parts of your website.
Here is how you can get the best out of both Magento and Wordpress
If you are planning a small website with ten or twenty products on it, and you want to run a blog alongside, then Wordpress is probably a viable option for you.
If you want an e-commerce site for hundreds of products that ranks well and maintains good SEO best practices for online conversions, choose Magento. A site of this size is worth spending a bit on initially so that you are set up for a long time.
If you want a website where you can sell hundreds of products, but still want to connect with your customers via a blog, then you should go with a Magento site and run your blog via a Wordpress extension (just like ebay).