When we open our online store, we naturally want it to be the realization of all our dreams and ambitions. We want our site to look professional and users have the best experience ever. In order to cut through the noise and become special for our customers, we wish to offer more options and cool features on the site. So all of those require a certain amount of optimization work on your store – making tweaks in the code, adding extra features and installing plugins to please the visitors and get more sales. At the same time, since we are an online venture, let’s not forget that we should consider third party which we really depend on when it comes to driving traffic – search engine.
So when thinking about the best ecommerce solution provider choice, many things should be taken into account. This article makes a shortcut and introduces to you opinions of businessmen, SEO experts and developers, who have tried different ecommerce solutions and can tell you in 5 minutes about all the pros and cons each platform has.
Gregory Doring, Berrysleepy.com(Shopify, BigCommerce, Volusion)
We’re big Shopify fans!
How Shopify differ from BigCommerce and Volusion: “I was in the midst of free trials with both BigCommerce and Volusion when I found out about Shopify. I had literally been in tears with the other free trials, because I don’t have deep HTML or CSS knowledge. Every little change seemed to require big back-end changes. Whenever I called their support teams, I didn’t feel that my questions were answered. I did feel like I was getting the “hard sell” and that their staff was anxious to “close the deal”. It seemed like their motivation was commission and not serving the customer. I couldn’t believe there wasn’t anything out there that a reasonably intelligent entrepreneur could use to create their own e-commerce website”.
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The best things I like about Shopify: “I was thrilled to find Shopify. Everything is just the way it should be. If you want to change colors and fonts, you can do so simply and easily. Every time I have ran into something that seemed like a stumbling block, I’ve just called the support team and gotten a nonchalant answer that made everything seem so simple. Sometimes the answer has been that “there’s an app for that”. Other times they have simply made the desired change for me on-the-spot, especially if it is related to HTML code. Their online support database has a lot of tutorials with screen shots that have walked me through how to make changes myself too. Thus, I’m now not intimidated by HTML”.
Reed Daw, SEO manager at Ice.com(Shopify, Volusion. Magento)
I’ve used Volusion and Shopify for smaller ecommerce projects while I’ve helped build an enterprise business using Magento.
“It’d be good to separate Magento into one category: open source ecommerce platform and the other two in their own: all-in-one ecommerce platforms”.
Pros and cons of Magento: “I currently use Magento and like it a lot, but I’m not too happy with the WYSIWYG functionalities it offers. They have solid SEO functions, but I wish I could dive into the source code more to customize certain features like canonicalization, pagination and defining URL structure differently.
Their knowledge base is good, but not my favorite of the three (Volusion’s
knowledge base takes the cake), although Magento probably has the most
information out of all of them because of their large community. Looking at
technical issues, the Magento platform will go in and out of how quickly it
can make site changes. I’ve tested this out thinking it was the types of
changes I made, but it just chooses to freeze some days and others it loads
in seconds. Magento could also have better out of box reporting functions,
rather than having to create customize feeds for specific reports”.
Shopify is good for very new ecommerce builders: “It’s easy to
understand, build, operate and function, but it doesn’t go much beyond
that. If you want to run a store with no ecommerce knowledge and Shopify SEO tips, Shopify is the way to go, but it’ll be a little bit slower to get initial sales rather
than using Volusion or Magento”.
Why I prefer Volusion: “Volusion is the best because it’s built for people with all levels of internet, marketing and ecommerce knowledge. Volusion provides a custom site editor that enables you to build your site just about any way you want
or they have everything laid out for someone taking their first steps in
the world of ecommerce. I’ve always enjoyed their knowledge base because
it’s straight forward and to the point and they also have a well-written
blog if you are looking for some good reads on general marketing and
ecommerce. I’d say their one downside is wait times for customer service
and support. Although I haven’t had much better CS experience on other
ecommerce platforms, Volusion just took a little longer than most. All in
all I like Volusion the best because of its ability to adapt to someone
just starting their online business or a seasoned veteran”.
Shopify, Volusion and Magento assessment in terms of SEO: “SEO functions and capabilities within an ecommerce site greatly help get your site seen in the search engine results pages. I feel that Shopify’s SEO functions are less customizable than the other two, decreasing your chance of ranking for targeted keywords as quickly as Volusion and/or Magento”.
“For less experienced website builders, Shopify would be a better choice. It’s harder to customize things so you don’t risk the chance of violating search engine guidelines or breaking something on the back end. Shopify sets you up for the basics, which could be more useful to new online store owners. The other two platforms allow for more customization and better optimization options, but run the risk of breaking something if the webmaster isn’t familiar with all the tools”.
Matt Boaman, SEO Engineer/Programmer at EZSolution (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento)
Each platform has some good plugins to setup up shopping cart & checkout capabilities, and all of these platforms have inherent SEO problems which can be remedied with plugins or modules
Ecommerce platforms comparisons from a developer’s perspective: “We are a web development company in Lancaster, PA. We’ve designed and worked on various ecommerce websites through a variety of platforms over the years. There are number of shopping cart platforms out there and many of them have positives and negatives”.
WordPress: “This is the oldest and most widely-developed and it’s estimated 30% of all websites run with a backend of WordPress. There are many plugins available and the user interface is the best out of all of them. However, because it’s open source there are known security problems with certain versions, and there can be compatibility problems with each”.
Drupal: “From a developer’s perspective, this may the best easiest one to work on, in terms of coding. From an end user interface it’s not as good as WordPress but the configuration options are easy to understand. It’s easy to add new categories and products or edit existing ones”.
Joomla: “The configuration for Joomla is an absolute nightmare. Adding new modules, changing functionality, and adding products is a difficult task. There have been a lot of security issues with the open source code over the years, and older platforms are easily susceptible to hacking. If any client comes to us with this platform, we will turn away the project”.
Magento: “The most well-known CMS for eCommerce these days is Magento. Magento, owned by eBay, came onto the scene quickly and is used by a lot of companies ranging from SMBs to Fortune 500 companies. There are also known search engine optimization problems associated with Magento, however they can be fixed with compatible Magento seo plugins. They provide the most robust reporting out of all the major CMS eCommerce platforms. Out of all the CMS platforms, Magento was designed specifically for eCommerce, whereas the others were designed originally for blogging, or small brochure type websites. Magento is also the most secure out of all of the CMS platforms listed here”.
How SEO issues could be solved on WordPress, Joomla and Drupal: “Everything can be fixed. There are a few SEO for ecommerce plugins that will help resolve problems with each platform.
Joomla: The main one I’ve used is SH404SEF.
Drupal: The SEO Checklist checks your site configuration for best practices. If you have problems, you can then install other modules to fix the issue (here is a list of some that I’ve used in the past)”.
“In terms of SEO friendliness, WordPress is probably the best, but not necessarily the best SEO eCommerce platform. Magento was designed as an eCommerce platform from the beginning, instead of WordPress, which was developed like a blogging platform and eventually grew towards eCommerce capabilities”.
Why we recommend Magento to clients: “Out of all the eCommerce platforms, currently the most robust and user-friendly option is Magento. If a client comes to us and is looking to build a business centered around eCommerce, this is the platform we would currently suggest”.
Amad Ebrahimi, Founder of Merchant Maverick (Shopify, Volusion, Magento, BigCommerce, AmeriCommerce, Pinnacle Cart, OsCommerce, Zen Cart)
I’ve tried just about all of the platforms, but here is my opinion on the top ones alone.
- Pros: Very easy to use, excellent customer service, beautiful themes/templates.
- Cons: Can be expensive, they charge transaction fees, not that many standard features (very bare bones).
- Pros: Very easy to use, many built-in features, no transaction fees.
- Cons: Poor customer service, templates/themes are not that nice, difficult to customize.
- Pros: Many built-in features, easy to use (for the most part), no transaction fees.
- Cons: They have many overage charges that are unnecessary and can get expensive, the customer support is average, and their templates aren’t that nice.
- Pros: Easy to use, great customer support, nice new themes/templates, many built-in features.
- Cons: May charge overage fees, but that’s about it! I like Americommerce.
- Pros: It’s free! Many built-in features, it’s very flexible so you can customize fully, and it can be scaled as your audience grows.
- Cons: Difficult to use and should be used by more advanced eCommerce merchants. No customer support. You have to just learn it through their online training materials.
- Pros: Easy to use with many built-in features.
- Cons: It can be buggy and cause system crashes.
- Pros: It’s free to use and highly customizable, that’s pretty much the only good thing about it.
- Cons: It’s very dated and the themes/templates are old looking as well. It’s difficult to use. In my opinion, you should avoid using osCommerce.
- Pros: It’s free and highly customizable, similar to osCommerce.
- Cons: It’s difficult to use and dated, similar to osCommerce.
- Pros: Highly customizable, similar to osCommerce and Zen Cart. The themes are better than osCommerce and Zen Cart though. It’s feature rich.
- Cons: Difficult to use, and may not be best choice for beginners.
Hope, these shopping cart reviews were useful for you. Guests of our post provided wealth of information about what they like and dislike about platforms which you can hear most frequently when he topic of online store comes up. If you still unsure what platform to choose, think about the niche you working in and online shop of what size you want to start; what your budget limitations and whether you have right specialists in your team who could help you implement the changes. Wish you good luck and feel free to drop us a question, if any problems of search engine optimization will worry you.