Engaging Clients: The Shop & The Blog
For every business owner, the online shop and/or the blog are key areas in which new relationships are made, followers are born, and their business thrives with return readers and buyers. Before we wrap up this series on the various factors of choosing a webspace platform, we need to take a closer look at these final key elements. (Click the hyperlinked name tags to see a full listing of their features.)
By their name alone, we can expect the shop to hail priority over the blogging platform. But simplicity on secondary priorities is not always a bad thing!
As we’ve discussed before, whether you create custom jewelry, make toys and support non-profits through every purchase, or have a second-hand boutique — if you have something to sell, Shopify is one of the best e-commerce solutions available. We’d recommend going through all their features, but here are some of the highlights. Their security is paramount: with a free 256-bit SSL certificate, your entire operation is protected by the same security used by banks. They provide access to 70 payment gateways, help you set up free shipping options and review shipping rates, and handle country and state sales taxes for you so it’s one less thing to think about. Shopify offers app solutions that allow for more management options on the go - but be prepared, these apps may cost! Store and product management come ready to work with great organizational tools and an infrastructure that enables easy sales.
As far as blogging, they offer a content platform to write articles, post images, and link videos, and encourage you to take advantage of the old adage: “Content is King.” They seem to offer a functional but basic approach to blogging and some tutorials — keeping it simple to use for their shop owners.
While Shopify is clearly shop-focused, Squarespace excels at providing a solid website that hosts both blogs and shops equally as well, keeping one streamlined look across every page and post. Squarespace is definitely a great option for people who want to utilize the website first and blogs and/or shop second.
The Blog (Scroll to Blogging)
The blogging layout is similar to Squarespace pages, giving you access to all content blocks (text, image, gallery, video, audio, etc.) with each entry. Blogs are syndicated via RSS and fully integrated with readers; each post has a unique permalink with a properly labeled, clean and customizable URL slug. They offer other features that help to keep your blog visible and accessible to your readers!
The Shop (Scroll to Commerce)
The Squarespace shop allows unlimited products listed, has a drag-and-drop sorting tool, and values social integrations to drive sales (i.e. Product Rich Pins that are relevant to shoppers on Pinterest). On the technical side, they help you to comply with taxes, offer Stripe and PayPal as merchant services and give you a PCI compliant, SSL enabled space. Squarespace Commerce app helps you run your store on-the-go. A key feature is showcasing products anywhere on your site (blog posts, pages, sidebars, etc.) to keep the products you’re describing or top-selling products readily accessible!
WORDPRESS (INCLUDING PROPHOTO)
As you know, Wordpress offers a constantly updating platform solution with a plethora of options. For the person who likes having so many options and control over the webspace or potentially considers blogging to be the strength of his or her business, Wordpress may come through on top. (Since Prophoto is a template of Wordpress, the shop and blog options are the same.)
Wordpress was formed by and for the blog. So naturally, websites and blogs go hand-in-hand, with the overarching idea that words and ideas should be fluid and easily accessible. Their features page is very simple. But the ideas that they want to communicate is that your work is yours (they never lay claim to your blog posts), and it’s safe because the editor autosaves every few seconds. They equip you with drag-and-drop options and the ability to embed photos, videos, audio and more. Their app options allow for updating on the go.
I couldn’t find much on features page about their shop options but the above link to a Q&A feed proved to be educational. While they once offered Shopify plugins, Shopify has stopped providing updates to that feature. Wordpress users who would like to sell have two options: either use Paypal or self- host with a WordPress.org install. You can find more details on what that looks like in the link. (ProPhoto people, take a gander at this article.)
At the end of the day, it’s all about your priorities and what features you value most in your business as well as the kind of client you are engaging. We’d love to help you decide which platform is a fit and how to use the tools they offer to the best of your ability!