Two of the best-known names in the online publishing industry are Magento and WordPress; Magento is the clear market leader when it comes to ecommerce, but as a content management system it still falls short in some ways, although there are Magento extensions that address some of those problems.
WordPress, on the other hand, is the world’s premier blogging system, but if you want to run an ecommerce store using WordPress you will need to install a third party plugin such as WooCommerce. And even then you won’t enjoy the same power and flexibility as that offered by Magento.
Choosing the Right Platform
So, which platform should you use? Well, that depends on what you want to do with your site. If you are primarily planning on running an online store, then there are Magento extensions that can offer you a basic blogging functionality. A Magento agency can also help implement these functions which both allows you to have a site that is well fleshed out with content and that yet which meets all of your ecommerce needs.
If you’re not sure how to take advantage of those extensions, or which ones you need to get a good, search engine friendly store up and running, then you should talk to a Magento agency to get some detailed advice.
In contrast, if you’re going to be doing more blogging and less selling of physical products, WordPress could be the better option. WordPress is ideal for member sites, content sharing platforms, and blogs where the primary purpose is to publish content rather than promote things. WooCommerce is more than up to the task of basic stock management, product listings (including handling variable products), and relaying buyers to a payment processor.
Designed for Marketing
Both Magento and WooCommerce have fairly good SEO features out of the box, and it’s relatively easy to integrate tracking via Google Analytics - with free plugins and extensions on offer to facilitate this.
Free or Premium?
The self-hosted version of WordPress is free and open source, and it is perfectly usable for any size of business. If you have high traffic demands you will need good hosting, and you’ll probably want to pay for a lot of plugins, but all of the basic functionality is there for you from the start.
Magento is offered in both free (Community Edition) and Premium (Enterprise Edition) versions, with some features being limited in the Community Edition. If you’re on a tight budget, it’s possible to work around a lot of the limitations, however, and the free edition is perfectly usable for SMEs.
WordPress is far easier to set up than Magento, and easier to upgrade too (incremental Magento updates are not usually difficult, but going between point releases can be a significant undertaking). The WordPress admin panel in general has a shorter learning curve than that of Magento; adding posts is just like typing into a word processor. However, the reason that Magento can be a little more confusing to navigate is simply that it offers more options out of the box.
So, which is better? Well, the truth is that depends on your needs. For ecommerce, Magento is a sound investment. For content creators, WordPress could be the better choice.
Alternatively, you may want to use both, and integrate the two with extensions, to enjoy the best of both worlds. Check out our guide to launching a blog using Magento if you would like some tips and inspiration.