As some of you know, I recently moved my sassmuffins.com website to Shopify. I made the decision to do this so that I could better showcase my pet products. And while I still think I made the best decision for my business, I can’t say the “switch” has been the smoothest transition.
I have had a self-hosted WordPress account, one that gave me a fair amount of flexibility with my blogging, since the summer of 2012. As my annual renewal for this self-hosted site was due in March, I rather quickly looked at other options out there to make the best business choice. After researching the available e-commerce venues, I decided to go with Shopify. They had a lot of product options I did not have, and were noted for their great customer service. And, their monthly fees were reasonable for the number of products I would be listing (limit of 100 products).
I also decided that as a short interim solution, I would move my posts to a free WordPress account. This would give me additional time to work at my own pace on the new Shopify site. This part actually went rather well, with a couple of very major exceptions. Apparently 99.9% of people move from a free account to a self-hosted account, not the other way around. And you can export/import your subscribers from a free to a self-hosted WordPress account, NOT the other way around. In fact if you have subscribers via email, you will simply loose them with this transition. That’s what happened to me; I lost several hundred subscribers. And those that had me on their feed are not longer seeing me. Double blow!
The second major issue with moving a blog is that photos don’t actually transfer. Meaning, they may show up on the new site – but only so long as they are linking back to the old site! Since my self-hosted WordPress account would be closing, I knew I had to add photos from two years worth of posts into the media files of my new free WordPress account. Since I rather love photos, this took a great deal of time. This is also something I need to do over time with my new Shopify account, just in case this free WordPress account is ever closed.
Shopify did take a little time to learn; there are certainly differences from WordPress, but overall the setup and creation are much easier. I think that is because you are working off of a preselected template, which really helps. I definitely love the way my products are now showcased, and that I have a cart that is visible within any screen on the site.
So here’s the rub. If you only want a blog, go with WordPress. If you want a shop, go with Shopify. If you want both – well maybe you know of a better solution, but WordPress doesn’t do a good job with products, and Shopify definitely has limitations with a blog.
With Shopify you can’t receive notices of a new post. Everything within their system is, logically, set up for a ‘customer’ list, not a ‘subscriber’ list. As such I have signed up with MailChimp (yep more to learn) to be able to send out regular newsletters to those that sign up to receive them on my sassmuffins.com website. Certainly more effort on my part…create the posts and also a newsletter, although I am looking forward to creating my first one. And once again a loss of hundreds of post subscribers! And although there is a Shopify app ($5 per month) that would automatically download all my WordPress posts to Shopify, to see any comments you are linked back to the WordPress account. Ridiculous! You end up with comments on the WordPress site, and other comments (on the same post) on the Shopify site.
My first thought was just to keep the free WordPress account as an archive of older posts, but I have since decided to put all my posts on both sites, manually. Sometimes I may only put excerpts of full posts on my WordPress account. This way those that want to follow my blog may do so via this method; certainly my hope is that most will choose to sign up for the newsletter on my Shopify site. Certainly folks are welcome to do both! Either way, I encourage everyone to see my new sassmuffins.com website. It showcases photography and products beautifully!
Have you found any great solutions to your shop vs blogging issues?