shopify logo against a green striped background

Should You Use Shopify Or a JavaScript Website

How To Choose Between a Shopify Site & Your Own Site

The choice of Shopify vs. a JavaScript website comes down to the tradeoff between paying someone to do it well vs. doing it all yourself.

To be clear, Shopify's website uses JavaScript too. But the choice here is between a branded website from Shopify, and making your own website yourself, using JavaScript.


Shopify Advantages

For e-commerce, Shopify's fast to set up and gets the job done.

They've clearly thought a lot about how to make it easy for the small business owner. The process is streamlined, fast, and effective.

You choose a theme to customize your shop, and before you know it, your shop is up.

The upside is convenience and trust: you know it's implemented in such a way that your site could get a huge surge, and withstand it.

It may also be what most of the companies in your niche use.

Shopify Disadvantages

One downside of Shopify shops is they often look alike. You can pay for a custom theme to mitigate this.

But there are limits on customizability that Shopify's format imposes on you.

If you want to do some kind of bot or advanced UI that people can use to interact with your Shop, and it can't be done in a standard way, that will be hard to do on Shopify.

JavaScript Website

JavaScript Site Advantages

You can always do it yourself.

One upside of that is, if you have multiple ideas and you code it yourself, you can copy your template over for each new project and save big bucks, vs. paying for multiple Shopify shops.

This could be a decisive advantage, if you want to experiment with several types of shops.

JavaScript Site Disadvantages

You've got to anticipate everything yourself and maintain it. If you're the developer, it's not enough to know plain HTML and CSS.

You've got to set up the domain name, code the pages, set up the routing, possibly an API too.

Want someone to be able to fill out a form and send it to you? That will require some coding too.

But it can be done. There are freelancers who will do it for a competitive rate.

The other downside is you may not be able to pay enough to get good results, and good results are important.

A Cost Comparison

In 2022, a typical implementation for a JavaScript shopping site might be a React app, with Stripe as your payment processor.

Shopify costs $29/$79 month (beginner/serious) and DIY costs about $2/$10 month, hosting it yourself.

The credit card charges - about 2.9% per transaction - are pretty much the same whether you use Shopify or the DIY solution, which would be Stripe.

29 dollars a month for the year is about 350 dollars. So you could think of that as your yearly budget. Add an extra $100-$500 dollars for preference.

Notice that, if you're reasonably sure your shop will still be there in a few years, that's 1000 dollars, minimum.

Some React templates can be bought online for about the cost of a year of Shopify. Others are much less.

So, think hard about your needs, scope out how much it would cost vs. your budget, and make the choice that makes the most sense for you.

Personally, I would choose a JavaScript site. But your mileage may vary.