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Why we chose Shopify for our website

Switching our website over to the Shopify platform (from GoDaddy's old website builder) has hopefully made finding out about our range of Irish language software easier for our website's visitors. It certainly has made it easier for us to manage how we showcase our products and create special offers for both GaelSpell and Anois (although we're using a different platform for our new Irish language spelling and grammar checker GaelGram because it's a cloud-based service).

We were originally going to switch to Squarespace but comparing the two using the feature comparisons and reviews by our friends over at Style Factory convinced us that Shopify was the better fit for what we wanted to do on the ecommerce side of things. The digital downloads features in particular have really simplified the software delivery for both us and our customers and it's nice that our experience has now been featured on the Style Factory blog's Shopify review. Here's their latest video about it:

But if you're not necessarily after an ecommerce focussed website platform, then check out their recently updated Squarespace vs Wix blog post for an in depth comparison of those two services.

We've had a lot of success with the Shopify platform ourselves, but it's not a platform that's going to suit everyone. If you're confused or you're not 100% sure which eCommerce platform is the right one, then the guys over at Quicksprout have written an in-depth guide, where they've researched and reviewed the top 11 eCommerce platforms on the market right now. Check out their guide and by the time you get to the end of it, you'll have a much better idea which platform is the right fit for you.

For some of you it might be that just like us Shopify is the perfect platform and that's great, but for others of you it may be that Squarespace or Wix are the platforms for you and that's fine too... At the end of the day it all comes down to figuring out what your needs are and then choosing the platform that best suits them.

Now, it wouldn't be right to say that just because Shopify has been working very well for me that it is the perfect platform for every single one of you out there, because that simply isn't the case. While Shopify has been great and fulfilled my needs, it might not work out for you because your needs - and your customers - could be very different. So do check out those articles I've linked to and let me know what you think.

I've also had a few people contact me with specific questions about selling software on Shopify compared to other platforms so here are some answers that I hope you find useful too:

1. Do you have to use Shopify's payment gateway or can you use PayPal?

I use both but I'd say it'd be fine to use just PayPal (at least to begin with).

2. As far as an intangible product is concerned e.g. software, are you able to provide your customers with a trial edition e.g. try-before-you-buy, or do you provide them with a pre-licensed version? If so, how does that work where the licensing is concerned?
I don't provide users with a free trial because I haven't found a good way to limit the redistribution of unlicensed copies. So I use Shopify's free built in digital attachment sending add-in and set the number of allowed downloads per purchase to just one. I also use the paid for add-in/app Recharge to charge recurring subscriptions but it's not ideal for software subscriptions because that Recharge add-in is really designed with physical products in mind.

3. If using Shopify's servers to host your website, do they provide web-builder tools? If so, are they easy to use and do you find using their web building tools has helped your SEO (Search Engine Optimization), how well do they do with Google's PageRank? 
Yes, I use Shopify's website building tools to host my website. I think you have to with Shopify. My site performs fine in SEO. Not sure how it affects Google Page Rank but I've started blogging more to try to appear higher in SEO results (Shopify has a built in blog function which is handy).

4. I currently use a pre-designed free web template. While it looks attractive and I've been able to customize it for my needs, it's rankingpoorly in Google and it doesn't display properly on mobile devices. How does Shopify do?
I find Shopify works well and my site performs fine in SEO. It's useful that the Shopify store theme I picked for the website also looks good on mobile out of the box. It's a very easy to use system and personally I would recommend Shopify to other software developers selling app downloads as one off purchases (but not necessarily if they want to charge recurring subscriptions / SaaS in which case a bespoke website integrated with Stripe is the best way to go I think).


By the way, we're also big fans of Office 365 here because our software is optimised to work with Microsoft Word. These days, Word is constantly getting new features and is catching up fast with Google docs in terms of online collaboration tools. The team at Style Factory have also written a "vs" comparison piece comparing Office 365 with Google's G Suite apps that you might find useful.

What do you think of our new website? Do you find this type of Shopify-powered site easier to use than our old one? Let me know in the comments or by e-mail! GRMA!



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