It’s no secret: WordPress.org is the most powerful CMS on the internet. Unfortunately, it’s Ecommerce plugins always leave something to be desired – even though WooCommerce is the largest Ecommerce platform on the web.
Shopify, a hosted Ecommerce platform, excels in every facet of Ecommerce that WordPress falters, but fails with its bulky and unintuitive blog management.
So, if you know how to add WordPress to Shopify, your website will become an extremely flexible and robust Ecommerce & content solution for both your customers and your business.
Before jumping into the step by step instructions on how to add WordPress to Shopify, you need to decide how to organize your site’s domain structure because it is currently impossible to manage both Shopify and WordPress.org from a single admin panel.
This means that you will need to login to Shopify to handle your products from one place and login to WordPress to manage your blog content from another. It can be a bit annoying, but if your business strategy depends on content marketing, building a community, or creating landing pages then you’ll be happy you did.
Shopify and WordPress are fundamentally different. Shopify is a hosted platform whereas WordPress.org is self-hosted. WordPress offers a restrictive hosted platform as well (that you can pay for and integrate with Shopify), but for the sake of this tutorial
and your website we’ll stick to the free self-hosted version, which is massively more extendable.
The core offering of Shopify is that they manage and host products, orders, and payments for you. This is not the case with the free WordPress platform so you’ll need to setup a hosting account and install WordPress on your own server. Our friends at WPKube have an excellent guide on how to install WordPress both manually or using various tools. It’s a lot easier than it sounds, but you can always hire an expert to handle it for you.
Shop or Blog?
Shopify and WordPress must live on separate parts of your website. Only one can own the root domain (example.com) while the other must load from a subdomain (subdomain.example.com). You will not be able to add either platform to a subdirectory (example.com/subdirectory).
Due to this separation, you must decide how to organize the two platforms on your website. Try answering the questions below to get an idea of what your business needs.
- What page do you want visitors to land on when you load your site: a business page or a store?
- Is your website primarily an Ecommerce shop or a blog that also sells things online?
It’s an important decision, so take some time to think it through before moving on to the next steps.
If you have an existing Shopify site at the root domain, it will be better to keep it there and add WordPress to a subdomain and vice versa.
Apart from the dual logins, separate hosting, and splitting up the domain, there are a few other things to think about before jumping in to the WordPress + Shopify combo.
One of the more obvious problems is that WordPress will have a completely different website design than Shopify. While it’s possible to create an identical design, it will definitely need to be a custom project.
Alternatively, you can find a relatively similar theme and customize the colors to match your Shopify site. The main problem here is that your visitor may become confused with the change in scenery when they navigate to the new part of the site. On the other hand, it may be your intent to differentiate the two platforms with separate designs.
Be aware of the design difference and make sure to analyze how users interact with your site.
Another thing to consider is the SEO impact of your partition. If you choose to move existing content, you’ll need to set up a series of URL redirects so you don’t lose your existing SEO ‘link juice’. Otherwise, visitors will land on 404 error pages, which will make them unhappy and earn you some penalties with the search engines causing you to lose rank.
Since you’re adding the extra platform on a subdomain (subdomain.example.com), it’s important to note that search engines will treat it almost like a new site; it will not inherit any SEO rank from the root. This is why it’s best practice to use subdirectories instead of subdomains, but unfortunately we aren’t able to do that.
Trading Content & Products
Showcasing products on your blog is critical for converting blog visitors into paying customers. You’ll probably want to display your products in your blog sidebars or on other pages. At the very least, you’ll need a link to the store in the navigation.
There are no WordPress plugins to integrate the two platforms, but luckily Shopify has a powerful widget that supports these needs. Show individual products, a ‘Buy Now’ button, or even load the entire Shopify store in a popup on your WordPress site!
Trying to show your blog posts on your Shopify site? Shopify offers Feedburner integration as a workaround for a simple WP feed.
Migrating Shopify Blog Content
If you have existing blog posts & pages on Shopify and want to move them to your new WordPress site, you’ll need to do it manually because Shopify does not offer a simple export feature. Nor are there any WordPress plugins that can import them (though you can import/export products). You would need to migrate all existing content manually. :(
These are all manageable choices, so don’t be afraid to move on!
How to Add WordPress to Shopify
Ok, now that we’ve reviewed the concerns and high level choices you need to make, let’s get into the meaty step by step instructions on how to add WordPress to Shopify.
- You have an existing Shopify store at the root domain (example.com).
- You want to create a new WordPress blog at the ‘blog’ subdomain (blog.example.com).
- You are awesome.
Check out this great video tutorial for installing WordPress on a subdomain, otherwise read on below.
Step 1: Get Hosting
Since you’ll be using WordPress, you’ll need to purchase a hosting account for it to live on. In most low-traffic cases, simple shared hosting will suffice, but you should also look into VPS and Dedicated hosting.
In recent years, Managed WordPress Hosting (like WP Engine) has also surfaced and offers great features for WordPress users.
Whatever you choose, as soon as you purchase an account you’ll have access to server space and be ready to install WordPress.
Step 2: Setup Subdomain
Now that you have a blank slate for a server, it’s time to create a subdomain.
Essentially, a subdomain (subdomain.example.com) is just a subdirectory that we tell the host to add to the front of our URL.
Login to your server’s cPanel and click the Subdomains app. If you don’t know how to get here, please contact your host or review their documentation. It may be the case that they are required to create the subdomain on your behalf.
Inside the app, it will simply ask you to name the subdomain, its root, and the location of the file directory (this will be generated automatically, so don’t touch unless you know what you’re doing).
Click create and your subdomain is ready for its WordPress installation!
Step 3: Install WordPress on the Subdomain
Installing WordPress is a well-covered topic online, so we won’t reinvent the wheel here. Follow along in the video above, or check out some of these great articles.
Please note that you may need to access WordPress through a temporary URL or IP address in order to set it up. If this temporary address is not available, please complete step 3 and revisit this step.
- Installing WordPress (WP Codex)
- How to Install WordPress: The Basics (99 Robots)
- How to Install WordPress (WP Beginner)
- How to Install WordPress (Siteground)
- How to Install WordPress (WP 101)
The primary difference here is that you need to install it on the new subdomain you created.
Before modifying DNS records and making your WordPress blog live, you may want to take some time and get the site how you like it. Add a theme, plugins, and content before publicly sharing the new blog.
Step 4: Modify DNS Records
Now it gets a bit technical. Since you have Shopify setup and running on your domain, it means that the DNS record for your domain is pointed at Shopify.
A DNS record is just a small line of text that tells your browser which server has your website data. Read more.
The most basic DNS record will tell the browser that all information comes from a single web host – in this case Shopify’s servers. In order to load WordPress on ‘blog.example.com’, you need to add a new DNS record that tells the browser to look at your new host only if someone navigates to the subdomain.
In order to do that, login to your domain registrar (where you purchased the domain) and navigate to ‘All Host Records’ for your domain. Every registrar will vary, so please research or contact the registrar support for help.
In ‘All Host Records’, click to add a new DNS record. The new record will likely be an ‘A Record‘ (a DNS record that points to an IP) depending on your host and it’s value will be the IP address of your host’s server. The ‘Host Name’ or ‘Name’ value will be the full blog URL – in this case ‘blog.example.com’.
An ‘A Record’ can only be an IP address. If you’re host asks you to point to a unique URL, use a CNAME record instead. When in doubt, consult your host’s support.
After a period of time, the new DNS record will propagate through the internet and you will be able to see your WordPress site on ‘blog.example.com’. To reiterate:
- Do not edit any existing DNS records, just add a new DNS record with ‘blog.example.com’ as the name and a value that points to your new host.
- Your DNS will now tell visitors that ‘example.com’ is on Shopify and that ‘blog.example.com’ is on a separate host.
- You can now blog freely on WordPress by logging in to ‘blog.example.com/wp-admin’!
There’s a lot to consider before actually learning how to add WordPress to Shopify. It may seem frustratingly technical and may not be the ideal solution for what you envisioned, but it could provide the extra edge your business needs.
If you have any technical questions about implementation, please contact your host, registrar, and Shopify. Their support technicians have handled tons of questions just like yours. If you still find your questions unanswered, feel free to comment below and we’ll do our best to help!