Your Guide to Selecting the Right CMS for Shopify Success

As of June 2023, there are more than 77 million live websites that use a content management system.

CMS platforms come in many forms, including open-source software, blogging platforms, hosted websites, and website builders.

Selecting the right CMS for Shopify can be daunting, especially if you’re not familiar with how these tools work.

In this blog post, we’ll introduce you to different types of content management systems and how you can choose the right one for your Shopify store.

Table of Contents:

What is a Content Management System?

A content management system, or CMS, is an application that allows users to create, manage, and modify digital content. The primary goal of a CMS is to simplify the process of publishing to the web. A good CMS enables even non-technical users to create content-rich websites with ease — without having to write a single line of code.

If you’re an online retailer looking for ways to scale up your operations, you should choose a robust CMS solution that offers several features designed specifically for e-commerce such as:

  • Customizable storefronts
  • Built-in SEO tools
  • Cross-channel selling capabilities
  • User-friendly interface

In addition, having access to advanced analytics and reporting tools will help you gain insights into customer behavior patterns, allowing you to make data-driven decisions when creating new marketing campaigns or product launches.

The Importance of a CMS for Shopify

A CMS is the backbone of any successful e-commerce operation managing inventory, product listings, and customer information like names, contact details, and purchase history. In other words, if you operate a Shopify store, you need a way to manage all of that content, and a CMS is how it’s done.

Efficiently organized data ensures smooth operations on the back end while providing an optimal shopping experience on the front end.

Headless CMS vs Traditional CMS

In recent years, businesses have shifted towards headless CMS systems which offer more flexibility in terms of design and development. Unlike traditional CMS platforms where the back-end and front-end are tightly integrated, headless systems separate these two components, allowing developers to build custom front-ends using any technology they prefer.

This means that instead of being tied down by pre-built templates or themes, merchants can use whatever programming languages or frameworks they choose when building out their storefronts’ user interfaces.

How Does a Headless CMS Work?

In a headless architecture setup, the backend stores all the data (as usual) but provides APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) through which applications can access this data from anywhere in real time. These APIs allow you to deliver consistent content across multiple channels such as mobile apps or smart devices without having to worry about managing different codebases for each channel.

Image source: Hostinger

Why Use a Headless Technology Stack?

Headless architecture provides greater flexibility and control over user experience, improved performance, and scalability, as well as enhanced security. With this approach, you have complete freedom to choose different technologies for various tasks that best suit your needs.

  • Flexibility: The ability to select specific tools for each task allows you more freedom in creating a platform that meets your unique requirements.
  • Better performance: Separating front-end from back-end processing means better overall performance since resources are used only where needed.
  • Different technologies: Using different technologies enables you to take advantage of each one’s strengths while minimizing weaknesses or limitations.
  • Tight security: Since there’s no direct connection between front-end interfaces and back-end databases or servers, it reduces your site’s exposure to risk by limiting access points hackers could exploit.

Selecting Your Headless Tech Stack Options

If you’re looking to use Shopify with a headless tech stack option, here are some popular choices:

  1. Shopify + React: This JavaScript library is known for its efficient handling of complex user interfaces while being relatively easy to learn. This combination offers speedier loading times which translate into a better user experience.
  2. Shopify + Node.js: This JavaScript runtime allows you to build scalable back-ends for your applications. This option is fast, efficient, and easy to integrate with other tools such as MongoDB or ExpressJS.

By selecting the right CMS features and implementing an effective content strategy through headless architecture, online retailers can optimize their website performance while providing customers with an exceptional shopping experience.

Screenshot from Instant Commerce

Selecting the Right CMS for Shopify

Choosing the right CMS platform is crucial for your business as it can affect how well your website performs. Follow these 5 steps to find a CMS platform that suits your unique needs and goals.

1. Identify Your Business Needs

The first step in choosing a CMS platform is identifying what you need from it. Do you want to create an online store or a blog? Are you planning on creating content at scale or just maintaining a small site?

Identify which functionalities are most crucial to your business operations on Shopify, such as inventory management or customer data storage capabilities.

2. Consider Ease of Use 

Another factor to consider when selecting a CMS platform is ease of use. If you don’t have any coding experience, then look for platforms with user-friendly interfaces that allow easy customization without requiring technical skills.

3. Determine Your Content Strategy

Before selecting a CMS, you need to have a clear understanding of your content strategy. What type of content do you want to publish? How often do you plan on updating it? Will multiple teams be involved in creating and managing content?

A headless CMS might work well if you’re planning on publishing different types of content across various channels such as mobile apps, social media platforms, or even voice assistants like Alexa or Google Home. 

On the other hand, if your focus is solely on an online store with minimal updates, then traditional e-commerce solutions like Shopify could serve better.

4. Evaluate Security Features

Security should be one of the top priorities when choosing a CMS system because hackers often target websites with vulnerabilities in their codebase or plugins installed on them. Make sure that whichever system you select has robust security measures such as two-factor authentication, SSL encryption, automatic updates, etc., so that sensitive data stays safe from cyber threats. 

5. Check SEO Capabilities

Search engine optimization plays an integral role in driving traffic toward websites through organic search results. So make sure whatever CMS platform you select has basic SEO settings like meta title tags, meta description tags, etc.

6. Look For Scalability

As businesses grow over time, they may require more resources and capabilities than before. It’s essential, therefore, to choose a scalable solution that has the ability to add new features easily if needed.

7. Online Store vs. Online Retailer

There’s a difference between running an online store versus being an online retailer selling through marketplaces like Amazon where they handle everything from order fulfillment down to customer service support.

If you’re setting up your own branded website, then choosing self-hosted open-source software could provide more flexibility and control over website customization while also ensuring better scalability options.

Selecting the right content management system involves careful consideration of various factors including scalability, security features, ease of use, and SEO capabilities. By evaluating CMS features along with your business requirements, you’ll be able to find the best fit.

Finding a CMS Within Your Budget Range

One of the most important factors when selecting the right CMS for Shopify is your budget. Your available funds will play a significant role in determining which CMS features and options you can afford.

In the early days of online retail, custom e-commerce site development was the only real option if you wanted to achieve the functionality and customization needed to operate successfully. However, this approach could be very expensive as it required hiring developers who would build everything from scratch.

If you have a large enough budget or specific requirements that cannot be met by off-the-shelf solutions, then building a custom e-commerce site may still be an option worth considering. But for many small businesses with limited resources, using an existing CMS is often more practical and affordable.

Off-the-Shelf vs. Headless CMS

There are two main types of content management systems: off-the-shelf and headless CMS.

  • Off-the-shelf: These are pre-built platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce that come with all the necessary features out-of-the-box. They’re easy to set up and use but may lack some flexibility when compared to other options.
  • Headless: These offer greater flexibility than off-the-shelf solutions because they allow developers complete control over how content is presented on their website or app while separating back-end data storage from front-end presentation so that each can evolve independently over time without affecting the other’s operation significantly.

To select a suitable CMS within your budget range, you need to determine what features and functionality are essential for your online store. Some CMSs offer more advanced features than others, but they also come with a higher price tag.

When selecting a CMS, consider the following:

  • The cost of the platform itself
  • The cost of any add-ons or plugins needed to extend its functionality
  • The ease of use for non-technical users such as content creators and marketers
  • The scalability and ability to handle high traffic volumes if required in the future

Screenshot from Search Engine Journal

8 Best CMS Platforms for E-Commerce

When it comes to selecting the right content management system (CMS) for your online store, there are plenty of options available. However, not all CMS platforms are created equal, and choosing the wrong one can have serious consequences for your business. 

To help you make an informed decision, we’ve compiled a list of the eight most prominent e-commerce platforms currently in use:

1. Shopify

Shopify is an all-in-one platform that provides both CMS and hosting services for online retailers. It’s easy to set up and use, making it a popular choice among small businesses with limited technical expertise.

2. Magento

Magento is another popular open-source CMS platform used by many large enterprises due to its scalability and flexibility. It offers both community (free) and enterprise (paid) versions.

3. WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a free plugin designed specifically for WordPress users looking to add e-commerce functionality to their websites without having to switch platforms entirely.

4. BigCommerce

BigCommerce is another all-in-one solution that offers advanced features such as multi-channel selling capabilities and customizable checkout pages.

5. Volusion

Volusion provides an intuitive drag-and-drop interface along with built-in SEO tools that make it easier for businesses of any size to create an online store quickly.

6. Squarespace Commerce

Squarespace Commerce allows users to build beautiful websites using pre-designed templates while also offering powerful e-commerce features like abandoned cart recovery and gift cards.

7. PrestaShop

PrestaShop has been around since 2007, which makes them more than qualified in providing top-notch eCommerce solutions. They offer over 5,000 modules/plugins/extensions/add-ons that can be added to your online store.

8. OpenCart

OpenCart is a free, open-source platform that offers a wide range of features such as multi-store support and over 13,000 extensions to choose from. 

FAQs – Selecting the Right CMS for Shopify

What CMS is used by Shopify?

Shopify has its own CMS, but it can also integrate with third-party solutions like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal for advanced content management needs.

Do I need a CMS with Shopify?

Yes, a good CMS is crucial for managing your website’s content, including product descriptions, blog posts, and customer reviews, which are essential for effective SEO.

How do I choose a good CMS?

Consider factors like ease of use, scalability, customization options, and support services when selecting a CMS.

What should you keep in mind when selecting a CMS?

Choose a user-friendly CRM with robust features that meet your business needs and excellent customer service support.


In recent years, Shopify has emerged as one of the most popular e-commerce platforms globally due to its wide range of benefits. Here are some reasons why Shopify could be an ideal choice for taking your business to new heights:

  • User-friendly interface: If you’re not technically inclined or have no experience setting up an online store before, then Shopify might just be what you need! Its user-friendly interface makes it easy for anyone, regardless of your website development knowledge or coding skills. This means less time spent learning how things work on this platform and more time focused on growing sales!
  • Wide range of features and plugins: Shopify offers a wide range of features and plugins to help online retailers streamline their operations. From automatic shipping calculations to abandoned cart recovery, Shopify has everything you need to run a successful online business. Plus, with over 6,000 apps available on the Shopify App Store, there’s always something new that can be added for enhanced functionality.
  • Incredible scalability: One of the biggest advantages of using Shopify is its ability to scale up as your business grows without any restrictions on product listings or traffic volume. This means that whether you’re just starting out or have an established brand already, Shopify will grow alongside your needs!
  • Trusted by over 4 million businesses worldwide: With more than 4.4 million websites using Shopify, it’s safe to say that choosing Shopify is choosing success! With 24/7 support and security updates included in every plan level offered by this platform, merchants can rest assured knowing they are working with one of the most trusted e-commerce platforms around today.

If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution for taking your online store from good to great, then look no further than selecting Shopify as your CMS! Its user-friendly interface combined with powerful features makes it easy to use for anyone while also providing incredible scalability options.

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About the author

Josh Slone

Josh is Chief of Staff at Content at Scale, running the in-house portfolio of sites as well as customer success for clients using our Content Machine.

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