How to Decide Between Squarespace and Showit
Squarespace vs. Showit: Which Platform is Right for You?
One of the first things you need as a small business owner is a website. From purchasing a domain name to deciding on the best website platform, there are a lot of factors that go into setting up a site. We want to make this process a little less overwhelming for you by sharing our thoughts on two popular website platforms: Squarespace & Showit.
You’ll find people who will argue with you until they’re blue in the face about why you absolutely have to set up your site on Wordpress, Showit, Squarespace, Wix, etc. I’m not here to do that. I’m simply here to give you a rundown of our own personal experience with two powerful platforms and what we loved/didn’t like so much about each of them.
Things We Love About Showit
1. Showit Offers Designers Limitless Creativity
When it comes to customization, Showit is a designer's dream. Several years ago, I signed up for a membership with Showit and was thoroughly impressed by this platform’s dedication to endless creativity. A website birthed with Showit is only limited by the designer’s imagination. It sounds too good to be true, but I’m telling you - it’s actually true!
This platform also allows you to create a completely custom experience on mobile devices, which, as you know, is where more and more people are spending their time. It took me a little while to get used to designing my site for desktop then re-designing certain features for various screen sizes, but it’s really nice to have full control over the way your site looks on phones & tablets.
2. You Can Drag and Drop Your Content Directly Onto Your Design Screen
This drag-and-drop platform allows you to take a ton of photos, slideshows, graphics, etc. & organize that content however you’d like on your site.
If you’ve ever created a website mockup in Illustrator only to find out later that your brainstorming session was worthless due to a website platform’s limitations, I feel your pain. With Showit, I was able to design graphics in Illustrator, drop them into Showit, and drag my content into place until it looked exactly as intended. I cannot stress to you enough how awesome this feature really is!
Showit offers really great starter templates as well as add-on templates by some of our favorite designers that enable you to get started really quickly. We’re all about saving time & money, so there are more than a handful of reasons why we recommend starting with a template for your website.
3. Showit’s Customer Service is Amazing
As a bonus, JT Pals and the rest of the Showit team treat their clients like family. Anytime you have a question related to their platform, someone is ready and available to jump in and help. This is something that’s extremely important and often hard to find in the web design world. It’s no secret to say that Showit gets an A+ in the customer service department!
These are just a few reasons why a lot of well-known photographers, like Jasmine Star & Jenna Kutcher, use and love this platform.
Showit Features We Weren’t So Crazy About
1. Showit Requires Third-Party Plugins for E-Commerce, Newsletters, & Blogging
Since we sell digital products, e-commerce is really important to us, which Showit doesn't offer without having to install a third-party plugin. Because of this, we had to use Showit for designing the look of our site, Wordpress for blogging, Shopify Lite for e-commerce, and various other plugins/apps for things like newsletters, pop-up windows, social media integration, etc. That drove me bonkers.
With Showit, I LOVED the creative freedom their platform allows for but felt like I had to jump through hoops to get things functioning the way I wanted. As a two-person team with a busy toddler, we try to keep things really streamlined in order to make the most out of our limited time behind the screen each week. I wanted to have a single place to access my blog posts, site content, marketing tools, and SEO.
2. The Price was Higher than What We Wanted to Spend Per Month
Not only was the need for multiple plugins/apps frustrating, but the price kept getting higher as we had to subscribe to several different platforms in order for our site to look & behave the way we wanted. I’m all about paying for convenience, but in this case, it was more inconvenient to have to juggle several different plugins each time we wanted to do something as simple as creating a blog post.
3. SEO Wasn’t Great Without Using Wordpress Along with Showit
Blogging isn’t just something small businesses do for pleasure…in this day and age, having a blog can make or break your site’s search engine optimization, also known as SEO. Without adding a blog to your Showit site by means of WordPress, it was tricky to get our site seen by anyone aside from my sisters & my mama, much less by search engines and potential clients.
There are a ton of different factors that contribute to a website’s SEO, but one of the best things you can do is to produce good quality content that’s relevant to your industry. By blogging frequently, you’re naturally using keywords that tell search engines what your site is all about. This tells Google that your site is relevant, up-to-date, and appealing to potential clients.
After testing out Showit, Wordpress, & Squarespace, we kept reverting back to one platform: Squarespace.
We used Wordpress for close to six years and Showit for roughly two of those six years. When I say we ‘tested’ these platforms, I really mean that we used the crap out of these platforms until we could no longer grow with them in a way that was conducive to our business model.
If you are still on the fence trying to decide between various platforms, check out these 5 reasons to switch to Squarespace.
Things We Love About Squarespace:
1. Automatic Updates
Squarespace makes all of their updates to your site automatically, so you never have to worry about whether or not your site is outdated. I used to be terrified to hit the ‘Update’ button within Wordpress, as 9 times out of 10, this would cause another error within our site to pop up somewhere. Because of this, I rarely made updates and was afraid of what might happen when I did.
Web design is NOT something to fear or be intimidated by - if this is the case, something needs to change!
2. Squarespace Creates Mobile-Ready Content for All Screen Sizes
You also don't have to set up a custom mobile site, which is a big time-saver. All Squarespace sites are mobile-ready, so they automatically scale things properly for any screen size out there. They also compress images enough to make sure your site loads quickly while preserving the quality of your photos.
3. Squarespace has All the Tools We Need Built Into Their Platform
Now, I log into one single place to access all of my pages, blog posts, marketing settings, pop-ups, e-commerce, & newsletter. All of these options can be located within a single panel, so there’s no need to go on a wild goose chase in order to find what you need.
We pay one flat rate each month for all of these services, which winds up saving big bucks in the long run. Since Squarespace automatically integrates powerful SEO tactics & e-commerce into their platform, you don’t need any fancy plugins or magic SEO unicorns in order to get your site visible in searches.
Things We think Squarespace could improve upon:
1. Design Flexibility
A lot of people complain about the fact that all Squarespace sites look the same, and if you’re new to the platform, you might believe this to be true. It is true that a lot of their starter templates look & function similar to one another.
One of the reasons we wanted to create completely custom Squarespace website templates is because of this need for more design flexibility within their platform. While you can change the colors & fonts as well as add your own content sections, certain things, including your navigation & blog styles are a lot more difficult to manipulate.
All of our website designs feature Custom CSS that changes the way your site appears & functions, meaning that your site will look nothing like anything you can find within Squarespace’s default template styles. Everything from our ‘Contact’ sections to our navigation and margins are customized to match our marketing suites for photographers & creatives.
You don’t need to know any code or CSS, either - we’ve taken care of the hard part for you! As a bonus, we also install your template for you, so you don’t have to piece things together yourself and worry about whether or not you’ve set things up correctly.
2. Product Limitation
Squarespace currently only allows for 200 products per page, which isn’t a problem for most. We used to have close to 400 photography templates, which made it difficult for viewers to access all of our designs under a single ‘Shop’ page.
If you do run an e-commerce shop and are looking to host more than 200 products on your site, this can be done by setting up multiple product pages and organizing your inventory into 2 or 3 separate categories. It might not be ideal, but it can work.
3. Bulk Editing
Squarespace doesn’t currently have a Media Library that allows you to access all of your site’s images, videos, etc. Whenever you want to swap out your content, you have to go to the specific page associated with that content and make changes from there. I haven’t personally had any issues with this so-called ‘flaw,’ but I did want to bring it to your attention, if this is something that’s important to you + your site’s content management system.
Create a Site You Love, Whether It’s on Squarespace, Showit, or Another Platform
Most people feel limited with Squarespace's current templates, which is another reason why we wanted to create something totally unique for photographers & creatives. A lot of Squarespace sites tend to look the same, so we've customized every stinkin' thing in there - from the forms to the headers, buttons, etc, we wanted our sites to look unlike anything else out there. Each section of our Squarespace website templates is still completely customizable, too, so you can deviate from our designs as little or as much as you'd like.
There are TONS of people out there who use & love Showit. I even created one of our templates for their platform at one point, as I know their products are well-received by a lot of popular wedding photographers.
I think the biggest struggle is finding something that works for you & your specific business needs! Whether it's Showit, Wordpress, Squarespace, or something else - I think each creative's needs is going to be completely different from the next 😉.
I know that was a lot to take in. We’d love to hear your thoughts on what your favorite platform is.
Leave a comment below! Are you team Squarespace or Team Showit?
Ready to take the next step?