I discovered ShowIt on a Facebook ad. As a longtime Squarespace user, designer, and advocate for the SS platform, I was intrigued to say the least. “Drag and drop? Just like that? Surely, it must work like Wix?” (I have always found Wix to be chaotic.) I did not know that this Facebook ad would propel me on a month’s long internal debate of ShowIt vs Squarespace.
So I created a free ShowIt account and started hammering away at a trial website, just to get a feel for how it worked.
Ya’ll. My world was changed. Within a couple of hours of getting my lay of the land, I was convinced. Oh, I’m moving my site.
However, just because I love ShowIt, I’m not going to tell you that it’s for everyone. There are definitely some pros and cons to consider when making the big decision. So without further ado, here’s my guide to picking the perfect platform: Showit vs. Squarespace.
ShowIt: The Pros
If great design, ease of use, and trendy marketing would help your business, creative pursuit, coaching practice, podcast, personal brand, or anything else you’re promoting, please look no further than ShowIt.
Imagine a world where you have *complete* and *total* control of every aesthetic aspect of your website; where your navigation menu lives, how your blog is formatted, how your galleries work, where content overlaps occur, etc. etc. etc.
But the best part: you have the ability to design the mobile version *completely* separate from the desktop and iPad version.
(And if you’re like, Sarah, that seems… standard? Let me tell you.. it’s NOT.)
Here’s the thing: 52% of website traffic occurs from mobile phones. So if you’re insecure about your mobile site and find yourself saying “the desktop version is way cuter!”, you may be losing 52% of your business. That’s a huge deal. (And especially for those of you who mostly use IG, Tik Tok, or FB to drum up new customer or client leads, your mobile site matters!)
Another huge advantage of ShowIt is its SEO capabilities. Within ShowIt, you can customize keywords, alt text, and SEO for every single image and page. Squarespace is decent with SEO too, but you won’t find that kind of customization there.
And the company itself is just the best. The customer service is unmatched. When I was just starting out on my account and getting my site launched there, I messaged their small team via chatbot AND email about 12 zillion times — everyone was incredibly timely, gracious, and helpful. (Shoutout to Karen, Trevor, Ben, Jeff, and even the CEO, Todd, for being the best!)
ShowIt: The Cons
Generally speaking, ShowIt is pricier than Squarespace. While both platform’s 3-tiered subscription models are comparable price-wise (the difference is like, $5/mo.), there are some elements of a ShowIt site that require embedded widgets and cost a little bit of extra money.
For example: let’s say you use the free version of Mailchimp to send newsletters out to your audience (I know so many small business owners who do)! With Squarespace, you could keep Mailchimp free by collecting the emails using a SS-embeddable newsletter block, and transferring those emails over to Mailchimp manually whenever you want to send a mass email. ShowIt doesn’t have a way to collect people’s emails within their own server like Squarespace, so on a ShowIt site, you would have to embed a form straight from Mailchimp. The good part about this is that you wouldn’t have to do any manual transferring of emails. The bad part is that it costs money.
If you’re already paying for an email marketing service like Mailchimp, then this is a non-issue. But if you’re earlier in your business journey and running a super tight ship, you may not want to pay extra.
Here’s the caveat: I truly believe you’ll get more email signups with ShowIt vs Squarespace, so if more emails = more profit for you, then it’s a good investment!
Same goes for commerce. ShowIt does not have any built-in commerce options, but you can easily embed Shopify to sell products! (Again, this would be extra, but a Squarespace Commerce plan is extra as well.) And a quick note on this: if you do run a product based business, I would not choose ShowIt. ShowIt is okay if you have less than 10 products, but any more than that and it’ll be hard to keep them updated. I would go for Shopify instead!
Squarespace: The Pros
For an extremely affordable price, you get Squarespace *and* all of its widgets. Want your instagram feed embedded into your site? Easy. Need to collect emails for a newsletter? Perfect. Looking to have a “member’s only” section for exclusive content? Absolutely! (This is a new feature as of Nov. 2020!)
Above all else, Squarespace is *incredibly* easy to update. While I find ShowIt pretty user-friendly as well, I think those who are less technologically savvy will find Squarespace a more streamlined experience. Everything is clearly marked, easily customized, and you don’t even have to mess with mobile (in fact– they don’t really let you, which is also a big con that I will touch on next).
And there are plenty of templates to choose from (Brine 7.0 or *any* of the 7.1 templates are the most customizable), so no matter what kind of site you need, you should be able to get something up and running in a few hours.
Squarespace: The Cons
My biggest qualm with Squarespace is the lack of mobile customization. You can barely do *anything*. You basically have to hire a designer to make the mobile look good, and even then, it probably won’t be… *chef’s kiss*. So if you run a business that sells services or markets products on IG, Tik Tok, and FB, do yourself a favor and use ShowIt instead.
The other thing about Squarespace is that in order to make it stand out from the crowd and look different from all other SS websites, you have to use at least a little bit of code. I am a firm believer that anything can be achieved on SS with code and the help of a designer, but if you’re not well versed in CSS, it can get tricky to update yourself.
So in the battle of ShowIt vs Squarespace, who wins?
Here are my hard-and-fast rules.
1.) If you run (or are launching) a service-based business, a coaching practice, a small shop, a personal brand, or any other website that you are trying to make money from, I recommend ShowIt. It’s worth the investment, I promise.
2.) If your website is mostly for portfolio purposes — acting websites, podcast websites, etc…– OR you’re just starting out in your business journey and have almost no money to spend. I think Squarespace would work great for you!
But if you end up going with ShowIt, I’d love to help you create the website of your dreams! If you’re on a budget and need a quick turnaround, I recommend checking out my Template Shop. But if you’re interested in a one-of-a-kind, custom ShowIt design, I offer free consultation calls and would love to hear from you here.
Hey, I'm Sarah Kleist.
Brand builder, website designer, and performing artist on a mission to help creatives and business owners step into their digital spotlight.
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