Design

Why I Switched from Squarespace to Showit

PUBLISHED:

January 31, 2021

It started out of curiosity, as most things do.

I had fallen (accidentally) into a rhythm updating my website. Every year, I revise my services and portfolio to reflect the goals I set for my business. But every other year, I do a website redesign. Well, this was one of those other years, so I knew an overhaul was coming up.

I’ve been an avid fan of Squarespace since I started my business in 2014. The setup is easy, the learning curve low, and the templates offer just enough creative inspiration to begin envisioning an online home. 

But then a new player entered the game.

I’ve had clients request Showit sites for a few years now, but I tend not to take on projects if I don’t have direct experience with the platform. It’s just too unfamiliar to me and I don’t like being in that position as the lead on a branding project.

What Changed My Mind

But then two pivotal things happened –

  1. Angela launched her template Jardin and suddenly the editorial style website I had always dreamed of seemed real. I couldn’t stop thinking about the design. Images of this template kept appearing on every mood board I’d make for the studio. I’m obsessed.
  2. We booked a client for the start of this year who is the absolute epitome of my dream client. Seriously. Every box checked, every conversation inspiring, every interaction positive. But she wanted her site built on Showit.

So I made a decision. I sed myself as a test run on the new platform and I purchased Angela’s template as a starting point. By the time I start on this new project, I’ll have firsthand experience.

You may be wondering why one designer would purchase another designer’s templates. You may think “But you design brands, isn’t it weird to use someone else’s design for your site?”

Here’s why it’s a good idea, and why I highly recommend it:

If you’re starting out on a new platform,
the learning curve is high.

I was completely unfamiliar with the Showit platform. Purchasing Angela’s template was, yes, a creative inspiration for me. But, it also helps to see how pages and features are structured, saving me about a million google searches. It gave me a starting point.

And then I customized everything to fit my own vision. Her work is impeccable, and then I built upon that to fit my brand. This is why templates are such an underrated starting point – they are an incredible way to get started.

Now that we’ve launched, I want to walk you through some of my favorite features of the new site. And show you how Showit helps us with reach these goals.

We’re heading in an editorial direction.

Surprise! Writing these articles, illustrating them, sending out The Sunday Edition – these have become highlights of my week.

I love writing, I don’t do it nearly enough, and this has given me an outlet to stretch that muscle. I want to push our blog even further – creating more content, telling more stories, giving context to the branding process and the state of online business. I’ve got some really big ideas in this area, and I need a platform and workflow to help me realize them.

Showit connects seamlessly with WordPress. While, yes, WordPress is a beast, it’s also continuously ranked among the top digital publishing platforms. As I look to grow in this area, being on WordPress feels like the right move.

Tip

It’s still taking me a moment to figure out how to format WordPress posts that I’ve migrated over from Squarespace. One thing I decided in the move is that I need to store my content offline and I’m working to create better content systems behind the scenes – something that I’ll definitely share when I figure out what works best.

While all of the posts are currently accessible, there are a lot of bugs within each post that need to be fixed, and that’s what I plan to spend my time doing over the next few weeks, with the help of Kaitlin Fontenot 🙂

I want to share more case studies for the brands I’m working with.

As I’ve gained experience in the branding space and ticked off years running the studio, our clients are feeling more aligned than ever before. So many conversations and discoveries happen behind the scenes of a branding project, and I want to be able to share all of it with you. I’m excited that the site is giving me a place to showcase those brand stories in the way I’ve always wanted to.

One of the major perks of Showit is the absolute design freedom. No longer do I feel limited by block-based designing. Showit was definitely developed for designers who are already comfortable with Adobe design programs, because building sites feels so familiar. There’s still a learning curve, but there’s an intuitive nature to the platform that I know will only grow with time.

Building out pages for our projects with full creative liberty makes sharing the project just as much fun as creating it in the first place. I encourage you to check out the Brand Library to see a few of my recent favorites 🙂

We’ve launched a Digital Design Shop.

I’m going to write a full story on how Buck Mountain Journal came to be, but I did want to make note that our digital shop was a huge factor in this website redesign. Podia, our platform for products and courses, integrates really well with Showit and I’m excited to keep exploring this new outlet.

I found a few tricks for hiding links on the shop page to give even more flexibility. Podia allows for an embedded “card” to pop-up a checkout page for products. I copied that code, embedded it on the site page, and then set the block to a 0% opacity so that it was invisible on the page design. Little tricks like that aren’t possible in Squarespace, but help me to customize the experience on my site.

I added a Resources page.

And finally, I’ve added a resources page so that I can share the tools we’re using to grow the studio. I’ve added in our top free resources, as well as a list of platforms and software that keep our studio running smoothly.

I know that I’ll continue to acquaint myself with Showit over the next year, but for now I’m just excited to share where the site is currently, and where I plan to take it. I hope this inspires you to give your online home base and digital brand a little love 🙂

If you’re interested in getting help creating a site and brand for your own business, fill out an inquiry form!

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