Personally, I feel like building and maintaining a website is one of those things all online business owners should know how to do, yet unfortunately, most don’t. As an online business owner, your website is your storefront, and the success of your digital business depends on how smoothly you set up and run your corner of the internet. You probably know the basics and understand the importance of building your site, but do you know which web platform is best suited for your brand? Do you know all of the different platform options that are available to you?
Most importantly, do you know the difference between the platforms and understand why certain ones can serve you better than others?
Now that we have two platform options available to clients, how will they know which one to go with?
I can admit that I’ve always been intimidated by most website building platforms, which is why I stayed with Squarespace for so long. If I could feel this way as a brand designer, I know there are so many others in completely different industries that feel the same way too.
With this post, I want to prevent our clients from feeling discouraged as they plan their website and instead fully understand the possibilities so that they can best position their business online. I hope by the end of this post, you feel the same way, too.
At Drop Cap Design, our mission is to empower and inspire creative online business owners to tell a captivating story through their brand. Now that we offer web design services as a next step on the branding journey, and can work with two totally different website building platforms in-house, we are making it a point to fully educate our clients on the pros and cons of each so that they can decide which platform is best for their business.
Squarespace vs. Showit
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been a Squarespace girl from the beginning (and I still am)! But when I found a Showit template that had the editorial vibe I’d always wanted, I knew it was an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone, transition over, and try something new. I learned so much during the experience, and now have a better understanding of the pros and cons of each platform.
And that’s what I’m here to explain to you today.
When building a website, you have to figure out what you can realistically handle rather than what’s most popular because ultimately, if you can’t maintain the site, you’re not going to use it well.
There are many things that go into building an online business — your website is arguably the most important one — however, it’s the details that allow you to stand out, find clarity, and best serve your audience in the current stage of your business.
What’s the difference between Squarespace and Showit?
- Best for website beginners, with a low learning curve
- All-in-one platform: includes blogging, e-commerce, site hosting, email marketing, custom domain, google email address, and so much more
- Easy template customization with drag-and-drop building blocks
- A clean, minimal, and beautiful backend experience for making site updates
- Less expensive design and build cost to get up and running
- More limited with SEO
- Less customization options for mobile
- More expensive recurring cost through subscription
- Lots of design flexibility with templates or when working from scratch
- Ability to create a completely custom mobile experience
- Integrates with WordPress for blogging and a third-party shop like Shopify for e-commerce
- More functionality and plugins for added features
- More SEO optimization opportunities
- Template options are a little more dynamic
- Less expensive recurring cost through subscription
- Higher learning curve
- More expensive design and build cost to get up and running
- The backend of site not as pretty as Squarespace, but is easier to find what you’re looking for
As you can gather, both platforms offer different value points. The only way to know which is best for you is to weigh the pros and cons of each platform to determine what you can handle in your business right now
What type of business owner is best for each platform?
New To Online Business
I would definitely recommend Squarespace for anyone getting started in entrepreneurship with an online business. It’s all-in-one and makes it easy to get started. We know how to customize the heck out of their templates so it can still be beautiful yet also easy to maintain while you learn to navigate building a business online. The less complicated, the better. Without having the technical learning curve, you’ll be able to focus more on your actual business which will surely lead to larger growth and the ability to scale.
Seasoned Visual Entrepreneurs
I recommend Showit for visual brands, content creators, and those in business who want to level-up with SEO or design unique layouts for their pages. It is most definitely a “level-up platform” but comes with a higher learning curve.
This is the way I look at it: A shop that began on Squarespace will level-up on Shopify; a blog that began on Squarespace will level up on WordPress, etc.
You might think that means Squarespace is “lesser” but don’t think of it that way. As an entrepreneur, you have to be willing to make decisions for your business based on what makes the most sense for your business right now.
If you know you have a tighter budget or are stretched for time, you’d be doing yourself a disservice to go with Showit since you wouldn’t be able to fully use the platform at its highest level. You have to be willing to have an honest conversation with yourself: What can you handle right now?
Questions to Consider
- How often will you be editing the site (and) who will be doing it?
- How comfortable are you with learning how to do new things?
- How much visual content do you have?
- What is your timeline and budget?
- How willing are you to be a part of the web building process?
Your Biggest Web Building Challenges
The biggest challenge when creating a website is gathering content. Once you decide on a building platform, we get right into the design process, which requires photography, copywriting, video, illustration elements, etc. We’ve noticed that most clients can quickly decide which platform they want to work on, but feel completely lost and overwhelmed when it comes to gathering the content for it.
Lucky for you, we don’t just call ourselves your in-house branding team for nothing!
We have a large network of copywriters, photographers, illustrators, and filmmakers who can help bring your vision to life. We also set every client up with a website content planner that helps to navigate all their content needs in one place.
We understand that starting an online business can get pricey and overwhelming. So, if you can’t afford to outsource, we can at least set you up with the tools to knock things out one item at a time.
What better way to prepare for a website than by getting a head start on gathering your content needs? Enjoy this freebie and allow it to bring you clarity as you embark on a digital expansion.
If you’re interested in collaborating with Drop Cap Design to bring your online business to life, we are currently booking for Fall 2021. We only do websites as part of our branding process which is why we book out so far in advance. The benefit is that it will give you plenty of time to gather the content you will need in time to get started.
To help you plan for your new website, review our timeline processes for both Brand Identity or Logo Development with the add on of a Showit or Squarespace website and see which options might be best for you
• Brand Identity: 8 weeks
• Logo Development: 6 weeks
• Squarespace websites: usually 4-6 weeks
• ShowIt websites: usually 6-8 weeks
To take a look at our different services and the investment for our different packages, take a look at our services page for more details and information.
Our Library of Brands
While our first ShowIt x TONIC websites will be launching later this month, you can see more of our branding work and the sites we’ve built and launched on Squarespace in our Library of Brands.