Your website is arguably the most important piece of digital property your business owns. It is where leads are generated and oftentimes, where revenue is generated. Your website is where potential clients go to see your work, read reviews of your services and get in touch with you!
When choosing a website builder for your business, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The big three web builders are WordPress, Squarespace, and Showit. These three have the greatest range for design and SEO. As a web designer, design is very important to me, and some other options, such as Wix and Square, are limited in design and SEO.
Your website should make you look professional and trustworthy. Design and functionality are essential. For your website builder, I recommend looking at WordPress, Squarespace, and Showit. I will cover some features you should consider when choosing a website builder and compare WordPress vs. Squarespace vs. Showit.
Ease of Use
When it comes to ease of use, Squarespace wins hands down. Squarespace has built its platform on the idea that it is simple and intuitive to use. It utilizes a drag-and-drop feature that allows you to customize templates very easily. Squarespace is a very straightforward platform to build on.
All functionality is already built into Squarespace. This means there are no plugins to install and maintain. Squarespace also has native email marketing, e-commerce and a membership site so you can seamlessly integrate those functions into your website without having to add code or software.
Showit is also a drag-and-drop interface but it’s a little bit more complex. There’s a bit more of a learning curve involved but it’s not intimidating. You have much more creative control in Showit which might make it feel more complicated than Squarespace but it’s still really easy to use. Showit does connect to WordPress for blogging. In order to add a blog to your site, you’ll need to complete an extra step of adding WordPress. Any blogging plugins that you add will need occasional updating.
There are a million ways to use WordPress and that is why it makes it the most challenging to use. It’s not hard but it takes practice and patience. WordPress is a host and each builder and theme works differently. I use Elementor Pro which is a builder designed to work with WordPress. It uses drag-and-drop but takes much more practice than the other two. WordPress also takes a few more steps to get set up. Both Showit and Squarespace offer hosting as part of their plans. WordPress does not and you will need to find a host prior to building a new WordPress website. I use Siteground* for my own website(s) and I love their affordable pricing, easy-to-use client interface, and reliable customer service.
All three platforms have their own learning curves. Neither one is necessarily harder to use than another, but Showit and WordPress might take a bit longer to learn. Both Squarespace and Showit have free trials so I recommend getting some hands-on time with both to see what you like best. You can’t take WordPress for a trial run, so I recommend talking to other WordPress owners and doing some more research.
*This is an affiliate link, which means I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you sign up using the link. I only share products I truly use and love in my business.
There is very little that WordPress can’t do. So it wins in the design and customization category. It might take some complex coding to get what you need, but you can achieve it in WordPress!
However, if you want advanced creative flexibility and ease of use, Showit is the winner. You can do almost anything design related in both WordPress and Showit, but Showit is easier to use.
Both WordPress and Showit also have basic and premium templates that you can purchase and easily install on your site.
Squarespace is the most limited in design features. There are style parameters and limitations on how the elements are designed. You’ll need to implement CSS coding in order to achieve more advanced design elements. There are also premium Squarespace templates you can purchase from designers. However, there’s no import option so those templates consist of tutorials and instructions on how to build the template yourself. They aren’t hard to do, but they are time-consuming.
All three website builders offer mobile-specific optimization. As most internet users are viewing websites on their mobile devices, having a website that is designed for mobile use is very important!
Of the three, WordPress with Elementor gives you the most flexibility and is the most responsive between platform designs. In Showit, you’ll need to build the mobile version of your website separately from the desktop version. The elements don’t automatically snap into place. The advantage of this is the amount of control you have over the mobile design. Squarespace has a mobile view of your editing dashboard and you can automatically create a mobile version from your desktop design. In the mobile view, you can manually move and arrange elements into place to optimize the mobile version.
WordPress+Elementor allows you to not only control the mobile and desktop versions of your website, but also the tablet rendering. You simply toggle between the three views. You can even create additional and/or custom break points for further micro customization between device types! When you design your desktop site, the mobile generates in a fairly intuitive way. You’ll just need to go in and make minor changes.
All platforms offer a way to optimize the mobile versions of your website. WordPress and Squarespace offer an edge with the ease of making those customizations.
All three platforms offer excellent opportunities for SEO optimization.
Squarespace essentially has all the plugins built into the framework which means no maintenance on your part as the user. On Squarespace, SEO is built into each element that you add to the site. It’s a simple practice to open each element, such as a page, product, image or blog post, and add SEO keywords and descriptions. Squarespace also has built-in analytics and can be connected with Google Analytics for more insight.
However, because Squarespace has these features built-in, you don’t have much control over them. For this reason, it’s very important to optimize your images and be careful with your CSS code which can weigh your site down.
Because you have more backend control with WordPress, you have lots of flexibility to optimize your site, which makes SEO easier. When you use WordPress you can install a plugin such as Rankmath (which I use on all client sites) to help set up your SEO properly with maximum customization and an easy-to-use client interface.
With WordPress you also have A TON more functionality when it comes to optimizing your site’s speed and performance, which is essential to keeping the Google Gods happy.
Showit uses WordPress for blogging which means you’ll also be able to integrate those same plugins. Like Squarespace, the native Showit platform is good for SEO but doesn’t have the same backend control as WordPress.
Your web host can also affect your site speed, which is a factor in SEO. Do your research on host site speeds and downtimes. Showit and Squarespace offer hosting in their plans so you don’t get as much control as you would with a WordPress site.
SEO depends heavily on your website copy and content strategy, so while WordPress has the best functionality and customization when it comes to SEO, any of these website platforms has the potential to perform well if the SEO setup and optimization is done correctly up front.
Blogging is incredibly simple in Squarespace. You set up your blog and write and publish a post in minutes. A blog is included in the basic Squarespace plan. Their blog is very basic and there are limitations to the design. If you need basic blogging capability, Squarespace will be all that you need.
Showit doesn’t natively host a blog. What I mean by this is that it uses WordPress for its blog platform. It requires their middle or high tiered plan and the Showit tech team will need to install the blog for you, which might take a couple of days. Once it’s all set up, you’ll design your blog layout in Showit and write your posts in WordPress. There are extra steps in the setup, but after that, it’s pretty straightforward to use.
With both Showit and WordPress standalone blogs you get a lot of creative freedom for design and elements. If your blog is a big source of traffic, a blog with features like a sidebar and easy searching might be important and WordPress will suit your business best.
Squarespace has more e-commerce features built into its platform than Showit or WordPress. It’s easy to set up a store on Squarespace and it seamlessly integrates with the rest of your website. There is no limit to the number of items you can sell on Squarespace.
Just like the blog, you’ll need to install a third-party e-commerce plugin on Showit in order to build an online store. If you’re planning on only selling a handful of items, Showit will work for your store.
However, if e-commerce is a big part of your business and you want the most control, WordPress will be the best platform for you. With WordPress, you can integrate plugins such as Woocommerce or Shopify for a truly powerful e-commerce experience!
If your business has a heavy e-commerce aspect to it, you’ll probably want to host your shop on a platform designed for e-commerce, like Shopify, Kajabi or Thrivecart. From there it’s easy to integrate into any of these platforms.
Who is WordPress for?
WordPress is so versatile that it is suitable for all types of businesses. If you want the most control over your site speed, SEO, website performance and the most creative freedom, WordPress is the best choice for you!
Because there is more to it, WordPress might take you longer to learn with a steep learning curve. It’s best for those who have website design experience or can quickly learn new software. You’ll need more time to learn the backend and maintain your website with WordPress. Or you’ll need a budget to hire a developer to do it for you.
Who is Showit for?
Showit is for business owners who want complete flexibility in the design. Showit allows for creative freedom with a powerful backend. If you’re not scared of a little learning curve, this might be a good choice for your business.
Showit is a great choice for creative business owners such as photographers and designers who want to customize their websites to match the artistry behind their brand.
Who is Squarespace for?
Squarespace is a great choice for the business owner who wants to be hands-off with their website and set it and forget it! It’s also great for those who aren’t afraid to learn a little bit of CSS coding to add customization to their website. Squarespace would work well for small business owners who sell services, such as photography, coaching and consulting.
If ease of use is a priority, it doesn’t get much easier than Squarespace.
So what do I recommend?
While WordPress is my builder of choice, I see the value in what these different platforms have to offer. It really comes down to what your business needs when choosing a website builder.
Need help deciding? Book a consultation call and I’ll give you an unbiased assessment on the way forward for your website!