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Showit vs Squarespace—the great website platform debate! As a website designer who has used both platforms extensively, I have a lot of thoughts to share to help make the Showit vs Squarespace debate an easier decision for you.
The main difference between Showit and Squarespace is that Squarespace is a convenient all-in-one platform, while Showit reigns supreme as a highly customizable drag-and-drop website builder.
I’m going to share with you the key differences between Showit and Squarespace across 10 different categories:
But before we dive into things, I want to share a behind-the-scenes look into my experience with both platforms. Because like many of you, I struggled with deciding which website platform was truly best for my business.
Squarespace was my first love. I started designing websites on Squarespace back in 2014 for local community fitness meetups I was hosting. I was instantly hooked. It was a much less clunky and old-school feeling than the website platforms I was working with in my corporate career. I was able to build websites really quickly and easily.
My love for Squarespace continued to grow as I created sites on the side as a creative outlet.
Then in 2020, as many others experienced, my dream job in the corporate world was eliminated and I was left wondering, “Well, now what?!”
After a few good cries, some runs at the park to get the endorphins up, and endless Zoom happy hours with friends and family, I put my big girl pants on and thought to myself…”Why don’t I try starting my own web design business?!”
And that’s how The SM Collective was born!
My main offering was Squarespace design. And long story short, it was great…until it wasn’t and things just felt off.
I was frustrated with the new Squarespace Fluid Engine editor. And as a beta tester of it, I felt they launched it to the public too soon because it had a lot of issues.
And for a while, I was also noticing that I was getting more inquiries for Showit website design than Squarespace, no matter how eloquently I praised Squarespace (and while not offering Showit design at the time).
Showit’s drag-and-drop capabilities always intrigued me. I loved doing CSS code for Squarespace sites. But the ability to design a custom Showit website and put elements wherever I wanted without needing to code…I’ll be honest, it sounded too good to be true.
While I was on a call one day with my favorite website copywriter, Sara from Between the Lines Copy, I brought up this internal struggle I was having between Showit vs Squarespace. I always appreciate her honesty and she had recently switched to Showit herself, so I knew she’d spill the tea with me.
For some reason, I felt like I owed it to Squarespace to stay on the platform (strange, I know). And I wasn’t sure if the transition from Squarespace to Showit would be the right move for my business (surprise, it was absolutely the right move, even with some headaches involved).
As I was
chatting with venting to Sara, she reminded me about this unspoken “rule” that at a certain point in your business (especially if you’re a service provider and service-based business), Showit just becomes THE next step.
I had absolutely hit and surpassed that point.
So I finally swallowed my fears, made the transition from Squarespace to Showit, and I haven’t looked back since.
Now, the transition from Squarespace to Showit was not as seamless as they market it to be. It’s a blessing that Showit will migrate all of your blog posts over to WordPress for you—a huge timesaver.
But…I had to reformat every single blog post once it was migrated over. It wasn’t hard to do, just tedious and somewhat annoying (and not really the timesaver I initially thought it would be).
Even with that said, I absolutely don’t regret my decision to move my website from Squarespace to Showit. And sometimes, I actually wish I would have made the transition to Showit sooner. *gasp*
Now that you got a taste of my background on Showit vs Squarespace, let’s dive into the key differences between Squarespace and Showit across 10 key categories. First up, is ease of use—let’s dive in to see which website platform is the best in 2023!
Squarespace was built on the framework that anyone can build a website. Because of that, the backend of the Squarespace platform is extremely user-friendly. So whether you’re a techy person or not, the Squarespace platform is really intuitive.
The navigation panel in your account allows you to easily access any and every setting you could think of. And if you’re having trouble finding what you’re looking for, all you have to do is hit the backslash button and a search box will appear to help you find the setting you’re looking for.
You also have the option to start from a blank template or you can select from one of their base template options to give you a head start on your design. For non-website designers, it helps make the design process that much easier.
All of that to say, Squarespace is one of the easiest website platforms to use.
If you aren’t a techy person, Showit is going to be a bit of a learning curve for you. The editing platform sort of resembles Adobe in some aspects with the different layers and the editing panel on the right-hand side.
To me, this is expected with Showit. The customizations you’re able to get with your design warrant a little bit more techiness to the platform.
Similar to Squarespace, Showit does have some free templates you’re able to use to help kickstart your design. For true customization, you’re starting with a blank screen which can be terrifying for the DIYer.
I’m a bit of a tech nerd so I personally didn’t find the transition to Showit that difficult. Their help articles were great support for any questions I had or roadblocks I ran into.
THE WINNER: I’m going to have to give it to Squarespace on this. Showit certainly has more of a learning curve, especially if you aren’t a techy person.
Squarespace gives you pre-designed button options whereas in Showit, you’re designing buttons from scratch and adding click-actions to make them function. If the thought of that scares you, go with Squarespace.
Squarespace is a true all-in-one platform. So it comes as no surprise that Squarespace is incredibly convenient; it’s a one-stop shop.
Need to purchase a domain for your website? No problem.
Want to include a Google Workspace account with that? You got it.
Have some digital or physical products you want to sell? Done.
Are you going to be blogging on a consistent basis? Great!
Looking to create a private members area or gated content? Easy as pie.
Need a built-in scheduler for clients to schedule appointments with you? Done.
Squarespace literally has it all built right into the platform. This makes Squarespace incredibly convenient for new business owners. The headache of logging into 927479202426 accounts and platforms to run your business doesn’t exist.
Now, although these features are built-in, there are additional costs involved outside of your standard Squarespace subscription. And some of these features are just okay, where you’d be better off using a different platform anyway (Squarespace’s email marketing feature isn’t great and I’d recommend Flodesk regardless of which website platform you were on).
Showit is a website platform. It’s a great one for sure, but that’s all the Showit platform offers—websites.
If you need a domain, you’ll need to go to Google Domains. And then you can add a Google Workspace account there.
If you sell digital or physical products, you’ll need to look into third-party platforms and plugins like WooCommerce, Shopify, or ThriveCart.
If you’re going to be blogging, you’ll need WordPress (which Showit integrates with seamlessly). And then you’ll need an SEO plugin like Yoast for your blog posts.
If you’re going to be doing email marketing, you’re going to need Flodesk.
So if you’re not a super techy person, this may stress you out; there’s going to be a bit of a learning curve having all of these different platforms. If you’re more focused on finding a website builder with effortless design and customization, which we’ll dive into next, you’ll want to go with Showit.
THE WINNER: This is an easy one—Squarespace wins for convenience as it is a true all-in-one platform for new business owners.
Squarespace is built on a grid system. The original Squarespace editor made it hard to design a bad site because all elements aligned to the 12-column grid system.
With the launch of Fluid Engine, Squarespace still has the grid system in the background. So although they promote it as being a drag-and-drop editor, you’re still limited on where you can place things based on the grid.
If you aren’t comfortable with code, I find it difficult to get a true custom-looking site from Squarespace. Maybe it’s the designer in me or the years I spent designing in Squarespace, but I can always tell a website that was built on Squarespace.
That certainly changes a bit with Fluid Engine since it does give more freedom and flexibility. But there are certain elements and features that just scream Squarespace to me.
With the Fluid Engine editor, you are now able to edit the mobile design of your site. Prior to this, the mobile site was automatically created for you based on the desktop design.
An issue with this is that if there is an element on desktop you don’t want to appear on mobile, you can’t just delete it on mobile as it will delete it on desktop, too. Instead, you’d have to know code to be able to hide the element on mobile only.
If you’re comfortable with code, you can do some pretty unique and fun things with your Squarespace site. Now most people who are DIYing their site like you, aren’t going to be comfortable with code.
Sure, you can Google to find code snippets and copy & paste them into your site. But there’s a right and wrong way to code.
Squarespace also recently launch Squarespace Blueprint, which allows you to design the shell of a website in literally seconds. I think this is a great feature for anyone who isn’t techy and needs a bit more guidance in the overall flow of their site.
Showit is a true drag-and-drop platform. You can place elements wherever your heart desires without needing a single line of code.
You’re able to toggle on grid lines to ensure your elements are all aligned and spaced correctly.
Showit also allows you to customize both the desktop and mobile versions of your site. You can easily toggle an element on or off, even entire canvases, to truly customize the desktop and mobile experience.
I also like that Showit has a sitewide canvas feature. With that, you can easily add the same section to any page of your site, like your newsletter sign-up, without having to redesign it each time.
THE WINNER: Showit wins hands down on design and customization. And that’s saying a lot from a designer who loves to code!
All that to say, as much as I love to code sites, the ability to place elements wherever I want, add transitions, create multi-layer menus or sidebars, and more without needing code is amazing. And it has helped to speed up my web design process A LOT (coding is just a time–consuming thing).
The website template market for Squarespace vs Showit is almost 2 different worlds. For this comparison, I’m talking about website templates that are for sale from website designers and template shops.
Squarespace templates are typically pretty inexpensive. The average Squarespace template will run between $200-$300.
In my opinion, Squarespace templates are great for new businesses just starting out. They typically come with the standard pages you’re looking for (home, about, services, blog, contact) and not a lot of extras.
Some Squarespace templates are plug-and-play style where you’re adding in your brand colors and fonts, and then simply replacing the template filler copy and stock images with your own. These styles of templates are exceptionally great for the non-techy business owner.
Other template shops provide you with training videos on how to build your website to look like the template. These are great for business owners who want to understand the Squarespace platform a bit more and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.
From a designer standpoint, the process of selling Squarespace templates isn’t a walk in the park. They don’t make it very easy to do and you’ll need a solid tech stack of a few different platforms to automate the process seamlessly.
Squarespace also doesn’t offer a marketplace where they sell templates from Squarespace designers (this ties in with their lackluster customer support I talk about later in the post).
Showit templates are on a completely different playing field than Squarespace templates. From an investment standpoint, Showit templates can range anywhere from $500-$600, all the way up to +$1,200.
From a design perspective, Showit templates are much more unique and creative. Showit templates are great for business owners who want more of that custom website style without the custom price tag. You’re typically going to see more website pages included with Showit templates beyond the standard base pages that most Squarespace templates come with.
This is great because it means the template can grow with you as your business grows. Maybe you don’t need a sales page or shop page yet, but 1-2 years from now you might. That means the investment, though higher than Squarespace templates, will provide more for your business.
From a designer standpoint, the process of selling Showit templates is pretty darn easy. There’s no need for a fancy tech stack which is a huge plus.
Selling Showit templates is highly welcomed by the Showit platform! They have a marketplace where they sell templates from Showit designers, which can help to get more eyes on your templates and grow your business.
THE WINNER: Showit wins this round easily. The Showit template space in general is more robust, creative, and appealing. The Showit platform also supports designers creating templates on its platform which says volumes about their community.
As an all-in-one platform, blogging in Squarespace is really easy. There’s no logging into another platform, it’s all done right inside Squarespace.
A perk of blogging on Squarespace is that as you’re writing your blog post, it’s done in your brand fonts and within the specific blog post width you set. So as you’re writing your blog post, you know exactly what it’s going to look like live on your site.
(Designer tip: never have your blog post content go from edge to edge on the screen. That’s really hard for people to read. Instead, make your blog post content span around 650-750px.)
Squarespace also makes it really easy to have featured blog post sections on various pages throughout your site. You can do this by adding a summary block to any page of your site.
Similarly, you can use a summary block to add a related posts section at the bottom of a blog post to provide more content for your audience.
It’s also really easy to edit the SEO settings for your blog posts within Squarespace—no plugins needed.
If your site is on Showit, you’ll use WordPress for your blog. Showit provides a seamless integration with WordPress.
WordPress has forever been praised as the best platform for blogging. In my opinion, it’s good, not great, and it feels a bit dated.
As you’re writing your blog posting WordPress, a downfall is that it isn’t done in your brand fonts. So although you can set headings and such, you can’t see what it will look like on your site unless you select the “Preview” option.
In order to have blog content appear on your Showit website you have to create WordPress templates. You’ll need one for your main blog page or blog feed and one for individual posts. You’ll also need a blog 404 page as well as a category page.
If you want blog post content to appear on your homepage in a featured posts section, you’ll have to create a homepage template in the WordPress section in order to do so. But if you’re manually going to select the featured blog posts, you can create a standard Showit page.
If you’re DIYing your Showit site, this could be a bit of a learning curve. You also have to properly set the WordPress placeholders so that the content from WordPress shows correctly on Showit.
To adjust the SEO settings for your blog posts, you’ll need a plugin like Yoast. It does go beyond the basic URL slug, page title, and meta description settings. It provides insight into the readability of your content, sentence length, passive voice, and so much more.
THE WINNER: This is a tough one. If you’re looking for just a simple and standard blog, Squarespace is for you. If you want more freedom over the look and feel of your blog pages and you don’t mind logging into multiple platforms, go with Showit.
I do miss the ease of blogging with Squarespace and having it within one platform. On the flip side, I love the flexibility I have in the design of my blog pages and the added insight from the Yoast SEO plugin.
Showit vs Squarespace: which website platform is best for SEO? Well, not to burst your bubble but it’s one of the many SEO myths out there that the website platform you use impacts your SEO.
Google has over 200 ranking factors, and the website platform you use isn’t one of them. What matters is that you’re utilizing the built-in SEO settings like title tags and meta descriptions, prioritizing keywords, creating high-quality content, and the list goes on.
So instead of deciding which website platform is best for SEO, let’s take a look at the SEO settings themselves.
The SEO settings in Squarespace are very intuitive. You’re able to adjust your site SEO settings, their fancy way of saying the SEO settings for your homepage. You’re also easily able to edit the page-specific SEO settings for both standard website pages and blog posts.
With Squarespace, you can also adjust the image alt text. Alt text is used to describe the contents of the image for those who use screen readers. Not only is this an SEO element but it’s an accessibility one, too.
The downfall of Squarespace SEO is due to the Fluid Engine editor and how it organizes the code that builds your website—which is what Google reads, specifically the mobile version of your site.
With the Squarespace Fluid Engine editor, the code is built based on timestamps. In simple terms, that means it’s built based on when you add an element to a specific section, no matter the order you have them arranged in for the design.
This can hurt your SEO if you aren’t careful. Google could read the code of your site backward or in a mismatched order based on when you added elements to each section, versus how they are actually arranged on the mobile version of your site.
Most Squarespace users like you who are DIYing their site aren’t going to be aware of this. You could unknowingly be hurting your SEO without even realizing it.
Just like Squarespace, the Showit SEO settings are very intuitive.
You’re easily able to adjust the SEO settings for your homepage and all of the additional pages of your site. For your blog posts, you can easily adjust the SEO settings with a free WordPress plugin like Yoast (don’t pay for the paid version of Yoast, it’s not needed).
When it comes to image optimization, Showit wins in this SEO-specific category. Images are typically the biggest culprit of a slow-loading website because of their large file size. One way to fix that is to compress your images, with the goal of getting the file size to around 500kb or smaller.
Compressing images isn’t hard to do. There are plenty of free tools out there you can use like Image Optum and Tiny PNG / Tiny JPG.
But Showit actually compresses your images for you when you upload them into your media library. Pretty cool, right?!
Now even though that’s a great added perk, I still suggest running your images through a tool like Image Optum or Tiny PNG/JPG. But knowing that Showit compresses your images gives you peace of mind in case you were to forget to compress one of your images.
With Showit, you’re able to adjust the order of canvas elements to ensure the code generated for your site is read by Google correctly. Doing this isn’t difficult, it’s just tedious. You’re simply dragging the elements to rearrange them in each canvas.
THE WINNER: Overall, this one is a tie. Both Squarespace and Showit offer SEO settings to optimize the pages of your website for Google. If we’re looking at the nitty-gritty details to pick a single winner, Showit would win on this one.
Showit automatically compresses your images when you add them to your media library. You’re also able to adjust the order of canvas elements to ensure the code that Google reads for your website is in the proper order.
Having a secure website is a non-negotiable these days. You can easily tell a secure site from a non-secure site by looking up at the top of your browser where the URL is. If you see a lock icon, your site is secure. If you don’t, you’ll be prompted with a message that the site you’re trying to access isn’t secure and puts you at risk—aka don’t proceed.
Squarespace makes it incredibly easy to ensure your website is secure in just a few clicks. You’re able to toggle on “secure” and also take an added step to ensure your site is HSTS secure. In simple terms, HSTS secure forces browsers to display the secure version of your site.
Showit also makes it really easy to make your website secure…because they’ll do it for you. Their customer support is top-notch (we’ll dive into that category next) and all you have to do before you launch your site is to reach out to them.
Yup, it’s that easy!
All Showit websites come with a free SSL certificate. This simply enables HTTPS so you can feel confident knowing that your website is secure.
THE WINNER: This one is a tie as both Squarespace and Showit allow you to easily ensure your website is secure. Whether it’s a few clicks yourself on Squarespace or reaching out to Showit’s support team, it doesn’t get much easier than that!
I’m just going to come right out and say it, Squarespace’s customer support is not great. Even if you’re a Circle member and receive “priority” through their support team, it’s still not great.
It’s slow, robotic, and doesn’t feel personalized at all.
If you access their help section, you’ll be met with all of their help articles and videos. Which is fine, but sometimes you have a quick question or want to talk to an actual person. They do have options for you to email or chat with a member of their support team, but I never had much luck with those.
The customer support at Showit is like a gift from the heavens. All website platforms could take a page from their book!
Their team is built of genuinely good people that care about your success. They are prompt with their responses and you can tell there’s a human on the other end, not just a robot.
As I was finishing up the transition from Squarespace to Showit for my site, I had some questions that were mainly for clarification. The rep I was emailing with was so helpful and even made the techy questions I was asking fun by sending GIFs and memes to go along with their responses.
It’s the little things, right?!
The Showit team also doesn’t gatekeep information. They’re always looking out for their users beyond the typical customer support method. They’re also very active on social media and continually provide mini-training videos on how to get the most out of Showit.
THE WINNER: Showit wins hands-down for the best customer support, no website platform can compete with them.
The general website subscription plans for Squarespace are pretty straightforward. Where things get complicated is with the additional fees for various built-in features like Member Areas, scheduling, or email marketing.
Let’s start with their general website subscription plans…
If you’re a commerce-based business, Squarespace doesn’t charge transaction fees on their basic or advanced commerce plans. If you’re selling through the business plan, they do charge a 3% transaction fee. And don’t forget about payment processor fees, too!
For Squarespace member areas, there are 3 different pricing plans available…
And then if you want to take advantage of Squarespace’s email marketing, there are fees for that. In my honest opinion, their email marketing offering isn’t that great. It has restrictions on the number of emails you can send per month based on the number of subscribers.
(Or you can go with Flodesk and get unlimited subscribers, unlimited emails, and 50% off your subscription for life with code THESMCOLLECTIVE).
Then let’s say you want to add in scheduling so that clients can book appointments with your directly. Yup, there are fees for the built-in feature as well…
The list goes on! And yes, you’re going to have fees for tools whether you’re using the Squarespace built-in features or a third-party platform. I just wish they were more transparent in their website subscription pricing that these add-ons they market are an additional cost.
The pricing plans for Showit are simple and straightforward—no hidden fees or add-ons. Showit has 3 pricing plans available…
Now unlike Squarespace, Showit doesn’t have any built-in features. You’ll need to use third-party platforms or plugins for things like email marketing, selling physical or digital products, courses, etc.
THE WINNER: Overall, I’m going to have to go with Showit on this one. Their pricing and plans are simple and straightforward. They focus on what they do best—being a drag-and-drop website platform—without any fluff or add-ons.
If you want to test out Showit for yourself before you subscribe to a plan, enjoy a free month of Showit on me—just use code THESMCOLLECTIVE.
Squarespace has always made it easy for website designers to manage multiple client sites. Within your main account dashboard, there’s a full list of all the Squarespace sites you have access to. This makes it really easy to switch between accounts and eliminates the need to share any login information.
Showit now has a contributor access feature which makes it extremely easy to manage multiple sites as a designer. Gone are the days of sharing login credentials!
With Showit contributor access, you can easily access a client’s WordPress account using your own login credentials. All you have to do is add the /wp-admin to the end of the client’s URL and use your personal login credentials.
THE WINNER: This is going to have to be another tie. Both Squarespace and Showit make it easy to manage multiple sites as a designer
After taking a look at the key differences between Showit vs Squarespace, which website platform is the best in 2023?
Squarespace will forever win as the best all-in-one website platform. Yes, there are additional fees to use some of these built-in features. But the convenience factor of having them all on one platform cannot be beat. It is perfect for new business owners just starting out. If you aren’t overly concerned about the customization of your site and all you need are standard website pages, go with Squarespace.
Showit will forever win as the best drag-and-drop website platform. You have full control over the design and customization of your website, no code needed. You’re even able to get unique animations that typically require code just by using native design features on Showit. If you really want to step up the design of your site and have more control over customizations, Showit is the website platform for you.
If I had to pick the ultimate winner of this website platform showdown between Showit vs Squarespace, I would pick…
Showit. Showit takes the top spot in my book.
As a website designer who has used both Showit and Squarespace extensively, I can honestly say that Showit reigns supreme from a design, customer support, and community standpoint.
Squarespace will always be my first love. I designed my first site on Squarespace in 2014 and it led me to where I am today (as cheesy as that sounds). And for some new business owners, Squarespace may be the right decision.
But after using both Showit and Squarespace, I’d have to pick Showit as the best website platform in 2023.
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Through strategic Showit website design and done-for-you search engine optimization, I work with innovative and creative business owners like you to build magazine-worthy websites that effortlessly attract your ideal client—so much so that they’ll never want to leave.
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