One thing I’ve noticed a lot lately when consulting with potential clients (who are all small business owners) is that it’s super confusing and complicated trying to figure out which website platform is the right choice. You have Squarespace, Showit, WordPress.org, WordPress.com, Wix, Shopify, Weebly…(my head is spinning!). To make things simple, I’m covering the pros and cons of what I believe are the three best website platforms to choose from: Squarespace, Showit, and WordPress.
First off – simply put, a website platform is the software used to build your website. This may or may not include hosting, but it’s where you actually create your website.
Let’s take a closer look at these 3 platforms to help discover your perfect match. If you’re still unsure (because they’re truthfully all great platforms!), there’s a short and sweet 3-question quiz at the bottom of this post to reveal the best platform for your needs. Ready to dive in?
Squarespace is a user-friendly drag-and-drop platform that’s great for DIYers. You can simply select one of the pre-designed templates that Squarespace offers, plug in your content, and go live – no coding required.
- Drag and drop builder
- Hosting is included
- Phenomenal e-commerce platform
- Dozens of modern, sleek templates to choose from
- 4 pricing tiers
- Auto responsive design
- Email and chat support
- Responsive design isn’t always accurate and can’t be manually designed or edited without coding
- Design customizations are limited with a grid-like layout, resulting in websites that look template-y
- Many complaints about Squarespace being too confusing/disorganized when it comes to quickly and easily making edits to your website
I’ll be honest – I’m not a huge fan of Squarespace. For certain websites it may be a good fit, and I do love Squarespace when building e-commerce sites since the features rival big competitor Shopify (for a fraction of the cost). However, as a creative, a web designer, and coder, I can’t get over the restrictions and limitation on design. There are ways around this, but it results in a lot more work than just starting off with a different platform. The only times I really recommend Squarespace are for very simple websites, business owners just getting started, quick DIYs, or e-commerce websites.
Showit is another user-friendly drag-and-drop platform that’s also great for DIYers. Select one of the free templates or opt for one of the hundreds of professionally-designed premium templates from top designers; plug in your content, and launch – no coding required.
- Drag and drop builder
- Hosting is included
- Hundreds of professionally-designed templates to choose from
- Zero limitations or restrictions on design
- 3 pricing tiers
- Full control over your mobile/responsive design
- Fantastic support
- Showit handles the launch of your website for you, including blog transfers from supported platforms
- Integrated WordPress blog
- Without a built-in e-commerce functionality, not ideal for large shops (small shops are possible using Shopify Lite, ThriveCart, or SendOwl)
Ah, Showit. What a breath of fresh air (can you tell I’m biased?). Showit is my all time favorite because it truly is easy to use and offers 100% unlimited design possibilities…and it comes with a WordPress blog. My only large disappointment with Showit is the lack of built in e-commerce. However, there are workarounds (although not ideal), including Shopify Lite “buy buttons” as seen in my shop.
WordPress is the king of website platforms as it’s probably the most well-known and most used of the three. However, it really is meant for developers and coders as it doesn’t come with a drag-and-drop platform like the others mentioned above. It does, though, have the widest selection of themes to choose from and offers the most integrations and options.
- Totally free, but hosting needs to be purchased separately
- Huge selection of premium themes to choose from
- Unlimited possibilities with design (code required) and integrations
- Tons of plugins available for any of your needs
- WooCommerce is a fantastic e-commerce platform
- Great blogging platform
- Hosting not included
- Not a good option for DIYers
- Not easy to manage for those who aren’t super tech-savvy
- Updates need to be performed manually
- High hack rating compared to others
- Zero 1 on 1 support – there is no WordPress “team” offering support – you either need to find your own support person or browse forums for help
I started my business working solely with WordPress, so I am a little biased and love it for that reason. It’s the king of platforms and you can create pretty much anything with it. However, with an equally long list of cons (that are pretty big issues honestly), I don’t usually recommend this platform anymore unless it’s a specific site that will be best built on WordPress. For those that still love and desire a WordPress site, though, I’ve taken some measures in the last year to make these website as user-friendly as possible (to compare to the other two platforms). I use Elementor to integrate a drag-and-drop platform with my WordPress sites, which helps clients manage their own sites. However, this still proves to be complicated when compared with Showit or Squarespace.
The Ultimate Decision
In case you skimmed the post, here’s a quick overview of my thoughts: 9 times out of 10, Showit is the right platform for my clients. In the rare cases another platform might be a better option, it’s usually because a large shop is being built or someone may just really love and be comfortable with Squarespace because that’s what they’ve always used.
While I do offer totally custom websites (in days!) on Showit, Squarespace, and WordPress…Showit will always be my go-to and I highly recommend it to all of my clients.
Take the Quiz
3 simple questions to find your perfect match –