Determining what website platform you should use for your business can feel overwhelming. Everyone you talk to has a different opinion and there is an overwhelming number to choose from; Showit, Squarespace, WordPress, Shopify, and so many more.
At Aspen Theory we build in all of the major platforms, there are pros and cons to each one. We work with our clients to determine the best platform for their business’s needs.
Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of four of the top website platforms; Showit, Squarespace, WordPress, and Shopify.
Should I Use Showit For My Website?
Showit is one of the newer website platforms, and it’s quickly taken over…for good reason! It’s drag and drop, completely customizable, and super user-friendly.
Pros Of Showit
Drag and Drop Design
If you’ve ever used Canva, you basically already have all of the tools you’ll need to be able to build a beautiful Showit website. Their backend is extremely easy to navigate and allows for infinite layout and design possibilities without ever touching a line of code.
Desktop and Mobile Optimization
Showit allows you to completely customize your mobile design with ease. Design your desktop and mobile layout side by side to quickly be able to optimize for mobile-first design.
Custom Templates and Sections
Showit allows you to create sections and templates that can easily be repeated throughout your site. Such as your header, footer, or testimonial sections. This makes creating new pages in the future a breeze because your core elements are ready to be copied and pasted throughout the site.
Cons Of Showit
ECommerce Integrations Are Available, But They Can Be Kind Of Clunky
Showit easily integrates with Shopify to add E-Commerce functionality to your website. This integration is great if you only have a handful of products (~5-10). But it is not suitable if you are planning on running a primarily e-commerce focused business.
It Can Be Bulky For Big Websites
I tend to recommend Showit to clients who will have no more than 10-15 pages on their website. There isn’t a great way to organize pages in Showit, if you’re planning a super robust website, it can be hard to manage, navigate, and quickly make global updates to large sites.
Who Should Use Showit:
- Creative Service-Based Entrepreneurs (Photographers, Videographers, Coaches) who want the ability to go in and update their website with ease.
- If your website will stay under 10-15 pages
- If you only need one type of blog on your website (ie. you can’t create a Portfolio blog and a resource blog)
Should I Use Squarespace For My Website?
Squarespace is a tried and true classic. It’s user friendly, comes with plenty of pre-loaded templates, and has a robust e-commerce integration.
Pros of Squarespace
Drag and Drop Builder
Just like Showit, Squarespace comes equipt with a drag and drop builder function. However, unlike Showit, Squarespace uses a grid layout that allows you to drag and drop items into specific sections rather than free-form throughout the page. This allows you to easily create a well balanced layout without spending too much time making sure everything is perfectly aligned.
Squarespace offers its own robust e-commerce platform. It integrates easily with dropshipping companies like Printful, to add merch or other physical products to your site. You can easily sell your own products, subscriptions, or digital goods all from within Squarespace.
Set It And Forget It!
One of the biggest pros of Squarespace is that they manage all of the site updates for you. Once you build your website, you only need to go in to update content. You don’t have to worry about the “tech” side of things, they’ve got you covered!
Cons of Squarespace
Limited SEO Functionality
Squarespace does offer some basic SEO tools, but this is definitely their biggest area of weakness. You won’t have access to advanced SEO tools within Squarespace.
Limited Customization Without A Web Developer
Squarespace is great for building a basic website without code, but to access more advanced features you’ll need to work with a designer or developer to add some flare and make it completely your own.
Limited Mobile Customization
Squarespace doesn’t offer too much in the way of mobile customization out of the box. To get a truly mobile responsive website, you’ll need to work with a designer or developer to prioritize mobile design.
Who Should Use Squarespace:
- Creative Entrepreneurs who also sell digital or physical goods
- People who don’t want to spend a lot of time fussing with their website after it’s set up!
Should I Use WordPress For My Website?
WordPress has a bad rep. She may be a little rough around the edges, but it is by far the most flexible website platform around! It is superior in it’s SEO capabilities and allows you to infinitely expand and customize to fit your needs.
Pros Of WordPress
Drag and Drop Design with Desktop Tablet and Mobile Customization Using Elementor
I use the Elementor builder for all WordPress builds. This gives you an incredibly flexible drag and drop build layout with infinite possibilities for customization. Elementor also allows you to customize your design for desktop, tablet, and mobile responsiveness giving it a leg up against the competition.
You Can Dream It, You Can Do It
WordPress has thousands of plugins to help you achieve whatever it is you’re looking to do. From e-commerce, membership sites, to advanced animations, and functionality. You can completely customize your website to achieve whatever you need.
Custom Post Types and Templates
You can design several different blogs within your WordPress site. For example, if you are a photographer, you can set up a Portfolio blog, a Resources blog to share tips and tricks with other photogs, and a Wedding Planning blog for potential clients. Each of which having a unique template and design. This functionality is great for businesses catering to multiple audiences.
The SEO Champion
WordPress offers superior SEO support through plugins like RathMath or Yoast SEO. This is where WordPress really shines. It gives you detailed rating scores and clear ideas for improving SEO throughout your site.
Cons Of WordPress
Website Maintenance Is Part of The Package
If you go with a WordPress website, you are responsible for making sure your site is up to date. You have to update plugins, and the WordPress database manually. Ideally, you should be doing this at least once a month.
The Backend Can Be Intimidating
I’ll be honest WordPress’s backend leaves little to be desired from a design perspective. It’s definitely the most outdated of the bunch, but that rough exterior holds more flexibility than the other options.
Steepest Learning Curve
WordPress definitely has the steepest learning curve of the bunch. With so much flexibility comes many new skills to learn to be able to update the site. When you work with Aspen Theory we provide custom website tutorials for each page of your website as well as a training call to help with that transition, but it can be a lot to try to figure out on your own!
Who Should Use WordPress:
- Creative business owners who want total control and the ability to easily scale and pivot
- Business owners who want total control of all of the granular functions of their site
- Business owners looking for advanced functionality on their website
- Business owners who are frequently spending time in their website
Should I Use Shopify For My Website?
Shopify is really the only option for e-commerce businesses. Their website platform is specifically designed with the needs of e-comm business owners in mind.
Pros of Shopify
Shopify was designed from inception with e-commerce in mind. They offer superior metrics, email integrations, and support to help your e-commerce store grow and scale.
Cons of Shopify
Hard To Customize Without A Designer
Shopify’s templates out of the box require a working knowledge of their coding language Liquid to be able to achieve certain design goals. Their drag and drop builder is definitely the most rudimentary of the bunch. Setting up a Shopify store without the help of a designer or a paid template can be a difficult task for new business owners.
Who Should Use Shopify:
- Small Business owners primarily selling physical or digital goods
Every platform out there has its strengths and weaknesses, it’s all about finding the one that best matches the needs of your business. If you’re still not sure which website platform is best for you, GET IN TOUCH to schedule a free consultation call.