Sign up now

The 5-Day Gut Check Your Brand Email Challenge

free resource

Using Templates
Technical How-Tos
Biz Strategy & Growth
Design & Aesthetics
Messaging & Copy

Growing your business is hard enough without trying to DIY your brand and website alone. 

Hey. I'm Jess.

Welcome to the Blog

Brand Quizzes

Why I Switched from Squarespace to Showit: Showit as a Tool for Brand Reinvention

Biz Strategy & Growth, Design & Aesthetics, Messaging & Copy

Anybody who’s been following me for more than a minute knows that I’ve been a Squarespace designer from Day 1 of my business. A lot of thought went into that decision. And Squarespace served me well for a couple of years. Honestly, I don’t have a ton of bad things to say about that tool.

It’s just that, over time, as my brand grew, I started to need different things, different functionality that I just couldn’t get with Squarespace. So I decided to first switch over my own website to Showit and become certified in their design standards before I began using it for my client designs and website templates.

As I’ve casually started leaking my shift to Showit, I’ve had tons of friends and clients reach out to me asking why I decided to make the switch. So, here are all my thoughts on the subject, organized in one place, for your consideration.

My Squarespace Experience

To be totally honest, I started out using Squarespace for my first business website because I’d heard about it in a podcast ad. I know, not a great reason to make a business decision. But it’s the truth. One of the hosts shared that their website was built on Squarespace, and that’s all I needed to hear. I signed up that day.

And really, for the most part, Squarespace has been good to me over the past couple of years. Sure, I hit the random frustration here and there, but generally, it was smooth-ish sailing. Over time, I began offering Squarespace website design to clients, and the platform’s name recognition and easy-to-navigate interface typically made it a good fit for just about everybody.

What Drew Me to Squarespace in the First Place

  • The ease of navigation for clients. Squarespace’s back-end interface is crazy easy to navigate. Menu options are pretty self-explanatory and intuitive, and there’s even a search feature you can use if you just can’t remember where to find that one thing. This made training my clients on how to use and maintain their Squarespace websites pretty straightforward.
  • Fluid Engine. This new Squarespace innovation was launched just about the time I was coming onboard with Squarespace. It was touted as a drag-and-drop website builder that would allow designers near-total freedom when creating websites.
  • Regular updates and innovations. Just based on my own experiences, I think Squarespace prides itself on making regular updates and releasing new innovations in the design space (even if they are not always fully baked). It felt like Squarespace was on the cutting edge of web design.
  • Exceptional support. Squarespace has truly exceptional support. There are forums where you can ask questions of other users and designers, there’s a designer-exclusive community, and there’s real-time chat, and email support 24/7. Their extension help guide catalog is also super robust and usable.

Squarespace Challenges

  • Limited design functionality without code. To be totally honest, this is the proverbial straw that broke this camel’s back. I was working on website templates for a forthcoming template shop and had to use SO. MUCH. CODE. to get the sites to look the way I wanted them to look. I knew it would be a nightmare for someone to use, and my goal was to make people’s lives easier, not more difficult. At the same time, a close friend of mine (whose Squarespace website I did not design) began complaining to me about how hard it was to update her website or make even minor changes because of all the code her agency had used.
  • They change stuff all the time. What I was originally drawn to about Squarespace’s regular updates and innovations became rather frustrating to me over time. From one client website to the next, that one toggle I needed was in a completely different place. A new policy about uploaded fonts meant old code was liable to break, potentially wreaking havoc on previously-designed client sites. And while I’m all for innovating with the times, it often felt like certain features we’re rolled out before they were really ready (I’m looking at you, Fluid Engine tablet spacing issue).
  • Too much stuff all in one place confused clients. Squarespace does a lot. If you wanted to, you could run your email, scheduling, domain, and who knows what else in the future through the platform. And while that all-in-one approach works for some people. For others, I found it to be an impediment. In some cases, people were just flat confused about all the available options. And in others, they already had ride-or-die tools for each of these functions and so having all those options in Squarespace wasn’t really a benefit at all.
  • Manual template transfer process. Another issue related to my impending template shop that I just couldn’t find a satisfactory answer to was the transfer process. With Squarespace, it requires someone on my team to receive the order and manually go in to transfer the ownership of the site to the person who purchased it. That stinks on both sides of that equation. Clients have to wait to receive their site and my team would have to be on call essentially around the clock to respond to orders. While there are some workarounds I found, nothing left me feeling super confident or jazzed about the process.
  • Support staff can’t/won’t help with coding. So, to be clear, Squarespace is great with support. I have leveraged all of it at different points, and it’s super helpful. But here’s the snag. Remember what I said about having to use a bunch of code to get the designs I wanted, well Squarespace’s support team cannot and does not help with code-related issues. As I continued to use more and more code to achieve the aesthetic effects I was looking for, I was left to Google search or invest in separate courses to find answers to my coding questions and conundrums.

How and Why I Switched to Showit

So I started shopping around a bit. Showit had been on my radar for a while now, especially prominent as I began researching and thinking about my template shop. Come to find out, many of the designers I’ve come to respect and admire run their client projects and template shops on Showit.

So, I did a bit more digging and decided to invest in a course to learn more. Then, once I felt completely confident, I migrated my own site over from Squarespace. Here’s the things I’ve really loved thus far.

  • Blog design. You would not believe the gymnastics I performed on Squarespace to get my blog to look the way I wanted it to look! I even went so far as to take it out of the built-in-blog format and create a new individual webpage for each new post I made. It was a mess and a nightmare to maintain. While the integration between WordPress and Showit gave me some heartburn at first, once I set up my own blog, that trepidation dissipated quickly. You get the design prowess of Showit with the blogging power of WordPress. I have no notes.
  • Even better support. So, yes, Squarespace’s support team is great. Yes, they have lots of design tutorials and help articles. Yes, they win awards. But, here’s my controversial two cents — Showit’s support team is better. Sure, their chat isn’t 100% real time. But my experience has been that they are easier to work with, more eager to help, and generally more personable. I mean, they send gifs in their responses. Have I ever mentioned that gifs are my love language?
  • True drag-and-drop design functionality. While Squarespace’s Fluid Engine builder was touted to be a “drag-and-drop” design tool, I’m here to tell you it isn’t. To start, there’s a grid that dictates where everything goes and it’s next to impossible to make a change one page or section that isn’t going impact the rest of your site. The fact of the matter is, it’s clunky. Can you get it to do what you want it to do and ultimately look great and function beautifully? Yep. Will you tear all your hair out trying to get there? Maybe.
  • Simple for clients to navigate. Okay, let’s get this out of the way. If you’re a longtime Squarespace user (like me), there’s a learning curve here. How steep it is probably depends on how tech savvy you are. If you tend to pick up new tech pretty quickly, you’ll be fine in Showit. In fact, I’d wager that once you get your sea legs under you, you’ll like it even better. What used to take 6 clicks and several lines of code in Squarespace is just available right out of the box in Showit.
  • Mobile responsiveness. Another major point of frustration with Squarespace (and specifically Fluid Engine) was that creating a beautiful mobile version of a site was just a downright pain. A quick Google search will bring up tons of articles and forum posts about the tablet spacing issue introduced when Fluid Engine launched (don’t get me started). In many cases, this meant more code. And more time. Enter Showit, where the mobile version of the site is totally unique and you can do essentially anything you want to optimize its look and feel without impacting your desktop site. Game changer!

Showit Limitations to Consider

All of this said, I do know that everyone’s preferences are different and for some businesses, Showit might not be the right solution. So, here are a few potential limitations to consider before you make your own switch.

  • Limited e-commerce functionality. If e-commerce is a big part of your business, Showit might not be right for you as it doesn’t have any out-of-the-box e-commerce functionality. That said, it’s super simple to integrate Shopify Lite or link folks to a Thrivecart checkout (which is what I’m planning to do in my template shop). But if you’re looking for in-platform e-commerce support, Showit’s probably not for you.
  • Too much design freedom. If you have no design background and you’re planning to completely DIY your site, you might be in some trouble. While designers love the creative freedom that comes with Showit’s true drag-and-drop functionality, it can be overwhelming for some folks. And lead to some questionable designs. But if you’re starting from a template or working with a designer on a custom site, you should be good to go.
  • External email and domain hosting. For me, this wasn’t a big deal. I just kept both my email and my domain with Squarespace. So now, technically, I have two separate bills to pay and keep track of. But truthfully, once I transferred my domain to my new Showit website, there’s really not a lot of maintenance that goes into either of these things. So it wasn’t a dealbreaker for me to have them in two different places. But anyone switching to Showit should know that you won’t get to have everything billed in one place.
  • Lack of design guardrails. If you’re not starting from a template, it’ll likely take you longer to create your site. The sheer lack of design limitations is a designer’s dream, but if you’re not a designer and don’t have any design experience, the freedom may overwhelm you. Staring at a blank canvas (as they’re called in Showit) can be super intimidating. There’s just so many options, so many ways to go. Starting with a free or premium template can help you get started in the right direction, though.

Designing Huckleberry Creative’s New Website

Even with these limitations in mind, I’m really glad I made the switch to Showit. My site looks great (go check it out if you haven’t yet), and I’m set up to help all my future clients get beautiful websites that they can easily maintain. Plus, I’m looking forward to launching an amazing website template shop later this year that will help even more entrepreneurs and small business owners level up simply and strategically.

Thinking about switching to Showit? You can use this link (it’s an affiliate link, just FYI) to get your first month free! Tell ’em Jess over at Huckleberry Creative sent ya.