If you don’t want to use Squarespace, there are other platforms you could use for a website for your business. There are pros and cons to every platform, so you need to weigh the pros and cons of each. There are also certain platforms that I would recommend for different scenarios or different people – there’s nuance to all of this! I’m not here to preach that one website platform is the end-all, be-all solution.
Let’s dive in.
How to decide on a website platform
As a business owner, I think there are a few things you need to take into consideration. Yes, some designers out there are die-hard proponents of only one platform – but I am not one of them! So, when you’re trying to decide which platform to use, think about and look into:
- Content export options: is it easy for you to export content and move to a new platform? You never know when you may need (or want) to move to a different platform. I put this at the top of the list because it’s your content, and you need to have full ownership and portability.
- Backup capability: similar to moving content, we also need to be able to save it! Glitches happen, and sometimes you need to be able to restore content from a backup. Likewise, backups can (sometimes) be used to move to a new platform.
- Usability: this is a mix of the usability of the platform itself, and how tech savvy you are. It’s important that you, or someone on your team, are capable of making changes to your site. Or if you don’t want to update your website, then consider the budget needs to hire someone to do them for you.
- Responsiveness: this is basically a given nowadays, but as new platforms pop-up, it’s important to check this.
- SEO: another given, but always good to double-check.
Of course, there are other things to consider like monthly price for the platform, specific features available, page limits, and more. These are things you’ll need to evaluate for yourself and your specific situation. I don’t evaluate or “grade” platforms based on price, because the numbers mean something different for everyone – what may be okay to me, may be too expensive for you. In my opinion, it’s poor decision-making when you only choose something based on price.
What do you want your website to do?
Another very important consideration is to think about what you want your website to be able to do. For example, if you’re not going to be selling products, there’s no need to use Shopify. Something you could consider doing is asking others in your industry what website platform they use and why. This market research can be helpful, but it can also be overwhelming. Some industries stick to one platform, other industries will have a wide variety of platforms used.
If you’re in an industry where people are using all different platforms, be sure to ask why! But, also consider talking to or learning from some experts in the field. If you’re a personal trainer, talk to a few web designers and ask what they recommend. It’s important to hear from the experts, as users don’t always make the best decisions. Just because everyone is doing the keto diet doesn’t mean it’s actually good, or that a professional would recommend it.
So, what’s better than Squarespace?
Before you roll your eyes at WordPress and complain about how awful it is – keep in mind that usability comes down to your THEME. The theme is what dictates the design, and that’s where people have problems making changes. If you have used WordPress before and didn’t like it, it’s likely because of the theme that was in place. Personally, I like using Divi for my clients, but Elementor is another popular page builder. (aff. link)
Another important piece is having a good WordPress host. My favorites are Siteground and Flywheel. Having a good host is important for site speed and security, so don’t skimp!
WordPress is one of THE most popular platforms used on the Internet. It has incredible functionality and customization options thanks to free and premium plugins. You can host memberships, podcasts, shops, directories, and more. Because WordPress is so widely used, it’s also easy to find people to help, or even just find answers on Google. I did a video comparison here:
Showit is a drag-and-drop website builder, primarily targeted towards photographers. (But, anyone can use it!) Showit gives you total creative control, almost like a blank canvas, including editing for mobile specifically. It’s also integrated with WordPress – build in Showit, and connect it to your WordPress account.
In Squarespace, there are style parameters and special features built into each template that can’t be changed. In Showit, that’s not the case. Squarespace can be more beneficial if you don’t have a creative eye, or just want to plug and play. If you’re someone who loves to have more creative freedom and play around, then Showit might be the better option for you.
Wix and Weebly operate similarly, but I do not recommend Wix and Weebly for business owners.
Shopify is an e-commerce platform. Both Squarespace and WordPress can also sell products, but one of Shopify’s biggest perks is having a point-of-sale system for in-person sales that also works alongside your website inventory. With the other platforms, you’d have to manually take payments another way and update your inventory on the website manually.
As someone who has worked with Shopify, it does take quite a bit of work to customize, and then sometimes, there are things you cannot customize. You’ll definitely want to expect to invest in a designer or developer’s help if you have a specific idea of what you want your website to look like. I did more comparisons on Squarespace vs Shopify here:
Honorable mention: Webflow
Webflow is very similar to Showit, in that you can design on a totally blank canvas. What’s great is that you can start a free account and you don’t have to pay until you need more pages or want to connect your domain and launch your website! And yes, there is an e-commerce capability!
So, what’s the downside? The Webflow export capabilities are limited. You can export your HTML, but that limits where you can go. For example, that wouldn’t give you the ability to import into Squarespace. It’s not fair to say there are NO export options, it’s just not what I would consider ideal. But, they do have website back-up options, which is great.
Hopefully this helps you choose the right platform for you and YOUR business. If you’re just getting started, be sure to check out my resource guide for building a website.