What website platform is best for an online business?
I was at the Creative @ Heart conference recently and since I’m known as the girl who is the go-to for website stuff, I was answering a lot of questions about which website platform people should choose for their specific business needs.
There are some pretty consistent themes of which businesses fit which website platform, so today I want to run through that with you. My hope is that you will find yourself in one of these descriptions and choose the right fit!
So let’s get straight to it!
The website platforms I’ll cover as potentials for your online business are:
Squarespace, WordPress, Shopify & Showit.
What about the other website platforms you might be wondering? Like GoDaddy builder, Wix, Weebly, Adobe Muse, etc. Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend them. They’re either hard to migrate to or from, outdated in their look and functionality, or just straight up difficult to work with.
Okay, so let’s get to our options and determine which is a fit for your online business.
There’s just 2 questions you need to answer to learn if Shopify is right for you.
First, is the primary purpose of your website an online store?
If no, move on to the other website platform options. If yes, answer the second question too.
Second, do you expect to have hundreds of products in your online store? Let’s say 200+. (That’s not variants of products, but just products themselves.)
If that’s a yes, Shopify would be a good fit for you! If that’s a no, proceed on to the other website platform options.
If you’re wondering why hundreds of products, it’s because normally I recommend Squarespace (see below for why) but when you have hundreds and hundreds of products, organizing them and setting up really substantial navigation options in Squarespace is harder than in Shopify.
WordPress can do anything, buttt you’re going to want some development skills in order to keep up with all the updates, plugins and general havoc that happens frequently with a WordPress website.
I would really only recommend WordPress if you have someone on your team who is your IT person, and it’s their main job to do all the tech stuff for your business, including updating and fixing the website.
If you’re a solopreneur or a small team where no one has any background in development, I’d steer clear of WordPress. Unless you want to pay a contract developer every month to do the job, which I’m assuming you don’t.
When do you go with Showit? When visuals are make or break to your business.
If you’re in a creative, design-focused field like wedding photography or graphic design, Showit would be a good fit. If you’re familiar with the Adobe suite of products, then Showit will come pretty second-nature to you, as it is a very similar builder.
There is a trade-off though for having complete design freedom. A lot of bits and pieces you’ll want in a website aren’t natively integrated into Showit. If you want to sell products in an online shop, add your Instagram feed to your site, book consult calls through your site, etc., you’ll need to add on another software (and sometimes pay for it) to make that functionality happen.
This leads us to similar issues like WordPress, once one software updates, it can cause problems throughout your site that you’ll need to spend time fixing. Showit and these issues thankfully don’t require quite as many coding skills as WordPress, but it’s still time consuming and annoying to deal with.
If you want a website that just works, no updates, headaches and integrations necessary, Squarespace is what I recommend.
You don’t need to add on other plugins or integrations to get Squarespace to have the functionality you want, it’s all built in making it super easy to use and negating the necessity for you to deal with site issues constantly, as the Squarespace team in NYC takes care of any updates and issues for you.
Squarespace is perfect for an online business (I use it for mine.)
My Squarespace site allows me to create opt-in pages, landing pages, sales pages, sell products and services, book phone call appointments, blog, have my Instagram feed on my site, and more! It’s really all-in-one and headache-free.
There is a myth floating around that Squarespace sucks for SEO, but I’m happy to report that’s totally NOT true. You can learn more about that here.
People have also said that when you use Squarespace, your site will come out looking just like the template. I’m happy to report, the people who are having that problem are doing it wrong – and that it’s also not true.
Here’s a side-by-side look at my home page and the home page of my template. They don’t really look anything alike right?!
Admittedly, I’ve been using Squarespace for 6 years now, so I know how to use it pretty well to make the customizations I want and spent years as a Squarespace designer.
But not to worry, I took all my Squarespace skills and packaged them up into my course Square Secrets where I teach students everything I know about Squarespace.
If you’re also looking to build your site on Squarespace, click the button below for course details.
Alternatively, if you want to DIY that Squarespace site, I’ve still got something for ya!