A Complete Review of the Most-Used Website Platforms
ShowIt, Squarespace, Wordpress, Weebly, & Wix
How do you choose which one to build your website on?
Which one is best for your specific industry and stage of business?
I collaborated with one expert on each platform to give you a full review of each one, without a biased opinion (because we are VERY loyal to our chosen platforms!)
Expert: Katie Harrington
Instagram - @katieharringtondesign
Email Katie: firstname.lastname@example.org
Katie is a graphic and web designer that focuses on helping other designers by taking work off of their plate so they can focus more on their business and what they love! She loves coffee, Fleetwood Mac and traveling as often as she can.
In short, why do you use ShowIt?
“I love Showit because it allows for the most creative freedom in designing websites. It’s drag and drop platform is similar to the Adobe Creative Suite and allows for uniquely designed sites. It’s super easy to integrate Wordpress blogs into any site (they’ll even do the migration for you!) and they have an AMAZING support team.”
What are the main Pros and Cons of ShowIt?
You have to integrate other platforms for e-commerce.
Is too much creative freedom a con? But for real, I find myself spending lots of time on sites because I have SO many options and creative freedom.
A bit of a learning curve for more advanced blog and site options.
Not as many people use it / are familiar with it.
Drag and drop functionality / creative freedom
Able to design desktop and mobile side by side
Amazing support team
Hosting included in price
What is the cost of building on ShowIt?
3 Tiers ranging from non-blog site to advanced blog.
What types of businesses is the ShowIt platform best for?
Expert: Linsey Marchant
Instagram - @ljmediahouse
Email Linsey: email@example.com
Linsey is a branding and Squarespace web designer, specializing in small creative businesses owned by passionate female entrepreneurs ready to up-level their dreams. She travels the globe full-time while running her business, watching her partner play professional baseball along the way.
In short, why do you use Squarespace?
“It’s an all-in-one platform, everything you need is built into Squarespace, no added plug-ins, extra SEO work, or platforms to sync together. My clients can go into their website after I do the design, and be confident that they can blog, use their eCommerce store, or update content without “breaking” their website.”
What are the main Pros and Cons of Squarespace?
Easy to use interface
Built in SEO
Drag and drop design
Synced to common platforms like MailChimp, Pinterest, etc.
Optimized for mobile and tablet view
Hosting is included (as well as domain if you choose)
Less customizable unless your designer knows CSS
No animation options at this time (in beta!)
The price is a bit high
No preview mode
Cannot customize Mobile separately from Web
Does not support AfterPay yet
What is the cost of building on Squarespace?
Personal Plan: $12/month annually - $16/monthly
Business: $18/month annually - $26/monthly
Basic Store: $26/month annually - $30/monthly
Advanced Store: $40/month annually - $46/monthly
What types of businesses is the Squarespace platform best for?
Small Online Stores
Service Based Businesses
Brick & Mortar Businesses
Expert: Clare Lewis
Instagram - @clareconceptweb
Email Clare: firstname.lastname@example.org
Clare and Clare Concept help visionary entrepreneurs achieve their web goals, without adding a thousand to-dos to the business owner’s list. From a one page site to a major e-commerce site, the process is focused completely on what will work for the client’s business. When Clare is not working, she can be found with family, her dogs or watching hockey.
In short, why do you use WordPress?
“I use WordPress for my clients because it allows me to give them a beautiful custom design with great functionality, through extending the code, however, it is also easy for them to update without knowing code. For me, it is the best of both worlds.”
What are the main Pros and Cons of WordPress?
Unlimited control, if you have enough knowledge or work with a developer, there are no limits on what you can achieve
Easily scalable so you can grow from a simple blog to a major e-commerce operation
Amazing community is always willing to help and constantly working to improve the platform
You have total ownership over your site, content and host.
Can seem a bit overwhelming for a beginner if they aren’t used to the platform
Need to keep the site updated if you don’t have a maintenance plan with a developer
If DIYing, the number of themes makes it hard to choose the right one
Can be hard to choose the right plugin for the functionality you are seeking
What is the cost of building on WordPress?
For the self-hosted version, just the cost of a domain and hosting, which can vary based on your needs, anywhere from $5-30 a month. Plugins can be purchased to extend functionality but there are a lot of great free plugins depending on your needs.
What types of businesses is the WordPress platform best for?
Anyone who wants a custom website with great blogging functionality.
Expert: Jianna Caronan
Instagram - @themissingc
Email Jianna: email@example.com
Jianna Mariel Caronan is the founder and creative behind The Missing C. She provides design and tech support for fellow entrepreneurs as well as small to medium businesses.
With over 8+ years of experience, the 21 year old discovered her love for creating graphics and sites at a very young age. Based in NJ, she’s finishing up a degree in Business Administration and hope to take her business full-time when she graduates.
In short, why do you use Weebly?
“With the right tools and experience, Weebly makes it easy to create a beautiful custom site. As a designer, I love taking their layouts and transforming them into something new or if I’m feeling really inspired, coming up with a bespoke design. But what makes Weebly so great is that even the least Tech savvy individual can get a basic site up and running. I love that my clients have the option to make simple updates to their site if they would like to.”
What are the main Pros and Cons of Weebly?
Weebly offers hundreds of ready to use templates, designed for a variety of brands and businesses (portfolios, e-commerce stores, etc.)
A drag and drop builder that doesn’t require much, if any, CSS knowledge
Completely intuitive and has built in alignment tools. This makes it the go-to builder for DIYers, no design background needed (but more on that in that Cons list)
Customizations may require higher-level coding knowledge due to the lack of compatible apps/plugins
There are “hidden” fees for additional features; though the simplest website is free/low-cost, other platforms would be better suited depending on the business’ exact needs
The builder can sometimes be limiting. Unlike other builders, Weebly doesn’t let you place elements just anywhere. It automatically snaps to grid which without additional customizations or the help of designer, often leads to poorly designed sites
What is the cost of building on Weebly?
Personally, I spend $144/year on my website. This includes (limited) e-commerce features.
Least expensive: You can get started on Weebly for FREE. To connect your own domain, you will expect to spend $48/year. The next membership tier will cost $96/year and will allow you to remove Weebly branding as well as add your own favicon.
Most Expensive: The most comprehensive membership tier is $576/year. This includes email marketing, an unlimited membership site, and additional shop features including gift cards. The step below is $300 which allows for the most basic membership site and shop features like coupons.
What types of businesses is the Weebly platform best for?
This platform is best for service based entrepreneurs like coaches, designers, and social media marketers. If your site serves primarily as your online portfolio and/or calling card, I recommend it a 100%.
Expert: Cassandra Miasnikov
Instagram - @cassmiasnikov
Email Cassandra: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cassandra Miasnikov is the founder of Selene Marketing. She uses clean web design, content marketing, and reputation management to help health and wellness practitioners have less stress in their office and more time doing what they love. She lives in Bend, Oregon with her Savannah cat, family, and a healthy abundance of fantasy novels.
In short, why do you use Wix?
“I use Wix because it’s a fantastic platform for artistic, space-oriented designers. It allows users to build a custom site that doesn’t sacrifice mobile optimization or professionalism for your business. There’s a lot of freedom to visually adjust each layout as you see fit for a website that’s truly custom to your business and needs.”
What are the main Pros and Cons of Wix?
Wix provides over 510 templates to span across a wide variety of businesses and niche industries.
Wix uses a drag and drop builder, which means that you don’t need a rich background in CSS to build your site.
Wix offers a free plan you can use to build and host as many sites as you’d like - if you don’t mind leaving their branding on your pages and in your URL.
Wix provides a responsive 24/7 support team so you don’t have to waste time digging through forums or waiting 2 business days to get answers.
Switching templates is a hassle. Because of the drag and drop builder, you will need to input and customize your content all over again.
Some users say that Wix hurts their SEO ranking, but this is often due to a lack of understanding content optimization, not an issue with Wix itself. Getting outside help with SEO would easily resolve this.
The Wix navigation menu isn’t built to accommodate complex site structures since there’s only one sub-level. However, this wouldn’t be an issue for most small- to medium-sized businesses.
What is the cost of building on Wix?
Wix offers a free plan so you can explore their tools before you commit. Their combo plan, (the best solution for most websites without ecommerce) is ad-free, includes a free domain name for 1 year, and provides a hefty amount of storage all for $11/mo.
What types of businesses is the Wix platform best for?
“Small to medium-sized businesses who need a visually appealing, responsive website. In my experience, Wix has been extremely successful for most health practitioners, including dentists, massage therapists, and nutritionists. It’s also a great tool for business owners with an inherent eye for aesthetics like photographers, chefs, and interior designers, since their builder is visually-based.”
As you can see, there are many platforms, with different pros and cons of each. When choosing the platform you wish to use for your business, it is important to do the research behind each one to determine which one will fit the best with you and your specific business needs. There are a lot of biased opinions floating around, but no business and no person is the same - therefore one platform may be better for you than for your biz bestie or even your competition! It may even come down to the designer you fall in love with and what they prefer to work with. Still have questions? Drop us a comment or an email and we would be happy to help!