Why I Switched My Website from WordPress to Showit
I remember when I began to learn about web design in college. We had to use Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver and code in HTML. Seems so long ago. Anyway, once the CMS movement came along, it changed the web design space forever. CMS (Content Management Systems) allowed the less tech savvy more control over their websites. Think the likes of Wix, Squarespace, and the big kahuna, WordPress. You’ve probably heard of it. After all, WordPress is one of the most popular CMS and publishing platforms for content marketers, bloggers, or individuals looking to build or redesign a website for their business.
So why WordPress over the other builders? Well, it’s no secret that WordPress is king when it comes to SEO (search engine optimization). I noticed that properly maintained WordPress sites had an edge over many others because not all website platforms are created equally. Platforms like Wix and Squarespace (and even Showit) are all geared towards the DIY website builder at heart. But just because you can make a site look really pretty really easily, does not mean you have a good website.
Moving to WordPress allowed me to create a more easily manageable site for my business, as well as my clients’. I appreciated all the different options/themes I could use and the plethora of plugins that were available. It was so powerful and you could do practically anything with it. My clients really loved the idea of being able to make changes to their sites themselves because it meant they weren’t tethered to me for every little edit. It made things a lot more convenient for the both of us. Once I completed a WordPress site, I would provide a website walk-through and reference documents for my clients to look over if needed. If there was anything out of their scope/skills, then they could always come to me. Otherwise, they had all the tools they needed to make adjustments to their sites. Talk about a time and money saver, especially for small businesses or solepreneurs without a large budget.
During my time using WordPress, I tested out many themes and website builders, either of my choosing or provided by my clients. I eventually landed on a very powerful and highly customizable theme called Divi by Elegant Themes. It was lovely and worked well for my current needs. It became the standard of which I built my WordPress sites on. However, as the years went on and WordPress and its themes grew, so did the issues.
Remember how I gushed about highly customizable WordPress is? Well, we can consider that a pro and a con. Due to the many customization options available, the backend of each individual WordPress site is often extremely different. For individuals or agencies who manage several different websites for clients, it can be frustrating to have to learn how each specific WordPress account is setup in order to make simple website changes. This can also present a problem for beginners looking to troubleshoot issues, because step-by-step walkthroughs usually won’t be a one-size-fits-all solution for this platform.
As previously mentioned above, WordPress allows a ton of customization because the core product is extremely minimal. A basic WordPress site consists of various themes which you can use to create different types of web pages. Of course, because many users don’t want their site to look like everyone else’s, so customizing themes is very common.
Due to many desired features missing from the core software (ex. SEO, social media, email opt-ins, pop-ups, analytics, etc.), most people need to download several plugins to perfect their site, thus increasing the timeline to setup and launch dramatically. Did you know that WordPress currently has over 55,000 plugins you can implement on your website? The variety of purposes go from SEO to minor site performance fixes. Many see this as a positive because of the variety of options available to improve your site and create something unique from scratch, but as many marketers (and developers) will agree, these plugins are a double-edged sword.
Plugins, plugins, plugins. So many of them and many are paid options. That cost can begin to add up depending on what functionality you’d like to implement. Moreover, because there are so many plugins that do virtually the same thing, it can be difficult to determine which is right for you. This issue is one of the more frustrating on this list, as some plugins will be incompatible with your theme or other add-ons you already have on your site. Even if you do manage to find all the correct plugins you need, you may still find yourself at a disadvantage. Why? Because the more plugins you add, the slower your site is likely to get, you become more vulnerable to security issues, and you increase the chances of incompatibilities which may break your site during the next update.
WordPress uses an open source structure for many aspects of the site, meaning that programmers can access the page’s source code to see how it works, adapt it based on their needs, and share their code online with one another. The positive is it saves developers time when they can input already written code into their website. It can also grant you more freedom to customize themes based on your individual needs. On the flip side, this setup can leave your website vulnerable to being compromised. Having all your systems code available online makes it that much easier for hackers to find security holes in your code. Of course, this problem is not specific to WordPress alone, as it occurs on many PHP sites and it has, fortunately, improved in recent years as people have become more aware of the risks, but it’s still something to watch out for if you’re hosting on the platform. You’ve gotta make sure to update your plugins and themes on a regular basis to minimize your risks.
To elaborate on these security issues, WordPress rolls out many updates, to counteract some of the security holes. While these updates are helpful, and necessary, they can also present a huge headache. Remember me saying that plugins were a double-edged sword? Updating the system can actually cause certain plugins to become incompatible with your website. In fact, this can even happen with your theme. Perhaps you upgrade your theme and it becomes incompatible with one or some of your plugins. This risks breaking many aspects of your website, with each upgrade that comes out, and because WordPress releases these updates so frequently, this is a common frustration noted by users. Users included me.
What used to be fairly simple, became a headache for me and many of my clients. I advise creating a backup of your current site before running an update because it would be a toss up. Will this update break my site or not? If it did, it would be pretty easy peasy to roll back to a backup. However, many people would often forget to do this, which would result in a larger headache and sometimes panic as it would result in downtime. Most folks are not equipped to troubleshoot or reinstall a broken website, so they’d have to hire someone to fix it. Who could fix it quickly? Well, your web designer of course! Someone like me…but even I was becoming tired of having to hold my breath and hope that an update wouldn’t cause any issues to my own site. Then one day, I had a new client contact me. They wanted me to move their site over from Wix and customize a template they purchased on a platform called Showit.
My new client kept saying, “I want a new Showit site” and she couldn’t figure out how to do it (she hadn’t sent me any docs, links, info at that point) and all I could think was, “Show what?” Lol. After emailing me her inspiration links, I was able to gain a clearer picture. Because I was unfamiliar with the platform, I began to dive in and research it’s strengths, capabilities, and all that good stuff. I definitely didn’t want to bite off more than I could chew, especially with a new client. It’s terrible and peeves me when a designer promises you the world and you’re left with a flop. It just gives the rest of us a bad rap, but I digress. After exploring the Showit platform, I was quite intrigued. I signed up for the free trial, tinkered away with it, and was confident I could design a site fairly quickly, so I took on the project.
Even though I was a Showit novice, I was able to learn it in no time. The UI (user interface) reminded me a bit of Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, something I’m already quite familiar with due to my Graphic Design degree. It’s no surprise they used that software for inspiration when their target demographic are photographers and other creatives. Of course, anyone that wants a beautiful and easy to design website is welcome to use the Showit platform. As their website says, “We took the pain out of WordPress.” They were definitely NOT wrong about that.
There are sooo many reasons why I fell in love with Showit. Let me share some of them.
You have creative flexibility because it’s fully customizable. Now, the same can be said for WordPress, however the huge difference is you don’t have to know or learn any code. Adjust the colors and fonts with just a few clicks of a button. Quickly upload photos and create galleries. Showit uses a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) interface. It’s a lot more powerful than Wix and Squarespace’s WYSIQYG UI. This drag-and-drop builder puts those others to shame. Because there’s no coding involved, you won’t have to spend hours using it to perfect your design.
Showit’s mobile web design is also a step above many others because it allows you to completely customize your mobile site. Most other drag and drop builders automatically create a mobile version for you by simply reflecting your website’s desktop version. Showit gives you the freedom to make customizations needed to perfect your mobile design.
Remember me mentioning how plugins were a great way to add more functionality to your WordPress site? Well, on Showit’s platform, most of that stuff is already built-in. Some examples are contact forms, pop-ups, CDN, SEO, backups, etc. Having that stuff already baked into the system makes upgrades a breeze. I no longer have to worry about incompatibilities or waste countless hours troubleshooting when something breaks. It’s so freeing to not have to worry about that and I say this as a web designer. Imagine if you didn’t have the skill to troubleshoot/reinstall your site files? You’d have to pay someone to fix it for you. Showit’s builder really minimizes the chances of something like that happening. Even if it did, they have fantastic customer support.
Let me say it again. Showit’s customer support is amazing! They have a pop-up chat feature located on the bottom right of your dashboard that allows you to chat with support if you ever feel stuck. They are incredibly helpful and prompt. It’s reassuring knowing they are there if you ever need their assistance.
In addition to support, Showit has dedicated section on its site that hosts informational help docs. These come complete with either an instructional video, images, or both. Their site also offers a robust FB Showit user group where you can reach out to fellow users. I can pretty much always find my answers from one of those avenues. You can learn a ton just by being in the group and reading others queries and solutions.
Last, but not least, your Showit site blog connects to WordPress. This is ideal if you already have a blog and want to migrate over your content to your Showit WP blog. Even better, the Showit support team will help migrate this for you. It’s no secret that WordPress offers the best plug-ins for getting ranked on search engines (SEO). With Showit, you get to design your site using the Showit builder, but still blog using WordPress AND you don’t have to worry about those frequent and pesky updates possibly breaking your site. You really get the best of both worlds: the powerful WordPress SEO plug-ins and the design freedom.
So if you are not on Showit and have been thinking of upgrading your site, I’d highly recommend you check them out! Take advantage of the trial and tutorials on the site. Familiarize yourself with the platform and make your life easier. As a designer, I love how creative you can get with their sites without knowing code. This comes in especially handy for photographers, wedding planners, event planners, and anyone else under the sun that enjoys DIY options. I am so passionate about Showit, I even started recommending it to anyone who would listen before I even completed my own site redesign. That’s how much I love and believe in it.