From Squarespace to ShowIt.... and Back Again.
So, I kinda did a thing over the last few months.
It's not secret that I'm kind of obsessed with Squarespace. For the last 3 years, I've run a design business that ONLY creates websites on the Squarespace platform. I'm a former Wordpress junkie, turned Squarespace obsessed designer. I drank the Squarespace Kool-Aid. I drank it all day long.
But something happened. Something I'm embarrassed to admit. I started to feel like I was selling myself short as a designer, working with only one platform. I was worried I wouldn't get #alltheclients because I was only offering to work with Squarespace. I started to compare my work and my business model to that of other designers, and I immediately felt inadequate.
Yes, Squarespace is a beautiful platform, and I've become really good at customizing templates so that they don't just look like templates. I'm proud of the websites I've built, and I know my clients are too. But the idea of a truly customizable, do anything you want wherever you want however you want kinda website sucked me in, and I started to play with the ShowIt platform.
Like a true love affair, lust took over, and I was completely obsessed with my newfound lover. I dragged and dropped and tweaked a toyed with website design ideas to my hearts content. I was giddy with excitement, and even nervous to tell my designer friends I was seeing someone else. So to speak. As I designed my first ShowIt website, a website for my own photography business, I thought to myself - this is it, I'll never use another Squarespace Block again. I tasted true freedom, and it tasted so freakin' good. And you know what?
The website is beautiful, but...
It's clean, classy, and has a classic and sentimental feel, just like I wanted. I really love the way it looks. I love the way it functions. I love the interactive features I built into it. But can I tell you what I don't love?
I have found it SO tedious and difficult to maintain, you guys. In fact, it's so tedious and difficult, that I DON'T maintain it. On the list of things I need to do on a daily basis (umm, like keeping a teeny tiny human fed, clean and happy!), updating my website is low on the list. When I used Squarespace, it was so dang easy to update information, add new galleries and images, move pages and text around. It didn't occur to me when I was updating with Squarespace that I was really doing much. I just did it in a few minutes and it was done. But when I tried to add new information to my ShowIt site, I became overwhelmed and exhausted before I ever even made a change. So I didn't make changes, and information on my website became stale. Links remained broken, and pages got disorganized. My knight in shining armor turned out to be anything but.
Blogging is a whole 'nother animal. Blogging with Wordpress again over the last few months reminded me why I left Wordpress in the first place. I missed my clean lined first love. I missed it bad.
So you know what my "solution" was? I didn't blog for 3 months. Talk about a marketing fail. A website that is updated and maintained is so important for SEO and in helping potential clients find you and I was neither updating nor maintaining. I was sulking, and feeling resentful of my new beautiful dream website that no one ever sees due to my lack of upkeep.
I started to think...
If I do this for a living, and I'm finding updating my site design to be Exhausting with a capital E, how will my clients feel when they need to make simple updates and are immediately overwhelmed. How will my client, whose job is to capture beautiful images for their clients and continue to attract their dream clients (notice how you didn't see "web designer" in that description!), maintain their site with confidence and ease? Isn't that one of the most important things about your website? That you can blog with ease, keep information up to date quickly and efficiently, and still have a site that is beautiful and representative of your work and brand?
If you are anything like me - an entrepreneur working hard to grow your business, while also maintaining a family and personal life, then you probably can relate. I couldn't justify taking even MORE time away from my husband and daughter to spend a few hours just updating information on my website. It wasn't working for me, and I needed a simpler solution.
As it stands today...
As of today, my photography site is still with ShowIt, but my design business is rocking Squarespace. Two websites that needed more attention than I could give was too much for me, but I think I've struck a good balance that is finally working for me.
It made me realize that there isn't ONE solution for everybody, but we each have out own unique needs. Squarespace will always be my first love. It allows me to create beautiful brands and websites for photographers who want and need a beautiful site to attract their ideal client, but don't want to break the bank or waste precious relaxation or family time updating their website. But you know what? ShowIt has been wonderful for some of my clients who truly want and need customization on another level.
Take my sweet client, Brooke, for example. We designed her beautiful photography site on ShowIt, with an additional sub-site for her boudoir clients. It's the perfect platform for her, and the site just screams "Brooke Michelle" and all that her brand represents.
And my friend Michelle? She is a hard working wedding photographer, but most importantly a mama to a sweet little girl. Her beautiful Squarespace website allows her to show her brand, attract her ideal clients, and spend her spare time hanging with her baby girl. It doesn't get better than that.