A collage of an infographic and a thumbnail of Cassie Jones, Showit United Director
Showit is essentially a website builder for creatives (photographers, chefs, bakers, podcasters, authors – you name it). But, in a market full of website builders, this company stands out because they pride themselves on not only making it easier for creatives to build a webspace that is true to their style but also on giving them the complete creative freedom to customize and do things their way. For our new Vendor Spotlight interview, we spoke to Cassie Jones, Showit United Director, who not only took us through Showit’s ‘build-a-website’ software for creative professionals but also shared with us how Showit as a company fosters community through its United conference and encourages creatives to take charge of their digital image. 

Throughout our interview, Cassie emphasized the heart of Showit’s products being focused on “Cultivating creativity and helping people bring order to chaos.” When your website is the hub where clients find out about you, review your package pricing, see your digital portfolio, reach out to you via a contact form, read testimonials, and discover all the important information about your business, why wouldn’t you want to build it with the help of people who believe that your website should be a reflection of who you are? If you are thinking your website needs an upgrade, below are 5 reasons why you should consider Showit. 

Showit logo

5 Reasons Why Showit Deserves Your Attention

  1. Their team understands creative professionals and the value of websites for their businesses. They give you complete control and creative freedom to build your website. Whether it’s color or fonts, they encourage you to customize every aspect.
  2. They make it really easy for you to design your own website with drag and drop technology. No code required. 
  3. Your website will integrate with WordPress. They’ve even made it easy for you to SEO optimize your content.
  4. They believe in giving back to the community they serve. Showit United is a conference where creative business owners can share their knowledge and struggles (they are big on community over competition!).
  5. The websites are mobile-friendly and ready to go for that all-important on-the-go user.

ShootDotEdit: Tell us about Showit as a company. How did it get started? 

Cassie: Showit began with Todd (Watson, CEO) coding with his friends out of his home in 2006, and the company since then has gone through so many changes. We were originally a flash-based website company. Now we have the desktop platform that we all love and know today. So it’s been a really fun ride to see some of those changes go through. What I personally love so much about Showit as a company is that it’s just a really close-knit, very family-like atmosphere, and it still feels like we’re going to work with our best friends. It’s not like the normal working environment, and we just all love it so much. 

Infographic stating the heart behind Showit is to give photographers and other creatives complete freedom over website design and layout

Awesome! So, what would you say is the tagline for Showit. Showit is what?

Cassie: Showit is a website-builder. Showit believes that creativity exists in every person. We want to be a company that helps cultivate that creativity, and we believe that bringing order to chaos is part of what is necessary to show your creativity in the best light. So whenever you think about building a website, you’re taking all of these different components (aka chaos) – like fonts and colors and photos and text and copy – and it’s all jumbled together. You need a way you can bring it to order. We created software to make that possible! With Showit, creatives have complete freedom to design a web page or a website for themselves that represents their brand. Moreover, it doesn’t have to fit into the mold of a strict template that typically has limitations. The heart behind Showit is to give photographers and other creatives complete freedom over design and layout with the belief that you can take something that’s chaotic and pull it all together into an ordered place that can really represent who you are.

ShootDotEdit: So what is the audience that is most served by Showit?

Cassie: For a very long time, wedding photographers accounted for a large chunk of our clients. However, in recent years, we are now also serving tons of different creatives. There are chefs, bakers, artists, podcasters, and authors using our platform now. It’s been really fun to see that growth from just serving wedding photographers to seeing it expand to serve other creatives.

ShootDotEdit: Tell us why does Showit do what it does? What is your ‘why’?

Cassie: The “why” behind Showit is ultimately tied to the creativity that we believe exists in everyone. We created a website design software that gives photographers the ability to tap into that creativity and bring order to chaos.

ShootDotEdit: So, let’s talk about the products and services of Showit. Can you list 3-5 services or products that you guys offer that wedding photographers can use to make their business better?

Cassie: We have the Showit desktop app, which is a really powerful website builder for creatives. It’s easy to use, completely drag and drop, and it’s customizable. You can design a whole complex website without knowing even a tiny bit of coding. It’s mobile-friendly and it integrates with WordPress for blogs. Wedding photographers don’t really have the time to go out and learn how to code, so, with this, they can keep their portfolio updated, easily make changes, and communicate with their clients and audience. Wedding photographers already have so many challenges in their business, and we believe that a website shouldn’t be one of them. We have been called the ‘Lightroom for websites’. 

One of my favorite things about Showit, as a wedding photographer myself, is that it gives the user the tools to create something we call ‘Plus Sites’, which are like mini extensions of your website. Plus Sites are like separate landing pages for stuff that you don’t necessarily want to include on your main website, but still, want online. Instead of having to send out PDFs or mail out fancy price guides, you can put all the info you want your clients to know about on a Plus Site and only send them the link for it when you want them to have the information. Plus Sites can take a lot of the confusion out of communication with your clients and give you a place to really beautifully educate them. People use Plus Sites for many different things – podcasts, books that they’ve written, and their educational platforms. The possibilities of what you can create on a Plus Site are really endless. 

Another one of my favorite things about Showit is the ability to hire a designer to customize the templates we offer in the Design Store. You start with one of our really stunning and super professional website designs – and they can be utilized quickly – but if you want a customized version, through our platform you can work with a designer to change it beyond that initial design. This is especially awesome for wedding photographers, who are really too busy to start from scratch or maybe don’t have the budget to hire a designer, but they want the really polished work that a designer can provide. So you start with one of our websites, then completely customize it – move anything around! There’s no constraint within the templates that you purchase. So there’s complete freedom.  

Something that really sets us apart from the competition is that absolute freedom to control everything on your website. From fonts to moving anything that you want to anywhere that you want to move it to. Even in all of the designs that you purchase from that design store, every single thing is customizable- from colors to fonts – everything. So I really enjoy using Showit for my own wedding photography business because of all of the great features that they have to make it easy for me to really run a profitable business.

ShootDotEdit: Okay – in summary – there are three things Showit offers in terms of website building, right? One is a ‘design it yourself from scratch, drag and drop format’ for your website. Another is that you can start with a predesigned template that you can buy, that you can also fully customize and change in the same drag and drop manner. And the third is you can hire a designer and work with him or her to customize one of the templates for you.

Cassie: Exactly. 

Suggested Read: Tips To Curate Wedding Photography Portfolio & Get More Clients

Infographic stating Showit is a huge timesaver for photographers, but also an essential tool. You don't have to be an expert at SEO or code. We make it so easy. It's like giving every part of your business a hug

While it is kind of already implied, we still have to ask – would you consider Showit to be a time-saver for photographers and why?

Cassie: I do. I consider it to be a huge time-saver for photographers, but I also consider it an essential tool. Without a website that converts potential clients to customers and to paying clients, your business really can’t thrive. And the SEO capabilities of the website are also really useful. Our design app essentially walks you through SEO, so you don’t have to be an expert or even hire someone to do it. A great website really should do all of that work for you, and bring clients to you who are ready to hire you. And yes, you can definitely save an enormous amount of time when you use Showit to build and update your website. You don’t have to be an expert. You’re not researching how to do code or anything like that. It just makes it really easy to even embed things from third parties, log-ins from Shopify, or a way to have clients sign-up for your email list. It just makes it so easy. It’s like giving every part of your business a hug.

ShootDotEdit: That’s great. It’s a wonderful analogy. Because who doesn’t need more hugs, right? Tell us if you can – non-technically – how does having a Showit website improve your SEO?

Cassie: So everybody wants all of that Google juice that’s available. You want to have your work be found even by people that you haven’t gotten to connect with somewhere else. It’s really important to be able to reach out in every way possible. So even if a potential client is looking at photos of a certain wedding venue that you love to shoot at, you want your photos to show up when they’re looking at that wedding venue online. Showit makes it really easy to activate that SEO in the ways that you want. Because whenever you click on a photo that’s on your website, you have a box, on the right-hand side of the app, to add SEO keywords in the description. So it takes the guesswork out of SEO.

There are still some technical tips that make SEO better, but honestly, as long as you’re following the steps we provide, within the design app, it even tells you what a good description is or what good SEO keywords are. A lot of photographers now are really getting a lot of good practice with that when we’re putting our stuff up on Pinterest or on our blog. And we’ve made it really easy to just put it in on your website too.

Suggested Read: A Roadmap To Market Your Wedding Photography Business 

ShootDotEdit: Is there one thing (or more) that you wish your followers or potential customers knew about Showit, but they don’t? Or maybe something users don’t take advantage of, but you wish they did?

Cassie: So this is one of my favorite Showit hacks, and I drive our team crazy because I bring it up all the time, is that you can use a Plus Site as your link in bio from Instagram. So whenever you create that ‘link in bio’ button on your IG page, you can have it link to a Plus Site that’s mobile-friendly and ready to go and matches your website. It’s completely customizable and there are no limits to how many click buttons you can have on your Plus Site. For those of us who are building businesses and using Instagram links to link out to different places like YouTube and our education sites and stuff, it’s totally a time-saver to just go in, make your Plus Site, add as many buttons as you want, and use your fonts and everything from your website, and put that link in your bio on Instagram. It’s easy and it works!

Infographic stating there’s an endless list of really amazing companies in our industry that help wedding photographers pull everything together and make it easy for us to run our businesses

That’s a really remarkable feature you guys offer. We love it! Would you say there are any other products or services or vendors that you feel (other than you of course!) that wedding photographers must use to be successful?

Cassie: There are so many, but just off the top of my head The Legal Paige, is a really good friend of ours and she works really hard at providing creatives with the most legit contracts and forms to help their businesses be disaster-proof in a legal way. I just can’t say enough good things about her. She’s been fantastic. 

Obviously, ShootDotEdit. Outsourcing your editing can give you so much more freedom in your business to really focus on what’s really important. Editing is just one of those things that you don’t have to do yourself. 

CloudSpot is an amazing client delivery tool that can really streamline the process of getting your client’s images into their hands. Kiss for album design and proofing and styling products. Flodesk for emails and Till for Facebook ads. 

There’s an endless list of really amazing companies in our industry that help wedding photographers pull everything together and make it easy for us to run our businesses. Also, education. Education is a huge necessity for us to be able to run our businesses successfully. So there are a lot of conferences out there that are just fantastic. There’s our United conference, there’s Reset, there’s Creative At Heart. There are so many really great conferences for photographers out there.

Suggested Read: Upcoming Photography Workshops & Conferences: 2021 & 2022

ShootDotEdit: We are so glad that you mentioned the United conference. Tell us more about it – how it came to be, the lineup, the speakers, the topics. Everything. 

Cassie: United is a photography conference we host every year in November at The Buttes in Tempe, Arizona. This year, it’s from November 7th to the 10th. United was intended to first and foremost be a way to give back to the community that we were serving. I wasn’t around when the first discussions about United began, but I actually was a wedding photographer and a volunteer at the first United conference. I was a door greeter. It’s funny. They were like, “If you’ll come and greet people at the doors and help check people in, we’ll cover the cost of you coming to United.” So it just worked out and I just kept volunteering. And then eventually, I got a job with Showit and I kind of joked a little bit that I stalked them – but in a not creepy way – until I got the job. Showit’s heart for the community through United was something that really stuck out to me and I wanted to be around all the time. 

The United conference is honestly a chance to educate other photographers and help them grow in their businesses. And so we actually started 10 years ago as a side gig to the WPPI (Wedding & Portrait Photographers International) conference. We were meeting in hotel rooms, like not sketchy at all. And now we take over an entire hotel and we enjoy it a lot.

It’s a really special place for photographers and other types of creatives from all over the world to come together, learn together, and encourage one another. It’s very much community-based. We have about 50 speakers that come and openly share about the hard parts of the business. They really pour their hearts into the community of attendees. It’s not uncommon to see speakers sitting with attendees at lunch and really engaging in helpful conversations with them. The attendees are able to completely transform their business and also transform their lives.

Our speaker lineup this year is just so exciting – Michelle Harris, Katelyn James, Amy and Jordan Demos, Davy Jones. We have so many amazing speakers that come and really pour their heart out and share their wisdom. There are really no limits. Sometimes we’re really shocked at how much they’re willing to share. So many of these speakers are able to give so much of themselves when they’re there. United is all about community. It really has nothing to do with what we do as a company and everything to do with what the ones who show up are showing up for each other.

In addition to platform classes, we have a lot of hands-on shooting with styled shoots, where attendees can learn posing and how to style details at a wedding. It also gives attendees something to walk away with for their portfolios. A lot of photographers that are in their first five or six years of business haven’t had the opportunity to sometimes elevate their portfolio, so this gives them a chance to shoot stress-free. It really gets those creative juices flowing a little bit, and then they can go back home and they’ve got a really beautiful portfolio to show off. 

Also, United creates connections. There’s no way to really express how important the benefits are of in-person connection and friendships. Not only growing as individuals but growing together as an industry can make an industry really united. That’s really important to us, one of the things that we always say is that we’re here together, so take advantage of that time. 

United is important for so many reasons, but ultimately because it helps your business get better. And we feel that whenever your business is working well, it also helps your life be better. Because whenever you’re stressed out about your business, other things start to falter – your home life, your time that’s reserved for connections outside of business. We really want United to be that place that cultivates creativity in the attendees. It really ignites that fire. 

Infographic stating from this new generation starting in photography to the older generation that is still in it - I think that everyone is looking for a place to belong

ShootDotEdit: What are you seeing in conference attendees for the Showit United conference? Like in terms of what’s trending, who is the audience? What is changing in that industry and how are you changing to serve that?

Cassie: The target market for the United conference is photographers, with the majority being wedding photographers. We have about 20 styled shoots each year that are typically wedding photography-related. We have a couple sprinkled in there that are high school seniors or fashion or branding photography. So we dabble in different areas of photography, especially because it seems like a lot of people are now branching out of their niche markets to also expand their businesses into other areas of photography. So, despite being wedding-photographer friendly, our breakout sessions are relatable to all genres of photographers, and honestly, any photographer, any creative is welcome. We have had makeup artists show up for United. I mean, it is possible to take really good solid business advice that our instructors are teaching and apply it to any kind of creative industry. 

From this new generation starting in photography to the older generation that is still in it – I think that everyone is looking for a place to belong. I think that entrepreneurship can feel so alone and like you’re on an island when you work for yourself. A lot of photographers and other creatives starting out don’t have a team yet. They’re very alone in this fight for their business. But whenever you’re surrounded by a group of creatives that believes in you, encourages you, and wants you to succeed, then your whole outlook on your business can really change; it can change a lot about how you feel about your business. And new connections can really make your life better! 

There’s something to be said about meeting people who have a lot in common with you – they may be completely different and live across the country, but whenever you meet someone who enjoys the same things that you do, doesn’t make competition a part of it, there’s a lot that you can both really benefit from. Making connections with people who really care about you is important, not just from a business perspective but from a personal one as well, and especially in this business, which can sometimes feel so cutthroat. So it’s really important to have a tribe of people who believe in you, who understand your woes of business, that you can go and talk to and say, “Hey, I had this client, and we really had trouble communicating. What would you do in this situation?” There’s a huge benefit to having someone in your life that’s not in competition with you that you can bounce ideas off of. It just makes a world of difference. It truly does, and so I think that connection to community, and community over competition, are so important for business owners to really embrace. Photographers need a community that really cheers you on.

ShootDotEdit: That’s all so great! Now we are excited about United, too! Let’s circle back to Showit and websites, how have you seen websites or the need for websites change over the years in this Instagram-driven world? How is Showit addressing people who maybe don’t even think they need a website anymore, or just go directly to Instagram? Is that even a trend?

Cassie: I’m so heavily opinionated on this. I kind of get fired up a little bit. I think Instagram has honestly only solidified your need for a website and emphasized how important it is to give potential clients somewhere to go. Instagram is great – it’s like a handshake – but there’s only so much that it can do. For example, you can’t go to someone’s Instagram and easily find out what their packages are. Yes, you can DM them, but that’s as far as it goes. So if you’re not giving your audience on Instagram a place to go to find out more, a place that’s deeper than Instagram, then you’re really missing out on a huge opportunity. What’s the first thing that we do whenever we’re scrolling through someone’s Instagram that we really love? We go to that bio and look for a link so we can learn more. So if you’re not giving people a place to do that, it just stops at Instagram. You can get to know someone through what they write on Instagram and yes, you can watch their stories, but as far as finding out the ins and outs of their business, you’re really limited on what you can find out from there. Don’t make it hard for people to learn more about your business, make it easy. It’s just a no-brainer to me.

Suggested Read: Use Instagram To Grow Your Wedding Photography Business

Infographic stating this new generation of photographers and creators are creating multifaceted businesses and they need a website that can keep up with that.  I love how Showit has grown to where we can meet the needs of these multifaceted creatives

ShootDotEdit: That makes sense, yes. As you said, Instagram is like a handshake. It’s not a ‘getting to know each other’ conversation. So what are you learning about this new generation of photographers from a design perspective or from a user experience perspective and how is Showit accommodating that?

Cassie: One of my favorite things that I personally have seen in this new generation of photographers and users and creators is that they’re really creating businesses that are so multifaceted. I think that it’s funny how, when I first started, everyone said, “Find your one niche, do it and do it really well.” And photographers are still perfecting their genre, but they’re also branching out – starting podcasts, starting YouTube channels, starting to write books, and educating other photographers through products that they’re selling on their website. 

So, number one, I think it’s a really smart business strategy to create multiple avenues for revenue, but at the same time, you need a website that can keep up with that, where you can house everything. You shouldn’t have to be going to 10 different places to sell all of your things. Showit makes it really easy to integrate the buy buttons from Shopify. So your Shopify products fit into your website. I love how Showit has grown to where we can meet the needs of these multifaceted creatives that are coming up in the world.

ShootDotEdit: That’s great. That sounds so efficient too. So, what are the two things that you would want someone reading this to walk away knowing about Showit?

Cassie: I would want people to walk away confident that, using Showit, they can create a website they can be proud of that fits who they are instead of making who they are fit into something that someone else has already created. It’s really important for photographers – and any creative- to really be able to connect with their audience and potential clients, and I think that a good website is essential to do that. It really can’t be replaced.

Further Read: Profoto: A Lighting Game-Changer For Pro Photographers

Create a website that books the clients you love

Today, when your website is kind of like your digital address, you can’t just wing it. As Cassie said, it’s where your potential customers will come to get to know your business better. As a wedding photography business owner, you already know the value of your website and the resources it takes to keep it running smoothly and in line with the current SEO norms. It does take a village. But it’s companies like Showit that reaffirm our belief that efficiency and effectiveness in website design don’t have to mean sacrificing personality. Showit cultivates creativity in each person and gives them the permission to use that creativity to build a website that will be a reflection of their business and brand, all the while doing all they can to make it easy. It truly is bringing order to the chaos and that’s why it was also easy for us to see how Showit is another perfect match for our Vendor Spotlight interview series. They help make a photographer’s life easier, more efficient, and thus lead to more profitability – Showit, essentially, checks all the boxes! 

We’d like to take this opportunity to once again thank Cassie for taking the time to talk to us and inspiring us with every answer. We are big fans of what Showit does and we are so excited to see the things Showit and the United are going to do in the future. To learn more about Showit and Showit United, check out their website, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or YouTube.

At ShootDotEdit, we love introducing you to businesses that help make your life easier! We are ALSO passionate about making your life easier with our professional photo editing services. So, if you are looking to lessen your post-production workload, you can trust us to take that off your plate so you can focus instead on doing what you love! To learn more about how we can help your wedding photography business, check out our pricing plans.

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