While WordPress has long been popular as the world’s favorite Content Management System, there are times when you might need a hosted website builder. In the world of website builders, Wix has established itself as a worthy and reliable solution.
In this article, we will be taking an in-depth look at Wix website builder.
Wix: Simple Website Builder to Help You Get Online Quickly
Wix started back in 2006 and has been around since then. Initially, Wix was more about Flash-based web pages. However, it has evolved with time. As Flash fell out of favor in the world of web design, Wix too moved towards HTML5 and mobile-friendly websites.
Today, Wix comes loaded with various features such as readymade responsive templates, SEO tweaks, eCommerce support, and a lot more in both its free and premium variants.
Now, before actually giving Wix a spin, let’s spend a moment going through its major features.
As already mentioned, Wix offers custom readymade templates that are mobile-friendly. You just need to pick the one you like, modify it using the drag and drop editor, and your website is ready.
Since Wix is a hosted solution, you do need to worry about web hosting or server management either. Essentially, Wix is ideal if you are looking to put together a website for your business or online presence. It can save your time and efforts manifolds.
Wix is backed by its own App Market wherein you can find “apps” to help you boost the functionality of Wix. Now, the Wix App Market functions pretty much like Google Play Store — you can find both free and premium extensions. However, the nature of the App Market is more like the WordPress.org plugin repository. You will find custom extensions for adding comments to your site, newsletter subscription and form builder extensions, and so on. Need awesome sliders? There are both free and premium apps for that as well.
Now, on to Wix in action.
I decided to divide the review in three distinct parts: first, we will give the drag and drop editor a spin to see just how user friendly it is. Secondly, we will focus on the SEO aspect of Wix. And lastly, just how budget-friendly and user-friendly is Wix going to be once you decide to use it?
Using the Wix Drag and Drop Editor
I decided to create a business site using Wix. Straight up, Wix told me to pick either the Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) or the Wix Editor to create my site. Hey, why not both? Sure, we will go with both!
So, first the editor. You get to choose from a long list of templates or themes ranging from the outright minimal to highly sophisticated and bloated.
Upon first use, the editor took quite a long time to set things up, but subsequent usages were swift and speedy. However, you are going to need a decent machine to actually use the Wix editor without getting irritated. If you are using a rather older system configuration, you may not be able to do much in the editor: I tried running it using Chrome 57 on Manjaro Linux with 2 GB of RAM, and the page froze twice before loading fully. On a slightly better computer, though, I had zero trouble working with the Wix editor.
The editor works just as expected: you click on an element, and then modify it accordingly.
You can choose from various backgrounds:
And also fonts:
You can also upload your own media, add apps from the App Market, integrate a blog or eCommerce store. Once done, simply publish your site. You will need a premium plan to map a domain, but you can use a wix.com sub-domain on the free plan.
Now, the Wix ADI. It sounds quite fancy, but upon first look, I felt it was essentially a “website creation wizard”. You are asked a few questions, such as the nature of website you are building, any features that you might need, etc. See this:
Based on your choices, the Wix ADI creates a website for you. That said, the actual “editing” process when working with ADI is far easier and faster as compared to the Wix editor.
The approach is the same: click, select, edit, save.
If you are new to Wix, the Wix ADI is the ideal way to build a website. It is way more user-friendly than the older editor.
Now, one key question related to Wix: we know it can handle eCommerce, blogging and everything else well, but what about SEO?
Wix offers a decent plethora of basic Search Engine Optimization measures. You can expect to find features such as meta tags, SEO-friendly clean URLs, image alt attributes, and other basic stuff related to SEO.
On the technical side of things, however, you will not find anything lacking per se. Need 301 redirects? Schema.org implementation? Custom header codes for third-party app integration? Social media integration and open graph attributes? XML sitemaps? Wix has it all for you!
However, here is the tricky part: not all SEO offerings are outright obvious; you will have to integrate apps from the App Market to make use of some SEO features. Of course, this is entirely understandable since Wix is a hosted solution, but most of such SEO functionality has become quite common to be offered as out of the box in many website builders.
Wix: Budget-Friendly and User-Friendly?
Wix is user-friendly. There are very few doubts about this statement. The Wix ADI is intuitive, slick, and rather impressive in its own right. You will not have a hard time getting started with Wix even if you are a total newbie to this field.
Furthermore, Wix can save your time manifolds. Drag and drop editing has long been popular for quickly putting together web pages on the fly, and Wix does not disappoint at all. In fact, its live editing features can give even the best WordPress drag and drop editors a run for their money!
As such, Wix scores full points on the usability and usefulness scale. Now, on to pricing.
Wix follows, sadly, what seems to be one of the rather dismal pricing models out there. First, to my dismay, Wix refused to show any currency changing button on the pricing page and insisted on showing me the plans in my local currency.
Secondly, I might be missing the point here, but why does the “Most Basic” plan show ads on users’ sites? A premium user is a premium user, and 500 MB of storage with advertisements being slapped on your site is not acceptable in today’s competitive world of website builder solutions.
Other than that, the pricing model is fair and square. You will have to sign up for the highest plan if you wish to setup an eCommerce store using Wix. However, note that all the major plans come with a free domain if you sign up with a yearly billing cycle.
Therefore, as far as budget-friendliness of Wix is concerned, it is pretty acceptable as long as you are not on the Most Basic plan (because you shouldn’t be forced to bear advertisements on your site if you are paying for it). The eCommerce plan is priced at a fair rate when compared to solutions such as Shopify. However, if you were to go the open source route and try WordPress plus WooCommerce, you might end up saving some extra money in the long run (of course, that would require initial extra efforts on your part in terms of setting up the site and hosting it).
Wix also has a free plan with all the basic features but no domain mapping; you will have to work with a wix.com sub-domain and limited storage.
So, is Wix worth the trouble?
- Easy to use and intuitive editor
- Great collection of templates and external apps
- SEO features, eCommerce integration
- Cloud hosting included on all plans
- Ads on the smallest premium plan
- Limited portability (will be difficult to move to another CMS later on)
Wix seems perfect if you are wanting to just put together a website in as little time as possible. Without having to deal with even a single line of code, you can create a rocking website. Wix is also useful if you wish to create your online portfolio, photography projects, eCommerce store, blog, and likewise.
Wix is also an ideal pick if you do not wish to deal with the hassles related to website management: issues such as web hosting, DNS management, website security and firewall, etc. can safely be left at home and you can focus on your website’s functionality.
However, for any “advanced” usage scenario, Wix will probably not be the right choice. If you need details statistics for your website’s performance, or wish to conduct multiple A/B tests, run a gigantic forum or an online intranet portal, Wix is far from helpful.
Also, bear in mind that any website builder such as Wix is often a one-way ticket. Migrating your content away from hosted solutions and towards a self-hosted tool such as WordPress is almost always a time-consuming task. While you might still be able to migrate away from Wix if you ever need to, it will not be as simple as moving your old Blogger blog to WordPress.
So, what do you think of Wix? Given it a spin yet? Share your views in the comments below!