I get asked a lot about what I think about some of the free website builders out there like Wix. People ask me if I worry these services will eventually put me out of business. My short answer is No!
I’m a big fan of WordPress (here’s a post about why I love WordPress https://www.bijoudesigns.com.au/why-wordpress/) and I make a living from building websites, so you may think my opinion is a little biased when it comes to comparing building websites in WordPress vs building websites in Wix. But my opinions on Wix are based on my experiences or at least experiences of my customers who first attempted to build their sites in Wix and then ended up coming to me for help and based on some of the Wix websites I’ve come across while using the internet.
What is Wix?
Wix is a free website builder. They offer a you a free website, drag and drop builder and hosting. They have professional looking templates you can use for free or you can use their ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) to build your site. ADI runs you through a series of questions, asks you to upload a logo, choose a theme and colours, a homepage design (from a choice of 3). You then click a button and hey presto, your site is ready for you to edit.
I signed up and had a go at building a basic website for a made up consulting business. The results? Well the initial process was pretty easy. I was able to get the basic design up and running in literally a few minutes. Without any customisation or editing, the site was OK. To be honest it made me a cringe a little as it was so stock standard and lacked sophistication and to be honest I am perhaps a little more critical and sensitive to anything that lacks aesthetics than most.
I feel like comparing a Wix Website to WordPress is like comparing a cheap Android phone to an iPhone or a top end Android phone. I bought one of those cheap Android phones once for under $200. I checked out the specs, it had everything I needed it to do and more. I thought I was so smart..I felt really smug to be spending so little money on something that ticked all my boxes while others were spending double, triple or even quadruple that amount on iPhones. My smugness didn’t last long. Once I started using it, I realised why it was so cheap! Yes it had all the functionality I needed but it crashed, and froze and lagged so badly, just doing basic functions. The amount of times I wanted to throw that phone out of the nearest window…then my beautiful 16 year old niece handed me down her iphone 6 one Christmas when she was lucky enough to get an iphone X (jealous much hahaha?). I’ve had that used, 2nd hand, not the most current iphone for 15 months now and it has not skipped a beat. It’s honestly the best phone I’ve ever owned as far as reliability and functionality is concerned. For me Wix is like the cheap flashy Android that advertises all the latest flashy features but doesn’t actually perform as well as good old reliable WordPress that is just far more robust, reliable and meaty.
My main thoughts on creating a free website in Wix are these.
- While the initial setup process is quick, customising it and adding content is going to take time. I set up the basic bare bones and it had 3 dummy block posts, text to edit/add, images that need to be changed, a subscription box and a booking app that needed to be configured. Be prepared to spend hours customising and editing and working out how to set up your site.
- If you don’t have an eye for design, it’s going to show on your website. Your website is going to look thrown together amateurish and unprofessional. There’s certain styling rules you learn while building websites that help make websites look elegant and professional. It’s really easy to ruin a sites aesethetics by only making even really simple changes like line spacing, font changes, colour changes and changes to the padding of text and images. You can literally tweak these small elements for hours trying to get it to look right again, while making the design more and more unbalanced and unprofessional.
- Wix free sites have limitations. If you want to portray a professional image, you still will need to register a domain (otherwise your site will be stored on a wixsite.com domain eg. yourbusiness.wixsite.com rather than yourbusiness.com). You’ll still need to work out how to hook up your new wix website to your domain and then set up emails. And guess what? If you want to connect your own domain to Wix, you need to sign up for a premium plan and pay a monthly fee. Storage and bandwidth (the amount of traffic your site gets) is limited on the free plans too. And your free site has wix advertising at the very top and bottom of your site. Is this the image you want to portray about your business?
- Which leads me to my next point. I’m assuming you want to portray your business as professional and high value? I’m assuming you want customers to know that when they pay for your product or services they are paying for a high quality purchase. Do you really want customers knowing you built a free website for your highly valued business? That you didn’t have the money to invest in your business to present a professional and trustworthy front to your customers. Why should they invest money in your business, when you didn’t feel it was worth investing in?
- Wix does have some extra apps in it to allow you to do things like e-commerce, blogs, bookings and email subscriptions But anything more than basic just isn’t available. And even those apps are limited in options compared to what you can do on WordPress. WordPress has thousands of plugins already available to pretty much cover anything you want to do with your site. And if it isn’t available you can create your own plugin or pay a developer to do it for you because of its open source…meaning anyone can access the code and change or add to the functionality.
- My last point is just one of observation from looking at sites that new clients have come to me with that were built in Wix and those I’ve come across in my day to day dealings on the Internet. I’ve seen a lot of really awful looking sites built on Wix. I’ve seen lots of bugs that non technical people have been unable to fix or get help from Wix to fix. I’ve seen Wix websites that have been customised and edited by non-design/technical people and it shows…They don’t look professional and they don’t portray a business who believes in their value.
I think there’s a place for wix websites. If you are a startup and truly don’t have the money to spend on getting a web designer to build your site for you and you have a lot of time (and I’m not just talking a few hours one night) to spend on customising, building and tweaking your site, then there’s a place for building a very simple, basic site in Wix. But it won’t be free if you want your own domain and emails and it won’t be a quick and easy process if you want a truly custom, unique website.
I really believe in the necessity for businesses to present themselves in a way that is not only professional but unique. Make sure your branding and all public facing marketing material including your website and social media is showing your customers your value and how worthy you are of investing money in.
If you’d rather spend your time on doing what you do well rather than trying to build and customise a free website, I’d love to talk to you about how I can help. You can schedule a call with me here to discuss your website project: