My personal feeling is that Wix is very much the Mercedes of site builders. It is solid and comes feature-packed yet is quite proprietary about some of its technology. In short, you’ll be signing up for a good thing here, but moving brands later will be a real pain and cost you more in the long run. Learn more.
Site builders have been around for a long time. For those of you old enough to remember, it all started with Geocities way back in the ‘90s and that was the Jurassic period as far as the Internet was concerned.
Fast forward to present date and site builders’ capabilities have grown by leaps and bounds – Wix among them. Founded in 2006, Wix has today grown to serve over 110 million users and is one of the biggest in the business.
Over the years, it has also continued to increase in features as I’ve come to realise after revisiting them recently. Let’s take a close look at what advantages there are to using Wix to rapidly build custom websites.
Pro of Wix
Con of Wix
We use an exchange rate of 1 USD to 4.1 MYR for all prices listed.
I know that it is likely that most people who are looking at Wix will most likely be interested in its rapid site building capabilities, but no matter how you look at it, ultimately speed is a big factor. After all, you wouldn’t want a site that’s built quickly but performs like a snail, right?
|US (W)||US (E)||London||Singapore|
|10 ms||26 ms||49 ms||186 ms|
|127 ms||312 ms||158 ms||125 ms|
Thankfully, Wix sites appear to be fast – incredibly so. My test site, spartan as it was rated quite highly, earning an A+ grade in Bitcatcha’s speed test. Yet I am usually quite thorough, so I had to run that through WebPage Speed Test as well.
If you look at the speed results from these tests, you’ll notice not only excellent time to first byte (TTFB) but also that the sites are properly optimized by default. Static content is cached and even a content distribution network is employed.
This means that hosting a site with Wix shouldn’t be a problem. A rapid TTFB is important as it shows that Wix servers perform well, and if the site bogs down later on, it’s probably because of something I did and has nothing to do with server responsiveness.
Almost every site building resource I’ve come across to date usually has some form of templates for use. This helps not only as a resource for those who don’t want the hassle of building a site from scratch, but sometimes it serves as a source for inspiration for those who do.
Wix is extremely generous with its templates, offering users over 500 to choose from. That is a massive number by any standards. I’ve seen some site builder that offer so few templates that it borders on the ridiculous.
They have a wide variety of categories to choose from, ranging from boilerplate corporate all the way to travel and tourism. There’s really something for everyone here! Also, these templates come with some basic pre-entered content, so you can choose to either build on that, or simply wipe it over.
For those interested, they have templates for online stores as well, so you can have your own eCommerce site up fast.
Now we come to the heart of Wix, which is its drag and drop interface. I’m not going to expound too much on this area though, even if it is why most people come here. More important to me in the interface is its ease of use.
Some may argue that Wix doesn’t have the power in its drag and drop interface that some site builders do, but I think it has the perfect balance. It keeps things easy to use for beginners and yet has enough options to turn your site into a real powerhouse by extended means.
What I find most remarkable about the Wix editor though is that it has a mobile editor. This lets you preview and edit your site exactly as it would be seen on a mobile device. It can be managed completely apart from the main editor, so you can really customize the mobile experience rather than just rely on a responsive template.
Of course, all of this can be supplemented by coding, if you so desire. However, this seems to be undergoing a slight change recently and Wix is apparently customizing the coding feature even more. It’s aimed more at developers now and is in Beta.
The reason why I didn’t overly focus on the drag and drop interface above is exactly because of this – the Wix App Market. Rather than give you a few toys to extend partial features to you in the editor, Wix has an entire ecosystem of what it calls ‘Apps’.
These are like plugins you can use to perform specific tasks on your Wix site. For example – you need a blog section? Viola, just activate it, modify some settings and it’s there. If you’re wondering just how extensive these apps can be, I’d like to share some areas which they cover here;
SEO management is built-in
Where you content is the body of your website, SEO is its blood. These techniques are necessary if you want to be found anywhere on Google (or other search engines). SEO help you ‘sell’ your site to search engines, encouraging them to list you further up in search results.
By default, Wix helps you do this and all you’ll need to do is give it a little guidance. For example, let it know more about your site and what your focus is on, then it can do the heavy lifting for you. It does this by letting you fill in keyword tags and other metadata.
Once you help add these things to headers, photos and other elements on your page, Google scans them each time its robots pass through your site. The more detailed and accurate your metadata is, the better it will get ranked in searches.
Another aspect of SEO is the URL (address) format, which Google does consider as well for relevance. Wix lets you modify the URL of each page so that it best fits what you need Google to know.
I know that SEO is something that many people are a little afraid of and think is unlikely that automated SEO can do much, so don’t just take my word for it, check out their Wix SEO Wiz.
Create social media posts
Another marekting angle you can depend on with Wix is to go via social media. Wix gives you the tools that can help you create social media content. It’s similar to a basic photo editor and isn’t terrible extensive.
However, it is useful in a pinch, especially for someone who just wants to work in one single place and not have to rely on multiple programs and such just to maintain their website and social media. For those of you familiar with Canva, it’s similar.
All you need to do is basically choose an image and then modify text to go along with it so you can share something that’s quick, pretty (or quirky) depending on your site audience.
Use email marketing
Perhaps this would be more for business sites, but email marketing is one tool that can help create lead generation. Rather than only waiting for customers come to you, after you’ve built up a subscriber list, you can send content directly to them!
There are tons of email marketing tool around, some good, some not so good, but the inclusion of one in the Wix aspect is a stroke of brilliance on their part. It is especially useful for small business sites to have this capability integrated into the system they are using for their website.
On a side note, Bitcatcha has an entire miniseries of articles dedicated to effective email marketing, so you can check them out to help you along as well.
Aside from its core, which is the site builder that helps people rapidly develop websites, Wix is going far more than the extra mile. It has built an entire ecosystem of tools and products aimed at helping people create websites that succeed.
Aside from the app market, it has several other internal tools that are simply great for site owners to have and use – and it all comes in the same package.
For those who aren’t yet aware, Google is now doing its bit for a more secure Internet by encouraging site owners to use SSL. While its true that most website hosting sites today offer this in one form or other, it is nonetheless good to see site builders like Wix start to offer this as well.
HTTPS ensures that the interactions visitors have with your website is secure and that paves the way for more things, such as online purchases, exchanges of private information and so on. Sites which are non HTTPS compliant will now get a warning message.
HTTPS sites are also given more favourable rankings in Google search.
Create quotations for customers
This is something that’s more for business customers, but especially so to small businesses or even sole proprietors. Wix has a tool that lets you create quotations for your services for customers. The tool is there complete with template, all you’ll need to do is add the customer, terms and expiry date for your offer.
To be honest, this wasn’t something I was expecting to see in a site builder, especially one that offers a free account. It’s not something that will make or break a deal, but it just goes to show how much thought Wix has put into the site building process and the needs of their customers.
There’s even a logo maker!
Again, this falls under the same category of tools as the above quote generator. A logo, simple as it may be, is something that practically every website would need. So why not just build a simple one and complete a suite of website extras?
A big bravo to Wix for the inclusion of these two tools. Seriously.
Another item that falls under the business category, Wix allows those sites carrying on ecommerce activities to access a few payment methods. The main options are a little limited – you can use PayPal or some other form of manual payment such as cash (something like an ATM bank-in) or cheque.
This is only the default, however. Should you need more options, you can leverage on some of the apps on the Wix market. For example, one of their apps for Online Payments lets you accept credit card payments as well, complete with payment reminds and invoicing.
Tasks and Reminders
As you build your website, leverage on Wixs’ tasks and reminders tool so that you’ll always be aware of what else you need to do to complete your site. In fact, I found this helpful even after the fact, since I administer quite a few websites.
Each time you log in to your account, just pop over and you can go over your list, adding new stuff or marking things off as you complete it.
The theme word of the day is collaboration and here Wix lets you invite people to dialogue with you on your website. This can be helpful in a number of ways. For example, if you were a developer building a site for a customer, you can invite them to the draft and let them comment or request changes.
If you’re working with a copywriter, you can invite them in to fill in the blanks where you leave placeholders for it. Or perhaps if you are in a business and just want feedback from a few colleagues – this could work in so many ways.
If you’ve used Facebook messaging recently, you might have noticed that many businesses are using chat bots to respond to messaging from users. Some websites also offer this in the form of live chat services.
With Wix, you have options to ‘automate’ your site as well! This can happen in several ways. For example, if a visitor sends you an email from your website, you can configure Wix to have an acknowledgement sent to that visitor right away.
Again, this is yet another business-friendly feature that is great to have.
As always, the core of any service is the level of customer support and help that you’re given. In this, I must really take my hat off to Wix. I’ve found that no matter what I was doing, there is either a knowledgebase entry to help or sometimes, even a video tutorial!
It’s not only just in technical matters, mind you, such as ‘How to enable HTTPS’ but it’s the intangible things that are remarkable. For example, there are a large number of what I like to call ‘value-add’ videos from Wix you can watch, such as this video about Wix SEO Basics.
Basic, perhaps, but every little bit helps!
This might just be me nit-picking, but I find it a little annoying that you can’t transfer content from one template to another. I realise this is a site builder and not Microsoft Powerpoint, but just letting me see how it looks on a few backgrounds would be nice.
So, nothing serious here except a word of caution – Pick your template carefully! If you change your mind later, you’ll have to manually shift over all the content you’ve created on your original!
This point just might prove what some say about nothing in life being free, but for those of you who choose Wix and decide to stay on its free plan – there is a catch. Free sites hosted on Wix are forced to carry Wix branding.
It’s nothing too obnoxious, but unfortunately it is obvious, since it appears right smack on top of the page, even before your website header.
Website owners usually like to see how well their site is performing and the best way to do this is with Google Analytics or a few other similar tools. Unfortunately, in order to use them with Wix you need to upgrade your plan.
This doesn’t come as a freebie and can be incredibly annoying at times since it is something as simple as a Google API connection!
As far as I’m concerned, this is the biggest drawback to using Wix and reminds me of my… distaste for proprietary technology. While I am sure that Wix is justified in not wanting people to export websites created with their technology, it creates a big problem for many people.
Say for example you’re a business owner and you have grown out of the capabilities Wix can support for some reason or other. This means that you’ll have to pay serious money to recreate and transfer your website away from Wix!
I’m sure I don’t have to spell this out, but basically if you sign on for Wix, they’ve got you for life.
If you thought that paying a premium plan monthly fee would allow you unrestricted access to Wix for all your sites, think again. The premium features aren’t transferrable, meaning you buy it for one site and it stays there!
Imagine what a bummer that would be, if all you wanted was to hook up Google Analytics? Yet another thing to chew on.
With five paid plan versions aside from the free plan, it does seem that Wix is suitable for everyone. Yet if you’re a big business and need something significant I suggest you look closely into the fine print before buying into the top tier plan.
What I can’t really understand is that for all the tolls and features Wix is including for free, it tries to price itself much like a web host does – by storage space, bandwidth and so on.
I think by the time you’ve reached this point, it will perhaps be clear that I feel Wix that as a site builder, Wix is quite good. It ticks off a lot of the right check boxes in its primary function (the mobile site editor is a great touch) and it is possible to use to develop sites quickly.
On top of that, there is great value-add as well, with the extra features and marketing tools. This is something that would enable new site owners to extend the reach of their site further without having to deal with too much technical knowledge or additional resources.
However, there is a couple of big caveats with this site builder that prevents me from recommending it unhesitatingly. First, the fact that you’re stuck with Wix since you can’t move your site is a major turn off. This is something that has long term implications and isn’t easy for a new (or even veteran!) site owners to judge.
Secondly, while I admit that all these extra features are good to have, for someone who knows what they are doing – you’re buying in to Wix at steep prices. Take for example their lowest plan at RM18.45 a month – that’s what you’d pay for web hosting with much more resources than Wix offers.
As you go through the list of pros and cons, it becomes a bit more obvious that Wix is a short-term gain – long term pain solution. Of course this won’t matter for some people, but my thoughts are that if you’re willing to put in a little effort to learning about self-hosting WordPress, for example, you’d save as much as double (and likely more) in the long run.