FEATURE: Is Wix.com the way to go for your website?

I have been using Wix.com for quite a few years and more and more these days I get requests from my clients to build them a new website using the Wix website builder.

Whilst the Wix builder is a great tool, there are some cons to using it too – here I explore 5 pros and 5 cons of using Wix.com to power your website…

Part 1 – Pros

As I stated above, there are many pros to using the Wix online website builder to create your website. So what are the best features and positives about using Wix?

1. Wix is a great website design tool

For most people, website design and website development may seem like the same thing. There are vast differences though and what Wix has tried to do is to tie the two together by creating an advanced website builder that many designers with experience in software such as Adobe’s creative suite will find familiar as it presents an Adobe Illustrator type of approach to designing your content. Something that most designers feel extremely comfortable using when using Wix.

2. Wix comes with a lot of features built in

If you want to start a blog, take orders or even start up a small online shop, Wix could be the answer you’ve been looking for. The builder comes with lots of in built functionality so it can be used to build a vast range of websites.

3. You can build a wix site pretty quicky

Because of the simplicity – and very well designed UI, the Wix builder allows you to build up a website quickly and efficiently which is perfect for start-up or small business who want to get online quickly. If you’re looking to get a website live as quickly as possible and don’t need it to be too complex, then Wix might be the way to go!

4. Wix takes the hasstle out of going live

What Wix does really well is get’s your site live quickly and efficiently. Your website is hosted on the Wix servers so you don’t need to worry about hosting. Also, all websites build with Wix come with an SSL certificate pre-installed, so you don’t need to worry about securing your website as it’s all done for you. This really does make getting a site online stress free.

And speaking of free – Wix allows you to build a website for free and gives you somewhere to host it. But you can upgrade your site once you’ve finished building or if you want to remove the ugly Wix ads that must be displayed on free sites.

5. Wix is great for building a website yourself, but also has experienced Wix developers on stand by to help

About a year ago, I joined the Wix partnership programme. As a web developer, I understand what goes on ‘under the hood’ of the Wix site builder and like may other developers, I have been able to help clients who wanted to get more out of the Wix sites. But if you’re looking for something simple like a brochure site, Wix is a really user-friendly tool for you to look at building something yourself first and then seeking assistance from a professional later if you need it.

Part 2 – Cons

Whilst I like using the Wix builder – it must be said that Wix as a package does come with a few cons…

1. Wix is NOT a website development platform

The first pro that I stated was that Wix is a great website designer, and it sure is! However, one thing that you need to bear in mind before choosing Wix to use to build your website is that you can create a really great looking site with many features, however, there are certain things Wix just isn’t suitable for such as large online stores or online login systems or customer management portals.

From a developers point of view, there are restrictions from things like CSS, HTML and Javascript. Even with Wix’s new developer view, there are still limitations.

Wix is very much a tool for building simple websites with minimal functionally. Anything more than that, you would need to look at something more bespoke.

2. Wix is a little pricey!

As will all my points, this one is subject to opinion. Wix offers a free account and website. If having the Wix adverts fixed to the top of your website doesn’t bother you, then brilliant!

However, if you want your website to look more professional, then Wix will charge you to remove the ads. But it must be noted that you get a host of other features with premium plans too.

Wix pricing plans as of June 2020.

When you compare the pricing of a Wix site and hosting to that of other hosting providers, Wix is definitely not the cheapest as you might expect. Okay, you get a free domain for one year and an SSL but most hosting providers also offer this but will also be able to support more bespoke systems and CMS’s such as WordPress.

In my opinion, Wix is a little on the expensive side for what you get. Although it must be said that it is one of the cheaper ‘website builders’ out there with Webflow and Squarespace even more expensive plans for similar offerings.

3. Wix has it’s limitations

I would be expecting an incredible amount if I wanted Wix to be able to cater for my every design need. However to me, the Wix builder is missing some key styling options that I define almost all the time when writing CSS.

Things like object hover states are not yet built into every object or shape in the builder. So, I can’t change the color of a box on hover unless I use one of the Wix pre-built ones. But if I’m a designer, shouldn’t I be designing and building my own elements?

From the developer side of things, there are limitations too. I have already touched upon this in my first point. But not being able to write my own CSS? Are you kidding? Well, actually that’s not strictly true. But adding custom CSS to a Wix site is like pulling teeth. And it doesn’t always work.

The Wix team have given themselves a huge task to try and solve every design need within the builder and have done a decent job, but a drag and drop custom CSS element wouldn’t go a miss!

4. A Wix site is… a Wix site!

This point may seem a little strange. Allow me to elaborate.

When you build a Wix site, you are making a commitment. The website will be built using the Wix builder and therefore will always be tied to being powered by Wix.

So if in the future you decide, actually Wix isn’t really working for me anymore, you’re looking at a website rebuild to move it to something more substantial like WordPress or Umbraco. Yeah, there are some companies out there that say we can do a ‘Wix to WordPress’ conversion for only £99 or something ridiculously cheap, but you need to be careful. The company are probably using a conversion tool which will analyse and change parts of your websites core code. Who knows what is going there in its place in order for your site to be WordPress compatible?

If you ever decide you want to move your website to another platform, or if you starting a small site with the future vision of upscaling it to do more for your business, then I would recommend using a CMS from the outset to avoid issues later down the line.

If your long-term vision is for your website to grow and upscale with your business, then I wouldn’t recommend using Wix.

5. Wix is giving customers and clients the false interpretation of what web development actually is.

And finally… the rant! From the outset let me just say, Wix is not alone in this. In fact, they are one of the better ‘website builders’ saying just that: ‘We are a website builder.’

Other ‘builders’, particularly Webflow at this moment in time with all there ads, are trying to imply that their service is web development for everyone.

Not true I’m afraid. Whilst these services advertise the fact that they provide tools to build websites ‘without writing a single line of code’ so everybody can do it!

But websites are built by writing code. That’s just how the web works. In fact, that’s pretty much how the technology works! By working with a website builder, yes it can be easy to create a website. But you are always using someone else’s code.

You are always working within someone else’s design restrictions unless they give you the freedom to write your own code. The website builders are growing but still come with restrictions because the code on your website isn’t being written from scratch – so bespoke web development will always be able to achieve more than using a something website builder like Wix can.

So to conclude, and answer the question at the top of this post, should you use Wix to build your website? It may sound like a cop-out, but it really is down to you. You know what you want your website to do. You know how big or small it needs to be and you have the vision as to what role your website will play in your business.

If you need something simple and quick, but something that still looks good and engaging, then yes, Wix is a fantastic tool to achieve that. But if you need your website to do more than just transfer information to your potential customers or if you need a site to become a key part of your customer service, then you may want to look at something more bespoke like a WordPress or Umbraco website.