Sometimes I get some variation of the question:
“Do you do sites in Wix?” / “I was thinking of building my business site in Wix” / “What do you think of Wix?”
However, for the right circumstances and client, I think that Wix can be a good, cost-effective solution.
For example: A wedding, where the bride(s) and groom(s) want a quick, slick time-limited DIY solution.
1. Easy, uncomplicated drag-and-drop – you don’t need to hire (and really shouldn’t pay someone unless it’s an issue of time rather than know-how) anyone to do the site because it is so simple
2. Doesn’t need to or shouldn’t be found in Google searches
3. Doesn’t need much special functionality or integration with common small business applications
4. Less likely that the site will need to be accessible for screen readers or other assistive devices
5. Less likely that it will absolutely have to look great on mobile devices and various platforms
6. Doesn’t need to last longer than 1 year at the most – one can wind down the hosting package when the event is over. Things like photos of the event will probably be made available on other sites or services and won’t need to integrate with the website.
While I’m on this topic, it’s worth noting that there are also a few other services one might consider for events which create 1-page landing pages with registrations and links, but that’s a different topic. Wix will work just fine here.
For pretty much every other purpose, I recommend WordPress.
Here I address the above points and some of the differences in what both services provide.
1. Ease of Use: Wix is simple. WordPress can be complicated, because it can achieve so much at both large and small scales. However, a good developer can create a clear, well-lit experience for owners to maintain and manage the site themselves following the initial site build. Aside from hosting, most fees are 1-time up-front development fees. There is a TON of documentation and beautifully-done instructional videos, many free, on how to do this as well. Wix is short-term ease to be weighed with long-term gains via the highly-customizeable robust, flexible infrastructure that is WordPress.
2. SEO: It’s a well-established fact that permalink structure and ability to add tags and other meta information to site content all assist in helping your site to communicate clearly with search engines and be a clear read. While many, many built-in pathways and free applications are available to achieve this in WordPress, it’s pretty well-known that Wix sites still obfuscate information from search engines. If you have a business or blog or cause which depends on being found in search results to get business, you should go with a platform that has a good reputation for SEO to begin with. Just like you would equip yourself with downhill skis rather than waterskis before buying a lift ticket – get the tool that fits your goals, not the one that hinders them.
3. Integrations and fees: The very large community that uses and supports WordPress ensures that its functionality is always being developed to play well with other services. Most of these integrations are free. Reports are that in Wix, there are a number of hidden fees; users are upsold similar but less effective integrations. It’s true that WordPress developers can be hit and miss – but there are some great developers to be found and local WordPress events where you can meet and talk with a few different developers to find one you click with. Know what questions to ask your developer to be sure she or he knows what she’s or he’s doing and is tuned in to the WordPress community before jumping in. WordPress does not pay its developers to evangelize it or to upsell its features; most are working in WordPress because they truly believe in it.
4. Accessiblity for the hearing or visually impaired: As of 2/2015, Wix has been sorely lacking in accessibility for screen-readers and other devices which process websites to make them available to the hearing or visually impaired. Which means that people who rely on those devices are not able to access the content of your Wix website. Accessibility, long a best practice for website development (like clean code), is increasingly becoming a requirement, which in turn begins to affect search rankings. A number of techniques and applications are available to achieve accessibility for WordPress sites.
5. Mobile-friendly New SEO rankings now skew for site legibility on the mobile web. Any current, reputable WordPress theme will be optimized for the mobile web out of the box. This ensures that your site will show up well not only on any device, but a clean sitemap also ensures that your site can show up well and can be navigated for the content even if the images are stripped – ie if someone in a distant country without internet infrastructure is trying to use a basic mobile phone to view it. The last I heard, mobile-readiness was an optional add-on for Wix. Which means that any sites which have not opted for it (or paid for it) have it will fall even further behind in search rankings.
6. Agile and Cutting Edge: With such a large open source community and user base, WordPress has improvements and current developments being tested and thoughtfully implemented all the time. A good developer will know how to assess which plugins are good and trustworthy or not, and be able to select the most solid components for your site build. If a theme becomes obsolete for any reason, you can switch to a different theme without losing any of your content. Similarly, if you ever want to switch to a new hosting provider, you can, because you own your site and content. With Wix, you’re pretty stuck if you ever want to change things out or move to a different hosting environment.
There are three additional major considerations to be aware of – most reviews which compare the two focus primarily on these following issues:
Ownership and Branding: With WordPress, you own your content. With Wix, Wix owns your content – your pictures, contacts gathered, everything. In WordPress, which is free, you can easily turn off the WordPress branding. For Wix, you have to pay more to remove their ad.
Flexibility: Point #6 above pretty much covered this but it bears repeating that if you want a website that can scale for the future in terms of what you can do and how big it can get as well as easily accommodate any changes in branding, then WordPress is your vehicle. Switch your theme? No problem. Switch your hosting company? No problem.
Flash: WordPress animations are coded in HTML5, which means that like the Google Doodle, they show up well on any device. The Wix animations are coded in Flash; much has been written about the conflicts between Flash and Apple devices.
So if you just need a quick and easy site with a short internet shelf life to do a job and want to do it yourself, Wix can be a great choice.
If you want the room and flexibility to grow and are prepared to see your website as a long-term business investment and tool to help your business grow, then WordPress is the choice for you.