We’re surely decades past the point where we have to explain the importance of having a website for your business. I think it’s safe to say that we’re all on board with that at this point. And when it comes to building a website, you have plenty of options depending on your budget. For a number of reasons, one of the most popular free options out there is Wix. But like any operation, there are some Wix pros and cons you should be aware of.
We’ll start off by stating what is perhaps the feature that has made Wix so popular: Simplicity. The major draw to Wix is that it allows those without web design experience to build their own website without running into too many roadblocks or difficulties. And as best as we can tell, it does that just fine. You aren’t faced with complex tasks or inundated with confusing interfaces. If ease of use is your primary concern when it comes to building your site, then Wix is actually a pretty good option overall.
Now obviously that shouldn’t be your only concern here. So what else should you consider? Anyone who has been part of a website redesign can tell you that building a website is a major initiative that takes a lot of time and effort. And the more cooks in your kitchen, the longer the process can become. With a site like Wix, you’re essentially free to make whatever design or content changes you see fit whenever you want to. As a result, the time between the idea phase and the launch is much shorter.
But what about features? Surely you’re going to want your site to look and act a certain way. The good news is that you’ll be able to find plenty of unique features and templates to choose from. With a little creativity on your end, you’ll have a website that essentially gets the job done.
Now let’s talk about cost. The most basic of Wix sites are free, and premium options start at $13 per month. There are four tiers of premium options: Combo, Unlimited, Pro, and VIP and the monthly fees are $13, $17, $22, and $39 respectively. All include a free domain for one year. The latter three include unlimited bandwidth and the latter two include 20GB of storage in addition to other premier add-ons. There are also e-commerce options starting at $23 per month.
At this point, you’re probably thinking that Wix is looking awfully good. There MUST be a catch, right? Well, kind of.
Okay, So What’s the Catch?
We’ve already said that Wix allows you to make a website quickly and without creative limitations. And that’s great and everything…until it isn’t. What do we mean? See, Wix designs are so open to interpretation that you may become overwhelmed. While the process is simple and intuitive, having virtually no restrictions or style guidelines can actually become fairly intimidating and your site’s design may suffer as a result. To put it another way, if you were to give some paint and a brush to someone who has never painted before, it would take a lot more than a few how-to videos and a gallery of inspiring artwork before they could turn a blank canvas into a breathtaking masterpiece.
To their credit, Wix has made substantial ground in improving their sites’ SEO capabilities in recent years. They’re not quite on par with what CMS’s like WordPress offer just yet, but the groundwork has been laid and we have no reason to think that they won’t keep pace as industry standards continue to advance. However, just because the capability is there, doesn’t mean that the average Wix user is going to know how to best utilize it. Whether you’re on Wix or WordPress or anything else, you’re going to want to either study up on SEO practices or partner with someone who already is in order to make sure people see your website. In addition, it is not possible to access Google Analytics with a free Wix site, so you’ll need to purchase a premium plan to secure your domain before the feature is available.
And while Wix gives you plenty of latitude when it comes to your design, you’re still playing by their rules and their limitations. You might not be privy to new updates or solutions that could benefit your business as you would be with a professional designer. You may run into responsive design issues (a common complaint amongst Wix customers). And your site’s speed is only going to be as fast as Wix allows. And if message boards are any indication, this is another aspect at which Wix could improve their product.
Lastly, if you ever choose to upgrade your site to a new platform, you’re going to be out of luck. That is, your site is a Wix site and a Wix site only for as long as you choose, but never anything more. If you decide to go with a different CMS, you’re going to be starting from scratch. A professional developer, in contrast, would be able to help you migrate to a more appropriate platform should the opportunity ever arise.
Overall, a Wix site is a good investment for a small, independently-run operation that just needs a web presence and doesn’t have a significant budget to get it done. The all-in-one aspect is really second to none in the DIY-website arena and you’ll be in the company of millions of other Wix users who rely on the service for their own business and organizations. But if you’re really wanting a site that will set you apart from the competition, it’s more than a DIY project and you’re going to want to enlist the services of a professional design team.