Wix Review: Pros and Cons

Now days, there are countless ways to build a website. Wix is one of the most popular ways for do it yourself web designers. You have probably seen their commercials on TV promising to make it simple for people who have no specific technical skills in web designing to create a nice looking website. Wix has actually been around for quite some time (since 2006). However, it was just recently that I had an opportunity, and a reason, to try out the functionality for myself. A client I was working with had a website they were building with the Wix platform and ran into a bit of a snag.

Wix: An Overview

Wix is an all-inclusive website building platform. The website you create with Wix is built on their software with their tools and the site files are stored on their servers. What this means is that you can only access your site via the Wix admin panel. This is in contrast to other web design platforms where you are able to buy, install and manage all of the “pieces” of your website individually.

Similar to other all-inclusive website builders, using Wix is sort of like renting an apartment in a gated community as opposed to buying and owning your own home. You are still in control of the look, feel and maintenance of site, however, the construction, plumbing, security and infrastructure of your site is left to the property owner. This may be great for many people who don’t have an understanding of the technical workings of website, but, there is usually a direct trade-off between convenience and control.

Pros of Wix

Free Option

If you don’t mind having your website address look something like http://yourwebsite.wix.com/yourwebsite, the free option is a great quick fix to getting you online now. There is no cap on the number of pages you include on your free site but there are caps on the file storage and features included with the free option

Short Term Pricing

You have to option to get access to their full featured software and more storage with Wix’s paid plans. You can pay month to month which makes it incredibly easy.

Site Configuration and Backend Interface

The Wix backend interface isn’t the most beautiful in the industry, however, it is quite simple to use. The drag and drop functionality makes it simple to move elements of your site to the right place. The tools and templates make it easy to build a site just how you image it.

Design Templates

Recently Wix has upgraded their design selection for website themes. Very modern.

Hosting

To call back to the analogy earlier in this article, you are renting your home/site in a very nice community. All of Wix’s websites are hosted on Wix’s servers. The Wix servers are optimized for Wix sites which makes them run fast. They also ensure high levels of security (as any good host should).

Cons of Wix

Wix has come a long way since they began offering a website building platform in 2006. When Wix first cam on the scene, they ran primarily off of Flash, which was terrible technology for search optimization with major search engines and has almost completely gone the way of the dinosaur in the web world. That being said there are still some disadvantages to using Wix. The big trade off for the convenience of this “all-in-one” solution is lack of total control and advanced features.

Long-term Pricing

The starting plan does not eliminate Wix advertising on your website and as the plans go up, they are still more expensive than other all-in-one solutions like Weebly or Squarespace and likewise, more expensive than setting up your own website with WordPress on you own hosting. No matter what plan you choose, Wix always will limit the amount of bandwidth and file storage that is available to you.

Editing and Design

Drag and drop editing was included as one of the pros of Wix’s service, however, this is also one of the cons. When they say drag and drop anywhere, they literally mean anywhere. The client I was helping had tried to drop a music player into her blog. The player covered the blog text and he couldn’t figure out how to make it fit properly into his page. There are tools to help with the parameters and layout of the site, but building a site still takes some work to make it look right. The templates available make this problem a little easier to manage, but still may be outside of the range, technically, for DIYers.

Extensions

Similar to other all-in-one website solutions, Wix has opened an “app store” that provides 3rd party apps for store owners. This would be great expect that under closer inspection I found that many of their “apps” were not true apps. Many of the more important plugins were simply Iframe drop ins.

In my clients case, she wanted to add Etsy functionality to the website. Wix had an extension to do this, but again, it was simply an Iframe (a window within a window) fo people to search her Etsy store without ever leaving her actual website. This technically works and easy to apply, but, this solution is still not ideal. If the user decides to buy a product from your Etsy store (which is the goal right?), checking out can get messy through the Iframe.

Search Engine Optimization

Wix sites are built on a programming technology called AJAX. It’s a fantastic programming language in many ways and is what allows all the cool drag and drop functionality within the Wix site-building platform. However, search engine spider bots have a harder time crawling AJAX as opposed to HTML/CSS. Google has recently made great strides in parsing AJAX, however there is still much room for improvement.

Data Exporting

So, what if you should decide to leave Wix and move your site to a new, more scalable platform later on? The is no way to export your data with Wix. They don’t make it easy to leave.

Ecommerce Limitations

Wix only offers ecommerce for their top tier VIP plan. It works fine for websites that are primarily used for lead-generation, information, etc but also sell a few products – a good example would be a restaurant owner who wants to sell a few shirts or mugs. But it’s not entirely adequate for websites that are ecommerce-first.

Conclusion

Wix may be one of the best known website builders, but it lacks a lot of functionality and design elements compared to direct competitors.