In this modern age, without a website to represent your business online, you are dead in the water. You need an online destination where existing and potential customers can learn more about your business, your products, and the services that you provide. If you have never owned your own website, this may appear challenging. Luckily, there are a couple of popular services out there that make it fairly simple for anyone to begin setting up their own business website. These options are WordPress and Wix – the two leading platforms for easy web design.
The most convenient way to compare these two web design solutions is to break them down into different categories. I’ll offer insight into both options, in each individual category, as we examine ease of use, available themes, additional features and plugins, and pricing.
As we look at both WordPress and Wix, I’ll give you an honest side by side comparison. Read through this article, compare the advantages and disadvantages of each, and then come to your own conclusion about which option will suit your business needs.
I must first disclose my own personal bias. I am a WordPress developer and have been building websites with WordPress since 2005. My preference for WordPress is based on flexibility, variety and quantity & quality of software options. That disclosure made, Wix is also a very good choice for a content management system. Let’s see how they compare.
Ease of Use
Can anyone use WordPress or Wix to create a website? Sure, the tools are fairly easy to understand; though, it may take a little bit of time to familiarize yourself with the controls and options, regardless of which service you choose.
WordPress offers an enormous amount of a features that some may find overwhelming. When editing your site, or individual web pages and posts, there is a text editor with a layout that is similar to using a word processing program. The learning curve to using WordPress comes from all of the options. You can add plugins, adjust your site layout, schedule posts for a later date, and so much more.
With Wix, you are given a drag-and-drop HTML editor that allows you to edit and rearrange the elements on your site without needing any coding experience. This is simple enough to use; though, it does not take long to turn a beautiful template in a large mess of elements. When using Wix, your best bet is to keep it simple – find a template that you like, adjust colors and background, and then start adding your content and business information.
Overall, Wix has a more user-friendly interface. That is not to say that WordPress is extremely difficult. There are thousands of articles and how-to videos, as well as support from WordPress.org, that will help explain every step of setting up your website.
Both WordPress and Wix provide you with a whole slew of themes to choose from. With WordPress, they are referred to as themes, while Wix prefers to call them templates. Either way, there are plenty of options.
Since WordPress is open source, there are thousands of developers just waiting to show off their WordPress skills. With WordPress installed you can look through thousands of free themes. If you want better assurance that your theme will function properly and be compatible with all your plugins, you might want to consider a premium theme. These can range in price from $30 to $200, depending on the amount of features built into the theme.
As with WordPress, Wix has free and paid templates. After creating an account, you can browse through a selection of templates for your website and instantly get to work editing your site. Also like WordPress, the free templates are slightly more limited in features than the paid templates.
Currently, WordPress has Wix outnumbered in the theme department. Wix likes to show off their flashy templates on their homepage, but the truth is – just about any template you find on Wix you can discover something similar on WordPress.
Additional Features and Plugins
When it comes to additional features or plugins, WordPress vastly surpasses Wix. WordPress has been around for over 15 years; and as an open-source platform – there are plenty of developers working away at creating useful or fun plugins. This is great for businesses looking for a specific feature, but you can run into the same problem mentioned about WordPress themes – not all plugins are going to be regularly updated or provide 100% compatibility.
Wix, on the other hand, is not an open-source website builder. All of the plugins and features available at Wix are handled through their own development team or companies that they hire to develop features. Also, most of these extra features require a fee to use. On the plus side, compatibility is hardly ever an issue with Wix.
WordPress software, available from WordPress.org, is free to download and use. Getting started with Wix is free and as can be expected you get what you pay for. Regardless of which software you end up going with, the free part of creating your website does not last long.
WordPress itself is a free, open-source software that anyone can use, but you will need to purchase website hosting and a domain name. Hosting will vary, based on which company you choose, with an average of $6 to $10 per month. A domain name will run you about $10 to $15 dollars each year.
Wix.com has a pricing structure, designed to let you choose what level of service you want. With a free account, you are allowed to pick from the free website templates, create and edit your site, and that is about it. In order to use your own domain name (instead of sticking with the default – username.wix.com/your-business), you will need to signup for at least the cheapest plan – at just over $4 per month. From there, you can choose from 4 other plans, which can cost up to $24 per month.
It is technically cheaper to get started with Wix, but we haven’t even begun to cover the use of plugins and premium templates; though, the same can be said about WordPress. You can find many quality free plugins for WordPress; however, the most reliable WordPress plugins and themes often have a price tag. If you are desperate to get a website up and running at the lowest cost, Wix could be the answer. Just remember, you will be severely limited in customization options, when compared to setting up a WordPress site.
Hiring a Developer Versus Doing It Yourself
Even though both Wix and WordPress attempt to make the process of building and maintaining a website as easy as possible, many businesses still turn to professional developers and website designers to handle the creation of their site. There are many reasons for this. Some businesses would prefer to focus on other aspects of their business and allow a professional designer to ensure their site has an attractive layout and proper search engine optimization. Requiring a feature for your site that is specific to your business needs could also require the help of a developer.
With the ease of use that Wix provides, it is hard to imagine you needing to hand over the reigns to someone else. For WordPress users, hiring an expert can give you the peace of mind in knowing that your website is functioning correctly, if you are going to require a lot of plugins or other features, but if you have the time and are willing to do a little research as needed, then you should not really run into many problems creating your own WordPress site. Deciding to hire a developer over handling the project yourself really comes down to your personal goals and needs.
Should you choose WordPress for your website or Wix? Well, they both have their own advantages and disadvantages. WordPress has a massive amount of customization features, available plugins, and is part of a large developer community. The greatest strength of WordPress, customization, can also be a hindrance. With so many plugins and themes to choose from, it can be hard to determine which plugins or themes are fully compatible or receive regular support and updates. Wix, on the other hand, carefully controls which features are available. While you may be limited in options when compared to WordPress, there is more stable support and compatibility. Pricing for either service will depend on the add-ons you want for your website. Wix provides a more streamlined, drag-and-drop interface, while the WordPress dashboard may take some getting used to.
When choosing between these two services, you should start by thinking about your needs. Wix could be a great choice, if you want to build a basic website with limited features. In time, we may see Wix increase available customization options and plugins, but for now, WordPress is a smarter solution for those with specific needs.
If you want additional information about using either Wix or WordPress, feel free to leave me a message. I’ll get back to you quickly and would love to help you get your business off the ground.