Founded in 2006, Wix.com is one of the most popular website building platforms available. Wix has over 80 million registered users (with 1.5 million customers on one of the paid plans) and hosts 70 million plus websites.
Wix offers plans to fit a wide variety of site building needs with prices ranging from free to about $30 a month. No payment information is required to get started with Wix which is great for people who want to give it a test drive before making a commitment.
When Wix first started it was a flash-based website builder, but several years ago they switched to HTML5 templates which are much more SEO and mobile friendly. Wix is best known for its intuitive design features, drop and drag functionality, professional looking site templates, and a comprehensive App Market which offers more third-party plug-ins than the competition.
- Ideal For
- User Friendly
- Pros & Cons
The Wix site building platform is designed so that it is easy to use for people with no coding or website experience. With over 500 templates to choose from, it’s a good option for personal websites, designers, travel websites, photographers, musicians and bands, professional portfolios, entertainment related websites, restaurants and small to mid-sized business and retail websites.
Depending upon your needs and your industry, Wix has some great advanced features and tools.
- Hotel and Hospitality – Wix offers hotel owners the ability to present their rooms, manage inventory and take reservations. In addition, Wix has partnered with TripAdvisor which offers increased exposure to for your business when you add the app to your website.
- Restaurant Owners – Wix offers restaurant owners the ability to add menus, schedule food delivery and to take reservations right from their website. You also have the option to add the OpenTable app. You might even want to use one of the photo galleries to present pictures of your location and food.
- Musicians – For professional musicians, or anyone who wants to build a website that revolves around music, Wix offers multiple audio and video player options to share and play audio files, many of which are customizable so that you can make them match the look of your website. In addition, Wix has apps that make it possible for you to sell your music right from your website such as Wix Music, iTunes, Spotify, Taggled, RightTune, SongKick and Soundcloud. You can also add event calendars and links to your social media pages to make sure that people know where you are playing next!
- Photographers – In addition to all the features that make it possible for you to communicate and schedule appointments, Wix does a great job at showcasing your photos! There are multiple image gallery options which can be customized to match your website. Wix also has some great image editing tools.
- Online Stores – In addition to providing the ability to create stunning and professional looking websites, Wix has several different e-commerce solutions to make it possible for you to sell products and services directly from your site. With 100’s of designer templates and product photo galleries, you can customize your store to fit the exact look and feel that you want. Wix has tools to help you promote sales, get paid, compute sales tax, to track orders and manage shipping.
If you are considering using Wix to build your website, but aren’t quite sure what you want to do, Wix offers is the ability for you to explore live websites that have been built using the platform. Not only can this help to inspire you with ideas, but it also lets you see how much is possible using the site builder. Who knows, maybe one day your website will be featured on the inspiration page!
Getting started with the Wix website building platform couldn’t be any more user friendly. You can sign up with your email, Facebook or Google account and no payment information is required. That’s right; you can play around with and explore most of what Wix has to offer completely free – for as long as you want. Once you have gotten used to the basics, if you decide that you want to upgrade to one of the Premium paid plans, Wix offers a 14 day trial.
Wix uses what is called a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) website builder, with drop and drag functionality. This allows you to move things around and insert elements where you want them with some simple mouse clicks. When you type in a text box, the website automatically adjusts the other elements on the page to fit properly. The snap-to-grid feature ensures that things stay aligned where you want them. The Wix dashboard provides an intuitive method for creating your website, with many of the features similar to what most people are used to with a word processing program.
Wix offers a library of video tutorials and walkthroughs that provide step-by-step help when you need it, as well as a comprehensive knowledgebase of FAQ’s. If you can’t find what you need, you have the option to submit a support ticket by email or you can schedule to have someone call you directly.
Another great feature that makes using Wix user-friendly is the ability to send a link for people to view your site before it goes live – anywhere during your site building process. This lets people that you trust provide feedback on your site with comments added to specific spots on the site.
One “downside” of Wix, when it comes to being user friendly is the fact that once you get started working on a site and decide that you want to try a different template is that you have to start all over. Any content that you have entered will not be transferred to the new template. On the positive side, as long as you give the new version of your site a different name, the previous site will be saved in the Wix dashboard and you can copy and paste what have already written into the new template. Any uploads, such as pictures and video files, will be in your upload library so you won’t have to upload them again.
With the wide variety of features that you get with Wix, even a first time website builder can create a stunning and engaging website. In addition to providing customizable free templates and powerful web hosting, Wix stands out from other platforms because of its comprehensive Apps Market. With over 260 available applications, many of which are free, it’s easy to see why Wix boasts an average of 15 million app installations every year!
Wix also offers a separate editor that makes it possible to convert the desktop version of your website to one that is mobile-friendly. With the comprehensive 24/7 support system, Wix makes it possible for just about anyone to build a professional and engaging website.
Templates & Designs
If you are going to build a website without any coding, it’s important to have access to great templates and Wix definitely has this covered – and they are included at no additional charge. Wix offers over 500 professional looking templates and they are always adding more.
To get started creating your website, you can use the template wizard to narrow down your search, or you can choose the option to view all templates. If you use the wizard option, you can easily switch categories. In order to simplify the selection process, templates are broken down by industry, and then by subcategory within each one. You can choose from business and services, music, entertainment, online stores, blogs, hotel and travel, restaurant and hospitality, photography, creative arts, design, retail and fashion, one-page sites, personal sites or you can start with a blank template.
Within each website template you have multiple options for page and content layout or you can start from a blank canvas. You can use pre-designed color themes or you can pick your own colors. The same is true for fonts. Templates start with pre-set images but these are easily changed and Wix offers a large collection of 1000’s of free fully customizable images, clipart and icons or you can import your own. If you like the layout and format of a template that is filled with pictures that are “not in your industry” you can change the pictures to suit your needs.
Storage Space & Bandwidth
When choosing a platform to host your website, it’s important to take in to consideration whether or not it has the capability to keep up with your needs. This is where storage and bandwidth come in to play.
Storage refers to the amount of space available to hold the contents of your website. This includes the structure of your website (for example, the template used and the number of pages), the text content, images and graphics, as well as video and audio files (if they are actually stored on the server).
In simple terms, bandwidth refers to the amount of data that is transferred through your website, as well as the speed at which that data is transmitted. This number is greatly influenced by the number of visitors to your site and the amount of time they spend on it. When your site first gets going, you won’t need a lot of bandwidth.
Wix offers different plans designed to meet varying website needs:
- Free – up to 500MB of storage and up to 500MB bandwidth
- Connect Domain – 500MB of storage and up to 1 GB bandwidth
- Combo Plan – up to 3GB of storage and 2 GB bandwidth
- Unlimited Plan – up to 10GB of storage and unlimited bandwidth
- E-Commerce Plan – up to 20 GB of storage and 10 GB bandwidth
- VIP Plan – up to 20 GB of storage and unlimited bandwidth
With Wix, you have the flexibility to start small and upgrade to higher level plans as your website needs grow. Wix keeps track of how much storage space and bandwidth you are using, and this information is easily accessible from the site dashboard. The first time that you go over your bandwidth or storage allotment, Wix sends you a message with no additional charges, so that you can make any necessary adjustments for the future.
While websites built with Wix will adjust to different platforms, none of the templates are what would be called fully Responsive Design. In order to create a mobile version of your website, Wix offers a unique editor that will generate an optimized mobile website with a single click.
When you use the mobile editor, you have the ability to manually adjust the content that will appear on the mobile version of your site. This makes it possible for you to move things around, to limit the pages that can be seen and to control the amount of content that appears on the mobile version.
You can also enable the “click to call” feature so that your visitors can easily contact you without having to dial the phone number.
As you are working in the mobile editor from the Wix dashboard on your desktop, you will be able to see exactly how the mobile version of your site will look to viewers.
While Wix does create a good working mobile site, if your goal is build a native App then Wix is not the tool to do it with.
Plug-Ins & Apps
One of the things that makes Wix a powerful choice for non-professional website builders is the availability of 100’s of applications that you can simply plug in to your website, many of which are completely free. Some of the Apps are made by Wix and others are provided by other companies. As of this writing, Wix offers more third-party web applications than other website building platforms.
In addition to apps for social media, newsletters, communications, e-commerce, audio, video and photo galleries, blogs, SEO and traffic generation (all of which are further described below), Wix offers a wide variety of other plug ins that can add increased functionality to your website, making it more inviting and useful for your site visitors.
Wix makes it simple to add things such as forms, calendars, weather forecasts, Google maps, quotes, hit counters, polls, testimonials, QR codes and scheduling features into your website – with no programming or coding skills required.
Wix offers the ability to connect your website to all of the major social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumbler, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, MeetUp, EventBrite, and LinkedIn. In the Wix App Marketplace you can find plug ins, most of which are free, that enable you to insert social media tool bars, to display feeds and to enable add’s, likes and shares directly from your website.
If you prefer to build your own section for comments right on your website, separate from the ones that are made on social media accounts, there are free apps for that too.
Email, Newsletters & Communications
When it comes to keeping in contact with your site visitors, Wix offers a wide range of options – both free and paid. Wix has partnered with Google in order to provide professional mailboxes connected to your domain (there is a fee for this) or you can connect your existing email.
For newsletters, Wix offers several different Apps including their own ShoutOut App. With ShoutOut you can manage a newsletter and promotional campaigns right from the Wix dashboard. The app lets you create custom newsletters which can include text, images, videos and links. Newsletters can be sent out by email or through social media. The templates available with ShoutOut are designed so that they look great and can be easily viewed on desktop computers, tablets and smartphones. When sending out newsletters, you can manage your contacts into groups and select exactly who will receive them. ShoutOut lets you view statistics such as the number of opens, clicks and deliverability
Or if you are using an external contact management system such as MailChimp or Constant Contact, Wix offers plug in apps that will connect your account to your website.
In addition to email and newsletters, as well as social media connections, Wix has several different apps that provide Live Chat capabilities.
While Wix may not be the best choice for businesses with a very large on-line store, it does a good job with its offerings for small and mid-size businesses that require e-commerce functionality. There are two options, depending upon your on-line store needs.
The first option is to use the fully integrated Wix Store, with its own shopping cart built right into your site. This requires the purchase of either the E-Commerce or VIP plan. With Wix Store you can create a store front that matches the design of your website, complete with product galleries. All Wix stores are optimized so that they can be viewed on any device whether it’s a desktop, tablet or a mobile phone. The app has management tools to help you promote sales, get paid, compute sales tax, track orders and handle shipping.
If you don’t want to use the Wix store, the other option is to use one of the available third-party e-commerce applications such as Etsy, Ecwid, Shopify, Paypal Buy It Now, eBay, or Simple e-Commerce. These are good options if you already have one of these accounts, don’t require a full on-line store, or don’t want to purchase one of the advanced Wix plans.
Wix offers several different options for accepting payments including PayPal, Snapcard and Yandex Money. There are also apps that make it possible for you to sell specific items such as t-shirts, music downloads, online video courses and digital products such as e-books. You can even add coupons to your website.
Audio, Video & Photo Gallery
When it comes to sharing audio, video and photos, Wix provides some great choices that will help to make your website stand out.
Photo Gallery – If you need your site to show off pictures or to display your portfolio, you have a good selection of gallery styles to choose from, which can be customized to fit your requirements. And most of them are free!
Video Files – Wix offers several different video player options that let you add Youtube or Vimeo videos to your website. Depending upon the app that you choose to display your video, you can customize the colors, text and buttons so that the player matches your website design. And again, most of the video player plug ins are available at no additional cost.
Audio Files – Like the video players, Wix offers several different free apps that make it possible for you to upload audio files or create playlists for your website. There are even options available that let you share and sell audio files and music, including an iTunes download button and the Wix Music application.
Wix also offers apps which let you add “internet TV” to your website, providing entertainment which will keep visitors on your website longer. For example, the free PlutoTV app lets you choose from over 100 channels including news, travel, food, music, sports, celebrities, or even something as crazy as 24/7 Cats!
There are several options for adding a blog to your website with the Wix platform. You can use one of the available external blog apps, several of which are free. As of this writing, the options are Blogger, the AtContent blogging app or Easy SEO Blog. The other option is to use the Wix Blog app which makes it possible for you to easily generate a blog within your website right from the Wix dashboard for free.
When you use the Wix Blog application you can match your blog pages to your website design and it will be fully integrated into your site. Wix blog pages can include videos, images, image galleries, tags, tag clouds, social media share buttons and RSS feeds so that your readers can keep up with your posts. There are many different layout and formatting options and you can even schedule posts for the future.
For people who want to add a simple blog or who just want a place within their website where they can add dynamic and updated content (search engines love fresh content), the Wix Blog app will do just fine.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Traffic Generation
All of the websites built using the Wix platform are search engine friendly and Wix guarantees that site content can be indexed and crawled by major search engines such as Google and Bing. You also have the ability to individually add page titles, Meta descriptions and alt tags from the site dashboard. When you are ready to have your site “seen” by search engines, you simply click a button during publishing.
In addition, Wix offers over 10 different apps that are designed to boost traffic, increase SEO and achieve higher ranking in search engine results, all of which will help you reach more customers and build your business.
Wix uses Google Analytics as its primary method of monitoring site traffic such as the number of visitors, visitor geographics and page views. There is also an app which enables you to see Facebook statistics such as likes, comments and viewing trends.
All of the Wix plans, including the free version, include hosting so there are no additional charges. Wix boasts reliable hosting with over 99.9% uptime and uninterrupted service. If you chose one of the Premium plans, your domain will be registered with Wix and connected directly to the hosting. It is important to note that sites built using the Wix platform can only be hosted with them, not any other hosting provider.
Whenever you need help, Wix offers a 24/7 support center with several options including email, phone, a knowledgebase help center, forum support and video tutorials.
Wix has been building its database of questions and answers for years, so in most cases you can find what you need by using the support system which will walk you through your questions. If you still need help, you can either submit a ticket to get an answer by email or you can request help by phone. Unlike many other phone support systems, there is no waiting on hold for a representative. Instead, you schedule a time for someone to call you – when it’s most convenient.
Another option for finding the answers you need is to visit the support forum where you can see questions that have been submitted by other users. You even have the option of following the discussion.
Pros & Cons
Overall, as we have already discussed, Wix ranks very high for what it has to offer to anyone looking to create their own website without the need of a professional website designer or any coding experience. Among the positives that stand out are:
- Wide Variety of Templates – With the availability of 100’s of free, customizable free templates, there is something for just about every business. And even if you don’t find exactly what you want, you can change the pictures to make it fit your industry.
- Availability of Industry Specific Functionality – Wix offers comprehensive solutions to the specific website needs for industries such as small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs), musicians, photographers, restaurants owners, hotels owners and more.
- Broad Range of Apps and Interactive Tools – When it comes to applications and plug-ins that can be integrated in to your website, Wix offers more third-party tools than any other DIY site building platform.
- Ease of Use – Wix uses true “drop and drag functionality” to build site with no coding knowledge required.
- Mobile Ready Websites – The Wix platform offers the ability to create a mobile ready version of your website, complete with mobile e-commerce functionality.
- Reputable and Reliable Hosting Service – Because every Wix site comes with hosting (even the free plans), you don’t have to worry about things such as site security, data backups or website downtime.
Despite the many positives there are a few things, which depending upon your needs, which may not make Wix the best choice for you.
- Can’t Change Templates – Once you get started, if you change your mind about the template that you want to use, you will have to start over.
- Advertisements – If you use the free or “connect domain” plan, you will have advertisements on the side and bottom of your website. But then again, so does just about any other free website builder.
- Not Designed for Major E-Commerce Sites – Wix has a lot of e-commerce solutions that are great for small and mid-sized businesses, including its own Wix Stores shopping cart features, but if you are building a complex online store, you may want to go with a website building platform that is specifically designed for e-commerce.
- No Export or Archive Capabilities – If and when you decide to close your Wix account, you will have to manually take out any content that you want to use again. We recommend taking screen shots of the page as well as keeping copies of your written content in some type of text document. And of course, keep copies of your images, audio and video files.
While there are some limitations to what can be done with the Wix DIY site builder, ultimately it is one of the best tools for building professional looking business websites. Some of the enhanced features that it provides for specific industries such as small and medium businesses, online stores, restaurants, hotels and hospitality businesses, professionals who want to showcase pictures, and anyone who wants to feature their videos or music, make it great choice.
One thing that makes Wix stand out from a lot of the competition is the availability of numerous applications – both made by Wix and third party apps. With these plugins, you can add both entertainment and increase functionality to your website.
Wix provides 100’s of templates, all of which can be used to not only create a site that will look fantastic on any desktop but with the use of its mobile editor, they will also function well (and look good) on any mobile device.
Since Wix offers unlimited access to its free version, there is no risk to sign up and take it for a test drive. If you are considering one of the paid versions, you may still want to start out with the free one until you learn all the basics.