Your business needs are growing and you know you need to build (or upgrade) your website. You know there are options available for creating websites, but it can be confusing how to decide which platform is the best fit for you? With Wix and WordPress being two of the most well-known platforms, we are going to compare the two from the perspective of a developer who works a lot with small business owners. And just full-disclosure, we do develop with WordPress, although we have helped a few clients with their DIY type sites on Wix, Weebly and Squarespace over the years.
To cut to the chase, determining which one is best to you will vary based on your budget and needs – there is not a definitive platform that works better for everyone. Our goal in this article is to help you decide what works best for most small businesses. To generalize, Wix websites are easier for a non-developer to set up and maintain themselves, while WordPress websites are more versatile. Let’s start with a few facts…
Comparing WordPress and Wix
Interesting WordPress Facts:
- 2,645 of the top 10k websites on the web use WordPress.
- WordPress.com gets more unique visitors than Amazon (126 million per month vs. 96 million per month).
- WordPress dominates Google’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page) with 583,000,000 results.
- WordPress CMS takes care of 80-90% of Google’s crawling issues according to Matt Cutts, the former head of search quality at Google.
- WordPress is the fastest growing CMS, with roughly 500+ new sites built daily in the top 10 million websites on the web
Interesting Wix Facts:
- There are 148 million users, with 4.2 million Wix subscribers.
- Wix has 500 designer-made templates.
- 15% of total Wix subscriptions are ecommerce, and 30 million mobile sites use Wix.
Though interesting, these facts may still leave you wondering what the biggest differences are between WordPress and Wix. Here are some key elements that we have noted over the years when working with each type of platform, which you may want to consider before making a choice for your business’ website.
While this article references primarily Wix in the “Do it Yourself” (DIY) category, a lot of that information will also apply to other popular DIY types of web builders such as Squarespace or Weebly. Similarly, a lot of the points for WordPress, will also apply for other “Self-hosted” web platforms such as Drupal or Joomla. It’s important to differentiate between those two conceptual approaches to web development. Essentially, a “self-hosted” website is a website that you own, and you can host it with any provider you want. A “hosted” site is one that you essentially rent. You can use a system to enter your content and change colors and graphics, but you do not “own” the site, in the same way that you do with a self-hosted site. You cannot move that website to another platform or hosting provider – you must keep it where you set it up.
Because WordPress is a self-hosted platform, you have complete ownership of your site and as such can make whatever changes to a template or functionality that you need. You can choose your web host, how long you want your site to exist, and any other feature based on your needs, and not be locked in to a specific contract.
Using this platform, you will not own your website, hosting, domain name or even the content of your website. You are required to agree to their terms before you can build your site, and part of that agreement includes giving Wix the right to move or delete any content available on its service. Since you can’t move a DIY type of website to another platform or host, if they are acquired by another company or goes out of business, your website goes with it.
With WordPress, you will have to pay for your own web hosting service if you have a web developer who is building a WordPress website for you. Since you have to host your own site, that means you have to choose a good host, but it also means that you are not relegated to a specific provider. You can move your website to be hosting with any company that offers WordPress hosting, and there are many. If you or your web developer is using a premium theme or plugin to extend functionality, there may be a cost to purchase that as well. Other than the cost that you may incur from hiring a web developer to build your website, which will vary per site, the hosting and commercial addons for a site will probably run you around $40-60 a month depending on the hosting provider you choose and the addons you need.
Wix offers several different plans that range in price from $13-39 per month as of the time of this article being published. The more you pay, the more tools, options and space you have for your website. With premium plans, there will not be a Wix advertisement on your website, plus you will have access to more templates. While you can hire someone to develop a site for you on Wix, it is generally a lower cost, DIY solution.
Search Engine Optimization
WordPress sites consistently rank high on search engine results pages (SERPs) when they are optimized properly. A WordPress site offers a lengthy list of fantastic SEO plugins such as Yoast SEO (free) to help you develop more optimized content, or generate sitemaps automatically, etc. Plus with WordPress you can set up 301 redirects so that old URLs won’t lose traffic but pass to their replacement pages.
Although Wix websites do have the ability to edit basic SEO settings, they are not near as robust as to what you can do with WordPress. If your content development is engaging and written from the perspective of answering people’s questions in niche areas, you can have success ranking regardless of your platform, however.
WordPress is an open-source platform. This means that the code that powers it is free, and can be edited by web developers. The end result is you can design your website to function and look just about any way you want it to be, with a good web developer by your side. Even if you are building a WordPress website on your own, there are many free or low cost templates and plugins that allow you to add a lot of functionality without having to code anything.
Unlike WordPress, Wix is not an open-source platform. Hence, you may not easily adapt the platform or tools to suit your desired goal(s). You can only edit the areas they give you access to, which is generally relegated to choosing a pre-designed template, updating content, and making minor cosmetic changes. With a developer, they can go a little deeper by editing style files, but their access to the “guts” of the site is limited. However, Wix does offer its users an assortment of tools and addons that generally are perfect for starter websites. But if you want to do something “out of the box” it’s much harder to accomplish.
Ease of Use
To proficiently use WordPress, you will greatly benefit if you have a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS coding, although many templates allow you to create amazing looking sites without using code. Unlike Wix, which is a drag and drop platform, WordPress may require coding to go outside of what the template is designed to do. Although, with the new Gutenberg editor in WordPress, you can do much more with your layouts than you used to be able to. Also, if you have a team of people working on your website content, WordPress will make sure they don’t overwrite each other’s work.
Wix has a fairly simple interface geared towards DIY folks, that allows you to drag and drop elements on the page. This makes it easy to design and publish your site. As long as you are looking for a simple website and you are fairly flexible on how it looks, Wix wins for ease of use. With Wix, there is not a system in place to prevent multiple users from accidentally overwriting each other’s work though, so if you have more than one person working on your website’s content at a time, that could be a problem with a Wix website.
If you get stumped when creating a WordPress site, then you have a huge community of programmers, coders, etc. of whom you can ask your question(s). But the support is not from WordPress, itself, because it’s an open source product that you don’t pay for. They don’t provide tech support. However, if you pay for a theme or plugin, the creator will include support as part of the cost. Most of the time if you are working with WordPress for a business website, you have a developer helping you, so they would be your support team.
In using Wix, you will have an extensive library of guides to help understand how to use their various tools. Should you need additional support, they have 24/7 email support, a phone number you can call to talk to a representative, as well as a forum with over 260,000 topics where you can interact with other users to get feedback.
Because WordPress is frequently updating its platform, you will receive notices letting you know when to update your website. This is the easy part. Once the updates are complete, you may also have to update your theme and plugins so they remain compatible with the latest version of WordPress. Good hosting companies will manage this for you.
As a closed system, Wix handles all the performance and security updates for you.
While there are many different blogging platforms out there, WordPress is the longstanding favorite. Unlike other content management systems, WordPress has a built-in blog with multiple features that make publishing content easy.
While getting your blog set up on Wix is relatively simple, and you have numerous templates to choose from, this where the benefits end. Wix has less blogger-friendly features or addons when compared to WordPress.
Having a responsive, mobile-friendly website is no longer an option but a ‘must have’ if you want to rank in web searches. With a WordPress site you automatically get the advantage of a responsive website without needing to create a separate site for mobile devices, as long as your theme supports that, which most themes do.
In the strictest sense of the word (meaning you can resize the browser so that website contents will fit to a smaller size), Wix sites are not truly responsive. That said, Wix does create mobile versions of your website that will pass Googles tests for mobile friendliness. In addition, Wix also offers apps that allow you to interact with site visitors and update store elements such as products and prices.
WordPress is a very popular choice for many ecommerce websites due to the WooCommerce plugin. WooCommerce is free to use and offers a plethora of add-ons such as automatic tax calculations and abandoned cart recovery making it easy to sell nearly anything you want. However, some DIYers find WooCommerce to have a bit of learning curve, so you may find you need a website developer’s help to set-up and maintain your e-commerce site.
The Wix e-commerce version is not free, but is reasonably priced. It has a good range of features that can give your site the look and feel of a much larger retail site. The e-commerce design does allow you to set up a real-time calculator but does not offer features like automatic tax calculations, abandoned cart recovery or keyword search for products.
When is it time to consider upgrading to WordPress if you already have a Wix, Squarespace or Weeby site?
While only you can truly decide if you are ready to make the change, keep in mind that if you are looking for a great way to improve site growth then WordPress is the answer. To summarize what PJ Fancher of InMotion Hosting says, for a free virtual playground for a website, use WordPress; if you want a website with less than 5 pages, choose Wix.
In choosing WordPress, you are opting for a futuristic approach to website design that gives you a push over your competition. In fact, WordPress offers new innovations at least once a quarter while Wix releases updates significantly less often.
For most small businesses, the time will eventually come when you have to move from a basic website. At this point, you need to have the ability to customize things beyond what “DIY” platforms have to offer. Here some additional reasons to make the change to WordPress for your business website:
- WordPress is simple to setup, manage and update.
- It can be used for merely maintaining a blog or having full featured website with complex features such as ecommerce.
- WordPress has thousands of design themes available, and many of them are free.
- WordPress has numerous easy-to-install plugins (currently 44,622) that allow you to totally customize your website.
- WordPress is search engine friendly – a must if you want to boost awareness of your business.
- It is well-known and respected as a website publishing system.
- The platform is open source and free from an assortment of commercial restrictions and limits.
It is not the goal of the Page Progressive team to discourage people from designing and building their own websites using sites like Wix or Squarespace. In fact, we applaud you for venturing into the world of web design. However, we recognize that web design and development is not for everyone. So, if you decide you would rather leave website matters to someone else, we would love to talk to you about your needs.
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