There are so many options out there for how to create a website. Depending on your budget, your website goals and your business type, not every option will meet your needs. In this article, I want to compare Wix vs WordPress to see how they stack up in various areas. First, let me explain a little about what WordPress and Wix have in common – they are CMS platforms.
What is a CMS?
Imagine your website is like your body. Every person, no matter their age or how they look, has a skeleton that holds their body up. This skeleton is like a CMS (Content Management System) for your website. It’s the structure of the website, but it does not determine how your website looks. A CMS manages your content. It’s a way of organizing the content on your website in a way that makes editing your content as easy as using a word processor such as Microsoft Word.
Websites used to be made using simple HTML which required an FTP program to make changes to the website. This was tedious and only those with coding knowledge were able to make changes to the website content. A CMS is now used because it puts the power of content updates in the hands of the client.
If you are creating a website, there is no reason not to use a CMS. The question really comes down to – which one should you choose?
What is WordPress?
I wrote an article on What is WordPress and Why You Need It. Please read that article if you haven’t already to understand more about WordPress before moving on.
What is Wix?
Wix is a website builder that integrates the content with built-in tools that allow a person to create the design of a website based off a template. Unlike WordPress, their platform is proprietary meaning that it’s owned by a specific company who may give select functionality for free, but usually charges for premium features. Many of the free accounts come with banner ads. Wix requires hosting with their company. Here are some of the reasons people choose to use Wix:
- They are easy to use because of their drag-and-drop interface and simple structure.
- They are a one-stop shop. You can get a domain name, sign up for hosting, create your design and add your content all in one place.
- The fee structure is often fairly reasonable allowing people with a limited budget the ability to create a professional website fairly cheaply.
- Non-technical people can create their own website quickly all by themselves (theoretically).
- They are visually appealing both in the websites they create and the way they market their services.
Ease of Use
Honestly, I think this is the biggest reason that people use Wix instead of WordPress. I had a friend that started her business website using WordPress and quickly got frustrated and hopped over to Wix. However, after a few hours, she got stuck on some formatting issues and out of frustration, called it good enough. While Wix was easy to set up, by the time she ran into issues, it was almost too late to turn back. However, if she had stuck with WordPress and had a guide to show her how to make WordPress as user friendly as Wix, then I think she would have been much happier with her website.
Luckily, in the coming weeks, I will be showing you exactly how I took this Wix website and converted it into WordPress. Even if you don’t have a Wix website, you can take these steps and create a simple business website using the tools I am going to show you! Don’t miss this series because I do believe you will be convinced that WordPress can be just as easy (if not easier) to use than Wix!
Read more about WordPress vs Website Builders: Ease of Use.
Designs & Layout
Design and layout are areas where WordPress shines. There are thousands of free and paid themes from which to choose. Most of the premium themes cost around $50 and have some amazing customization options that are easy for non-technical people to use. There literally isn’t a layout or design WordPress cannot handle. These themes also come with specific functionality for specific industries. There are themes for preschools, churches, nonprofits, small businesses, construction companies, landscape companies, and the list goes on. There are also multi-purpose themes that allow you to create whatever you want. The options are endless, which I love. Finally, if you decide you don’t like the theme you’ve chosen, you can simply switch the theme without losing all your content.
Wix offers high-end, polished templates that are thoughtfully designed, but there are only hundreds to choose from instead of thousands. That might actually be a positive characteristic of these builders because it’s a lot less to wade through which can get overwhelming when dealing with WordPress themes. However, it could also be a negative when your competition has the exact same site as you have. There are ways to make minor modifications to the templates these builders provide, but not enough to make your site look highly customized and not cookie-cutter. Wix also limits how much you can play with the layout within any given template which could limit your creativity in presenting your content. Finally, while the templates are well-designed, once you choose a template, you’re stuck with it. If you decide to switch templates later, you have to start completely over with inputting your content.
Extensibility & Flexibility
The core code for WordPress is built to be lean and lightweight to maximize flexibility and minimize code bloat. Code bloat is what you get when you try to shove too much unneeded functionality into a CMS resulting in slower website load times, more security holes and minimized user-friendliness. For example, a church website doesn’t need a way to sell products online, but a lamp store does. How do you make WordPress work for both of them? You don’t ship WordPress core files with an online store. You leave that function up to a plugin that can be easily installed by the website owner. The website owner is also able to choose from a bunch of different online store plugins to find the one that works within her workflow and how she wants to conduct business online. Let’s take a closer look at plugins.
Currently, the WordPress plugin directory lists 47,379 plugins and that number increases daily. Because WordPress is open-source, anyone can create a plugin and post it on the internet for someone to use. A lot of these plugins have overlapping functionality which means that you can try a few different ones and choose the one you like the best. I find the ratings system and reviews to be paramount in choosing a reputable plugin.
Finally, if you want to change the look of your website later, it’s not a problem. WordPress is extremely flexible and allows you to keep all your content but give the design a refresh with minimal work.
Wix is a proprietary systems which mean they are closed to outsiders making any coding changes. On the one hand, this means the apps that are created for Wix are coded by the company who owns the builder and therefore, the plugin should always work. In other words, in an open-source system like WordPress, multiple authors of plugins means that one plugin may stop another plugin from functioning correctly or a theme may be blocking a plugin from working. But every app created for Wix is done by the same company and therefore, testing is done to make sure an app plays nicely with other plugins and with all the templates.
On the other hand, this means that there aren’t as many diverse apps available. In trying to maintain user-friendliness, Wix doesn’t give you many choices for extending functionality which may be okay for some website owners, but in a culture of choice, most people are used to getting just what they want.
Finally, if you want to change the look of your website, Website Builders aren’t flexible enough to handle this. You will have to start all over by creating all new content within a new template.
You might also be interest in:
WordPress vs Website Builders: Extensibility & Flexibility.
How to Install a WordPress Plugin Video Tutorial
More than likely, at some point, you’ll want to move your website. This could be because you chose the wrong server for your growing business. Maybe it’s because you don’t like the customer service you’re receiving from your current hosting company. Maybe you found a better value in hosting somewhere else. There are a lot of reasons to switching hosting providers, but what happens to a WordPress website if you do? Your WordPress website goes with you 100% because you own the files. You can simply download all the files and re-upload them to another hosting provider. Usually, the whole process takes less than an hour to do (if you know what you’re doing). Many hosting providers will do this step for you free of charge when you sign up to host with them. I also provide Managed WordPress Hosting through my company, D3 Website Solutions, and will do this step for you as well!
Want to try it yourself? Watch this video tutorial:
How to Move a WordPress Website to a New Host
Wix owns the code that runs the data on your website. For that reason, if you decide you don’t like the platform you’re working on, you have to start over from scratch if you want to move to a different website builder or to WordPress. You may realize a few months into using Wix that you don’t think it’s as intuitive as you originally wanted or it may be too restrictive or you may not like the customer service. At that point, you’ll have to decide if you want to muddle through or start over. It’s a big gamble and that’s why I encourage you to test drive a website builder before throwing all your eggs in that basket. Some website builders do come with the ability to export some of the data on your website, but then you need to ensure whatever website builder or platform you’re moving to can import that data as well.
Want to move from Wix to WordPress? Read on!
Move from Wix to WordPress
In the coming weeks, I will show you how to move a Wix website over to WordPress using the following steps.
- How to Setup WordPress Hosting
- How to Install WordPress & a FREE theme
- How to Customize a WordPress Theme
- How to Transfer Content
- How to Transfer a Domain Name to make your website live