Wix’s design approach is a major advantage to its platform.
Additionally, their designs take care of both responsiveness (ie, they adapt to the device) AND accessibility (ie, they adapt to the user’s browser – especially if the user has a disability). These two features are important since most DIY website owners don’t have the time or knowledge to test & patiently edit site designs. Wix takes care of it for them.
Speed & Security
All Wix websites are hosted on Wix’s servers. That means a few things. It means, of course, that the servers are optimized for Wix websites. Professionals at Wix are in charge of making sure your site stays fast. It also means that professionals are in charge of securing your site. Here’s my speed test:
And most importantly, the sites stay secure and they rarely, if ever, “go down.” You don’t have to worry about caching, CDNs, salts, or patches – which is really the core speed & security offering. Running a fast website can be straightforward, but if you are a contractor or business-person, sometimes you just need something to work so that you can move to more important business matters.
Customer Support & Knowledgebase*
Like speed & security, Wix websites have an advantage of being an all-in-one solution. If there’s a problem, it’s on Wix to fix it. There’s no tracking down the root problem or figuring out who or what is at fault.
When something is wrong, or when you want to edit something, you can get in touch with customer support. Wix does support via Knowledge Base, Phone, and Email Tickets. Since they run a proprietary platform, they can actually solve any problem you have.
*Aside – the “fine print” here is that Wix can solve any issue that is within their control to solve. I have received many emails about how Wix couldn’t help them…but it was usually due to the fact that they had an edge case where Wix simply couldn’t offer a solution. Here’s an example from my project –
Wix was fast and fine solving service issues like my domain connection issues. They also pre-empted many issues with built-in features like one-click SSL (which is much easier than self-install).
But when I reached an edge case for their platform (swapping a template directly from an already published site) – I was simply out of luck.
The point, though, is that their service is a pro – but you have to keep their inherent limitations in mind.
Wix is specific about their target markets and typical customers. They’ve done an excellent job “triaging” customers based on their business and building out custom templates and features for each market.
When you sign up for Wix, you have to choose whether you are a restaurant, band, real estate, etc, etc. After your choice, your settings are preset along with featured templates. It makes a fast sign up process even faster.
As I’ll outline in the next section, Wix has some downsides. But, one thing that is different about Wix compared to many website builders is that they are a 100% independent, publicly-traded company exclusively devoted to website builders.
This means that they have every incentive to keep improving the product and make money as a website builder.
That point is important because, for many companies, their website builder is part of a product suite. So the website builder is only as important to the company as it is to the product suite – and have a risk of stagnating.
Blogger and Google Sites are premier examples of this situation. Both are excellent products that Google simply does not care about. Square (a payments company) recently purchased Weebly, so there’s a risk there as well for turning Weebly into support for Square.
In my other reviews, I point out that it’s important to understand how & why your service provider makes money so that you don’t make a long-term decision around someone who doesn’t care about you (ie, Facebook Pages!). Wix’s independence and business model are a solid pro here.
Cons of Using Wix
But of course, no Wix review would be complete without looking at the disadvantages. Wix has come a long way since the days of their Flash-powered websites, but they still have some disadvantages – especially if you are working with a professional marketer or developer.
There are plenty of Wix complaints and lots of individual bad Wix reviews around the Internet. Some are justified and some aren’t – but all are anecdotal. Keep in mind that the big picture tradeoff for Wix is their convenience is lack of total control and advanced features. That’s not necessarily a Wix thing as much as it is a website builder thing. But within that context – here’s some individual considerations I’d look at when deciding if Wix is a good fit for you.
Here’s a summary from a HackerNews thread –
Everyone here is disgusted by it because, it is in fact disgusting from the perspective of a developer.
I spent a few hours with Wix earlier this year while needing to help a family quickly get a funeral site up they could hopefully have some chance of maintaining themselves. Getting started is actually pretty slick. The designer software is easy to use and gets a basic decent looking site up extremely fast.
Towards the end of the few hours I was hitting roadblocks left and right. Artificial limitations, edge cases not supported, things that could have been fixed on a real site trivially.
Still, what they’ve built, what it in turn allows pretty nontechnical people to build quickly, is impressive. I think it may have been possible to do better on performance and flexibility without compromising for other users. My guess is it’s not mostly because they are just not obsessing on that part much.
With that summary – here’s the specific disadvantages that I found**.
Note that this is all from the default setup – Wix has a new product called “Wix Code” – my take on that product is beyond the scope of this review. My disadvantages listed below are from the perspective of a small business owner who is looking to use Wix and might also one day call someone like me or a developer / designer friend to help with website marketing or development.
Wix’s free plans starts at 100% totally free, but it includes ads on your site, along with lots of limitations.
Their first paid plan starts at $13/mo, which is actually cheaper than you’d think since it includes a free domain for a year ($9/yr).
However, as their plans go up, they all remain more expensive than their main competitors – Weebly (plans) and GoDaddy (plans) and WordPress.com (plans). And they remain much more expensive than setting up your own website with WordPress on your own hosting. At each stage, Wix doesn’t even allow unlimited bandwidth or file storage.
If you are using Wix for more than a few months, they are going to be a much pricier option than other site builders or buying your own shared hosting somewhere like Bluehost or Web Hosting Hub (which has a drag and drop tool for WordPress called BoldGrid) or HostGator (which also has a drag & drop builder tool).
Editing & Design
The editing and page layout process also has a few intangibles missing. You can drag and drop anywhere…literally. This can be good from a control standpoint, but it can also be frustrating based on expectations.
There are parameters, rulers, etc to keep you on track to a degree. But building a site still takes a bit of work and thought. They have plenty of templates available that go a long ways towards solving this pain point – and Wix has done a good job in the past year investing in their builder.
However, compared to their marketing material, I think some customers (like me) will be disappointed to see how much time and effort remains to get a project to be presentable.
Apps & Extensions
Like other platform solutions, there are only so many features they can add natively to the platform. One solution to give customers the features they want is to open an App Store (aka Apple, Android or Shopify).
Wix has opened a Wix App Market to provide access to compatible 3rd party apps for Wix storeowners. It’s fine, but I found the apps to not be true apps. Instead, most of them were just iframes that were added to a new Wix page.
Over the past couple of years, Wix has expanded its selection of apps – which is great. They even have a native forum app that is unique to them among direct website builder competitors.
But they still are not quite as seamless as I’d hoped.
For example, adding the Etsy app doesn’t actually add Etsy functionality to your website. Instead, it adds an iframe (ie, a window) for people to navigate your Etsy store while staying “on your website”.
Technically, it works. And technically, it is “easy” – you don’t have to grab an embed code from Etsy and paste it in. You don’t have to really do much to make installation happen. However, Wix’s solution is still not ideal. Ideally, you’d have an app that was easy to install and fully integrated into your site. You’d have apps that don’t mess with your website analytics and don’t present accessibility issues as they do via Wix’s iFrame solution.
Technical SEO for Growing Sites
Wix has always been disdained a bit in the professional SEO community. Most of that has to do with their technical implementation years and years ago. Their sites used to use Flash, which was a complete bane of every SEO consultant’s existence.
And even as recently as last year, this site heavily criticized Wix for its crawlability and overpromises.
Over the past couple years, though, a few things have changed.
First, Googlebot is *much* better at crawling and indexing websites.
Second, Wix has substantially improved its platform for search bot visibility. Here’s an example of how they’ve reworked and clarified redirects.
Third, the market needs for SEO have dramatically diverged.
And it’s this third point that leads to a lot of confusion.
The SEO needs for a 5000+ product online store with international shipping are *very* different than the SEO needs for a flower shop in a small city.
This point was emphasized by John Mueller of Google in a Google Webmaster Help Thread. He says that “Wix websites work fine in search” and website owners should “look at the bigger picture.”
Most website owners only need the essential (which Wix does provide), and really need more design help than anything (which Wix does provide).
From a professional standpoint, I would not use Wix for any of my clients because of a range of reasons too nerdy for this post. My clients usually work with either huge libraries of content (10,000+ pages) or huge product selection (10,000+ products). I’m looking at internal linking, crawl budget, testing HTML elements at scale, etc – stuff that’s simply not relevant to most sites.
So from a DIY user’s standpoint, Wix is great to get started with.
A local deli near me uses it – and they do great in their search results.
Because for them, the most important SEO factors they need to worry about are updated content (ie, their selection & menu) and their Google My Business connection. Wix makes that happen and that’s all that matters.
Same goes for a small non-profit, or regional florist, or even a small university.
Again – SEO is not the end-all of any platform. But – Wix does have a serious disadvantage here for growing sites that depend on non-branded organic search.
If you generate new leads via word of mouth, referrals, social media, offline ads, etc – then Wix will be fine. People will be able to “find you with Google.”
But if SEO is essential to your long-term marketing strategy or you are working with an SEO professional, then Wix will be an impediment.
Technical Limitations & Advanced Marketing Tools
Related to their technical SEO issues, but separate is Wix’s technical limitations and advanced marketing tools.
Since again – Wix provides total convenience in return for total control over the platform, this disadvantage is built-in but worth calling out.
Wix has many built-in tools for small business owners – everything from CRM software to contact forms to appointment software to eCommerce and much, much more.
However, if you want anything that they don’t have – adding any additional code to the site is difficult. There are advanced marketing features like Schema for events, music, business info and reviews that they are adding at some point – but have not yet. Adding pixels, retargeting tools, custom share buttons, custom email collection tools – all are either difficult or unavailable.
While Wix’s tools are easy and useful for most customers – keep in mind that any advanced tools may be out of reach if you grow into them.
Related to growing is what happens if you do need to move platforms. What happens to your data, designs, and content?
With Wix – there is no way to export your data. It’s a bit like having all your furniture bolted to your house. If you move – you can’t bring anything with you.
In the worst-case scenario, you’d have to scrape and/or manually copy paste your data to your new site. But either way, Wix does not make it easy to leave. It is a feature that they are working on – but is not currently available.
The interim solution for any site owner is to simply have your data & intellectual property backed up (ie, content on Google Docs). That’s a bets practice anyway for whatever platform you use.
At Wix’s top tier – the VIP plan – they offer online store functionality. E-commerce is a nice to have if you are already on Wix and want to start selling, but I’d hate to call it full-fledged eCommerce like online store platforms such as Shopify or have. It’s more like Wix has shopping cart and payment functionality.
It’s great for websites that are primarily lead-generation, informational, etc but also want to sell a few products – think restaurant owner who wants to sell a few shirts or mugs.
It’s not so great for websites that are eCommerce-first. The functionality is there. It’s fine. But I would not choose Wix to start an online store. I’d either build an online store on your own with WordPress + WooCommerce or go with a specialty eCommerce platform like Shopify or Bigcommerce (review). I wrote a direct comparison of Shopify vs. Wix here. And actually, Square’s purchase of Weebly has helped them develop better “small store” website builder capabilities. I’d consider them for ecommerce too.
Wix Review Conclusion
So is Wix good for small business and other website projects? Well, Wix has a well-known brand in the website building space. In 2006, it was one of the first to offer end to end website building with no coding skills.
There are a lot of Wix reviews online, but the bottom line is that Wix promises 100% convenience with built-in tools for DIY website owners (and they meet that promise) – but they have a few drawbacks for professional developers & intermediate DIYers.
If they sound like a good fit for you – check out Wix’s plans here
If you are trying to figure out good alternatives, you can also check out my Buzzfeed-esque quiz to find the best website builder for you here.
Wix FAQs from Readers
Is Wix Free?
Wix has a free plan, but it includes many limitations and Wix advertising. Their free plan is great to get started, but a paid plan is worth it for a long-term website. See the intro above for further information.
Is Wix Safe?
Wix is safe for payments and all business assets. They, like all SaaS companies, can be hacked, but as a large publicly traded company, they use best in class security with a large security staff.
Is Wix Good for SEO?
That depends on what you need. Wix has fixed a lot of their past SEO issues and offers a good toolkit for websites that generate most of their organic traffic with “brand” terms and good content. Read more about the nuances under technical SEO limitations.
Is WordPress Better Than Wix?
That depends on your experience, budget, and goals. WordPress has a steeper learning curve and requires more maintenance. But over the long-term, it offers much more versatility and options to grow. If you self-host WordPress (rather than use WordPress.com), it can also be much cheaper than Wix. Wix focuses on onboarding and pure ease of use for someone who wants a solid, maintenance-free website without the frustration of a web designer or figuring out HTML issues.
How Does Wix Compare to Other Platforms?
First, I’d encourage you to try Wix’s free option yourself, just to get a sense of the platform and how it fits with you. Second, you can browse my site to explore other website builder options with a bunch of Wix’s competition.
Is Wix Good for Blogging?
Wix has blogging options, but they aren’t as good as platforms like WordPress originally built for blogging. Wix is better as a website builder with a small blog add-on, not as a blog-focused builder.
How Much is a Wix Website?
That depends on your goals and how much you want to put into it. You can build a free site with lots of limitations and your own time. You can also pay more than $500/year for a full-featured eCommerce website with many premium extensions and themes.