If there are two things that you should know about me today, they would be the following: First, I love the Internet and almost everything in it, including beautifully made websites. Second, what I have is a frustrating kind of love since I don’t know how to build them. I don’t have any background in coding, and definitely if I try to learn today, it will take me a much longer time to make my dream come true. That’s why it’s a huge blessing that I’ve come across website builders. One of them that I got my hands on is Wix.
What Is Wix?
What is this? Wix is a website builder. As its name suggests, the program already has the codes ready for you. All you have to do is to perform some basic functions such as editing the content including images and videos as well as creating a much better-looking layout so you can come up with the website of your dreams. To put it simply, with it, you can have at least a standard or simple website in a day. That’s a far cry from the many weeks real programmers take.
Since Wix is cloud based, there’s no need to download any file or software. You can also work on your website anytime and anywhere as long as there’s a reliable Internet connection. The dashboard or control panel and the myriad of apps and features are also accessible online.
Wix is the brainchild of Nadav Abrahami, Giora Kaplan, and Avishai Abrahami. It was launched in 2006, so it’s actually a fairly young website builder by Internet standards. Nevertheless, in a short amount of time that it’s in operations, it has grown outside the boundaries of Israel and established offices in some of the most popular cities in the world such as New York City and San Francisco. It has also attracted a number of venture capitalists, who are part of the reason of the brand’s continued growth and reinvention. In fact, in 2010 alone, it had raised $10 million of additional funding and another $40 million in 2011. Right now, Wix boasts of more than 8 million users or subscribers all around the globe.
For this review, I decided to create my own Wix account and make notes as I work. This way, too, you can get a more authentic description and assessment of the website builder from a novice like you.
How to Use Wix
Let’s begin with the registration. Open the website at http://www.wix.com . On the uppermost right hand side, you will see the button Login/Sign Up. Click that.
A popup window will appear. Since you’re making a new account, click Create New Account, and enter your preferred e-mail address and password. Press Go.
Although there’s no tick box that says you agree to the site’s terms and conditions, which helps save you some time, your personal choice to sign up is already an indication that you abide to their rules. If you’re one of those who are apprehensive about agreements, then make sure that you can read them before pressing Go.
Unlike other registration processes, you don’t have to open your e-mail address to activate any link. You are immediately redirected to your dashboard or control panel, where all the tools become accessible.
Wix.com Features Review
Now that we’ve covered the very basic and fast signup or registration process, we can now proceed to the features of the website builder. These include the following:
Wix Templates: One of the very first things you see when you are logged in is the list of templates. It’s divided into two sections. On the upper section, you will see tabs such as Most Popular and Blank Templates. These choices can help you quickly sort out the hundreds of templates offered by Wix. The Most Popular is self-explanatory. The Blank Templates, meanwhile, remind you of those templates in Microsoft PowerPoint. They’re basically empty, and all you have are boxes where you want to put your texts, images, videos, and other media files. They are intended for those who want to have greater flexibility when it comes to the design of their own page. If you look at the categories, they may appear few. You just have to click on the Plus sign to reveal the subcategories. The options for each of the category and subcategory can then be found on the right side. All the templates are provided to you for free.
You can also pick between View and Edit. When you press View, you are provided with a preview or a sample of the website. You cannot do anything with the page yet, but hopefully you can already imagine how your pages will look should you choose the template. It’s when you press Edit that you can work on the nitty-gritty details.
I opted to create a portfolio of my copies. It should also act as a resume/CV page online. After a couple of minutes of choosing, I picked Curriculum Vitae under Creative Arts > Author & Writer.
Despite the popularity of photos and other media files to create messages, texts still make the cyberworld go round. Wix has its own text editor, which is quite easy to use. For example, click on the huge text found on the screen. This one:
A small box then appears, which says Text Settings. Click Edit Text so you can modify the content, font style, and font.
Drag and Drop: The concept of drag and drop isn’t entirely new, and you don’t have to be in the Internet, a cloud-based platform, or a website builder before you can do that. For example, when you move files or folders in your desktop using your mouse—dragging the files across the screen and putting them elsewhere—you’re already doing the drag and drop.
The simplicity of the process, however, makes it very appealing to users. That’s why it’s now being adopted by online programs or systems such as Wix. How does the drag and drop work in the website? You just hold on to the image, button, or whatever file you wish to drag and drop like this:
I wanted to change how they are organized so I transposed them and created these:
Wix App Market: There also a lot of things that you can add into your website page to make it more attractive or interactive. These include the various apps such as PayPal, Flickr Gallery, eBay, Contact Form, Google Maps, HTML, Flash, Member Login Button, and Admin Button. You can also press the Wix App Market so you can add more professional programs into your website. Take note, however, that though these apps are free, they are not open to everyone. Sounds confusing? As you go on, you’ll discover that Wix is a website builder that has premium packages or services. Some of these apps therefore are free but only when you upgrade to any of these bundles. To give you some idea on what types of apps to expect, you can add a store, more good-looking social feeds, marketing tools such as e-mail marketing, leads generator, testimonial builder, and automated chat.
Wix E-commerce Tool: I don’t really have full use of this one since I’m really not trying to sell any product other than my service. That can already be covered by the other apps. Nevertheless, the e-commerce tool is helpful, especially since not all online shop owners have even the basic idea on how to build a store. They don’t know which e-commerce package to get. Wix simply makes things easier for them to decide. Again, for the sake of a clear and detailed review, I left my own work for a bit and tried looking for a potential e-commerce site. I ended up with something like this:
It’s a template called Green Clean under Retail & Fashion category. You will know if the template is designed for e-commerce when you can see button choices like this:
Wix Media Files: There are different kinds of media files that you can upload into your account or website. These include videos and photos. Going back to the sample we have above, you can create slideshows and change logos. You can also add links to the buttons, which can point to external pages (perhaps you have more items in your eBay account) or internal pages, or those that are found within your website.
If you don’t have images on your own, you can use those that are found in the database of Wix. You can access that by pressing the photo that you want to change. It will then open a drop-down menu, where you have to choose Change Image. It subsequently opens the database, which you can see below. You can also add your own image. On the upper right hand corner is the button that says Upload Image. It shall be stored in your own account.
If you wish to add other media files, you can see the plus button on the left side of the screen. It should give you this:
If you like to add your social media accounts, go to Settings, which is represented by the Gear, and select Social Media Profile.
Wix Personal Domain and Hosting: Before I made my own review, I also took the time to read other people’s. Most of them say that you cannot publish your website live if you don’t choose any of the premium packages—that is, you don’t pay at least for the basic service. Based on my experience, however, you can make your website live. However, the domain or the address that you’re going to have may be far different from what you want. Take a look at the URL I generated for the first website I worked on:
The domain is still wix.com and your website works as a subdomain only. If you want to improve your rankings in search engines and be taken more seriously by your target market, therefore, you have to buy a domain and a hosting account. According to the site, it’s free. Well, not really, since you need to pay at least $4.08 a month (if you choose the yearly savings plan) or the $5.95 a month (for the monthly plan). Nevertheless, Wix gives you that choice.
Wix Language Support: The website builder supports a variety of languages, such as English, Polish, Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese. Keep in mind, however, that the unedited texts and the instructions are the ones that are translated. If you edit the texts into English, then it becomes English.
So what do you exactly get when you use Wix? I’ve come up with the following list:
Ease of Use (8.5)
As you read on, I’m going to do some comparisons between this and other content management systems and builders. I will also outline the downsides of the app. Right now, though, I can say that Wix is a friendly cloud-based website builder. For one, it took me less than a minute to sign up for an account. It’s one of the breeziest registration processes I have ever experienced. Once you get the hang on the various tools, moreover, you will know for yourself that creating a website is indeed highly possible within the day. If it’s simple enough, you can already have one in a matter of hours.
When it comes to price, registration doesn’t come with a fee, so you wouldn’t have to worry about any recurring bill. As I mentioned a while ago, it actually has a free package, which will surely appeal to anyone who is still unsure about using Wix or is on a very tight budget but already wants to establish online presence. I also appreciate the fact the program offers users more than 3 packages and that the bundle is scalable. That means you can choose to upgrade whenever you’re ready. That’s the kind of flexibility I am looking for.
I’ve seen how Wix looks like a couple of years ago, and I can certainly say it appears way better now. The overall design is fresh, clean, and organized. The menus and tools in the dashboard are properly labeled. You can instantly generate a preview of your work in progress. Wix used to run in Flash, which certainly worked to its advantage. This is because when mobile platforms rolled out, the Wix-run websites didn’t have excellent rendition. Sometimes the users didn’t see anything at all. Besides, Flash tends to make the website heavy, and thus it can take some time for an entire page to load. Flash also doesn’t really help in boosting your ranking. Nevertheless, Flash elements can be helpful to create dynamics, and so Wix has retained it as an app. When you work, you will see grids in the screen. They’re normal. They have been designed by Wix so users can produce a website that fits a mobile device screen.
It’s amazing to discover how many types of tools Wix can already provide you. With them, you can already create various kinds of websites, from online portfolios to blogs, e-commerce, and information pages. Adding these is also extremely easy. Though not all of them are free, the ones that are, are equally great additions to your website, whenever they are necessary. The templates look less cluttered, professional, and agile—that is, they can be customized according to your specifications with great ease.
Especially for someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience in building and maintaining websites, it’s very important that you can count on experts. This is what Wix is trying to give you. The company has its own contact details, such as phone number and e-mail address. You can also receive regular and sometimes instant updates by adding them to your social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter.
As you build the site, certain popups will appear, giving you hints or guide to maximize the tools, speed up the building process, and simply educating you on how to use the website builder as if you’re a professional. Even before you sign up, you can already get some “help” such as the Quick Tour, List of Features, and its knowledge base, which you can access when you click Support among the menu options.
One good reason why it shifted from Flash to HTML5 is to ensure that your website looks good in mobile devices. Though it’s a very recent transformation, Wix is doing surprisingly well, and it’s surely ready to conquer the mobile industry? Didn’t I mention about the grid? It just goes to show how serious Wix is in doing mobile.
If you’re wondering how the website is making the money considering the comprehensiveness of what they provide to users, then the answer is plain and simple: bundles. Currently you can choose among the 4.
The cheapest is called the Connect Domain. It’s also referred to as the Most Basic by the website itself. When you upgrade for this one, you pay only $4.08 per month (yearly savings plan) and $5.95 per month (monthly payment plans). If you select the former option, you can enjoy as much as 30 percent savings of the total cost. But then it also means you have to pay for the cost of the entire year in one go. Along with the package, you get a domain, free hosting, Google Analytics, and Premium Support. There’s no shopping cart, storage is 500MB, while bandwidth is 1GB. In other words, this is ideal if you’re simply creating a resume or a few pages of a simple website.
The second option is Combo for Personal Use. This costs $8.25 a month (yearly) and $10.95 (monthly). You still don’t get a shopping cart, but you already have a bigger bandwidth and storage at 2GB and 3GB, respectively. You can also run the website on mobile without the ads. This is essential since ads may reduce the effectiveness of the website in the mobile platform. The package also has a voucher, which can be used to help save you more money for the upgrades.
The Unlimited is what the website dubbed as the Most Popular and is commonly used by freelancers and entrepreneurs. What makes it Unlimited is the Bandwidth, but I think this is a misinterpretation, as there’s no such thing as unlimited. At some point, the cap will be exhausted. However, Wix has the right and solid infrastructure, as well as the money, in place to ensure that this doesn’t happen. With the “free” offer, you pay $12.42 per month in a year and $15.95 a month. Storage is also significantly increased to 10GB.
The fourth one is referred to as eCommerce and thus ideal for small businesses. This is the only package that has the shopping cart option included in the bundle. Storage is also doubled to 20GB, while the bandwidth is capped at 10GB. The package costs $19.90 a month or $16.17 per month if you pay for the entire year. That’s a savings of more than 35 percent.
Even though this is a cloud, this isn’t software as a service, and thus, you’re bound to a contract, which can be yearly or monthly. The great thing is you can cancel your subscription or contract at any time you like, and there are no penalties to be paid. You can also choose different packages for your various websites as well as transfer the bundle among them. The website also allows you to cancel any of your Premium Package for a full refund as long as you do so within 14 days.
Wix vs. the competion: Comparison
There’s no doubt that Wix is one of the best website builders there is, but then again, it also faces some intense competition. How does it fare when compared with the others?
First let’s have WordPress versus Wix. WordPress has emerged as the best blogging or content management system in the world. It has even beaten Blogger, which is owned and managed by Google. One of the beauties of WordPress is it’s open source. This means that developers will find it very easy to create not only websites but also apps and plugins from scratch. Even the existing themes, widgets, and other tools can be customized. WordPress also has a very strong following and an excellent community. I think if you truly need technical help, the users are some of the best people you can go to. Generally, WordPress is cheap, even free, though once you upgrade such as buy a domain or let WordPress host you, then that’s when you have to spill some money, and interestingly it’s not that cheap. If you want to choose Enterprise and build a website like ESPN, you need to spend at least $500 a month. Custom domains start at $13 a year, while if you want to make your site ad free, it will cost you $30 yearly. Though there are free themes, the better ones are sold for $50 to $100.
To put it simply, Wix is designed with the newbies like us in mind. It doesn’t require any coding, and the many pricing options make the premium packages more affordable. You may not have the community that WordPress users enjoy, you also run the lesser risk of using the wrong and non-updated apps. You’ll also find maintaining Wix websites easier and faster since you’re not relying on plugins that lack updates or worse carry a malware.
Perhaps the stronger competitor of Wix is Weebly simply because they are both website builders. Weebly is considered by many to be friendlier than Wix as far as drag and drop goes. However, it pales in comparison if you start talking about apps. I think when it comes to creating a blog, I’ll find Weebly much easier to use since it’s already part of its list of categories. It feels Wix is more dedicated to building full-fledged websites. That doesn’t mean, however, you can no longer use your blog if you are in Wix. You can always link a page of Wix to your blog. You’ll also have more freedom in customization if you use Wix.
Downsides of using Wix
There’s no such thing as a perfect product, and even if Wix looks really good and it is far superior than the other website builders, there are still a couple of flaws.
Lack of Search Function
For one, there’s no Search function. It would have been a huge help if you can just weed out the templates you don’t need and narrow your options to what you really like—something what WordPress does. Imagine being able to search for your preferred app, design, etc. It will surely speed up the process of building websites.
If you’re someone who’s inexperienced in building websites, you surely want to have templates that are easy to work with as well as beautiful. Wix seems to have templates that carry these two attributes, but then I still find them quite limited. WordPress, on the other hand, does allow users, developers, and anyone who’s capable of creating templates to produce their own and offer them as free or paid (premium). Moreover, you cannot import CSS to Wix. In other words, what you see is basically what you’re going deal with. CSS, however, can be a huge boost when you want to speed up the loading times or when you want more control over the design of your site.
No Shopping Cart for the Unlimited Option
I certainly believe that Wix has better packages than Weebly. Each of the bundle is detailed, but something is quite confusing me. It seems that the Unlimited Package, which is supposed to be ideal for entrepreneurs and freelancers don’t have a Shopping Cart option. I would like to assume, though, that the entrepreneurs mentioned in the bundle refer to those who perform service.
Whenever I buy something, I am always reminded of what my mother used to say: what you pay is what you get. It’s basically the scenario with Wix. If you go for the free route, then expect your website to be peppered with a lot of ads. These ads, however, can discourage professional Internet users and those who are already tired of them. Even the Most Basic Package can still carry ads. They are removed only when you choose at least the Combo for Personal Use.
Hiring of a Pro
Yup, you can actually talk to a professional to do all the designing and developing for you. The system ensures that. Nevertheless, I do have an issue with it. Why should you hire a professional when you’re in Wix to build your own in the first place? Doesn’t it defeat the purpose of using the website builder.
Level of Difficulty
Just because it doesn’t require any coding and almost everything you need to build a website is already there doesn’t mean you won’t have difficulty anymore. Sometimes I found myself getting lost among the apps, and I needed to familiarize myself with what to click and where things should go. The good thing is the learning curve is not too steep, and you can probably get the hang of it in about 30 minutes or less.
Despite of the issues, I still think that Wix is a great and wonderful website builder. I would even rank this as top 1. So far, I haven’t seen anything else that can properly combine ease, great design, and price. These three just make website building such a joy and a fantastic learning experience.
My website isn’t through, but I’m confident that it will appear polished. Nevertheless, this also makes me realize that if I were asked to create a site several years ago, I would have never stood a chance. Wix then allows Internet users, especially small business owners who are saving as much as money as they can, the option and the opportunity to bring our services and products a little bit closer to the world.