Wix is one of the prime competitors in the website builder space - and also one of the largest. Founded in 2006, Wix has grown to the point they now have over 46 million users around the globe - and 46 million users means there's something good going on. In this Wix review, we'll look at the pros and cons of using Wix website builder, and if it's right for you.
This won't be a step-by-step guide to setting up a website with Wix, but it will give you a great overview of the service and features - giving you enough information to decide if using Wix to build your website is the way to go for your business.
There's three main areas where Wix really stands out, and the first one is...
Beautiful Designer Templates for Wix
Wix has really improved the look and layout of their templates in the recent months to keep up with increased competition from the likes of Weebly and Jimdo.
Wix designer templates are really well suited for photographers and other professionals where high visual content is important, like clothing or food industries.
Every account at Wix gives you access to all the beautiful templates - most of which look like they came right from the designer's studio. They don't lock you out of the nice ones until you pay; you get access to all of them with the free account. New templates are made using HTML5 and are easily adaptable for mobile users without losing any of the beauty of the design.
Mobile-ready HTML5 also means the newer templates can serve less content to visitors looking at your site on their mobile phone (most likely these are users that pay by the gigabyte for bandwidth). This means that less important components of a page aren't sent to small-screen devices, saving load time and also bandwidth for the user.
A really cool feature on the Wix website is the real, live Wix website showcase. It lets you see what real people are doing with Wix, and shows you what you can do with it as well.
Wix Mobile Optimized Designs
As mentioned the new Wix templates are built using HTML5 and modern standards, so any website you create will look good and work great on any screen, regardless of resolution.
Like Weebly, Wix makes it very easy to build and check your website in mobile view before you even publish a single word. You don't have to toggled back and forth from one screen to another as you build, because creating content and layouts happens in real time using a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) interface. You can toggle back and forth between mobile view and desktop view with the click of a button - with no worries that a feature you added in one mode will break the website.
Being able to preview both regular and mobile views right in the interface saves <em>an incredible</em> amount of time in your development. It also assures you that you're not breaking the design by adding a content section.
While several years have passed since the glory days of trying to develop a website for several wildly different web browsers, any small glitches and visual differences are nonexistent. Wix handles all those potential differences for you, and it does so in a way that doesn't bog down your website with tricky coding or development hacks.
You have access to several tweaks for the mobile version of your website, including custom backgrounds (such as for increasing contrast and legibility on small screen) and menu options.
An Easy to Use Interface
The Wix interface is very easy to use, and you can easily begin adding even intermediate or advanced features (like ecommerce) quite quickly. Note that some features, particularly concerning ecommerce, are available only to paid subscribers.
There are A TON of options that allow you to customize nearly every single aspect of your website:
- Customize all images and headers
- Navigational elements
- Ecommerce pages & products
- Full control of colors
- Awesome support for type and font tweaking
One downside is that the Wix website builder interface however doesn't seem an intuitive as others in the same marketplace, like Weebly. For example, using Wix requires jockeying several pop-up menus and option panels whereas in our Weebly review we found all the features more readily accessible within one or two clicks.
The plus side is that ANY website builder will have a learning curve - and once you get a handle on how Wix works you won't have any problems.
I particularly liked the way Wix handles text formatting. Being a font nut, this is one thing that I like having greater control over. Wix makes it possible to adjust several nice bits of typography, such as the line height. Many other website builder systems don't offer this as an option.
Cons of Using Wix
While the Wix website builder is easy to get a handle on, full of features, and easy to use for selling and processing sales, it's not all a run in the sun. There are a few things to consider before jumping into Wix - Be sure and compare Wix to other website builder systems like Weebly or Jimdo before you make a decision.
- No export option
- Not easy to change themes
- No access to code
- Backend can be glitchy sometimes
I'll address each of these in more detail.
No Export/Backup Option
Exporting a website, or at least the content of a website, means you can save or download all the text as a generic file (like XML or PDF) and back it up or use it for something else.
Wix does not offer the ability to export or download your website, which means you cannot easily switch from one website provider to another. Once you start using Wix, you're stuck - unless of course you don't mind building the entire site over again from scratch.
Not Easy to Change Themes
It's also a bit tricky - okay, A LOT tricky - to change themes. If you're pay a developer to build your site using Wix, it means when you want a new look for the same content you'll have to pay him to rebuild the site all over again. If you're doing it yourself, it means you'll have to invest hours of time copying and pasting blocks of content and images into a new template, even though both the old and new templates are hosted by Wix.
So, a word to the wise: If you're using Wix, make you really, really like the template you choose because you'll basically be stuck with it. It's not impossible to switch to a different template, it's just difficult.
No Access to Code
Another area that can be contentious with Wix is that they do't give you access to the source code of your website, like some other website builders do.
If you don't want to have to see the HTML nuts and bolts of your site, this is hardly a problem; Wix handles it all for you. But if you want to be able to tweak the code, even a wee bit, you won't be able to.
Sometimes Glitchy Backend
This may not be a problem for many people, but it does bear a mention. During my setup and testing of Wix I had several major problems with developing a website.
My computer uses the latest software with the latest browser - the Safari browser on Macintosh OS - and most of the time I <em>could not</em> load the backend system to build or tweak my website. Sometimes it wouldn't load at all, and other times it would load most of the page but then give me errors. This glitch appeared to be a browser issue, so you may not experience the same problem. I would provide screen cap but most of the time it was a blank white screen, so there's little to see.
This meant most of my testing and building had to be done going back and forth between a couple of browsers. You may experience a similar problem. If you do, don't lose heart - just try using a different browser like Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.
Using Wix Review: Verdict
Using Wix I was left with the knowledge that it is a very robust and full-featured hosted software system for creating websites, from small personal sites to full fledged ecommerce.
Added functionality can be included using Wix Apps, so any restriction in the system in itself or any benefit of hosting your own website are normalized. Access to Wix Apps means you can have social media integration, chat, and so forth - all custom-built for Wix.
The only glitches are really only apparent if or when you want to move to a different hosting system. Wix does not make it easy for you to switch to their competition.
Despite a couple problems areas (at least to me), the upshot is that if you're satisfied with the templates and plan on being committed to using Wix for a long time then you'll love it and it will make it very, very easy to maintain your website. With a fine selection of very nicely designed templates and a 5-star support system, you shouldn't really have much reason to leave.
Check out Wix today (it's free) and see for yourself if it's the right tool for you.