5 Pros and Cons of Wix Websites
Written by Louisa Gee
Louisa loves Carl Sagan, noise rock, vociferous online debates, and writing content for websites.
April 17, 2019
It’s the wee hours of the morning, so no Mr D or Uber Eats when hunger strikes. Luckily, there are some frozen pizzas lurking at the back of the freezer under the ice cube trays. You throw them in the oven, coat them in hot sauce, problem solved, everyone happy, let the good times roll.
Now picture THIS scenario: you want to impress someone by taking them to that new restaurant you’ve been hearing about, that has a phenomenal tasting menu. You get there, and everything looks great. The décor is appealing, the crowd is cool, the staff is on the ball, you’re excited for the first dish to arrive. But wait – what did they just put in front you? It looks suspiciously like…supermarket pizza coated in off-brand hot sauce? What will your date think of you? You promised them something good, but this feels like you’re being pranked!
In the first instance, you weren’t expecting a smorgasbord. You just wanted to get some carbs into you and were fine with frozen pizza. In the second instance, you expected something a LOT better. Part of the restaurant experience was fine – but your expectations were DEFINITELY not met.
Getting a new website for your business can work a lot like planning a meal. Sometimes you want supermarket pizza, sometimes you want truffle paté. Sometimes you need a website that looks OK and features basic info, so that people know your company is real. Sometimes you need a website that’s customized for your specialized business, with high functionality.
This is where you have to decide whether DIY website builders will do the job you want, or whether you need a professional website designer to pull out all the stops for you.
Related: learn more about website design here.
Wix is one of the best-known brands in the DIY website builder category. They’re an Israeli company that has been around since 2006, and have built a large brand, thanks in part to a pretty relentless marketing campaign.
Most people choose a web design solution on a spectrum featuring their skill level, time, and end goals. The spectrum ranges from all-inclusive “we do it all for you, but we control everything” to totally DIY, where you do everything, but it’s pretty complicated.
So what is Wix? It’s one of those systems that does it all for you – you build your site with their software and tools. Your website lives on their servers. You can only access your site via their admin panel.
Without further ballyhoo, let’s get into the pros and cons of using Wix to build your own website.
1. Cost of a website
Pro: Wix offers a free plan, and they only put caps on your file storage and features – not your number of pages or page types. Their paid short-term packages are pretty reasonable, and offer you various extra features.
Con: If you own a small or medium sized business, using a “free” website builder could cost your company a lot of wasted man hours. Someone has to build the site, and they’re probably noobs who don’t have much design experience – they’re going to take a while.
You also stand to lose money in the opportunity cost of lost potential revenue. Opportunity cost is when you lose other alternatives if one particular alternative is chosen. In other words – think about your monthly fee from a DIY site builder, that you’ll pay until whenever. How does it compare to a one-off fee to a web design company?
2. Web building tools
Pro: Wix’s free version gives you the tools you need to build a basic website. It works with a simple drag-and-drop system that shows you exactly how the site will look when you’re done. You don’t need much computer savvy to figure out your design and page navigation elements.
One of the main online website builder features is drag-and-drop functionality. It allows you to create a website using two things: a mouse and imagination. The process resembles that of playing with building blocks. Simply take the premade block you need and drop it on the layout wherever you like.
Con: If you want any high-functioning features on your site – features that can be very important for your marketing strategies – it means adding additional code to the site. This is going to be difficult or impossible for someone who isn’t a pro web designer. Pixels, retargeting tools, custom share buttons, or custom email collection tools for lead generation – probably not happening on your Wix site.
And when it comes to ecommerce – Wix can’t beat out more powerful shopping platforms like Shopify.
3. Web design templates
Pro: Wix has more than 500 templates to pick from. Most of the templates are HTML5-based, which means they’re search engine optimised and device friendly. You can choose a template, and add in your own pictures and text – bam, you’re all set.
Con: Once you choose your template, that’s it. You’re stuck with it. You can’t decide you want to redesign your website and simply change to a different template. You also can’t export your template to use on any other website builder, because Wix code is customized specifically for their platform. If you choose Wix, it’s “til death do us part”. Your site isn’t going anywhere – if you’re not happy, it has to be completely rebuilt.
4. Search engine optimization
Pro: Wix sites work fine in Google searches. Most website owners only need the bare basics, which the platform provides. If your site generates new leads using word of mouth, social media, local brand awareness, etc. – then Wix will be fine. People will be able to “find you with Google.”
Con: The SEO needs for a flower shop in a small town are very different to those of an online store with nationwide or international shipping. A business that relies on non-branded organic marketing just won’t get too far with a Wix site – at least, not without non-stop, relentless PPC and social media marketing.
Basically, DIY website builders just aren’t set up quite as efficiently as a custom-built site with professional SEO included. Visitors who ask a search engine for guidance, without knowing your company name, are way less likely to find your site.
Related: Find out how Facebook still wins at social media marketing.
5. Website domain
Pro: To quote Wix itself, “Check if the domain name you want is available, and then purchase your domain directly from Wix! Important: To connect a domain to your Wix site you must first upgrade your site to a Premium Plan.”
Con: Your site will have a subdomain website address, which looks like this: http://yourwebsite.wix.com/yourwebsite. This is a red flag to potential customers who want to feel that the company they’re dealing with is a serious business with a “proper” website.
You also can’t buy a South African (.za) domain from Wix, or transfer an existing South African domain to Wix. And if you didn’t want other companies advertising all over your site? Tough cookies, you’ll get a bunch of Wix ads ALL. OVER. YOUR. SITE.
Bottom line: Yes, there are advantages to using a website builder like Wix – like low initial cash outlay, ease of use, and availability of awesome templates. It’s fine as a short-term solution for your website goals, just like fridge pizza is a great short-term solution for your hunger pangs.
But if you want a sustainable solution that has advanced features, security, quality ecommerce functions, and the ability to export data across other platforms – Wix might not be the answer for you. Unfortunately, you can’t pay for supermarket pizza and expect a Michelin star eating experience.