When it comes to having an online presence, nothing beats a website for your business. However, there are a few options available to you.
Probably the most common of those choices are WordPress and Wix. Both are described as website builders which have a lot of functionality that the average business owner can use to build a great business website. Both allow you to create pages and blog posts and have a variety of security and SEO properties enabling you to construct a professional looking website.
But there are several differences between each platform. Let’s do a comparison of Wix to WordPress so you can choose the best for your business website requirements.
1. Themes and Templates
A theme or template is what your website is built around. They give your site the general look, feel and functionality. They give your site personality and both WordPress and Wix continue to expand the selections they have available.
As of February 2017 there were well over 4,000 different themes in the WordPress directory. Not all themes are free (although the majority are); however, the premium ones are not as expensive as you may think. They start at about $20 and go up from there, with most of them in the $100 range with a few that go quite a bit higher than that.
If the built-in customization options are not enough, WordPress themes can be modified, as you can access the theme code. Quality and functionality vary, as does the level of SEO optimisation.
Wix has 529 HTML5 templates and all of them are free. The selection is good although some of the templates are only available if you have purchased the eCommerce plan.
Modifications you can make are limited as you do not have access to code, but you can alter the look of the templates through the drag-and-drop editor program.
One major difference to WordPress is that once you have selected a Wix template for your project, even if it is a blank template, you cannot change to a different template. With WordPress, you can have as many themes as you like and change them as often as you need to, however, sometimes you may need to make changes after updating (as things like shortcodes may not be compatible between different themes).
2. Plugins and Apps
When comparing Wix vs WordPress, you may wish to consider the number of plugins or apps that are required to add the functionality you desire to your website.
A plugin or app adds additional features to your website. As of February 2017 there about 50,000 different WordPress plugins. Similarly to the WordPress themes, many plugins are downloaded for free from the WordPress.org directory, while others are sold by individuals, businesses or marketplaces.
Similar to the themes, premium plugins range in cost from a few dollars up to a few hundred dollars with others requiring an annual subscription.
The great thing about WordPress plugins is that there are so many different ones to choose from that you can add some very interesting elements to your website, and more are being added to the directory on a regular basis.
Wix has 245 different apps (as of February 2017) and they vary from free to premium. A number of the premium ones have a free version with limited capabilities compared to the paid version. The majority of them cost less than $10 monthly but some are as much as $50 per month.
Although Wix has some good apps, they are not as flexible as WordPress plugins nor does Wix have the selection WordPress has.
3. Tech Support
WordPress support can be complicated if you are not clear on the source of your problem. If the issue stems from the WordPress core, you may be able to find help through WordPress forums or through the documentation files. So, you should be able to solve whatever may crop up. That being said, the WordPress core has improved over the years (and is still constantly evolving) and is a very stable and robust platform, so issues with the core are not common for website owners.
However, if the issue is a theme, plugin or hosting for your WordPress website, it gets a bit trickier. As each of these is not a WordPress product, you will have to seek support from the individual companies who developed either the theme, plugin or hosting.
As for tech support for Wix, everything is under one roof, so to speak, so if something fails you need to only contact Wix to remedy the situation. Most technical issues can be resolved by searching the library of articles, videos, and forums available through Wix. If you can’t find an answer to your problem that way, an actual tech support centre can be accessed 24/7 through their website, or by phone or email.
Although it may be easier to find direct support through Wix, there are a lot of forums and support available for WordPress users thanks to the ever-expanding community of the platform. Depending on the issues, it just may take a little longer to get the answer you need.
As mentioned above, the core platform used by WordPress gets frequent updates during an average year, as do most plugins and themes. Although it can be set up so that you are alerted to the fact that an update is available, you generally have to manually perform the update yourself.
While that may not sound too difficult, things can go wrong during the updating process, so care has to be taken. There are different ways to mitigate the risk, but many of these methods require some technical expertise. If you have done some customisation to the code to give your website extra functionality or a different look, you have to be careful not to overwrite those changes during the update process.
Updates on Wix are done automatically and usually happens without your knowledge as you typically don’t need to be a part of the process. In other words, site maintenance is a snap as you don’t do any of it.
There is an easier way with WordPress if you would rather not spend all the time required to manually update everything within your website. This is where someone else takes care of all the updates to your WordPress business website for you. This option costs a little extra, but leaving these tasks to the experts can save you time and money in the long run. They can care for your investment, giving you the peace of mind that everything is working as it should.
This is where a real difference becomes obvious between WordPress and Wix. With WordPress the core platform is free. There are thousands of themes and plugins available for free with WordPress, and if you plan to build and update the website yourself, you will save money.
Some of the costs associated with WordPress come from the use of premium themes or plugins. Add to this the cost of your domain name, hosting, maintenance and security, and depending on the type and size of your website, this can impact the amount you spend.
Wix provides plans that range in cost depending on the extra features you require for your website. For example, the basic plan includes ads but this reduces your monthly cost. The unlimited plan includes a domain name, two premium apps, 10 GB of storage, hosting, support, unlimited bandwidth, no Wix ads, a $300 Ad Voucher, a Site Booster App (worth $60) and a Form Builder App (worth $48) all for US$12.50 per month (February 2017). The eCommerce Plan costs US$16.50/month with the VIP Plan costing US$24.50/month with each step offering more and more extras.
6. Content Creation
The visual editor is where you create posts and pages in WordPress. This is also where you can add whatever element you want on the page ranging from video and images to audio. The text editor allows you to add HTML, edit code, modify anything and basically take complete control over the look and feel of the content contained on your website.
Wix is a drag ‘n’ drop system that is nothing more that WYSIWYG. The boxes you drop onto a template allow you to create content. You lay out the pages depending on the content boxes you add to any specific page. If you do not know any code, know only a little or just want to build something quickly, the Wix drag ‘n’ drop system is perfect for that kind of user. However, it is limited as you cannot make major modifications like you can with WordPress.
When you use an open source platform, it means the code can be accessed and modified by anyone. It also means that you could potentially create your own theme or plugin and use that new code as a product yourself, or you can either sell or offer to other website owners for free.
WordPress is open source and as such has seen many innovative changes within the community from developers who have used the open source access, created new products and in turn fed them back to others in the WordPress community. Some say that the popularity of this kind of sharing of data files is what makes WordPress as popular as it is.
So even though there are only so many themes available directly through the WordPress directory, variations of these exist through the WordPress community making endless possibilities on what you can create with your website.
Because Wix is not open source, there is no way to create modified themes or options. The Wix system, as a result, offers far fewer options in the way of themes or apps. However, with fewer of them developed, this generally means that the ones that do exist are of good quality.
While there is a risk of using a tool or program that was poorly developed in the WordPress community on a WordPress website, the risk does not exist to the same level with Wix tools which are developed, tested and fed through a rigorous set of steps before they are released to Wix users. This way, Wix website developers are assured of the quality of the products provided in this platform.
That Last Thing You Need To Know When Comparing Wix vs WordPress
The choice between WordPress or Wix really comes down to what kind of website you are launching and the amount of hands-on work you are comfortable with. If you like to change things up by modifying code and having the flexibility to add an almost unlimited range of options sometime in the future, then WordPress is probably your best bet as Wix is not as flexible. However, if you would rather just drag ‘n’ drop your page elements and build content that way, Wix may be your best option.
Wix may be the perfect choice for you if this is your first website or if the project is for a one-man/woman band or a start-up with very limited capital. But, should your business expand to the place where it outgrows the Wix website, you cannot just simply convert Wix to WordPress, which presents another set of issues. This is where it is important to think about the end goal, as the time and effort to upgrade your site from Wix to WordPress may be a painful exercise, and you wished that you went down the WordPress path from day 1.
With a cheaper start-up, Wix will be attractive to many, but if you choose to stay with them and upgrade your website to their unlimited plan in the future, it may not have the functionality that you need and end up costing you more in the long run than with a WordPress site.
Another thing to keep in mind is that with a Wix website, you do not actually own the website as it is only hosted by them. This does present a risk that may not exist with a WordPress website, which you have built and hosted and can move to a different host if you had to or wanted to. This is not possible with a Wix website.
This means that WordPress excels at how flexible it is and that it can be expanded into much more than the elements you used to start your website. The modifications options that are available to you will give you the options to be able to create a website that is most definitely unique in each and every way. This means that you will not be restricted in any way in what you do, as your business grows and evolves.
A Wix website, on the other hand, is best if you are only looking for something simple, basic, uncomplicated and unlikely to evolve into something with more demanding requirements at some time in the future.