Welcome to the second post of Evermore’s series on popular website builders. I’ll be taking you through Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, GoDaddy, and WordPress.com. While Evermore hosts our sites on WordPress, we know that it’s not for everyone. This series will help you learn which website builder suits your needs today, and what you may want to look into as you grow. This week, let’s talk Wix.
My Experience with Wix
I was first introduced to Wix during writing school when a good friend of mine suggested I make use of the site builder to show off some photographs I was taking. If you’ve followed along with the series so far, you already know that I ended up on Squarespace. But I’ve dusted off the old Wix account for you guys!
When I first checked Wix out years ago it reminded me a lot of what Squarespace is doing today. I saw a lot of fine but not outstanding templates. It was fairly easy to drag and drop stuff where I wanted with little to no knowledge of code necessary. That being said, you might want to go back and read my post on Squarespace if you haven’t already. A number of similarities apply to Squarespace and Wix. TL;DR version: super easy to get started even with no knowledge of code, but hard to customize and grow if and when you decide to do so.
That said, there are a few key differentiators worth talking about, such as…
Wix has Way More Free Stuff
This is a blessing and a curse, and you’ll see why as we go on. But at first glance, I thought it was great that I could get “free” background photos and even videos for my site. I’m sure you’ve been to a cool coffee shop’s website that has a nice “hero image” in the background that’s actually a silent video of one of their bearded baristas making a skim double latte. It even seems to loop perfectly right? Like he just moved on to making another drink. Well you can get videos like that with Wix—free. Cool!
There’s also an available “App Market” for third party apps you can add to your site such as scheduling tools for booking appointments, high resolution photo galleries (with watermark and copy + save protection), and dozens of others. In fact there were dozens of scheduling apps alone.
And that’s about the time my head started to spin. I was exploring Wix to see everything it was capable of, I wanted to see all the bells and whistles, but even so I got overwhelmed.
The Burden of Choice
If you’re looking for an introductory website builder such as Wix, you probably have a relatively straightforward project in mind—and probably just enough expertise with the web to know what looks good without really knowing why. For you, Wix could present a big problem with all the choices it offers.
Let’s go back to the scheduling tools I mentioned. If you know you need one on your website, you probably already have some workflow in place that uses a scheduling tool you like. Hopefully that tool is already in the Wix App Market. If not, you’ll have to install the widget yourself or switch to one supported by the Market. But first you’ll want to find reviews for it, and then test it to see if it works.
And like I said, the options don’t stop at scheduling tools. There are tools for forms, Paypal buttons, Instagram feeds, various social and email pop ups (side note: please never use these. No one likes anything that pops up and begs to be liked that isn’t a puppy).
All of these things could be great if you have a project that would make appropriate use of them. But, if you have a project that needs all of these tools, you probably need something a bit more robust on the design side.
Designing for Conversion on Wix
You’re on Wix because you know what looks good and you want to take advantage of the great background images and other content they have. When it comes time to add forms and donation buttons and event schedules, all of those things need to be designed to work together visually on your webpage.
If you’re taking the time to add all these apps to your site, you’re going to want people to actually use them, and that will only happen if they are designed well. From basic things such as how third party apps function on mobile, to more complex things such as whether or not you’re guiding eyes down the page to take action, design affects conversion. So while it’s great that Wix has so many options for so many different tools, if you don’t have the design background to get them on your site in a way that looks and functions well, it won’t make much difference.
Wix would be a great place to learn how to incorporate these tools into your site, but if you want to make the most of them you’ll find yourself wanting a professional designer. At that point, all the other bells and whistles can probably be custom made for you. You’ll not only have a better functioning site, but one that is more suited to your organization’s style.
Key Takeaways about Wix
Wix reminds me a lot of Squarespace for a lot of good reasons. It’s super easy to get started. You click, drag, and presto there is a site. You can get a bit more creative than Squarespace can with the free stock images and videos Wix provides. Still, you’re bound to “Brand Name” templates made by Wix that you won’t be able to customize much beyond pictures and font. Like Squarespace, you’ll be bound to how regularly Wix wants to keep these templates up to date with best practices for performance and usability.
Wix provides a much greater number of third party tools to help you optimize your site for your business. From shopping carts to photo galleries, the number of apps available on Wix is astounding. This seems a bit more useful in theory than in practice. If you’re really adding that many things to your page for visitors to interact with, you will probably want a designer around to help make sure it’s easy to interact with all of those fancy apps. At that point, you can probably start looking at fully customized options for both tools and site layouts.