Let me just get this out the way: I’m biased. I am a professional web designer and my livelihood does depend on customers hiring me to build them proper websites instead of doing it themselves with Wix…HOWEVER…that does not change the fact that everything I’m about to tell you is 100% true and verifiable. Read on to discover why Wix is remarkably crap and not a good option for your business…
Wix websites are not really free
Free with a stupid domain
If you don’t want to pay a cent, then you will need to go for a standard account. When you sign up for a standard Wix website, your site will be hosted at a domain that looks like this: https://YourWixUserName.wixsite.com/YourWebsiteName. If you don’t know how important a domain name is, then you might not realise what a Debbie Downer that is. The first thing to point out is that this is not your domain. It’s theirs. I’ll break it down in practical terms. Let’s assume your business name is ‘Chocolate Starfish Confectionery’ and the email address you signed up with was firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope that’s not someone’s real address. Regardless, here’s what you would end up with:
- Blue = Subdomain of wixsite.com. Ordinarily a subdomain is ‘www’, but Wix will take your username and use that instead. Reeeeal professional, thanks Wix.
- Green = The actual domain.
- Red = A folder within the subdomain
So what does the above tell Google? It tells Google that Wix has published some content about chocolate starfishes. Google does not know that this is your company. One day when you have your own domain (www.chocolatestarfishconfectionery.com), you need to start marketing all over again because Google sees it as a completely new and separate entity. So you can kiss goodbye years of building up your online presence. Then again, your online presence probably won’t be that great anyway because – have you ever seen a wix website do well on Google? I haven’t.
Another drawback is that your website will feature banner adverts for Wix, and because you don’t own it, you don’t get any revenue for it. You could look at it this way: Wix are using you to generate free content for them to place ads on.
Definitely not free with a proper domain
If you want to have a proper domain (e.g. www.YourWebsite.com), then, at the time of writing, here is what you will be paying for hosting per month:
- $7/month (excluding domain name renewal), + an extra $4.08/month per email address. Your site will also contain advertising for which you do not receive revenue.
- If you don’t want to host adverts, then you pay $14/month.
- Want an online store? Then, $20/month.
- How about email campaigns? Then $30/month.
As far as hosting goes, this is pretty expensive, and this is where they make their money. Just like in real life, nothing is for free.
Source: Pricing Comparison Chart
Wix websites are not transferable
Let’s say you are currently able to afford their hosting fees but then they hike up the prices and you can no longer afford it. Guess what? You lose your site. There is no way to take your website files from Wix and host it elsewhere because Wix has it’s own retarded website builder that doesn’t work anywhere else (and if it did it would probably be illegal because Wix owns it). You get to start from scratch. Fun times.
Wix websites are limited
If you want to add new functionality, unless that functionality is already built into Wix’s unwieldy website builder, you’re out of luck. With a normal website, you can hire any professional designer to change the aesthetics to exactly what pleases you. You could even have a complete redesign, but with Wix, once you have chosen your template, you can’t choose a different one. You’re stuck with the first one you chose. This, in spite of so many requests for it, that it’s now a support topic where Wix have had to state that it is not possible, and neither is it possible to combine elements from different templates.
With a proper site, you can also hire any professional developer to add functionality and have it work exactly how you want it to. With Wix, designers and developers have no control over your site. The website builder does not give access to the actual code, where changes can be implemented, and on that subject…
Wix websites are rife with Invalid Code
The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) is an International organisation that develops and specifies what and what is not valid coding. These specifications are applied by website browsers (e.g. Chrome and Firefox) to standardise how certain HTML and CSS elements appear to the user, and how they function.
When a web developer doesn’t adhere to these standards, website browsers have to guess at how to display something. When the browser does this, it is called ‘Quirks Mode’ and in quirks mode, things can (and often do) go wrong. Different browsers have different algorithms and will display the website differently, meaning that your site may look nice in Chrome, but doesn’t work in Firefox. Broken invalid code can also result in problems for Google’s webcrawlers to properly scan the site. Crawling problems, in turn, result in lower rank in the SERPs (search engine results pages).
Wix templates are rife with errors. I have personally tested this by creating a test website on Wix, not changing a thing, and running it through the W3C validator. The result = 7 errors on the home page alone. Don’t take my word for it…
Try it yourself:
- visit: https://validator.w3.org/
- Paste the address of any site created with Wix in the ‘Address’ field
- Click on the ‘Check’ button
- Behold, errors.
Wix templates do not magically impart design skills
Poor coding aside, the templates as they stand are aesthetically not bad. The problem is they don’t stay that way. You need to take out all the preloaded content and put your own stuff there…but you’re not a designer. After you’re finished, elements will be misaligned with poor spacing. Photos will be stretched and pixelated. Colours will be clashing. Important info will drown in a sea of ugliness.
I’m not saying this to be nasty. I’m saying this because a degree in design teaches you that just because you think you have good taste does not make it so. There are definite right and wrong ways to do things in design, with very specific goals in mind, backed up by psychological and marketing studies. Graphic design is not about what you like or what you think looks nice. It’s about portraying your brand in a very specific way to attract the right target market. If you’re serious about making money, then don’t succumb to your own ego and believe that you can do just as good a job as someone who has formally studied the subject.
I get that times are tough. You’re being nickel and dimed by your bank. Living expenses are shooting up faster than a heroin junkie lottery winner. Getting a salary increase is only slightly easier than squeezing blood from a stone. I get it. Wix sounds like a money saver, but it will cost you more in the end. If you can’t afford a proper website, I’d humbly suggest creating and maintaining a Facebook business page and start saving for a professionally designed website. At least when you can afford your site, your social media will already be established and working for you.
If you’re a designer, then the next time someone asks ‘why not Wix?’, please direct them here. Also, please share the hell out of this article – many customers will end up turning to a qualified designer in the end after having Wix waste their time, but some will remain oblivious of the Wix platform’s pitfalls. We shouldn’t allow Wix to ruin our industry!
Article by Roxane Lapa of .COZA Web Design