Wix is among the best website builders around, surpassing 100 million users in early 2017. We tried out the popular builder to see if it’s a serious design tool or just hype. In many ways, it seems the answer is the former category, making it a serious contender among the best website builders.
The free drag-and-drop website builder launched back in 2006. While it wasn’t the first tool to handle such a task, it was among the preliminary lineup, allowing users to quickly put up a website without any coding knowledge.
However, competitors such as SquareSpace (read our SquareSpace review) threatened the position of the company, forcing Wix to completely overhaul its platform. With some influencer marketing and a slew of new templates in hand, Wix came back in full force. Read on for our full Wix review to see how those changes make it just as special as it was back in 2006.
Alternatives for Wix
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Large help center
- Powerful built-in apps
- Easy to use
- Many different templates
- Ecommerce built-in
- Free plan
- Difficult to contact support
- Ads on free plan
Going through every feature of Wix would require multiple articles. This builder is full of free and paid features for almost any site or need. From basic site operations like SEO and analytics to booking and contact managers, Wix has a tool for just about anything.
One of the more impressive, especially for new sites, is the SEO tool. SEO, or search engine optimization, ensures your site pops up in search engines when certain keywords are entered. Wix has extensive write-ups for basic and advanced SEO, ensuring your site ranks at the top.
You can take advantage of the logo designer as well. This isn’t your typical interface with a few dozen pieces of clipart and some different fonts. Instead, Wix asks you a few questions and automatically presents multiple designs based on your answers. You can see what it spit out for our mock tech blog “Mega Techdome” below.
Outside of optimizing your site, there are plenty of building features too. Wix includes a link to its app market within the builder window, allowing you to easily find and install apps on your site without navigating to another page. It’s a lot like WordPress plugins, except there are no third-party additions.
It’s much more comprehensive than WordPress, though. While the actual number of addons is lower, each is of a higher quality. For example, there’s “Wix Hotels” that allows hotels to take bookings through a Wix site. This can certainly be accomplished with WordPress, but would require you code your own plugin, or take a very niche plugin and jury rig it for this purpose.
Since most apps are Wix-developed, there is almost always a free, restricted version as well. The free version of Hotels, for example, allows you to set up a booking system and set rates but cuts features like mobile booking and multi-language support. In comparison, Weebly (read our Weebly review) has a similar app, “Appointed,” that only comes in a paid version.
Jumping back to Wix, though, you can edit your site directly through code. Many builders lock off this more advanced area in fear that something will mess up your site. While this can certainly happen, Wix allows you to fully customize your site and how it functions, even through lines of code.
If all the options don’t appeal to you, though, Wix can always take charge and design your site. It’s a relatively new service, but you can commission a Wix design expert to make your site come to life. It isn’t just a team of random designers, either. You choose which designer you want to work with, browsing through each of their portfolios to see which of the hundreds of options is right for you.
Wix is clearly on the front foot not just for website builders, but websites in general. Even open source platforms like WordPress struggle to keep up with the number of features Wix offers. You can do virtually anything, and that’s hard to argue with.
|Vector Art Gallary|
|Drag and Drop interface|
Since its debut in 2006, Wix has offered free websites to its users. There are many different plans now, but the core goal hasn’t been lost. Wix’s free plan still shines, granting you full access to the builder and its features with a free “.wix.com” domain.
- Free domain Remove Wix ads
- $300 ad voucher Site Booster app Form Builder app
- Unlimited GB
- Online store
- Unlimited GB
- VIP support Professional site review
- Unlimited GB
Free is the best place to start as it sets a foundation on which all other pricing is based. The next tier allows you to ditch the Wix branding and use your own domain. There are still Wix ads on your site which are, thankfully, nonintrusive. It’s a unique plan that doesn’t compare well to other website builders but still grants you a more professional look without too much cost.
Combo is only slightly better, removing all Wix ads, giving you a free domain and increasing storage and bandwidth. Again, it’s a bit of a rogue plan that doesn’t line up with offerings from other providers. The best choice, and the plan we’d recommend, though, is Unlimited.
This is a middle ground, giving you unlimited bandwidth, 10GB of storage and a free domain. If you need to get a website online, this plan is for you. It stacks up well against its most formidable competitor, SquareSpace, too at a few dollars cheaper per month.
Going up to the next tier are ecommerce plans. They’re made for just that, selling products online. The small price jump is negligible considering you get twice the storage space and an online store pre-installed. It uses ADI, or Artificial Design Intelligence to build your store automatically which we’ll talk more about in the ease of use section below.
Wix backs up its ecommerce plans quite well too. For free, you have calculated shipping rates already included, a feature that SquareSpace only includes on its most expensive plan. In addition, you can also set up automatic email notifications for your customers, set up discounts or promotions and use Wix’s secure checkout to take all payments. Even better, all of these features are pre-installed when you sign up.
VIP plans are the exact same as ecommerce plans in terms of specification. You’re getting unlimited bandwidth, an online store and the same 20GB of storage space. However, you also get VIP support with priority response and a one-time professional site review. It’s quite a bit more expensive than the previous plans and, honestly, shows diminishing returns. However, if you need a direct line, it’s essential.
Wix takes a different approach to website builder pricing. Many companies like iPage and SquareSpace offer only a handful of plans. Wix has options for anyone from free upwards, with consistently low prices on premium plans. It can, however, be a bit difficult to know where to start. If you’re looking for a premium plan, we recommend Unlimited for the most complete Wix experience.
Design & Tools
By and large, Wix has some the best tools for building your website on the market. In the last year or so, the designer has improved significantly, with new features added by the month. There’s enough power to build any site you could dream up, with a solid array of templates to get you started.
In fact, the template selection is a bit overwhelming at first. There are categories from portfolios and CVs to online stores, with subcategories in each. What’s particularly impressive is that the templates are actually useful.
While there are flashy, potentially pretentious, templates available, it’s not difficult to find a straightforward one either. Oftentimes templates are too barren or too overzealous, but Wix manages to give you an array of options that sit in between.
Once you’ve settled on a theme, there’s plenty of power to customize it. There are already so many different theme options that you really don’t need to build anything. Simple tweaks to the colors, fonts, etc. is most of the heavy lifting you’ll need to do. If you want to go more complex, though, you can do so with apps.
Right in the Wix builder, you can add apps to your website. As stated in the feature section above, the list is quite large, and they are the fundamental tools you’ll use to build your site. These additions are more like bundles instead of niche features, offering an entire section of a website instead of just a piece.
For example, Wix Blogs will set up a page for posts, the interface for writing posts, a comment section and a user area. It’s a quick way to get started on your site without adding multiple different apps.
There are niche apps too, though. Used in combination with more broad ones, these applications can have a lot of power. For instance, Blogs combined with Wix Forum, Wix Chat and Wix Hit Counter can turn a barebones blog into a social experience.
Wix gives you a long list of tools to design your site. It’s quite remarkable too, considering that none feel too niche or broad. The range of templates is just as remarkable, providing you a solid foundation in which to implement all of these tools.
Ease of Use
There’s no fussing about in this area. Put simply, Wix is one of the easiest ways to build a website. The wonderful array of high quality templates provide an excellent starting point, with an intuitive interface to customize the look to your tastes.
Once you’ve selected a template, you’ll be brought to the editor that uses five to eight buttons (depending on the theme) for building. You have menus, background, add elements, add apps, uploads and buttons for any additional apps you have installed.
This button style approach makes it very easy to change the look of your site without going too deep down the rabbit hole. WordPress, for example, often requires you to go into the backend, make changes and then reload your site to see how it looks. Everything at Wix happens within the editor itself.
Outside of the buttons, you use the basic drag-and-drop interface. It’s not just movement of text and images, though. Wix implements dynamic elements like slideshows into the drag and drop interface as well, meaning that you can interact directly with what’s on your site.
Thankfully, you won’t have to worry about just eyeballing the placement either. Wix includes Photoshop-esque markers for lining up the different elements on your page. It quickly identifies what you’re trying to move and snaps the element in place.
If, however, you want to circumvent the design process completely, Wix has options for you too. You could hire a designer, but the ADI system is far more interesting. It stands for Artificial Design Intelligence and will automatically put a site together based off a short survey.
Its main purpose is designing online stores. ADI will ask what you’re selling, some general keywords that identify with your brand and the color and font schemes you prefer. Overall, the process is over within five minutes, and you can make basic tweaks to the site it spits out once it’s done.
The point of a website builder is ease of use. Even so, many builders in the market are clogged down with clunky interfaces that are infuriating to learn. Wix manages an interface that gives you plenty of power without slowing down, making it one of the easiest website builders on the market.
Because the service is so streamlined, support at Wix takes a backseat. That isn’t to say it’s not available, but rather it’s usually not important. However, when questions do arise, the Wix help center is the place for answers.
There are plenty of answers too. A long list of articles come with the 34 different topics, from general design questions to Wix-developed apps. When going through each, we noticed that the articles break down into two categories: FAQs and tutorials.
The FAQs cover a surprising array of topics. For example, there’s a dedicated article for Wix Logo automatic payment renewal, simply stating that Wix Logo is a one-time fee. It seems a bit unnecessary after reading, but imagining a scenario where this question comes up isn’t difficult.
Tutorials account for a larger percentage of articles in the help center, though. These are very helpful pieces, laid out with step-by-step instruction and nothing else. For common walkthroughs, such as changing the header design, the tutorial comes with an accompanying video as well.
If the help center can’t solve your problem, one-on-one support is available over email and phone. However, this is clearly intended as a secondary form of support and, because of that, is difficult to track down.
You have to find an article in the help center, scroll to the bottom and select “no” under the “did this answer your question?” section. Even after that, Wix will take you to an automated help system that will try again to find an article before sending you to support.
This is a bit of a double-edged sword. With an overabundance of contact options, the support level often goes down, so weeding out any issues before the fact actually helps the quality of support you’re getting. In theory, this makes sense and, at Wix, it does in practice too.
While tracking down support is a hassle, the level of support is excellent. Tickets and callbacks are responded to within minutes with the same straightforward instruction seen in the help center.
When compared to a typical web host, the support at Wix is surprisingly good. Since it’s a proprietary system, there are only so many problems you’ll need to deal with. In the majority of cases, a solution is buried in the help center, making this part of the Wix service an easy win.
Wix has a long history in the website building space, and it’s quite a marvel that it still manages to be relevant so many years later. The builder is among the best we’ve tested, combining artsy templates with practical features. If you’re looking for a place to build your site, Wix is a good way to start.
We also have an article on the best web hosting providers if you’re still making up your mind on how you’re going to send your site into the ether.
For web hosting, we recommend WordPress. Make sure to check our three guides on the platform to learn how to use it.
- Beginner’s Guide to Using WordPress
- Intermediate Guide to Using WordPress
- Advanced Guide to Using WordPress
What do you think of Wix? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.