If I could describe Wix in one word, it would be freedom. Wix gives users as much freedom as possible: it’s unstructured editor lets you drag anything anywhere on the page, there’s a long list of features and elements and you could even design your own theme from scratch.
But Wix’s freedom can be a tradeoff. It’s unstructured editor sometimes creates more problems than it solves and the interface can feel disorganized and overwhelming.
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At A Glance
Table of Contents
- The Editor
Wix is what I call an unstructured editor— basically this means you can drag any element anywhere on a page, even dragging it pixel by pixel. It’s like how you would move elements in a Powerpoint presentation. If you take one thing away from this review, let it be this.
Most website builders are not unstructured editors. For example, Squarespace let’s you move elements— but only into rows and columns. There’s an inherent and sensible structure that you stay within:
The upside to Wix’s unstructured editor vs a structured editor like Squarespace is obvious: Wix gives you more freedom. But there are downsides.
Let me give you some examples.
Watch what happens when I move an image from the top of the page to the bottom:
I had to make the same change twice— once for the the desktop version and once for the mobile version! Wix’s unstructured editor didn’t know to automatically do this. That’s frustrating!
Here’s another example— watch what happens when I add more text to this page:
And one last example— adding a store knocked my navigation out of balance:
Why do these bugs keep popping up? Well not to get too technical (you can skip this paragraph if you’d like) but it’s due to the unstructured editor. It turns out, websites are not like Photoshop images or Powerpoint slides. Websites are made of HTML and HTML has nesting and hierarchy— it’s inherently structured.
To be sure, you can work around the problems I’ve outlined here— especially if are really drawn to the fredom Wix’s unstructured editor provides— but just know that it will just require some effort.
There are a lot of features with Wix.
To start, Wix provides a huge selection of core elements to build your website— different navigation elements, menus, boxes, buttons and more:
But they also go beyond the fundamentals. For example, Wix has an element called Repeators that I’ve never seen in any other website builder. Basically it’s a really simple database. You tell Wix what kind of content the fields should have, and then design an element that repeats for each entry into the database. No other website builder offers anything like this. It’s ideal for listing events, properties, staff members etc.
Wix also includes an App Market with 300ish apps that add additional elements and features. It’s a good way Wix to offer features without making the interface too overwhelming. One note: many apps do have an extra price.
I would actually say Wix probably has the widest feature set of any website builder. They cover a wide-array of features, here’s some of the highlights:
- Restaurants — Wix includes restaurant menu elements, online delivery features and a reservations app (it lets customers make reservations from your website). It’s a surprisingly flexible, niche feature set but it can also be tricky to get the hang of.
- Music — Besides having the widest selection of audio players among website builders, Wix also lets you distribute music (like you would on Distrokid or CD Baby) and they provide custom audio analytics.
- Bookings — You can offer appointments, classes and workshops that customers can book from your website. You can accept bookings from the Wix mobile app, automatically send email reminders about appointments and take payments.
- Events — You can connect to a payment provider, sell tickets, create email invites and track a guest list.
- Forums — Visitors can become members, join conversations, follow posts, upload videos, leave comments and more.
- Art Store — You can sell digital images (commision free), connect to a print-on-demand service, brand images with a watermark and create digital licenses.
Wix has a large selection of 500+ themes— though the quality can be inconsistent. Some themes are clean and modern while others feel outdated.
When selecting a theme, you have the option of using Wix ADI, an “AI Website Design” tool. ADI mostly just creates small variations between templates— see the screenshot below for a collection of ADI generated websites. It’s pretty easy to spot the similarities. ADI is a neat tool but don’t choose Wix based on it, it’s still a very early technology. If you’d like to read more, I’ve written extensively about ADI and other AI website builders here.
Unlike other website builders, you can’t switch your theme— once you’ve chosen a theme, you’re locked into it. So take your time when choosing.
All themes are responsive and display nicely on mobile— though be aware that Wix pages don’t always translate perfectly to mobile. You’ll often need to edit pages twice to get it right: once on desktop, once on mobile (see The Editor section for more info).
Modifying a theme to give it your brand colors can be tedious because the global style editor is cumbersome to use. Most users will just manually edit individual items than use this editor:
I’ve also occasionally ran into strange errors when trying to customize my theme— for example, changing the font size of my headings somehow messed up my logo:
While it can be tedious to edit Wix themes, it’s also highly flexible— so you can really make significant changes to your website. This is different from competitors like Squarespace or Weebly, which constrain the extent to which you can customize the look and feel of your website. With Wix you can make enough changes to even design your website from scratch. (Though the best design-from-scratch website builder these days is Webflow.)
The thing with Wix is that they throw everything at the user. There’s options for just about anything you can think of. Unlike competitors like Squarespace— which provide a curated set of options— Wix has never seen an option they don’t like. So everything gets thrown at the user: including esoteric options that I would recommend against: you can crop photos into a shape (why?), add bounce animations and more. This long list of possible options is both the upside and downside of Wix: lots of options, but purely curated.
Like other website builders, Wix has been ramping up their ecommerce features aggressively. They’ve built a solid core of features: flexible coupons codes (for % discounts, free shipping, limited time etc.), shipping and tax rules, products options, digital products and no transaction fees.
Last year I criticized them for missing some features— for example, you weren’t able to edit email receipts that are sent to customers. But Wix has since added that.
There are some things that I’ve found to be a bit confusing. For example, their variations editor asks you to subtract costs rather than just putting them in a new price.
In the end, if your main focus is ecommerce you may want to check out Shopify (a highly rated ecommerce website builder) but Wix is a solid alternative for stores just starting out. (Technically it’s cheaper than Shopify— though not by much. Wix’s first ecommerce plan is $25 / month to month while Shopify is $29 / month to month.)
Unlike the rest of Wix, the blog editor is not a blank canvas editor— instead it’s a structured, text editor that lets you embed images alongside posts (which is great— this is the way a blog editor should be). It’s a pleasant writing environment:
Wix includes eight different layout options for displaying blog posts. This is handy— especially if you’d like your blog to have more of a magazine approach.
Otherwise standard blog features are supported: authors, categories, drafts and some cool additional features: cover photos, view counters, avatars, likes counters and “read time” estimates. Unfortunately posts can’t be set to publish in the future, instead you’ll have to save posts as a draft and then publish them on your preferred date. Wix also doesn’t support AMP— though in fairness, Squarespace is the only website builder to support AMP currently.
Also: you can only use the Wix commenting system for comments— they seem to have removed support for Facebook Comments and Disqus at the time of publishing.
Is Wix Free?
Wix offers a free plan though it’s not a great free plan. There’s a 500 MB bandwidth limit, the free URL is pretty unfriendly and there’s an intrusive ad that scrolls along your website:
The nice thing with a free plan though is that it provides unlimited time to trial— unlike website builders like Squarespace with a 14-day free trial.
If you Google around, you’ll find that Wix has a bit of a checkered SEO reputation— but that’s outdated. Several years ago, Wix was a Flash-based website builder (Flash was a technology with big SEO problems) but they have long since moved on from Flash. Wix no longer uses Flash.
“If you Google around, you’ll find that Wix has a bit of a checkered SEO reputation— but that’s outdated.”
Wix also used to have a a terrible URL structure— it would add strange characters to the URL (ex: yoursite.com/#!about/xis9 ). This was not SEO friendly but again was fixed back in 2016.
In order to repair it’s reputation, Wix has even gotten an endorsement from Rand Fishkin. (Rand is one of the most well-known SEO leaders and an endorsement I would trust.)
Today, Wix provides everything most users will need for SEO: you can customize meta titles and descriptions, add canonical tags, Schema.org tags and connect to Google Webmaster Tools.
Wix has seven different plans— four are for general websites and three are for ecommerce. I’ve done a deep dive on Wix’s pricing here. I’d recommend checking that for more info.
Domains & Emails
Domain names on Wix cost $14.95 / year. This doesn’t include WHOIS privacy— that costs US$9.90 / year (domain names require public contact information— WHOIS privacy anonymizes your contact information).
If you really want to save money on domain names, you can register with a domain name registrar such as Namecheap. Namecheap domain names are around $14 year and include free WHOIS privacy.
If you register your domain name with Wix, you can set up custom email addresses (example: [email protected]) with Google’s G Suite. G Suite basically lets you use Gmail for your custom email address. G Suite is by far the best email provider— I highly recommend you set it up.