WWordPress and Wix are two of the most commonly used tools for building websites today by professionals and start-ups alike. Recent statistics show that websites built using WordPress account for 26% of sites on the public web today, but is it a platform suited for everyone?

We’ve outlined some of the pros and cons of each to find which platforms would best suit you and your business or organisation. The key areas of comparison we’ll be looking at are:

  • Ease of Use
  • Hosting
  • Pricing
  • Features
  • Maintenance and Security
  • SEO Capabilities

One thing we must stress is that in this article we’re talking about WordPress.org, not WordPress.com. WordPress.com is another alternative that uses a scaled down version of WordPress.org’s features but takes care of all hosting and domain registration on your behalf, much like Wix.

WordPress vs Wix
Start-ups and small businesses love how easy Wix is to use, with an intuitive user interface you can pick up in minutes, modifying themes with simple drag and drop functionality.

 

Ease of Use:

Using Wix is as simple as setting up an account and getting started with your own website hosted on wix.com. You’ll get access to over 300 templates that you can then modify to suit your requirements as well as access to a range of different plugins to add functionality to your new site. The biggest problem with Wix themes is that they can be difficult to make responsive, which means that making your site mobile-friendly can require a lot of trial-and-error to see what works best.

WordPress is only as complex as you let it become and there’s certainly more than one way to skin a cat with the plugins and design functions available. For example, if you feel more comfortable using HTML coding, you can modify pages using a text editor and manually modify CSS files and widgets through the back end. Or, if all of that sounded like jibberish to you, you could use a plugin like Page Builder that helps you build pages with a drop and drag interface. Once you’ve got the main layout of all your pages setup, changing content, adding images and posting blogs is as simple as using Microsoft Word.

While WordPress is not quite as simple to use as Wix, it offers a lot more flexibility as you have access to edit the raw code (only if you want to).

Hosting:

One variable cost for WordPress is the hosting; there’s numerous hosting solutions available from the cheap and nasty at $3/month option through to thousand dollar servers managed by your own team.

With Wix, you don’t need to worry about arranging web hosting – this is done completely in-house by Wix, and the features of your hosting can be upgraded at any time. So, if you’re setting up a webpage for a business that either doesn’t exist yet or is a little side project of yours, Wix is great in that you can preview what your page will look like and play around with the features before you upgrade to one of the paid packages available. This does have the downside of not being able to select a competitive hosting arrangement from a different supplier like WordPress does.

 

WordPress offers flexibility while Wix takes care of hosting for you.

 

Pricing:

As mentioned above, there’s multiple price structures for Wix. The ‘Combo’ plan is a common choice for small businesses as it removes the ads, allows for a custom domain and comes with modest storage. It also comes with a $75 voucher for use in advertising on Google and Facebook. Wix is available in free mode, but it uses a Wix domain, has fewer features, and is littered with advertisements. Here’s a comparison of the Combo Wix plan and a typical WordPress.org setup for a small business:

WordPress.org Wix Combo
Software Free $140 / year
Domain Name $10 / year (average) $0 (included)
Hosting $120 / year (average) $0 (included)
Theme and Plugins $0 (variable on your needs) $0 (variable on your needs)
Total: $130 yearly $140 yearly

(Prices in $AUD as at 28 August, 2018)

It’s worth noting here that WordPress does have free themes like Wix, but for many, the free themes available from WordPress aren’t suited to the specific business. This is an upfront cost that you could axe if you find a free theme that works well for you, but great premium themes can be found in the realm of $20-$80. Likewise, the free domain name given by Wix are often limiting and if you intend to have multiple re-directing domains, it may pay to purchase your domain name yourself. Depending on the needs of your business, you may need to install premium plugins from Wix or WordPress developers, adding further costs (some have upfront payment arrangements and some use annual / monthly plans).

 

Features:

Wix and WordPress actually have some very similar features. Default features for both platforms include:

  • Design website via code, text editor or interface plugin (interface only for Wix)
    Built-in SEO
  • Variety of themes and plugins available
  • E-commerce capability
  • Blogging
  • Upload media
  • Embed social media and RSS
  • Mobile-friendly designs
  • Security

Ultimately, WordPress and Wix’ default features are very similar, but where they differ is their marketplace for plugins and themes. What separates an average WordPress or Wix site and a fantastic site built through either platforms are the themes and plugins designed to improve functionality, performance and security.

Wix vs WordPress
Finding the right plugin for the job on WordPress is simple with thousands of reviews online to help you out.

This is an area that WordPress simply leaves every other website building platform for dead. In addition to an endless supply of free and premium themes, there’s plugins for just about every piece of site functionality you’d ever desire. With a competitive market for plugins, you can simply switch over to a cheaper or better-equipped alternative if you find yourself disappointed with the current plugin you’re using. The Wix plugins (or ‘apps’ as Wix refers to them) are certainly useful, but with roughly 250+ available, your options are quite limited. One prime example of this is eCommerce – if you’ve got a complex inventory of stock, you may find the default eCommerce functionality of Wix to be a bit limiting, whereas WordPress’ WooCommerce plugin is praised by many retailers.

There’s a reason why WordPress has been adopted by small businesses, multi-billion dollar companies, universities and more around the world; it can adapt to your changing needs with little complexity. With over 50,000 plugins publicly available to optimise and customise the platform to suit your organisation, it’s hard to think of a use case where WordPress wouldn’t suit your needs. There are large scale web development teams out there that work solely on improving and bug-fixing professional WordPress plugins, providing nearly instantaneous assistance to their paid customers.

 

Maintenance:

Wix has a team of professionals behind the scenes, working on improvements and security fixes, automatically rolling out updates to your website – you likely won’t even notice the changes. Like Wix, WordPress also has a dedicated team working on improving functionality and fixing security concerns as they pop up. Additionally, the well-known security and functionality plugins like Wordfence security and Yoast SEO have teams of professionals behind them working to quickly fix any exploits as they arise. This is a double-edged sword however, as your plugins may have compatibility issues if you’ve got a large collection of them designed for different versions of WordPress.

 

SEO Capabilities:

This sort of ties in with the features we discussed, but as you develop your business and plan to expand, you’ll see SEO capabilities are incredibly important. For the most part, the features available for WordPress and Wix, both in terms of default SEO and plugin features, are the same. You’ll get complete customisation over heading, text and image attributes plus control and detection of 301 redirects. Google doesn’t care whether you built your website yourself or if you made it with the help of WordPress or Wix, as long as there’s great and competitive content.

SEO Yoast
A screenshot of Yoast SEO, one of the most popular SEO plugins available for WordPress.

Where WordPress excels, however, is that there’s greater customisation available to improve caching, speed and other performance metrics which will improve your websites ranking. For example, installing plugins like Smush and W3 Total Cache allow you to decrease load times by compressing images and storing temporary data, which search engines take kindly to when ranking.


WordPress vs Wix: All the pros and cons

Wix is a great option for new businesses who don’t have a big marketing budget and need to keep as much of their digital marketing in-house as possible. It is quick and easy to build and is a great shot-term solution to help you get up and running.

However, the ease-of-use comes at a cost, with restrictions to templates and custom design capabilities as well as hosting and SEO opportunities. While these won’t be major constraints when you are just starting out, you will find that as your business continues picks up, you will eventually outgrow the Wix platform.

 

Wix is a great option for new businesses who don’t have a big marketing budget.

WordPress is great for its flexibility – you can build a low-cost website using a pre-made template, or you can work with a graphic designer and developer to build a completely custom website. You have total control over where the website is hosted, as well as the ability to access the raw code to tweak minor elements of your theme or pages at any time. The platform is ideal for businesses that have the resources – either externally or internally – to manage the maintenance and security requirements of the platform.