Your website is typically the main point of business contact for your potential customers. Obviously, you want an appealing and functional site that can fully execute your business plan, whether that is marketing, ecommerce, or producing sales leads. However, having a website means building, updating and managing your digital platform. In the past, website options were limited to HTML coding or using a program like Dreamweaver. Now, website development has been made easier with the proliferation of content management systems (CMS) like WordPress or Wix. A CMS is a software application that allows you to create and modify digital content, primarily websites. But, with this increase in choice, you’re confronted with a dilemma: how do you choose?
Choosing a CMS
- 1 Choosing a CMS
- 2 Wix – A Quick & Easy Website Builder with Limitations
- 3 WordPress – A Steeper Learning Curve With More Flexibility & Functionality
- 4 WordPress or Wix
Your CMS choice will depend on a number of factors specific to your business. In a previous post, we discussed a similar topic, the pros and cons of Shopify and WooCommerce for online sales. This time, we want to look at two of the most popular CMS: WordPress and Wix. While often thought of as a blog design platform, WordPress is the most used CMS. It is responsible for 50% of existing websites, including TechCrunch, BBC America and the Guggenheim.
Wix is growing quickly as the second most used CMS. As of late 2019, Wix has 154 million users, 4.3 million of which have premium accounts. Whether you choose WordPress or Wix will depend on your business plan and business needs. In helping to assess this, we wanted to give an overview of both of them so you can decide which one will work best for you.
Wix – A Quick & Easy Website Builder with Limitations
Built for Beginners
Wix isn’t technically a CMS: it’s a website builder. It is intended to make creating a website quick and easy. That means it doesn’t require any knowledge of coding and is made specifically for people with minimal web experience. In this direction, it provides various website templates, with handy drag and drop designs to fill in with your business’s content. All of this makes design quick and painless. Wix also maintains the site, fixing any security or other problems that might emerge. An additional benefit is the low cost of getting started: you can build a website for free. The flipside of the quick start for beginners is that, as you grow, it is difficult to migrate away from Wix.
Hosting & Growth Limitations
Wix hosts the website, which sounds like one less thing you need to worry about. However, this means you are limited by their capabilities. You’re basically living on rented land. You can bring in your own furniture and arrange it how you want, and you don’t have to worry about upkeep – if something gets broken, your landlord will fix it. But you can’t change the structure of the building, the land doesn’t belong to you, and you have to pay rent as long as you’re there. In this direction, Wix has a number of limitations.
Finally, if your site is growing and you find that you need to migrate to a different CMS or site host, Wix makes this purposely complicated. They do this because you are a renter – you’re using their proprietary technology and they want to tie you to their platform. If you outgrow their platform, you’ll essentially need to start from scratch.
Design & Functionality
With over 500 templates to choose from, you are likely to find something to suit your business’s needs. However, once you have chosen a template, you cannot switch to a new template when the site is live. It can also take longer than you expect to make your site presentable, even using a drag-and-drop builder.
In terms of functionality, Wix templates aren’t always optimized for Google results or search engine optimization (SEO), which are key for digital marketing. This means that you might be getting limited hits or, if your website pops up in someone’s Google search, the information that is provided on the Google search list doesn’t show all of the information you want displayed to get that person to click on your link. This can be detrimental if you are looking for a long-term website solution to drive organic traffic.
Website depth is also limited. The more pages you add, the slower the load time on Wix. While they have addressed this in recent years, it’s still not as quick as it should be. This is less than ideal for large sites or sites that are growing.
While you can build Wix a site for free, this is a basic website with no bells and whistles. It includes Wix branding on both the site and in your domain name, ads on your page and limited functionality. You have to pay a premium subscription fee to remove ads, get your own domain name, and increase functionality, like installing an ecommerce platform or Google Analytics. There is also no subscription option that includes unlimited storage; you have to pay more for if your storage needs change. Essentially, to have a fully functional business website, you’re at the mercy of their fee system.
WordPress – A Steeper Learning Curve With More Flexibility & Functionality
WordPress is a free, open-source CMS, which can be installed on a webserver or computer to create and manage your website. While it was originally written for bloggers who weren’t necessarily coders, WordPress requires some technical know-how and more time invested to develop your site. But once you get past this it includes greater design flexibility, higher capacity and functionality, and a potentially cheaper website solution.
Hosting Control & Customization
With WordPress, you are entirely in control of your own website. Like building a house on your own land, you can choose to host your site yourself or choose a hosting service like Siteground. You can then do whatever you want with it in terms of design and functionality. Consequently, WordPress doesn’t have limitations in terms of templates or the size of your website. You may choose to buy templates or themes that aren’t already included with WordPress, which gives you a greater freedom in designing your site. Ultimately, it offers more thorough customization that a site builder like Wix.
Integrations & Functionality
Because it’s open-source, WordPress has a much larger ecosystem of integrations and plug-ins. This gives you more choice and functionality. At present, there are more than 55,000 different plug-ins for WordPress. These can help your website in a number of ways, including with marketing and ecommerce. Having flexible integration options with third party software systems like CRMs, marketing automation, and accounting may not matter as much to businessness when they are starting out. However, growing businesses often find themselves needing to connect the customer and transactional data they collect on their website to such systems. While Wix is certainly working quickly to bridge this gap, it can’t compete with the decades of plugin developement already completed within the WordPress ecosystem, where there is practically a plugin for everything.
As we previously outlined, Google Analytics is a key tool to help execute your marketing and business plans. WordPress offers a number of different Google Analytics plugins. WordPress also offers easy integration with SEO tool plugins that can help with visibility on search engines, both for free and paid.
While Wix has a built-in ecommerce feature that you can enable with a premium subscription, WordPress provides a number of possible plugins, including WooCommerce and Shopify. While some of these require subscriptions or transaction fees, the point is that you have a choice and can pick which ecommerce platform or plug-in works best for you.
From a cost perspective, WordPress may seem more expensive, but appearances are not always reality. Most of the costs for themes, plugins and development work are one-time costs, and many plugins are free. Moreover, because WordPress offers choices, you can determine the costs on your own. Wix and other subscription based sites will cost money for the entire lifespan of your website. Also, from a cost perspective, you need to think of potential future growth. WordPress makes migration of content, or a complete rebuild of your site, easier because you own and host it yourself and there’s no proprietary technology involved.
WordPress or Wix
When choosing a CMS, there is no single solution. But, in our experience with medium and enterprise clients, there are important differences when choosing WordPress or Wix. Wix provides a quick and easy platform to design a website for your business with little to no techincal experience. However, it’s probably best suited to small businesses, which don’t intend to grow exponentially. While WordPress might take more time and knowledge, for medium and enterprise clients the added depth, functionality and flexibility make it an ideal CMS choice.
If you need help choosing a CMS, or developing your WordPress or Wix website, contact us.