Updated: Dec 21, 2020
Before we get into our comparison and recommendation of which platform is truly the winner, we believe it is necessary to give you a little background about us and why we have our opinions. Though, our opinions are just that, OPINIONS, it is important to note, they are 100% based on facts, decades of experience and hundreds of incredibly successful (and affordable) website builds.
At GROW, we are a digital marketing agency specializing in helping small to medium size businesses attain a Fortune 1000 worthy web presence with all the bells and whistles on a truly affordable, AND easily maintainable budget.
It’s also important to note, we will be comparing Wix to the open code WordPress.org. Not WordPress.com.
Having a beautiful website does you no good if it takes you a year, and all your revenue to build it, and a dedicated staff or 10% of your revenue to maintain it. The secret to a great website and overall web presence is maintainability. You can’t set it and forget it. You must have a plan to continually grow, update and improve your site. You must go all in. But this doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune.
One of the most common questions we receive as a digital marketing agency is “What platform should I use to build my website?” Our response 99% of the time is a resounding “Wix!!” Usually followed by, “I thought WordPress was the best.”
Which is why we've created this comparison. Without further ado - let's get to it!
Development & Maintenance
Both Wix and WordPress are excellent website development tools. Where Wix wins the biggest in our book – simplicity of development and maintenance. It is SO easy to not just build, but to maintain and continually improve a Wix website.
What You See is What You Get
Wix has an incredibly intuitive, drag and drop user interface. You simply grab an item, drag it around the page wherever you want it to be – and drop it. The Wix backend handles the code. You see exactly how your page looks in the editor.
WordPress is based on templates. There are thousands of them. You choose one (or code your own), then go into the editor and add copy and images to make it your own website. The downside, you don’t “see” what it looks like as you’re doing it. That makes for a lot of back and forth editing and perfecting.
You’re limited by the template you choose in WordPress. If your template has 4 page options all the pages on your site must look like one of those 4 page options. With additional coding skills, you can make additional template pages, and with additional apps you can add different “sections” to different pages. But these customizations require knowledge, or money to hire someone with knowledge.
Wix on the other hand, offers design templates to help you make a beautiful page – but the functionality is the same no matter which template you choose. This drag and drop editor and complete page customization ability is what makes Wix the winner for development and maintenance in our book. While you may benefit from an experienced Wix designer to truly accomplish the look and feel you want, you do not HAVE to have one in order to design a gorgeous, modern looking website.
The law of small business: A website that is easy to update and maintain will get updates and regular maintenance. One that is not easy – will get back burnered.
Winner of Development and Maintenance: Wix
Ever visited a website, one you know exists, but receive an error instead of the page itself?
Unfortunately, this happens a lot. Especially with small businesses, companies who don’t have a dedicated website staff or plan. This issue can happen on most any platform, and is often a result of inattention to maintenance.
This rarely, (honestly, almost never) happens on a Wix website, however. Why? There are no updates to perform (or not perform) on Wix. They handle everything for you. When their platform needs an update, they feed it out to your site. “Gasp!” We heard that from the WordPress veterans reading this article. You mean Wix automatically sends out updates? What if it makes your platform unstable? What if it doesn’t work with one of your plugins or apps? Bigger "GASP!"
That is not a worry on Wix. That is a worry on WordPress. Wix fully vets their updates before auto pushing them. You, as the site owner, need to do nothing. If something really big is happening you’ll get an email, you can prepare. But know, this rarely happens. Primarily, it just updates automagically with nothing required from the site owner.
WordPress on the other hand – gives you control over the updates you perform. This is good and bad. If you’re one of the lucky companies who has a website point person or even a marketing staff – great. They likely handle these updates. But we can tell you from experience, small to medium size businesses rarely have a person who can keep up with all the updates. Before you know it, you’re on version 1.2 and they’re now pushing 111.5. If you keep up with the updates you won’t likely experience any issues, but if you don’t keep up, your site could go down. Even worse, if you finally find the time to update your site and you all of a sudden go from 1.2 to 111.5 – that’s a big leap in fixes and will also likely bring your entire site down.
It's important to note, WordPress is open source and free, so the updates are free. They are “update at your own risk.” Most developers know this. Most wait a bit to make an update after it is released to make sure it’s stable. Most backup the entire site before making an update.
Backing up and updating a website is a process and often a headache for small businesses. One that is 100% avoidable with the Wix platform. No updates to perform.
Winner of Not Requiring Updates: Wix
Apps (or PlugIns)
WordPress is the king of Apps and PlugIns. It’s open source, so every coder knows how to use it. There is an app or plugin for everything. But each of those must be updated. Continually. Some apps don’t play well with other apps. Some apps never get updated to meet new WordPress updates. Many people learn this the hard way if they don’t have a developer on payroll.
Wix also has apps. But, most of the apps built for WordPress solve functionality Wix already has built into the platform. Inherently, there is less need for apps on Wix.
Yes, it is easier to find apps for WordPress than for Wix. But you probably don’t need that app you want. Wix probably does it.
Also, when you download an app for Wix, it has been fully vetted – and will be automatically updated. No need to perform manual updates on your app.
Winner of Number of Available Apps: WordPress. Winner of the Need for Apps: Wix. Winner of App Updating: Wix.
Many people love WordPress for their SEO – typically accomplished through apps like Yoast, AIOSEO, and even Google. These apps are easy. They evaluate your content and grade it. They allow you to perfect your SEO in the editor. Some even make recommendations for changes.
Wix also has a couple of SEO apps. However, their greatest SEO tool – is the Wix SEO Wiz. They walk novices through setting up the site’s SEO. They make it fool proof. They even get you setup and connected with Google Search Console and analytics.
Great for novices. Still good for pros. There are also easy ways to tweak your titles, meta descriptions, key words, H tags and more all within the out of the box Wix platform.
We’d like to caveat this SEO section with the fact that no SEO app on any web platform can replace an experienced SEO pro combing through your site and helping you create truly optimized content on each of your pages.
SEO Winner for Novices: Wix. SEO Winner for Pros: It’s a toss-up. Both offer great SEO tools.
Many website novices may not know what responsive design means. Responsive design is your website’s ability to resize itself based upon the screen size of your site visitor. (You can check your site’s responsiveness by adjusting the size of your browser window.)
You’ll recognize really old websites by their narrow center of the page design. These sites were likely built before responsive design really became a well-known thing anyone could do (yes, a long time ago).
WordPress templates tell you if they’re responsive or not when you select them. Most all templates are responsive these days. It's simple. Choose a responsive design. Done. But, because of this inherent “simplicity” of responsiveness, you can lose some customization of design. You may need to use html coding on certain headers to make sure text breaks where you want it to, and particular images you choose may look completely different at one size than another size. So you may find yourself compromising on design to accommodate the responsiveness built into the WordPress templates.
For all intents and purposes though, WordPress checks the box for easy, truly responsive design.
Wix dumbs down responsive design even further, while still allowing you to create beautifully designed pages. The Wix editor shows you the standard page margins in the center of the editor. They then tell you if you place something outside of that, so you’ll be aware that it may not display properly on all screen sizes.
Wix allows you to use design elements that span the page and auto respond. Wix also allows you to divide certain page spanning elements into columns and tells you what portion of each column will appear when resized.
Though to true web developers it is not officially “responsive,” Wix has simplified the responsive concept. To some it may seem more “complicated” than simply selecting a responsive template like in WordPress, but for those concerned with the look and feel of their site, it is definitely easier to achieve a beautiful responsive design on Wix.
In summary, WordPress makes your site responsive, Wix allows you to make your design responsive.
Responsive Design Winner: Wix.
We pulled this into its own category – though it is very closely related to responsive design.
In WordPress world, mobile optimization is part of your responsive template. The site just displays according to the screen size and device. It’s usually hard coded into the CSS. Some templates may offer a separate design for mobile. But for the most part – any differences you want between your desktop site and your mobile site, have to be hard coded by a developer. However, the responsive design on WordPress is done well enough that for most people it works great.
Wix upped the mobile game. On Wix it is like you get to design 2 completely different websites – if you want to! You design your site on the desktop editor. Then with a simple click you navigate to the mobile editor which shows you how your design appears on a phone. You can then adjust the elements you placed, move them around, resize them, and even hide certain elements. Very easy. Drag and drop just like the desktop version.
Mobile Optimization Winner: Wix.
Many people may say, “What? A CRM in your website platform? We use a database for that. We use Salesforce, or Hubspot, etc. We commend you. Those are great CRM tools. Not everyone has the budget for those tools, however. If you are one of the lucky ones who has a Salesforce or a Hubspot, both WordPress and Wix accommodate them well through form integrations, simple html code, etc.
On the other hand, if you do not have a CRM – both WordPress and Wix include one. Both platforms have an excellent, simple to use database component. Wix however, takes it a step further and provides a mass email design tool able to compete with a MailChimp or Constant Contact. Wix even offers automation within the database.
CRM Winner: Wix.
Now that you have the details you need to make an informed decision where do you start?
You can get started with a WordPress site here: https://wordpress.org/download/
You can get started with a Wix site here: https://wix.com
If all of this has you swimming, give us a call to talk it through! It’s completely free to discuss your options. We’re pretty sure you’ll be absolutely amazed at the type of site we can help you build!
About the Author:
Rebecca Fields is a creative digital marketing ringleader who spends her days helping small and medium size businesses understand and harness the art and the science of digital marketing. Her passion lies in finding what creates the “I gotta have that!” moment in a buyer’s mind, and developing spellbinding lead magnets to spark the magic.
GROW is a St. Louis-based Sales and Marketing Agency specializing in Website, Digital Marketing, & Business growth solutions. We help companies increase their revenue by creating the pathways that lead customers to the heart of their business. Individually tailored and guaranteed to deliver results, our growth strategies save clients time and money while increasing their market share.