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- Tel Aviv, Sao Paulo, New York City, Dnipropetrovsk, Vilnius
Wix, a unique, free website builder, was founded in 2006 by Avishai Abrahami, Giora Kaplan, and Nadav Abrahami. Fed up with the complexity involved in designing a new website for their start-up, it dawned on the three men to create a piece of software that would allow them to easily design a custom website and grant a similar opportunity to others.
Since then, Wix has expanded greatly, boasting roughly 830 employees in Tel Aviv, Sao Paulo, New York City, Dnipropetrovsk, Vilnius, and other cities throughout the world. Wix is financially backed by Insight Venture Partners, Mangrove Capital Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners and Benchmark Capital, and has raised an impressive $61 million in funding.
Wix’s sleek editing interface, when combined with excellent training material and an endless sea of flawless apps and integrations, is extremely effective and has resulted in enormous profits and an exponential growth rate for the company. To date, there are more than 80 million website owners, distributed across 190 countries, who use Wix. On average, 45,000 people sign up to create a Wix website every day.
Wix’s public profile seems to be growing as time goes on. In fact, just prior to sitting down to update this review, I heard a Wix advertisement on the radio – on NPR, of all places! Wix even collaborated with Dreamworks on a Super Bowl ad this year. With this heightened profile, Wix is staking its claim on the zeitgeist. Let’s find out if their website builder justifies the hype.
Simplicity and brevity have never been hallmarks of Wix’s plans. Wix has long offered a greater number of subscription plans than most competitors.The free version of Wix is provided to anyone who signs up for the service, and includes:
- Full Usage of Wix’s Design and Editing Platform
- 500 MB Storage
- 1 GB Bandwidth
- Free Hosting
- Free Wix Domain
- Wix Brand Ads
Note: Sites created with the free version display a small bar in the top-right corner of the screen that advertises Wix, and a free site’s URL is displayed as “wixusername.wix.com/sitename”.
Wix’s premium packages (listed and described on their website’s pricing page) are as follows:
Connect Domain Plan
- $5.00/month (annual plan)
- $4.00/month (2-year plan)
- $3.50/month (3-year plan)
- $7.00/month (monthly plan)
- 500 MB Storage
- 1 GB Bandwidth
- Connect Your Domain (instead of “wixusername.wix.com/sitename”)
- Free Hosting
- Google Analytics
- Premium Support
- $10.00/month (annual plan)
- $9.00/month (2-year plan)
- $8.50/month (3-year plan)
- $14.00/month (monthly plan)
- All of the Above PLUS:
- Free Domain
- 3 GB Storage
- 2 GB Bandwidth
- Removes Wix Ads
- $14.00/month (annual plan)
- $11.00/month (2-year plan)
- $10.00/month (3-year plan)
- $16.00/month (monthly plan)
- All of the Above PLUS:
- 10 GB Storage
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Site Booster App (annual plan only)
- Form Builder App (annual plan only)
- $300 Ad Vouchers (annual plan only)
- $17.00/month (annual plan)
- $15.00/month (2-year plan)
- $14.00/month (3-year plan)
- $20.00/month (monthly plan)
- All of the Above PLUS:
- 20 GB Storage
- 20 GB Bandwidth
- Online Store
- $25.00/month (annual plan)
- $22.00/month (2-year plan)
- $20.50/month (3-year plan)
- $30.00/month (monthly plan)
- All of the Above PLUS:
- 20 GB Storage
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Exclusive VIP Support Line – Priority Callback
- Instant Response
- Professional Site Review
All Wix website packages, including the free package, provide users with access to customer support lines, as well as “top-tier industry hosting,” access to the Wix App Market, and full admittance to Wix’s massive gallery of free-to-use stock photos and clipart. Furthermore, all Wix plans come with a 14-day money back guarantee.
Web-hosted or Licensed
Wix is completely cloud-based, meaning there are no CDs, DVDs, product activation codes, or anything else to install when utilizing this service. Users sign up at Wix.com using their email address, assign themselves a password, and then take control of their own account settings and site management from a web browser.
As cloud-based software, there are no system requirements to use this service. As for browser compatibility, just use the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, Safari or, if you must, Internet Explorer. Note that Wix is not yet compatible with Microsoft Edge.
Business Types Supported
In today’s diverse web space, a website builder must be ready to serve any need. With hundreds of templates to select from, customers in virtually any niche can find the perfect layout. Wix provides thirteen main template categories to build from, including:
- Online Store
- Hotel and Travel
- Restaurant & Hospitality
- Creative Arts
- Retail & Fashion
- Community & Education
- Landing Pages
Under each of these primary categories is a slew of sub-categories to help narrow down the exact look and feel you’d like for your site. For instance, clicking on the Business template category opens up the following sub-categories:
- Consulting & Coaching
- Services & Maintenance
- Advertising & Marketing
- Automotive & Cars
- Real Estate
- Finance & Law
- Technology & Apps
- Pets & Animals
Wix is highly adaptable and seems to have a universal appeal, with no one type of person or business more or less suited for the service.
Ease of Use
Tutorial Videos: The world of website building can become a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, with Wix, as soon as you load up the website editor for the first time you are greeted by a friendly and helpful video to show you how to get started. There are also videos scattered around the various editing tools that give you a good idea of how to complete whatever task you’ve moved on to. These videos were a BIG plus for me.
Editor: The Wix HTML5 Editor is an incredibly powerful, simple, and easy-to-use tool. Not once while using it did I find myself fumbling around or becoming frustrated, nor did I ever become overwhelmed by the various tools I was exposed to. Everything operates in a very streamlined manner; I couldn’t speak more highly of the experience I had with this editor.
Previewing: Wix comes with a “Preview” button (positioned in the top-right corner of the screen) which allows you to instantly view your website as though it were already published.
Shop: Wix’s store is an easy-to-setup program which enables users to run their own online merchant platforms, designed to accept payments through various processors such as PayPal, WebMoney, and Skrill. Everything about this feature is already pretty straightforward, but there are additional tutorial videos available if necessary. For me, being able to funnel items into specific categories and have those categories appear on my site’s homepage was a big plus, and seems to allow for effective self-advertisement. Note: You must upgrade to the eCommerce premium package to access this feature of Wix.
Blog: The Wix Blog Manager allows for the swift drafting, editing, publishing, and publicizing of blog-posts. It helps users decide which posts to feature on their site’s main blog page (it’s possible to draft posts and schedule them to be made live at a later date). This feature comes with all the little nuances I like to see in a blog editor, including the ability to attach images or videos directly to the post.
All in all, Wix presents users with an intuitive, do-it-yourself platform. Take any available template and play around with the editing tools for even a couple of hours, and you can build yourself an incredibly fine looking website. During my trial of Wix, things ran smoothly and nothing ever froze, crashed, or deceived me. I actually enjoyed creating my test site.
My only hang-ups were these:
- The perfunctory eCommerce Premium Package subscription required to access Wix’s shop feature; it is an understandable requirement, but one that could be presented in a more convenient way.
- Some advanced navigation tools were difficult to get assigned correctly. Arrow buttons, when inserted into your page, sometimes have trouble differentiating when to advance to the next page and when to go the next frame on the same page.
- Finally, there is no simple way to set up a series of page templates within your site map. If you want several pages to have identical layouts, you will either have to eyeball it, or dig into the HTML5 code and assign exact coordinates for your web objects.
Bigstock Photos: Wix’s integration with Bigstock Photos provides users with an alternative method of uploading images (rather than simply choosing from personal photos or from Wix’s selection of free photos). Bigstock Photos offers a massive selection of high quality, professional-grade images which, for a fee of roughly $3, users of Wix can license out and upload to their sites.
Premium Bonuses: Along with the purchase of any premium package, Wix users receive a Favicon add-on. Perhaps more importantly, users are also given access to Google Analytics, which provides real-time feedback on site traffic, traffic sources, sales tracking, and more, and helps users adjust to the requirements of visitors/customers.
Social Media: Wix is highly integrated with social media platforms and allows users to add Facebook comment boxes, Twitter Tweet buttons, a hotbar of links to social media outlets, and various other little widgets anywhere on the site.
Blog Elements: With the “Blog Elements” section of Wix’s editor, users can integrate their site’s blog with the rest of their website and perform a variety of other functions (adding a widget to display the most recent blog posts on a sidebar, for example, or creating a visual link to a gallery of posts).
Mobile Compatibility: The mobile editor lets users modify their sites for mobile devices. Wix provides a “Gridlines” feature that makes it possible to place all site elements within certain parameters while doing normal editing in order to ensure the best mobile editing experience. Design changes made while editing sites for mobile use, such as color changes or pallet swaps, do not affect the sites’ desktop view. If necessary, the mobile optimized view can be disabled so that patrons can view the normal site via their mobile devices, but this can result in errors of functionality.
Wix App Market: The Wix App Market is perhaps one of the greatest tools Wix has to offer. With this feature, users can turn their sites into powerhouses by integrating with online shops like Etsy or Ecwid, creating real-time comment feeds, and/or establishing premium booking systems. With hundreds of third-party apps available, Wix is constantly introducing new add-ons to its users. Wix recently spotlighted a few of them.
Wix Artificial Design Intelligence: In keeping with recent trends in automatic website creation (exemplified by such services as The Grid and Impress.ly), Wix has launched an AI-powered website building solution of its own. When you begin a new website, you’ll have the option of building it with Wix’s standard editor or with Wix ADI. Choose the latter, and you’ll be prompted for some basic information, including your personal/business information, site purpose, and basic taste preferences. Wix will then create a website for you. Wix ADI also gives you the tools to easily swap out and edit content, as well as change your site’s colors and fonts. You won’t have the same level of exacting control as you do with the standard editor, but if you’d rather have Wix do the heavy lifting for you, Wix ADI is a fantastic tool for creating vivid, contemporary websites.
Miscellaneous: There is a myriad of handy tools found through the Wix editor, including a live-fed Google Map integration, optional PayPal ‘Buy’ or ‘Donate’ buttons, an integrated Flickr gallery to keep patrons up-to-date, and many other simple little details that make the overall presentation of your site more compelling.
I stand impressed with the plethora of features Wix has to offer. Whether simple and seemingly insignificant, like the optional PayPal ‘Donate’ button, or massive and ever-expanding like the App Market, everything offered is well-designed, straightforward, and easy to put together. What’s more, the feature list only expands with time. Recent feature updates include the ability to upload your own fonts, the ability to add contributors/team members to manage your site, customizable mobile menus, and the new Wix Pro Gallery, which allows for enhanced image quality and auto-play videos – great for showcasing your multimedia content.
Web Design and Editing
Templates: In Wix, there are hundreds of well-designed templates to choose from, some with styled layouts and others that are completely blank. It should be noted, however, that once you choose a template, you’re stuck with it. If you’re unhappy with your choice, you can either make edits or start from scratch with a new site. You can have multiple sites under the same account, however, so you may build a new site with an entirely new layout, then retire your previous one without any downtime.
Desktop Editing: As I mentioned earlier, I had nothing but fun while crafting my test site with the Wix HTML5 Editor. The easy-to-navigate menu sports five main categories (and a lot of sub-categories as well), and I always felt in control and confident, able to make precise design changes to the overall atmosphere of the website. Some users have expressed concern with the fact that all aspects of the editor are executed via drag-and-drop (though you can now embed code with the HTML element). But in general, for the layman, Wix’s editing features are perfect.
- Front end: Most HTML5 templates include layouts for mobile devices, but they are very limited on customizability. While its competitors have adopted full mobile responsiveness (meaning your site automatically adjusts its sizing, proportions and layout to fit the small screens of mobile devices), Wix has not yet adopted this approach.
- Back end: Editing your website from a mobile device is not possible. You’ll have to administer your site from a full web browser at your desktop computer.
Integrations and AddOns
Without the benefit of external integrations, the Wix HTML5 Editor – functional as it is – falls a little flat. That said, the Wix App Market is truly a testament to what third party integration can bring to any website. Because developers are able to create and share their own add-ons, other Wix users have the opportunity to expand and diversify their websites as well. Some of the most popular integrations include online shop expansions (like the Etsy app), the Wix Hotels premium booking system, live Instagram feeds, website profile systems, and a variety of other site boosting applications (such as Site Booster).
Wix’s store offers payment processing through a handful of vendors, including:
- Offline Payments (this option allows you to accept payments offline, such as cash, check, bank transfer, wire transfer, etc.)
Wix makes an effort to keep users feeling as cared for as possible, but this is not always as effective as would be ideal. Unlike most other website building services, Wix does not offer 24/7 live-chat or provide an email response system. The company does offer a toll-free number which customers can call for help with their issues. This option is good in a pinch, but be aware that you could possibly be put on hold for an unspecified amount of time. The “Scheduled Call” system, on the other hand, allows you to book your own time and date for callbacks when faced with a technical problem.
While the company does not provide quite the level of service I’d like to see, I have noticed Wix staff posting to several sites in response to negative reviews and complaints. This is a positive sign, I think, and an indication that Wix values the happiness and overall satisfaction of their customers.
Note: Customers can receive exclusive, priority customer support by upgrading to the Wix VIP premium package.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
There are a number of Wix users who have experienced obscure and terrible problems with Wix. The problems range in severity from not being able to unregister credit card information to having the editing platform crash the users’ computers. Many of these negative reviews are fairly harsh and one can’t help but wonder why the same problems keep popping up with multiple users.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials
Many users say that Wix is one of the greatest drag-and-drop website building services ever created. Those who have already used it for several years claim that as good as it is, it’s only gotten better with time, while others say that it’s by far the best builder they’ve ever used. Even aside from actual customer feedback, which is plentiful, many in-depth software review sites have characterized Wix as an outstanding piece of software.
Wix’s average customer rating at Trustpilot currently stands at 8.2 out of 10. Most users on Trustpilot have only good things to say about Wix, though you’ll find some complaints there as well.
After testing the various features, tools, apps, etc. Wix has to offer, poring over reviews, testimonials, feedback and support statements, and building my own website (where I was able to precisely edit my chosen template and create exactly what I wanted), I’ve got to admit that Wix is one of the best and most reliable web services I’ve ever used. Nearly every step I took was smooth, reliable, and expertly guided. My final product was wonderful, and I could hardly ask for a better website building experience than what Wix offered me.
While I may seem overly complimentary, I think my enthusiasm is justified. I came into my Wix review as I would to any other review, and was surprised to find myself having fun with the tools I was given. I didn’t know what to expect when I started out, but it quickly became apparent that I had stumbled upon something that would have mass appeal.
That said, the customer support system could stand to be bolstered up a bit more, and ideally there would be universal access to the “eCommerce” feature, but I’ve decided that these are fairly innocuous problems. Minor complaints aside, I love Wix, and would wholeheartedly recommend its use to anyone looking for an easy, effective way to custom-build a website.