You may have heard about a recent attack campaign Wix deployed against their competitor WordPress. The campaign, called “You Deserve Better,” involved sending influential WordPress users a gift box containing noise-canceling Bose headphones and a QR code directing them to an online video. In the video, a man representing WordPress warned these elite users that Wix would be waging an attack campaign against WordPress, but that all of Wix’s criticisms of WordPress were just “fake news.” The box was signed, “Yours, WP,” implying that the free gift was from WordPress. Shortly after this publicity stunt, Wix released six more videos, each attacking a common WordPress problem.
If you’re confused, then you’re not alone. The messy campaign has been described as “bizarre” and “shady.” Some recipients of the gift boxes genuinely thought they were from WordPress, while others were simply confused what Wix was trying to communicate.
But regardless of whether you find the ad campaign daring or disastrous, it does raise questions about how these industry-leaders stack up. WordPress is the clear leader in the game, hosting an amazing 40% of content online. But Wix is a worthy competitor, winning over users by offering convenience and speed. Recently, it secured its spot as the fourth-largest website management platform worldwide.
So here’s TracSoft’s run-down on WordPress vs. Wix.
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What’s the Difference between a Website Builder and a Content Management System?
Wix’s ad campaign might make you think that Wix and WordPress do the same thing, but that’s not really true. Wix is what’s known as a WYSIWYG (or “what you see is what you get”) website builder. You simply drag and drop content to create your page visually without the need for coding. This is great for simple websites with limited functionality, and it can be a lot of fun for beginners.
While WordPress also offers drag-and-drop website building, that’s a small part of what it does. WordPress is actually a Content Management System (CMS), or software designed to organize and use digital content like text and images. (If you want to know more, check out our post “What is a Social Media Content Management Tool?” for a more complete description.) Many developers prefer using a CMS because it gives developers more control over the appearance and features of a site. CMS can also integrate with other software and provide more advanced functionality for users.
How Easy is it to Set Up Wix and WordPress?
There’s definitely a bigger learning curve when using a CMS than there is with a website builder. That’s the trade-off for greater functionality and customization. With Wix, you simply create your account, pay (if you choose a paid plan), and start playing around. The tools are intuitive and there are many free tutorials to guide users through each step. In contrast, using a CMS requires some setup. And because many CMS are free, open-source software, you won’t have the benefit of paid support. (However, you can find free, crowd-sourced support for popular CMS on social media sites like Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook, and there are thousands of free, user-generated tutorials on places like YouTube.)
WordPress CMS Software vs. WordPress.com Hosting
It’s important to note here that there are two ways to use WordPress, through self-hosting or hosted by WordPress.com. WordPress actually refers to the name of the CMS software, which can be used on any website. You can download the software, read tutorials, and find plugins for your site all at wordpress.org completely for free.
With WordPress software, you have the option to self-host your website. This means you’ll use the WordPress CMS software, but you’ll purchase your domain name and web hosting yourself. More advanced users tend to prefer this method because it’s significantly cheaper and endlessly flexible, but it takes some know-how.
Then there’s WordPress.com, which is more similar to Wix. It’s a hosting service, so it walks you through the process of obtaining your domain and setting everything up. When you create your site through WordPress.com, it automatically installs the latest WordPress CMS software for you. You can then start customizing your site using premade themes and a WYSIWYG editor. And like with Wix, you’ll receive tech support as part of your paid subscription.
How Hard is it to Create Content in Wix and WordPress?
Actually building pages in Wix and WordPress is really similar because both use premade themes and a “block editor” system. Users start by choosing a template theme that controls the look and layout of their website. Through a customizer tool, users can click on page elements to style them differently. Some themes are highly-customizable, while others are more set. And, of course, paid themes offer more features and customization than free themes.
Once a theme is applied to the site, the blocked editor comes into play. Simply click on a page, choose the type of block you want, and fill it with appropriate content. The theme and block editor will work together to style everything for you based on the type of block you’re using. (For example, a text block will be filled with paragraph text. A header block will also be filled with text, but the text will be formatted as a header.) Once content is on the page in blocks, you can drag these boxes around to rearrange them.
One down side to Wix is that the site does not let users access the full source code for their websites. For simple websites, this isn’t really an issue. And Wix does allow users to enter custom code through their integrated development environment. However, block editors have their limits and without altering the source code, you may struggle to get elements 100% the way you want them on the page. In contrast, WordPress does allow users full access to their site code for more nuanced adjustments.
Who Handles Ecommerce Stores Better, Wix or WordPress?
When creating a new website for your business, it’s important to consider ecommerce options. Even if you don’t currently sell online, you may find yourself doing so in the near future. More companies are offering online sales options than ever before. Whether it’s providing online ordering for curbside pickup at restaurants, or creating a Woocommerce store to accompany a physical storefront, going online creates new consumer markets and greater sales for businesses. And it’s a safe bet that this trend will only continue.
Both Wix and WordPress offer ecommerce options. Wix actually allows users with paid plans to choose between a traditional website and ecommerce site when they first sign up, and choosing ecommerce will offer you additional options to create product pages and customize payment and shipping settings. You can use Wix’s own payments system or a third-party system like PayPal, Stripe, or Square. Wix Payments charges 2.9% of the transaction amount plus 0.30 USD.
WordPress has fewer inbuilt ecommerce options than Wix, but it integrates easily with popular third-party applications like Woocommerce. Users can sell physical goods, or with MemberPress they can also sell digital content like online courses or pay-per-view content. Because WordPress is supported by so many third-party plugins, users have some really competitive options to choose from, allowing them to highly-customize their store to their business’ needs.
Will Using a Platform Builder Affect My Website SEO?
Even if you’re not pouring tons of time into digital marketing, your website is an important source of lead generation. Most consumers today will discover a new business through the business’ social media accounts or website. For that reason, it’s important to consider how website builders impact site traffic.
A CMS allows users to adjust how their site functions. If your site is sluggish, you can install plugins to manage caching and images, remove code that slows load time, and make other changes to speed it up. You can even control the order in which elements load on the page. You can also easily change your layout, adjusting where your call-to-action falls or doing A/B testing to change how users respond to elements on the page.
And this tweaking? It makes a big difference. According to SEO leaders Ahrefs, an analysis of 6.4 million websites showed that WordPress sites have higher domain authority, backlinks, and traffic than Wix sites.
Which is Cheaper, Wix or WordPress?
Wix and WordPress both boast free plans. However, neither offers much for anyone beyond a casual user.
Wix offers a number of paid plans broken down into categories based on individual users, business and ecommerce users, and enterprise plans targeting larger organizations. Custom plans start at $14/month for a small, personal site that might suit a beginning freelancer or hobbyist. Business plans range from $23-$49/month. You can view the full selection of Wix paid plans here.
WordPress.com pricing is similar, starting at $7/month for a personal plan, increasing to $33/month for small businesses and $59/month for ecommerce sites. (All plans can also be paid annually at a discounted rate.) You’ll need at least the business plan if you want to take advantage of plugins and SEO tools. You can view a handy breakdown of WordPress paid plans here.
Hosting your site yourself will always be cheaper than either Wix or WordPress.com. The downside, of course, is that you’ll be on your own for setup, troubleshooting issues, and managing website security. If you’ve got some coding skills or you’re looking to take up web development as a hobby, this is your best option as far as price.
So…Wix or WordPress? Invest in Your Website’s Future.
So which is better, a website builder or a CMS?
It really depends on what you want from your website. If your business simply needs a page where consumers can learn about the business, then Wix can be a great option. Using a template, you can get the site up in an hour or two and be ready to go.
But be warned that a site on a website building platform won’t scale with your business. If you decide down the road that you want more functionality, that will mean moving to a CMS. Since Wix doesn’t allow users to export their content, this also means recreating your website from scratch.
If you want greater customization or a site customers can do business on (such as submitting forms, making purchases, accessing or downloading content, and so on), then a CMS is really a must. It makes much more sense to invest in a solid CMS when you first create your site so that it’s already in place once your business starts growing. That CMS doesn’t have to be WordPress, but it should be robust and integrate well with popular tools in your industry. Otherwise, eventually you’re going to be fighting your site.
Work with Web Developers Who Understand Your Site
TracSoft has been building beautiful websites for companies in Columbus, Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama for over twenty years. Our business has expanded well beyond the Chattahoochee Valley to areas throughout West-central Georgia and East Alabama because of our reputation for reliability.
We know website down time hurts your business. That’s why we build with both function and form in mind. We deliver beautiful sites that you can count on.
Contact TracSoft today to discuss what your website can do for you.