So you've got your idea for an online business - fantasic! One of the first obstacles you need to tackle is how will you build this website?
There are several website builders on the market, but the industry is dominated by two big players: WordPress and Wix.
In this post I'm going to help you decide which website builder is right for you. You may be tempted to simply flip a coin and go with it, but by spending a few extra hours making your decision now will save you tons of headache down the road.
Alright, let's build your website!
Which is Easier to use, WordPress or Wix?
It's natural to want to pick your website builder simply off of ease of use, but this is a bad idea.
When you were a kid, the easier option was to stay on your tricycle and never remove the training wheels, right?
But if you did that, you would miss out on all the benefits of riding a full-sized bicycle.
It's the same way with your website builder. Any tool you select is going to come with its own learning curve, so it is important to pick the tool that you want to grow into, even if it means there is a bit of struggles in the beginning.
The Major Difference Between Wix and WordPress
The first thing you need to wrap your head around is that Wix and WordPress are fundamentally different models.
WordPress, on the other hand, is an open source software. What that means is that WordPress is 100% free to use, but it requires you to find your own web host to store your website.
Is one better than the other? Not really - just different. But that one fundamental difference spreads throughout every aspect of these two builders.
Pros and Cons of Open Sourced WordPress
Open source software is the perfect way to create a business that is ready to evolve. You don't know all the functionality you need on day 1, so it is comforting to know that you can always build the functionality yourself if a need arises. This does come, however, with some additional functionality that doesn't exist with a SaaS.
The Wix Website Building Interface
Wix has a very beautiful dashboard interface. You can tell it was designed for modern-day consumers, as everything has plenty of white space and light colors.
WordPress, on the other hand, has a bit more of a "Windows 95" vibe:
Both interfaces are functional, but in general, I have to give Wix some points for accessibility.
Once you get your feel around the WordPress dashboard it will feel completely natural... but it honestly never really looks that pretty...
WordPress Premium vs Self-hosted
Another confusing thing to keep in mind about WordPress is that there are actually.... two WordPress's.
Yep - as if building websites wasn't complicated enough!
WordPress.com is a free blogging platform for you to share your opinions with the world. It's not a platform that you own, and it has really no value for growing a business due to the limitations and restrictions on it.
WordPress.org on the other hand is what you want. That is the open-source code that allows you to do basically anything you want while building out a professional business-ready website.
Getting your Website Online
The first step of starting up your website is to sign up for the best hosting for beginners: Bluehost
The Editing Experience of Wix vs WordPress
Once you are up and running with your website, it's time to create content. There are two main types of content that you will create online: Blog Posts, and Pages.
I won't go into depth about the difference of these two types, but let's just say that blog posts are content forward, with styling being the second focus. And Pages are the more-heavily designed parts of your site that say more static over time.
Let's take a look at creating blog posts on each platform now.
Creating Blog Posts in Wix vs WordPress
The Wix editor is simple and intuitive. To create a new blog post, you simply open up the editor, type your content and add images, videos, or some basic html, and you hit publish:
I like how easy it is to write content in Wix - but it is very limited in what you can create. If all you want to do is get thoughts out to the world, it should be enough.
But to create more advanced content, WordPress will give you many more possibilities.
By default, the WordPress editing interface is a game of back and forth.
You add your content and styles in the "back-end" of the website:
In this editing experience you can add your images, text, buttons, and any number of other elements you add to your website.
When you are done adding content, you get to click the "preview" button to see how your new content looks in the true "front end" of the site:
Creating Pages in Wix and WordPress
Wix has a very intuitve page building experience.
You simply click "Add Page" and it will give you some template ideas to get you started.
From there, everything is point-and-click. Want to change the title? Point, click, type.
There is a limited number of widgets and customizations you can do with your Wix pages, but it covers the basics nicely.
In WordPress, you have several ways to create pages.
By default, you will be presented with the exact same editing experience as the blog post editor.
But let's be honest, that's not a very fun way to design pages.
An entire industry of Page Builders has erupted to give users a better experience when creating content.
When you install a page builder into your website, you unlock a ton of potential.
In fact, let's talk about the ability to customize these two platforms next.
Customizing WordPress vs Wix
What type of a website do you want to build? A blog, podcast, e-commerce store?
Businesses are dynamic and evolve over time, so it's important that you think about what you need today as well as what you might need later.
Because of WordPress's open-source nature, it has a ton of functionality by default. Wix on the other hand... not so much. Let's dive in.
Which Website Builder Has More Apps?
Let's get some quick terminology out of the way.
Both Wix and WordPress has the ability to add more features and functionality to your websites.
In Wix, you can download and install Apps.
In WordPress, you can get plugins for your site. So who has the most/best of these apps?
WordPress publicly shows the count of plugins available in its repository:
At the time of this writing, there are around 55,000 plugins available in its main marketplace. The majority of these plugins are 100% free - you can see why this is attractive for new small businesses.
On top of these 55,000 - there are also 3rd party premium marketplaces that sell thousands more plugins...
At the end of the day, if you can think of it - there's a chance there's a plugin to get it done.
Wix, on the other hand - has a much smaller portfolio:
I can't find an official up to date count of the apps, but Wix is currently advertising 250+ apps to super charge your website.
For basic websites, you should be just fine. But when you want to start adding specific functionality like selling online courses, improving conversions, or building sales funnels, you might not be able to find what you need.
How to Design A WordPress site?
A few years ago, it was a terrible task to build out your own WordPress website. But the days of hardcoding websites is (thankfully) dead and gone.
Instead, you can easily launch a website in an hour. It has really become a step by step (and free) process:
- Install WordPress
- Pick a powerful, fast, and free theme
- Pick out a starter website template
- Import with a click
- Edit the pages to your liking
Need Step by Step Help?
Sign up for my 100% free video course where I walk you through the entire process step-by-step.
How to Design a Wix site?
When you first sign up for Wix, it walks you through a nice step-by-step process to set up your site.
You get to pick your color palette, overall design of the site, and what basic functionality you want to incorporate (selling products, booking appointments, etc).
The process is very intuitive and basic, but once you have your site, you'll find there are a number of limits on what you can actually do with it.
Which Website Builder is Best?
I'll confess - I am a WordPress enthusiast, but I will try to keep my opinions as unbiased as possible.
There's never a perfect tool - each one has its flaws. Even so, I think that WordPress is the right website builder for most people.
Let me give some examples for different types of users.
Is Wix better than WordPress for a Designer?
Wix is definitely an easier interface to get your head around, so you might think this would be the best option for non-technical designers.
Well... I don't think so. Once you get over the initial learning curve of WordPress, you'll be able to design with way more freedom and flexibility than Wix.
Page Builders like Thrive Architect and Elementor Pro give you pixel-perfect design features, as well as endless extensions to create the perfect look for your site.
WordPress vs Wix: What's Better for Selling Online?
WooCommerce is the e-commerce platform that works perfectly with WordPress, and it's also 100% free and open source. It powers around 30% of the e-commerce stores on the internet today, and it also has a wealth of extensions to help you sell more products.
The Wix e-commerce store is very basic and doesn't have anywhere close to the number of options as WooCommerce.
And WooCommerce is very easy to set up. You can have a store up and running in 30 minutes as well.
Which Website Builder is Best for Bloggers and SEO?
What good is a blogging platform if people never find your articles? You need a Search Engine Optimized article to have a chance of growing your traffic and income to your blog.
And the data is clear: 46.1% of WordPress websites receive organic traffic (from people finding them on Google or Bing), while only 1.4% of Wix sites gets any traffic from search engines:
The takeaways here are very clear. Even though WordPress has a higher learning curve than Wix, it doesn't matter how easy something is if it doesn't get any results!
Bloggers: Stick with WordPress if you want to succeed.
Which Website Builder is Best On A Budget?
You can start a website with Wix for free, but for any business purposes you'll definitely want to get a premium plan so you can customize your site's name, remove Wix ads, etc.
When it's time to upgrade to a business plan, you're looking at a minimum of $23 per month, or $276 per year.
That's not too bad at all, but WordPress gets even better:
My wife and I worked out a special deal with Bluehost so you can start your site for only $2.95 per month, or $35 for the year.
It also includes your own custom domain name and email hosting. It's kind of a crazy deal.
And if you are on a super tight budget - that should be all you absolutely have to spend to get started.
Another point for WordPress!
Which Website Builder Is Easier to Maintain?
And you thought I wasn't going to let Wix get a point? Maintenance is definitely where Wix shines.
Because it is a Software as a Service, there is literally no ongoing maintenance required.
Your updates should happen automatically, your content backed up, and things should just work.
With WordPress - you are master and commander. If you don't want to update your website, you don't have to (but seriously, keep your stuff updated!).
The other maintenance issue with WordPress is that some plugins can conflict with each other. Normally this isn't a big deal, but it's important that you make sure not to go too crazy when it comes to adding more bells and whistles to your site.
Which Will You Choose?
Your turn: which website builder do you prefer, and why? Leave me a comment down below - I'd love to hear your thoughts!