Creative Lead, Inbound Marketing Team, Host of ‘Website Throwdown’, 50+ Sites Designed for HubSpot
July 2nd, 2013
Editor's Note: This article was originally published in 2013. Since then, several things about the Wix platform and our views on it have changed for the better. Feel free to read on, but for a more accurate, up-to-date analysis of the platform for business, please read our follow-up article here.
I have a confession to make. I HATE Wix.com!
Wix.com boasts that all you need to do is choose a template, input some text and then - bam! - you have a website that will get you found online. I have a personal problem with a product when it sets the expectation that anyone can design and develop a website... for free no less.
Wrong. In so many ways.
Designing for the web is tough. Not only must you solve various visual problems and adhere to specific client branding, but you have to rise to the challenge of making hundreds of pages, blogs and downloadable pieces of content cohesive and relevant to the user across a wide range of different devices (desktop computers, tablets, mobile phones, etc.).
Despite my less than mild attitude toward this DIY service, there are some concrete reasons that businesses should not rely on website builders like Wix.com for their website.
A search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is one of the most important pieces of any website. It's one of the first things our clients focus on, before aesthetics and before traffic analytics. The question always comes back to, "How do I rank higher?"
SEO is easy to tackle when building a website in a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, or HubSpot. You develop your strategy, and you implement it across every page, blog post and portfolio piece. It works, and it's a proven system.
With a Wix.com site, implementing an SEO strategy is nearly impossible. You do not have the ability to download an SEO boosting plugin. Instead, you simply have the on-page SEO that Wix.com offers. Yes, you can get the basics done here, but it doesn't offer you any Search Enginge previews or any help along the way like one of our favorite SEO plugins, WordPress SEO by Yoast, does. For a tool that caters to beginners, Wix.com is really missing the mark.
How exactly is a business supposed to get found online when the basic structure of the site does not allow for search engine access? If you dive deeper into Wix.com's page structure, you find that all pages are canonical, or simply tabs of the homepage, and therefore they could never rank on their own.
With Wix.com you can build an attractive (albeit generic) website and it may be easy for you to update, but if your site isn't search engine compatible, or potentially even viewable, how is it going to work for you?
2. Site Ownership
Site ownership is essential for every single website. Every business should own their own web property and they should have a relationship with their web host company. A company website is just as valuable and important for you to understand and maintain as any other business asset.
Always have control over your website and your content. Period. End of story!
3. Mobile Sites
Mobile sites are the VHS video tapes to today's DVDs. They will eventually play the same movie, but one has a substantially more sophisticated user experience than the other. Mobile websites were cool and effective before your parents started using Facebook, but now they just don't make any sense. In their place, responsive websites are not just the new trend, they have officially become the new standard.
Having a completely seperate site for mobile users with a completely seperate editor leads to complications like two separate analytics accounts. Ugh.
Modern browsers like Google Chrome can pick up where a browsing experience leaves off on a different device. Having a totally different mobile site from your desktop site provides a user with a lot of inconsistencies and most of the time, irrelevant or unupdated information.
The biggest disadvantage I see with Wix.com in the mobile category is that you have to specify that you would like to build a mobile site and then enter into the separate editor. None of the site templates are responsive. As of 11 hours prior to writing this post, the Wix.com forums are full of posts begging developers for this feature. As the original forum post was written in January of 2013 (and I'm writing this 7 months later), it leads me to believe that there is little hope that this request will be fulfilled.
"What If I'm Already on Wix.com?"
Already have a website on Wix.com? Don't worry! You aren't a total sitting duck. Unfortunately, you don't have the ability to pick up your site as is and move it to a new hosting company - you don't own your site, remember?