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WordPress or Wix?

Guest post by Natalie Rose, NOVA Web Group

WordPress or Wix?

There are many content management systems (CMSs) to pick from when you create a website. I often get asked whether WordPress or Wix is the better option. My answer is WordPress, hands down.

I have supported several Wix and WordPress websites. While Wix may seem easier and less expensive in the short term, it always works out to be the lesser choice. WordPress is almost always the best option.

Wix Is All-in-One, But Features Are Limited

Wix is for non-technical folks. You can sign up and have hosting, CMS, and design all at your fingertips. The drag and drop interface is easy to use. The designs and features are limited, however.

With Wix’s layouts, you get a dumbed-down, generic look that you’ll share with a lot of other Wix sites. You get some built in features, but if you want something else you are out of luck. Neither of these limitations exist with WordPress.

Search Engine Considerations

There is also a question of how visible a Wix-based site is on search engines. Wix has recently announced improvements to search engine optimization (SEO) features, but it is not clear how effective they are.

WordPress is designed with SEO in mind. Many top-ranked websites are on WordPress. When SEO requirements change, WordPress developers are often the first to adapt.

Different Cost Structures

Wix is entirely subscription-based. You pay a monthly fee for as long as you want your site. If you cancel your Wix account, you lose your website. You can’t use another host.

With WordPress, you own your website. Once it’s developed, you only need to pay your web host to keep your site live. Great hosts can be as little as $4 a month! You can update the software yourself. Even if you elect to have that done for you, the cost is minimal.

When your business grows or your needs change, you have at your disposal literally thousands of plugins to add functionality or create integrations at your site. Most are free. Some have one-time or subscription fees.

WordPress Allows You to Grow

Wix is often a good choice for new business owners with low budgets, personal websites, and small businesses. Most companies will grow beyond Wix sooner than later. Again, you cannot automatically transfer your Wix site content to another CMS like WordPress.

Any company that anticipates growth is better off with WordPress. It is the CMS of choice of businesses that want to maintain a unique brand identity, grow their business, and be flexible during that growth.

Set Yourself Up for Website Success

I often use the analogy of building a house when describing the important aspects of creating a website. I often start at the foundation, but want to back up today and discuss:

  • The web host (location of your web “house”)
  • The content management system (building approach of your web “house”)

These two decisions, made at the very start of every web project are critical to success. I have recently helped clients move relatively new sites to a new host and new CMS because these decisions were not made properly for their needs.

Select a Web Host

Every website needs a home. This is called the web host. The technology and security requirements for any computer that will host public websites are complex. Therefore, it is a best practice to select a reputable host for your website.

There are many comparisons among hosts that you can review. Among the things you want to consider:

  • Cost
  • Types of sites hosted – some hosts optimize their environment for a particular content management system
  • Software maintenance – “managed” hosts take care of keeping your software updated, eliminating one worry

Small hosts with great reputations generally get gobbled by larger hosts. This is not necessarily bad, but it does mean that it is important to periodically revisit your host selection. The best choice today may not serve you best in the future. Be prepared to have to move your site over the course of the years.

Pick Your Content Management System (CMS)

Don’t let your web support team pick your CMS without your involvement. There are several good options, and the “right” CMS is about more than the technology. You will work with the CMS any time you want to update your site, so choose wisely!

A CMS facilitates the process of creating and managing content, without requiring you to know a programming language. But modern platforms enable you to do much more than that. The right CMS can help your business increase customer engagement and brand awareness and support marketing and sales.

Consider these core elements of the CMS:

  • Functionality – Does it have the features that will help your organization meet its goals? List the essential features that you need (content management, SEO, WYSWIG editor, integrations, ecommerce, etc) and each option you consider on these core needs.
  • Flexibility – Can you add pages? Change your template?Add functionality? You want to be sure the CMS can grow as your business grows.
  • Ease of Use – What is easy for some is hard for others. Give any CMS a try before you commit. Involve everyone who will need to work with the CMS.
  • Active Development – Select a CMS that is actively developed, evidenced by regular version updates. The internet is a changing place and CMS software needs to keep pace. “Old” software leaves you vulnerable to hacking and other security breaches.
  • Cost – Even open source, “free” CMS options have a cost. How much time, effort, and vendor support is needed to set up a site? What is involved for routine maintenance. Be sure to evaluate short-term and long-term costs when deciding the value of any CMS.