This guide looks at Wix vs WordPress. It presents a candid, easy-to-follow comparison of these two systems. Is the world’s favorite website builder and blogging platform about to lose its top slot?
Below are the 7 points every new webmaster should consider before they decide:
- How Wix differs from the new WordPress.org
- Set up and maintenance costs
- User-friendly appeal
- Themes (templates) and plugin (apps) comparison
- eCommerce: Wix or WordPress?
- SEO features
- The conclusion
Why trusted brands matter
WordPress has been prominent since 2003, and Wix came about in 2006. That makes them the oldest DIY web-building platforms around. They’ve survived because they deliver on their promises. Also, both WordPress and Wix continue to innovate and keep pace with changing demands. The rest of this guide guarantees to help anyone who’s still on the fence choose the right platform.
#1 How Wix differs from the new WordPress
Wix and the new WordPress.org are bad news for professional web designers and developers. That’s because these incredible programs are user friendly at the basic level. Even the raw novice can create professional-looking blogs, sites, and stores with ease. Despite this shared appeal, Wix and WordPress are not the same. Each platform uses a different approach that offers something unique to its users.
Differences at a glance
The main difference between the programs is their editors and flexibility. Most things in Wix are visible from within a single window. It’s what’s known as a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor. WordPress now uses a block-based editor, but it doesn’t show all the page elements on-screen. That means you must switch between the editor and web browser sometimes to view changes.
The other significant differences between the two platforms are:
- Software: WP code is open source (allows public access); Wix is closed
- Operating costs
- Available plugins (apps) and themes (templates)
- Wix has limitations, WordPress has none
Wix web builder defined
Wix is a popular, easy-to-use drag-n-drop editor that came onto the scene in 2006. Novice users can create stunning HTML5 websites that work cross-device out of the box. Wix comes with both free and fee-based domain names and hosting. The platform includes 100s of beautiful templates and apps.
Wix has taken off big time since its 2006 launch. That’s thanks to an aggressive marketing campaign and millions of happy clients. It currently has 80M+ users across 190 countries. Wix shares some common aims with WordPress but uses a different approach. One of its core strengths is the speed in which new users can build a website. But does that make it the best option?
WordPress (WP) CMS defined
WordPress.org is a free Content Management System (CMS) for building a website or blog. Founders, American Matt Mullenweg, and Englishman Mike Little launched the platform in 2003. Today, around 455 million active sites use the WP platform to Wix’s 160 million.
WordPress users are a loyal bunch and for good reasons. Its CMS system has stood the test of time and dominated the #1 slot for many years. And the new WordPress editor, Gutenberg, has made life much easier for novice web builders. We’ll look at Gutenberg more later in the piece.
The rest of this Wix V WordPress guide looks at what sets the two platforms apart. It’s not difficult to choose between them once you know what they offer, how they work, and all the pros and cons.
#2 Set up and maintenance costs
Every new website, blog, forum, or online store needs to be set up and maintained. Both the above are much easier and cheaper than they used to be. How much work and cost you intend to put in should be at the top of your consideration list. Understand that platforms with the least maintenance also have the most restrictions.
Wix set up and maintenance
Wix has a free restricted version (with ads), and a range of premium pricing plans. All plans offer a straightforward way to build a website from scratch. You don’t have to leave its editor for anything, and that includes set up and site building. Wix’s closed code environment takes care of maintenance so you don’t have to. And its in-house team looks after site updates behind the scenes.
Most users are unaware of in-house updates unless there’s a problem they need to know about. There’s no technical stuff to learn with Wix, and its interface is quick to navigate. However, there’s a downside to its in-house support and maintenances. Less user control means more restrictions for site owners. For some, that’s a blessing, for others, limitations are a source of great frustration.
WordPress set up and maintenance
WP.org software is 100% free to download. However, users need to install WordPress before they can set it up. It also requires a custom domain and web hosting. Thus, it’s a more hands-on approach, but it’s not difficult, and it’s more fulfilling. There’s something satisfying about being in total control. It’s you—not the owners of the website builder—who decides how your online projects looks and functions.
WordPress’s Dashboard and editor isn’t as intuitive as Wix, but it’s not difficult either. There’s an option to have the software update automatically too. Some themes and plugins may need manual updates. It’s not complicated to care for a WordPress site with a little knowledge. Control over maintenance also gives you more say over in-depth SEO and so many other aspects.
#3 User-friendly appeal
#3 User-friendly appeal
The user-friendly and ease-of-use appeal is worth consideration, especially for novice webmasters. Many site builders are foolproof, so new users don’t need previous experience to use them. Both Wix and WordPress have editors that most people can take to with minimal effort. However, each of these programs uses a different approach. See, one offers a lot more freedom of choice than the other.
Wix ease of use
Wix is an easy solution for anyone who wants to build a pro-looking site with minimal effort. It doesn’t take long, either. The platform exploits a simple drag-and-drop system. The What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor lets users put a website together like a jigsaw.
The downside is the platform’s limited resources, templates, and available apps. There’s no access to its source code either, but that appeals to non-technical users. Still, these things also mean a Wix site isn’t expandable beyond its built-in offerings. That’s something for new web builders to consider.
WordPress ease of use
WordPress.org is not idiot-proof in the same way that Wix is. That said, WP now has a new Gutenberg drag-n-drop block-based editor in place of the old classic version. It’s made the free platform much easier to use for novice builders. Each block comes with its own toolkit to make edits simple. Block examples include text paragraphs, images, buttons, audio, and more.
WordPress users who prefer the old classic editor can still revert to that if they want to. This flexibility makes WP superior to Wix and other restricted builders. Yes, Wix is easier to use, but it can’t accomplish as much as the powerful WordPress platform.
#4 Themes and plugin comparison
Themes and templates change the physical appearance of your website, blog, or store. Plugins and web apps add visual features and functions to your pages. They can be interactive tools to engage visitors or stuff that works behind the scenes. Contact forms, polls, auto-backups, and SEO are a few examples. There’s quite a difference in what Wix and WordPress offer.
Wix app market and templates
Wix has some impressive options with its 500+ fully-responsive HTML5 templates. These are available in its free plan as well as Premium. The built-in tools let you customize templates until you’re happy with the design and layout. The major downside is that you can’t change a template after creating the site. WordPress doesn’t suffer from this restriction.
Wix apps (plugins) are a great way to power sites, and there’s a lot of choice in its apps market. They’re quick to add and already optimized for internet-connected mobile devices. Wix has over 300 apps available to enhance websites and blogs. They’re not all accessible with the free version, though. Some apps even cost extra on the premium plans.
WordPress plugin and theme options
There are too many free and paid WordPress themes to count, and more emerging all the time. You can also create 100% unique templates or have someone build them for you. Another benefit of paid themes is that you get extra features and better support. Users can modify these using built-in customization tools and or with plugins. The only restrictions are with the webmaster’s imagination.
Google Analytics, SEO, interactive blog posts, and polls are just some of the plugin types. Whatever you need, there’s probably a WP plugin for it. The options are far-reaching with over 50,000 at the time of writing. Many are free, but some do cost, especially those with advanced features.
#5 eCommerce, Wix or WordPress?
eCommerce—also electronic commerce—is a simple concept. An eCommerce website is one that sells physical or digital goods and or services. It’s a secure online environment for shoppers to browse and pay for things instantly. These sophisticated websites are straightforward to set up and maintain with Wix. They’re not hard with new WordPress, either, but they do need more work.
Selling with Wix
Wix comes equipped with built-in eCommerce features, but they’re not full-blown. In other words, Wix is perfect for lightweight sites that sell a few products. It’s not a great platform for running a full-scale interactive store where you expect lots of traffic. Don’t let its limitations put you off. Wix eCommerce is ideal for any beginner who wants to try selling over the internet.
Selling with WordPress
WordPress doesn’t have built-in eCommerce features because it doesn’t need them. It has plugins instead. The free, open-source WooCommerce is a firm favorite, though there are others. It’s a powerful tool for running a small to medium-scale online store from any WP site. The plugin offers a fully-functional selling platform with only a few mouse clicks.
The best thing about selling on WordPress is scalability. With Wix, what you see is what you’re stuck with. That might be plenty, or it may not, but at least with WP, there’s the choice to expand.
#6 SEO features
All webmasters want people to find their sites using Google and other search engines. It doesn’t just happen, though, because you’re competing with so many sites. That’s why every project needs Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Both Wix and WordPress have ways to make your site visible to the search giants. One does a much better job than the other (see WordPress SEO below).
Wix SEO features
Wix has all the fundamental SEO features needed to optimize its sites. Some of these are automated and work in the background, while others need user input. The former includes things like sitemaps, shortened URLs, and Google indexing. There’s also mobile-friendly optimization, and more.
Manual SEO requires users to fill out metadata, i.e., title, descriptions, and alt (image) tags. Wix offers Basic and Advanced SEO features, along with some helpful How-to Guides.
WordPress SEO features
Self-hosted WordPress.org has the same SEO fundamentals as Wix, but that’s where it stops. Some WP plugins can supercharge a site’s SEO ever further. Ahrefs researched the data using 6.4M sites to compare Wix to WordPress. Over 46% of WordPress sites got organic (free) search traffic to Wix’s 1.4%. That figure alone is enough to tell us which platform has the highest SEO potential.
There are several excellent SEO plugins for WordPress. The secret is to know how to set them up to work best for your site and its structure. There’s nothing to do after the initial set up other than update the plugin if it doesn’t do that automatically.
#7 The Conclusion, Pros, and Cons
Both Wix and WordPress.org are tools for building sites. Despite that, they offer different approaches, tools, and outcomes. WordPress has a learning curve, but it’s not too hard with proper guidance, and it’s more rewarding too. There are endless reviews that talk about how easy Wix is to build a website from scratch. These claims are all true, and few would doubt its beginner-friendly appeal.
The tables below give a full summary of the Wix vs. WordPress pros and cons:
Everything you need is inside the Wix editor
Free version available with limitations
Free hosting and domain
No technical experience required
500+ responsive templates, 300+ apps
Drag & drop building w/ WYSIWYG
Integrated eCommerce templates
New users can start to build sites right away
Optimized for mobile devices
35% of all online websites use WordPress
Free, open-source software
Powerful platform with unlimited potential
Frequent updates to enhance and secure
New and reversible drag-and-drop editor
Optimized for mobile devices
Powerful media management
Search engines love WordPress optimized sites
Thousands of templates and plugins
Flexible content management
Impressive blogging module
High security features built-in
Massive WordPress global community
You don’t own a Wix website
Wix can delete your site at any time
No open source code
Wix ads displayed on the free version
Shared template designs make sites less unique
Few apps (plugins) compared to WordPress
Can’t change the design after the site goes live
Limited customization choices
Blogging module not as good as WordPress
No option to export data at the time of writing
Additional costs (hosting & domain)
Learning curve for new users
The editor is not a true WYSIWYG
No direct support from WP company
Needs an eCommerce plugin for online stores
Advanced customization may need a developer
User needs to keep on top of software updates
So, Wix is ideal for personal projects and small to medium-sized online businesses. But it can’t begin to compete with WordPress. At least not when it comes to full functionality, flexibility, and total user control. Wix users must accept its limitations, but that’s not a word WP users have to contend with.