Wix vs. WordPress
A comparison of two popular website builders, and how to determine which is best for your project
One of the most important decisions of any web design project is determining how to build the website.
At a high level, there are two ways you can build a website: by writing code and developing it from scratch, or by using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, or Shopify.
The benefit of using a CMS to build a website is that it's significantly cheaper than the custom-coding approach. Additionally, it allows you to create, publish, and edit your website directly from a central "hub" without any development tools or knowledge of coding languages.
For most people looking to build a website, using a CMS is the way to go. But that's the easy decision. The more challenging one is deciding which CMS you should go with.
Today, we're featuring a head-to-head comparison of two of the most popular website builders on the market today, Wix and WordPress, and offering our two cents on which one you should choose.
Wix is often outshined by Squarespace, but at Word of Web, we would choose Wix over Squarespace any day. In fact, our web designers and clients love Wix so much that it was the only CMS we used for our entire first year of business.
On the design side, Wix is a dream come true. It provides a wide range of templates that designers can start from, but it also allows you to start from a blank slate. (This is the option we always go with because we like to make each of our client's sites feel personalized and unique). Its drag-and-drop editor makes it exceptionally easy to place website elements where you want them and swap out images and colors with just a few clicks. It feels similar to editing a Powerpoint or Keynote.
While this degree of flexibility is great for a web design company like us, you may find it infuriating if don't have an eye for detail or design. Also, the flexibility makes it harder to create sites with a ton of pages because you have to go through them one-by-one to make sure everything is consistent.
Wix's website editor is clutter-free and intuitive and makes it easy for you to control how your website looks—even if you're not so technically savvy.
Our recommendation: Go with Wix if you are building a smaller site (1-20 pages), prioritize design flexibility, and want to be able to easily edit your website yourself.
Note: This article is about WordPress.org, not WordPress.com. We'll dive into the difference another day. For now, just know that WordPress.org is what people are usually referring to when they say "WordPress."
One of the biggest differences between WordPress and Wix is the format of their editors. When you edit a website in WordPress, you can't make edits on the actual interface. You make edits to text boxes, lists, and forms from a dashboard that lives "behind the scenes." It's a hard thing to grasp conceptually, so here's a screenshot to help illustrate what we're talking about:
WordPress's editor is powerful but doesn't let you see what your changes look like in real-time. You have to publish or preview your edits in order to see what they would look like.
Luckily, there is a way to use WordPress as more of a "visual builder" like Wix. All you have to do is install a plugin called Divi Builder, which allows you to edit your website directly from the interface and add, delete, and move elements using a drag and drop tool. (This is how we design most of our WordPress websites).
However, even with visual editors like Divi, WordPress still tends to be confusing for most people. Its interface is more cluttered, and it can be hard to understand if you don't have any technical experience. Overall, it is designed for a "developer brain," not your average Joe.
It's important to understand that this is by no means a flaw or a reason to avoid WordPress. The reason that WordPress is more confusing than Wix is that it is a more powerful tool. It has an ecosystem of over 55,000 plugins and 12,000 themes, which means that if you have a specific feature or style in mind, WordPress can probably accommodate it.
Our recommendation: Go with WordPress if you are building a larger site (20+ pages), if there are specific, unconventional features you can't find in Wix, or if you plan to scale your website and its functionality over time.
There is no "right" or "wrong" when it comes to deciding which website builder to use. Your choice should be based on your unique website goals, your level of design and technical expertise, and whether or not you plan on building and maintaining your website yourself.
Both Wix and WordPress are powerful, highly respected tools. We have built client websites on both platforms, and they have each performed well.
If you need help deciding which website builder is best for your project, give us a shout, and we'll help guide you in the right direction.