Web Development

Review: WiX website builder

Ryan Boudreaux reviews the WiX website builder and offers a quick demo of the steps to creating a website from one of the available WiX templates.

The free website builder WiX offers a limited free account, which allows you to build and design websites using their templates and top grade hosting for free, but you can upgrade to one of their premium packages that range from $4 to $16.17 per month with yearly plans. Another option is the month to month plan, ranging from $6.90 to $19.60 per month. Using pure HTML5, the online WiX editor web builder includes many tools and features that give you options when creating your template-based website. Create an online account in just minutes and you can be on your way to creating impressive websites for free or for as little as $48 a year with an annual rate. WiX is a perfect tool for owners/operators might want to use it for their small to medium sized businesses, and it is a great tool if you are a web developer/designer and want to present mock-ups to potential clients. This piece will review the features, show quick steps to creating a new site, list offerings for each package, and givee samples of sites that are currently built and hosted on WiX.

Features

Even with the free plan, you can create, design, and host web pages using WiX templates and features. The WiX Editor allows you to organize your pages, design backgrounds, fonts, and color; add in text for headers and paragraphs; and include media such as images, videos, and clip art, or your own images. Shapes, lines, and any graphic can be uploaded to your image repository and used for any website project. The WiX editor also includes:

  • buttons, menus, and social networking icons

  • linking

  • an apps builder, including contact forms

  • ability to add in your own HTML code or even a Google event calendar.

The list builder automatically creates an ordered or unordered list using preset or custom icons for numbers and bullets. All the WiX templates are designed for mobile views with the flip of a switch to turn on the mobile action bar from the settings menu item.

A list of WiX features is included below:

  • Hundreds of customizable template designs

  • Free, secure, dedicated hosting

  • Drag-and-Drop editor

  • Support line open 24/7

  • WiX app market offers popular brands and services

  • eBusiness online store capability

  • Social networking integration

  • Free content including images, fonts, menus, and music

First steps to creating a new site

Once your WiX account is set up and you have confirmed your email address you can start building your first WiX website. The quick steps below demonstrate getting to the WiX editor to start creating your new website:

1. Make sure you are on the WiX “My Account” page.

2. Click the + Create a new site link.

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3. On the next page you can choose from a list of hundreds of templates, organized by category, including blank, popular, new, business type, music, entertainment, and more. You can preview any template or go straight into edit mode.

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4. Select your template, and then click the Edit button to go into the WiX Editor panel. I’ve selected “The Bakery” template. The WiX Editor will load, and then you will be placed into the home page of the preset template.

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5. The WiX Editor includes the easy-to-use tools on the left side bar including the Pages, Design, Add, Settings, and App Market buttons. The Pages tab is shown opened below:

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6. WiX will remind you to save your work the first time with the pop-up screen as shown below. Select any name you want to for the site you are building, but remember to save often during editing to ensure you work is preserved.

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7. Editing is as simple as just clicking on an element you wish to change; for example, the slide show can be edited with new or added images. The images can be edited, cropped, and allowed to fit with other options such as  sorting the order of appearance. The transitions can be horizontal or vertical, cross-fade, out-in, or none. Other settings include the on-click navigation settings and the style of the slideshow box. The slideshow gallery settings dialog box is shown below.

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8. When you are done editing and you are ready to publish your site, click the Publish button, and then you will be asked at a minimum to turn on your SEO settings, display the mobile action bar for mobile devices, and enter your contact information.

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Packages

Four categories of premium packages include eCommerce, Unlimited, Combo, and Connect Domain, and the offerings at monthly or annual rates included are displayed in the table below:

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Live WiX websites

This is a short list of featured websites that are built on WiX including one design by Tracy Costopoulos from the UK that recently won the WiX sponsored “The Jerry Rice Design-Off,” which included a $10,000 prize.

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You can explore more WiX based sites from their “Get Inspired” section, and several are linked within the list below.

While WiX might be a limited offering for dyed-in-the-wool and traditional web developers, the HTML5-based online editor offers many easy options for small business owners, in particular, with the eCommerce package at less than $200 for an annual rate. Freelance and entrepreneur web developers might consider the “Unlimited” package for just under $150 yearly; 10GB of storage is plenty even for some of the more robust enterprise websites, and the unlimited bandwidth ensures all your clients will never be cut off should business explode or a video turn viral.



About

Ryan has performed in a broad range of technology support roles for electric-generation utilities, including nuclear power plants, and for the telecommunications industry. He has worked in web development for the restaurant industry and the Federal g...

5 comments
FelitaSemi
FelitaSemi

I built my website Free with a Wix website builder.. It's great.. I didn't face any difficulty while creating it.. I think it is the best website builder for beginners..

outtanames999
outtanames999

Today 18 years after commercial websites began, there is no point in creating a website for business purposes unless it is optimized for these factors: Well organized content, Conversion to Sale or Lead, SEO, Social, and Analytics. Merely looking like a pretty picture is not sufficient. No single tool can accomplish all of this, but unfortunately, many tools have the ability to optimize only one factor and in the process end up sabotaging the other important factors. Wix appears to be one of these tools. 

paladin
paladin

Like all such so-called "WYSIWYG", drag and drop, template-based site-builders (Xara Web Designer, Serif WebPlus, etc.), WiX produces garbage that is inaccessible to vision-impaired users. In IE, any version, font-sizes are specified in fixed units, so IE cannot resize the text at all, while in browsers that can resize text (Firefox, Chrome, Safari), doing so breaks the layout nastily. 

Try this—in Firefox, go to their home page, http://www.wix.com/. Now, with "View|Zoom|Zoom Text Only" enabled, press "Ctrl-+" a couple of times and watch the text begin to overwrite or underlay other elements on the page. The same is true of any of their templates, and of all of their example/portfolio sites. 

Vision-impaired users (myself included) do not like having to horizontally scroll, back and forth, playing visual ping-pong, just to read body copy, so the Zoom feature in browsers, which zooms the entire page and evokes horizontal scroll bars, is simply not acceptable. Professional developers plan for accessibility, and use their knowledge and understanding of HTML and CSS to create designs which accommodate changes in text size. 

This application is a toy which is completely unsuitable for "freelance and entrepreneur web developers," or for any "small business owners" who want to welcome ALL visitors. Vanity sites, club sites, maybe. But, if your application for the site is serious, stay away from this toy. Learn HTML and CSS (you can; it isn't rocket science) or hire a professional.

jebswebs
jebswebs

Does it produce a website using W3C coding standards?

Is the website accessible to people with disabilities (i.e., WCAG standards)?

Is the back-end accessible so people with disabilities using assistive technology can use the tools?

Is the final code heavily bloated with gizmos that slow it down?

It is built with responsive/adaptive design elements allowing users of mobile devices to have a good user experience?  

raptormoonx
raptormoonx

I've been using WIX since 2008 (where I was introduced to it by a college instructor). I've made several websites and I find it a lot easier to use than coding in HTML et al. I've created my own sites by scratch without their templates and it's very easy.

moorec
moorec

Thanks for the informative article.  I just signed on to WIX, and I'm in the process of developing a couple of websites.  One of my draws to WIX is the ability to allow others in my organization edit it without knowing HTML. Also, the templates are far superior to templates that I've experienced at other comparable website building companies.

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