A Wix Free Website Review
I have seen all over the internet and especially on Facebook that Wix is promoting their free website offering aggressively. I have used a few free website platforms before so I decided to give a try and this is what I discovered.
Wix is an innovative platform offering a website builder application. Wix prides itself with uniting beauty and advanced technology to create a stunning website. In general terms it is a web hosting service with a tool to build websites. This is aimed at the larger market of people with something to do on the web but do not have the skills nor the time to build a website from scratch. With increased internet usage and proliferation of web enabled devices this is a lucrative market niche that has many competitors at play for a fair slice to exploit.
Wix has the tools to build a free website online without having to install any software on one’s computer. The process of setting the website on Wix is a workflow based guided process. This means that the user is presented with a set of questions and options, which then lead to the next screen based on the selection made. New options are then displayed for the user to further select new options until the process is compete.
The website is hosted on a sub domain, for the free version, and on your own web domain if you upgrade to the paid product. There are a host of templates, tools and apps that are made available for the user to take advantage of in terms of building a free website.
WHO IS IT FOR?
This tool is for people looking to setup free websites to get started on their online journey. It is also suitable for veterans who are looking for an additional web presence without incurring additional costs.
TRAINING AND TOOLS
There is basic introductory training videos which can get one started but not to go very far. There is also a set of Frequently Asked Questions which will help answering some key common questions. But that is about it. For such an extensive process one may be left hanging with no clear answers as to what to do.
There is a platform to open support tickets when you encounter issues. I have not yet tried to use their services yet. I will provide an update once I have done so. At least support facility exists. Given the fact that Wix has been in the business for a couple of year I would expect at least a half decent support.
Ease of sign up and setup
It is pretty easy to sign up for a Wix account. All you need is an email address and a password. Alternatively you can your social media profile to login like Facebook or Google+. I used my username and password. For security it requires you to retype you email and your password to confirm them. Then you are good to go.
No Coding skills required
One does not need to be a developer or have any html or other web development skills to be able to setup a website with Wix Website Builder. This takes away the nervousness associated with may new comers to online presence. One can rest easy and get their website going.
Wide Selection of Template Categories
The workflow helps you specify the category of website you want to choose so that it can optimize the appearance with common feature for that class of business. Many useful categories include
- Types of website as above
- Functionality to sell online, get subscribers, or take bookings and appointments
- Blog Types as in personal, travel, news, fashion or food blog
Automatic web research on your subject matter.
It sounds like a cool thing to have. Wix searches the internet for information about your business and makes it available for you to review and edit before publishing it. Unfortunately my chosen trial sector had no information returned. It does look like it could be useful if it gets you information to get started on for content ideas.
Too many steps in the workflow to get a site created.
While the workflow is good at guiding a user through the steps and providing different options, I got frustrated after going through 6 screens and had no idea how long this was going to take to get finished. While there is an option to skip other parts I was not sure what I needed or what I did not need.
On Step 15 (imagine that!) I got to a point where I was welcomed with by the ADI. And this was the start of yet another workflow branch I had to go through.
21 long steps later I got a point where I could start working on my site. Even then, it was still just a blank canvas
You have no idea of what is coming next
There is no progress tracker to indicate to the user how far they are in the process, or how long it will take to complete it.
Advanced options may confuse users new to website building
Some of the options required to select may require the one creating the website to be knowledgeable of the terms used and the potential impact on the look of the website. For example in Step 5 I was presented with the option to select Create Your Website with Wix ADI or Create Your Website with Wix Editor. There are brief notes on what that is so I chose ADI just to explore it. It may have been useful to have a recommended for newbies sticker note on the Editor to minimise confusion.
There is an unnecessary website name repetition
The sub domain takes the format http://websitename.wix.com/websitename. I do not see the use of the second website name after the .com I actually tried to exclude the second part and it would not accept it. I then tried to use another name other than the websitename and it accepted. I think it is a redundant feature. Imagine giving out your website name on business cards and marketing material and it does not end after the .com?
Wix is promoted as a product to make your own free website. However, that is only the entry level. There is very limited storage allocated and functionality.
The pricing comes with differenting hosting facility and capacity.
Overally Wix is a very good innovation at giving control to the user in terms of how to build a website and how the final look will be without requiring any technical know how or background. However, it comes with an overload of task to be done, which requires the use to get familiar with its tools and functionality in order to be able to utilise the full benefits it offers. The many steps also takeaway from the user experience when it had gained in innovation.
My overall rating is therefore a 4 out of 10 mainly because it does not achieve the simplicity aspect. Other competing free website builder platforms like WordPress and SiteRubix offer a much simpler and shorter process. For comparison you can check out a simple four step (as opposed to 21) step building of a free website.
Let me know your experience and your thoughts below.