I’ve been hearing a number of people talking about the easy build system called wix.com over the last few years.
With around 62 million users at present, they’re clearly making great progression in offering websites that are comparatively easy to build for the novice
What surprised me however, in some recent technical support for a client, was the cost of the various ‘optional add-ons’ available through their system, and also their comparative ineffectiveness.
What Wix currently offers:
- For around $45, you get to display the ‘built by wix’ advertising on every one of your webpages (at the top right, and the base)
- You can upgrade to their next package at around twice the price, to remove that advertising (but it still seems to appear on mobile phone and tablet browsers)
- You can have your own domain name for around $15 a year, but to have email addresses hosted by Gmail at your domain (ie firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, etc.), are $5 per email address per month! (this kind of email forwarding from your domain to Google should not incur such high prices, particularly when the set-up is a simple one-off automated digital process, and there’s no actual hosting of email bandwidth by Wix.com).
- They offer a ‘Shout Out’ option to send newsletters to your subscribers. This is limited to 5,000 emails per month (which is reasonable). However, as part of the email tracking, the email appears in the recipients inbox as a remotely hosting image of your email text (effectively a screen grab of an html email). Thus your email is not accessible to people with various visual impairments (the actual text cannot be easily extracted by character screen readers), the text itself is not scalable for different browsers (for your small mobile phone screen, your tablet, or your desktop, etc.).
- You can of course ‘design your own website’ (although if you’re not a skilled designer, experienced with usability and accessibility, etc. this is fraught with likely errors).
- Worst of all, is the way your website is displayed within your browser source code. They claim Search Engine Optimisation using an AJAX method. However, if you click on ‘view source’ of any page of a wix.com website, you’ll see a mass of code loading remote areas of content, but effectively no real text content within your browser. This does make it more difficult for search engines to naturally ‘crawl’ your website pages. In fact, the only ‘real’ content of your website kept in plain text (hidden deep in all the superfluous code) links purely to the hosting of wix.com.
- In essence, if you have regular text on your website, for easier accessibility by all, you want to display this in as little superfluous code as possible. The more code you hide your content behind, the longer the page will take to load (bad for limited bandwidth on mobile phones), the harder it will be for search engines to index (thus lower search rankings), and the harder it will be for people with some disabilities to use your website (which can be a breach of the Disability Discrimination Act amongst others).
So what can be done instead?
- With very limited experience, you can build a free website in WordPress instead, using a free OpenSource ‘theme’ design which can also be modified easily to your preferred colours and layout. Or you can buy more customised themes ‘off the shelf’ from various developers, or even have your own unique design commissioned.
- You can have your own domain hosted with a reputable reseller, with as many email accounts as you want, for a fraction of the Wix.com prices (often free with many standard hosting packages)
- You can send newsletters via MailChimp more effectively (which is also free for up to 12,000 emails with up to 2,000 subscribers)
- And your website content will be more accessible, across multiple device options, with cleaner code, which should also appear higher on Google natural search results, with faster load times, and fewer errors.
Please do get in contact if you have any queries.