Wix is a blank canvas website editor. Which means you can drag any element to any place on the website (like how you would edit a Powerpoint presentation). Blank canvas editors sound good but can sometimes succumb to complexity and disorganization— fortunately Wix is the best blank canvas editor I’ve tried.
Wix is the best blank canvas editor I’ve seen largely because they use lots of small hacks that corral the chaos of the editor. For example, adding more text to an element will automatically move elements below it further down— unlike most website builders where the elements simply overlap.
Here’s another small hack: Sometimes the Wix interface can get messy and get in the way of your website. Well Wix added a little arrow button (top, center) that lets you quickly pull away all the menus to preview your website. It’s handy— although of course it’d be better if Wix simply kept the interface from getting so out of hand.
But Wix’s messiness is balanced by how flexible it is. I would summarize the Wix philosophy as this: give the user as many options as possible and let them make sense of it. Users who crave control of every detail of their website will love this. Wix is the website builder for them.
Wix pages are built by adding elements— and there are a ton of elements choose. There’s tons of variations on shapes, icons, buttons, boxes, social bars, different contact forms and audio players (like literally 100’s of options).
And if there isn’t enough elements to choose from, Wix also includes a diverse App Market that lets you integrate 3rd party apps. For example, Tint lets you display social feeds (Twitter, Instagram) and Live Chat lets you add a live chat support on your website.
If there’s a downfall it’s that Wix can get cumbersome— choking on all of it’s options. The editor can get plain confusing. It doesn’t help that elements feel scattered throughout the app— for example the restaurant menu editor has two completely different interfaces: one for adding menu items and one for styling the menu.
Overall, it is Wix’s impressive flexibility that will make it worth the choice for some users. Unfortunately, that flexibility is also what keeps it from getting a perfect score from me— Wix has a tendency to get too scattered and unwieldy, lacking the polish of website builders such as Weebly and Squarespace.
You create a blog by dragging and dropping into a page— there’s a couple different blog layouts that you can choose from. The layouts are customizable, but just remember that there are two blog page (Single Post and Blog) that you’ll have to customize so that the blog retains the same look and feel. But overall designing your blog feels pretty good, and there are a number of helpful elements Wix give you to drop into your blog. The post editor is beautiful (see screenshot), you’ll enjoy writing in it. Otherwise there are lots of great blogging features: you can schedule posts, tag and categorize posts, save as drafts and add Disqus and Facebook comments. Show Screenshot
One part of Wix’s store that I love is that you there are several customization options for every store page— you can set the language on your shopping cart page, change the product page layouts, edit button titles and more. That’s awesome. It gives more precise control over these elements than any website builder I’ve seen. Wix has included everything you need to start a store: you can create flexible coupons codes (for % discounts, free shipping, limited time etc.), set shipping and tax rules, set products options and much more. The only thing missing? There’s no way to edit the email receipts customers will receive (Both Weebly and Squarespace allow this— which are Wix’s nearest competitors). Show Screenshot
Strangely there is no form builder— just a cookie cutter contact form that sends results to your email address. The contact form is nice— for example you can customize error and success messages and send results to multiple email addresses— but it doesn’t offer the ability to add any new fields to the form. There are a couple form builder apps in the Wix App Marketplace but none of them worked particularly well (and they want you to sign up with their app). It’d be great to see Wix add a solid form builder.
Wix has an iOS and Android app that lets you manage your online store, chat with visitors and manage your blog.
Yes, images appeared sharp and crisp on retina devices (iPhones, MacBooks etc.).
Yes, but it only works with Wix’s email newsletter software (it doesn’t integrate with Mailchimp, Constant Contact etc.). It’s a nice element and highly customizable though. The only caveat is you have to be fine working with Wix’s email newsletter software. Show Screenshot
Adding a Signup / Login element lets you create membership sites. Members can be manually or automatically approved and pages can be set to to Members Only. Unfortunately there is no way to customize the membership sign up form— so it’s pretty basic— but Wix and Weebly are really the only website builders that give you solid membership site functionality (of the two, Weebly offers the more powerful membership features). Show Screenshot
Wix is the best design from scratch website builder out there. It’s great. The header and footer editors work great— it’s simple and easy to understand. There are tons (and tons) of elements you can use to design your website— plenty of navigation options, a huge array of shapes, arrows, lines and icons and lots of buttons. Style customization is broad. You can of course change your background (and even set animated backgrounds), set custom animations, drop-shadows and more. Wix throws everything imaginable at you for designing from scratch. The one downside? There’s no way to customize the global styles (for example setting the paragraph text style) which means you’ll be stuck doing a lot of individual elements if you want consistent look and feel.
Technically you can create a multilingual site but the instructions are complex and require you to duplicate all the pages on your website— which is a problem if you ever want to update your website (because now you have to update your website in two places). I hesitate to recommend anyone use Wix to build a multilingual site, it’s not ideal.
Yes— Wix even lets your visitors order takeout through a restaurant form! The Menus by Wix app is great. There’s 9 different layout options and you can customize all the text settings. Adding menu items is a breeze— the editor is really easy to use. Show Screenshot
While Wix offers a Paypal Button and Get Funding apps— both apps just send visitors to Paypal to complete a donation (a full donation system would allow visitors to checkout onsite and allow email customization).
Wix has a huge selection of audio players (honestly there are about 30 different audio players you can add to a site). Show Screenshot
While Wix has audio players it does not let you create a podcast feed (required in order to be listed in podcast directories such as iTunes).
While most website builders let you change your template, Wix does not allow this. Once you choose a template you’re locked into it. (It’s a technical problem that stems from Wix’s blank canvas editor.) This is less than ideal because in the beginning stages it’s not uncommon for users to want to swap between templates until one feels right.
Themes are highly customizable and there are a huge amount of design elements you can use: icons, horizontal lines, navigations, buttons, boxes, lists and more. You can even design your own theme from scratch.
Because Wix is a blank canvas editor, it sometimes suffers from a lack of structure. For example, if you’d like to customize your blog sidebar you’ll have to do it in two places (you’ll have to edit the Blog page and the Individual Post page). Editting the same page twice is tricky because it can create inconsistencies between the two (it’s hard to get them exactly the same). This lack of structure can get in the way of a consistent look and feel.
The lack of structure also gets in the way of trying to establish a consistent look for headings and paragraphs. Instead of having a style section where you can set the defaults of headings and paragraphs, Wix requires you to edit each heading and paragraph individually— so if you make a change to one, you’ll have to change every element on the website if you’d like to retain a consistent look and feel.
I was able to pay and cancel Wix with no problems.
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Keep in mind that Wix may have changed since then. If you believe something is out of date in my review, please let me know.