However, they’re not exactly the same.
Wix is a site builder – its purpose is to make it as easy as possible for you to build your own website.
WordPress is a content management system (CMS), which means it is a system used to organize and manage all your content. It’s far more customizable but also far more complicated.
Neither Wix nor WordPress requires coding knowledge, although experience with code will make both platforms easier to understand.
So with all that said, how do we know which is better for the website you want to build? Let’s take a look at pricing, design, SEO, ease of use, e-commerce, and more to determine which platform suits your needs.
First, let’s take a look at some website designs built on both platforms so you can get an idea of what’s possible.
Here are 3 sites we’ve built on Wix:
And 3 sites we’ve built on WordPress:
As you can see, you can build a good-looking website on either Wix or WordPress. Because the final visual product can look excellent on either platform, the design itself won’t be the deciding factor for you. What about the design tools?
The actual front-end design is relatively easy to create with either Wix or WordPress. Wix really simplifies it for you, while WordPress has handy page builders like Elementor and Beaver Builder. These page builders function as user interfaces to write HTML and CSS code.
The Wix Editor is a drag-and-drop WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor. You can create simple custom site layouts. They also make it easy on you by offering a ton of preset elements.
However, more advanced design features and functionality will elude you.
WordPress Page Builders
WordPress is not a stand-alone site builder in the same way Wix is. However, you can create extremely unique designs in a similar but more complex ways with WordPress if you use a page builder plugin. The learning curve is much steeper but the designs end up being more varied and interesting.
To really unlock the power of WordPress’s tools and understand what they’re doing, I recommend learning HTML and CSS at the very least.
Wix’s design tools are easier to use out of the box, while to use the best design tools for WordPress you’ll need to buy premium plugins, install them, and take some time to really learn how to use them and what they’re capable of.
However, that time, money, and effort pays off in the form of more visually appealing websites.
But which one is more popular? Popularity isn’t just about following the crowd. The more popular a platform is, the more educational content and support will be available. It will also be easier to make a living creating websites on platforms businesses already know and trust.
Wix: Growing Fast
WordPress: 1/3 of the Internet
WordPress powers 35% of the internet and 60% of the CMS market in 2020. It’s a power player, which is quite impressive considering it is open-source software without a real marketing budget.
Hundreds of sites launch every day on both platforms. WordPress has a larger share of the market thanks to its open source nature. Because it’s free, it’s especially popular in the developing world. WordPress is also favored by professional designers and agencies who like the customization options and size of the plugin market. WordPress is definitely more popular than Wix.
Pricing and Cost of Help
If you want a website you’ll have to pay a little bit no matter what. The files that make up your website have to live somewhere. That somewhere is a server. To host your files on a hosting company’s servers, you may pay anywhere from $3 to $40 per month. You’ll also have to pay $10-$15 per year for a domain name. You’re looking at yearly costs of anywhere from $50 to $500 to keep a standard website live.
Agency and freelancer prices also vary widely if you’d like someone to build your website for you. There are outsourced amateur designers on Fiverr who’ll build you a site from as low as $40:
To all the way over $50,000 for a top agency in an expensive city:
The cost of a website varies so widely because the value of a website varies widely. A lackluster site built in a day for a new business probably won’t drive $1,000,000+ in revenue. However, a new site for a major company like Wayfair easily could, and designers should be rewarded for the impact their work has on a company.
For reference, we charge $600-$1,500 for a Wix website and $3,500-$6,000 for a WordPress site. These prices seem to be the sweet spot for the small but growing companies we enjoy working with.
Most people outgrow Wix’s basic plans pretty quickly. If you want to do any e-commerce at all, you’ll need a business plan. Those start at $23/mo.
However, their cheapest plans start at $13/mo. It’s not a bad deal considering they come with Wix’s front end editor and back end site manager.
Most common small business needs, like pop-ups, forms, and galleries, are all possible out-of-the-box with Wix. There are some more advanced features available through free and paid apps on Wix’s App Market too.
Like Wix, WordPress hosting prices vary widely. For low-cost shared hosting, you can host with a company like BlueHost or DreamHost for less than $3/mo. At the high end, you can get managed WordPress hosting from WPMU Dev for $10/mo or WP Engine for $25/mo.
It’s pretty much always worth it to spring for top-notch managed hosting. Shared hosting can be a slow nightmare full of bugs and crashes.
However, there is more to WordPress than hosting.
Premium page builder plugins will run you $99 to $199 per year.
Themes generally range from $29 to $69 per year.
The upfront cost of WordPress is lower, but it can quickly grow if you start buying a bunch of different plugins and themes.
Wix starts a little pricier but never gets over $39/mo, templates are free, and you won’t typically need any paid apps.
Usually, these are based on type of company (plumber, barber shop, etc) or website function (brochure site, forum, e-commerce, etc).
Wix has nearly 800 templates designed by professional designers. A lot of the newer ones really do look and work great and they are all guaranteed to work with Wix without any hiccups.
The WordPress theme selection is an order of magnitude greater than Wix’s selection. There are nearly 12,000 on ThemeForest (WP’s largest theme marketplace) alone.
But like with most things, variety comes with a price.
Anyone can code and sell a WordPress theme. Quality varies. And because WordPress is open source, there is no central body verifying the security and functionality of new themes.
Generally, I recommend choosing a popular page builder and using whichever theme is built for it, like the Beaver Builder theme.
WordPress has much more variety thanks to the huge number of available themes but if you’re scared of getting your hands dirty or potentially having to try out a few different themes, stick with Wix.
Ease of Use
I don’t even need a break down for this section but I made one to keep my table of contents looking clean.
Wix is Easy
Wix is way easier to use. It’s built expressly for non-technical “amateurs”. There is still a massive difference between what your cousin and a professional can create with Wix, but the basics are easily graspable.
I’ve taught people to build decent Wix sites in a couple of days with some free videos, written instructions, and in-person pointers.
To get paid to make Wix sites, you basically just need to familiarize yourself with the platform, get some experience, and be more creative than the average Joe or Jane.
WordPress is… Intermediate
WordPress, on the other hand, can have a steep learning curve. The WordPress admin can be confusing and the way you customize the site, build pages, and create things like forms and menus is not readily apparent.
You’ll almost definitely need to watch an online course or read a book on WordPress. The page builders have their own learning curve, every theme is different, and you can actually deal with real code on a WordPress site.
I still call it “intermediate” though, because it’s easier than coding a site from scratch.
Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving your website to rank it well on search engines for the keywords you care about (like “Wix vs. WordPress” 😉). It’s a huge part of successful online business. So is Wix or WordPress better for SEO?
Wix SEO: Not as Bad as You Might Have Heard
A lot of professional SEOs knock Wix but Ahrefs performed a huge study of 6.4 million websites and found that Wix performed no worse than any other CMS in search engine rankings. Wix has all the standard on-page SEO features you’d expect: meta tags, alt tags, heading tags, and custom URLs.
WordPress: The SEO Gold Standard
WordPress is beloved by digital marketers for good reason.
There are useful plugins like Yoast and SmartCrawl that make it easy to set up SEO for a new site and edit key properties like meta tags. It gives you a lot of control over your technical SEO because you can edit code directly. You can also change and upgrade hosts to improve site speed.
That said, it’s easier to mess up your search rankings on SEO. Doing stuff like using a buggy theme, cheaping out on hosting, or not optimizing your site for mobile can all mess up your results.
If you’re going to take SEO seriously I recommend WordPress. However, you can be successful and climb those search rankings on Wix too.
Speed is vital to the success of your website. Mobile sites that take more than 3 seconds to load will lose over half their visitors. A slow website is a bad user experience and a bad first impression. Long load times also negatively affect SEO. So how fast are Wix and WordPress websites?
Wix Is Still Slow
I tested a small site we built on Wix using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool and found it took over 3 seconds just for the first contentful paint, which is how long it takes before the user can see anything on their screen. Unfortunately, there is very little you can do to affect page speed on Wix.
WordPress Speed Is Up to You
I then tested a recent site we built on WordPress. It’s significantly faster, with objects appearing on screen in about a second.
It’s far easier to improve your page speed on WordPress. You can do things like compress images and minify files and there are some good plugins that will help you improve page speed, like Hummingbird Pro and WP Rocket.
WordPress conclusively wins this round, but Wix isn’t so slow that it would be a serious issue for a small business.
Apps, Plugins and Upgrades
A lot of small businesses have specialized needs. Some host events regularly, or need a calendar for their classes, or a way to book an appointment. Whatever your website needs to do, both Wix and WordPress may have an app or plugin that can deliver the functionality you need.
They all work with any Wix website and have been carefully vetted. The guaranteed compatibility of Wix templates and apps is a key advantage of working within a closed system.
WordPress, on the other hand, has over 55,000 plugins to choose from in their plugin directory. Nearly every function imaginable is available and some form or another, and for standard extensions like calendars and forms there are dozens of plugins to choose from.
The downside of this plenty is that it can be hard to know which plugin is best. Additionally, you have to be careful not to go plugin-crazy. Installing too many plugins will slow down your site and potentially cause conflicts with each other. Like themes, anyone can create and offer a plugin.
Wix has some useful apps, but WordPress’s plugin selection can’t be beat. It’s one of the reasons WordPress has remained so popular over the past decade.
Are you planning on blogging and engaging in content marketing to grow your business? It can be a great way to get more site visitors. So great, in fact, that I’m doing it right now with this article!
Basic Wix Blogs
Wix has a decent blog app with standard features like categories, meta tags, social sharing, and more. It’s not bad at all, but you can’t do much to customize it. However, I’ve noticed Wix continues to improve and add to their blogging app. It may become more competitive in the future.
Best in Class WordPress Blogs
Blogging is where WordPress really shines. It’s in the name – WordPress was originally conceived as a blogging platform. You can customize blog pages, add like and social share buttons, add author boxes, deploy a native commenting system, and much more. It’s the CMS of choice for most serious content marketers.
WordPress can’t be beat when it comes to blogging. You can just take a WP blog a lot further than a Wix site.
Selling products and services online is the 21st century’s gold rush. Sometimes it seems like everyone I know is trying to start an online store, or a digital agency, or sell courses. There is good reason for that – never before has it been easier to sell to customers across the nation and even the world. If you’re ready to start a store on the internet, is Wix or WordPress going to make you more sales?
Wix’s e-commerce advantage is that it’s easy. Almost anyone can add products to their store and set their pages up in a few minutes.
You can even accept payments right off the bat and configure your payment processor later. Wix will just hold your funds until you add banking details.
Touches like that make it pretty straight forward to be selling online quickly and without outside help.
WordPress and WooCommerce
Configuring a WordPress store can be difficult and complicated, even with the WooCommerce plugin. There are more settings to configure and the storefront isn’t easy to design. I’d wager it’s too much for an amateur to tackle.
However, the payoff is that you can push a WordPress store much further than a Wix store. There are so many available extensions that can improve your store, like related products, various payment processors, filters and sliders for category pages, and more.
If you want to start selling online ASAP, plan to build your own site, and don’t have much revenue yet, I’d go with Wix. If you can afford a professional developer I’d choose WordPress with WooCommerce every time.
BONUS: Starting a Web Design Business with Wix or WordPress
What if you want to do what we do at Parrot Digital Marketing and run your own business building websites? It can be a great business to be in, and we happily build on both platforms depending on the client.
Which should you build on? It comes down to your experience and the client’s need.
Wix for New Designers
Wix is far faster to learn and earn on. Watch a course or two, build a handful of sites over a month and you’re probably ready to start charging people for sites. Join the Wix Marketplace and start contacting people.
WordPress for the Experienced
WordPress projects tend to be larger and more interesting. They’re also better paid, as we discussed before. That’s because building WordPress sites requires more skill, knowledge, and time. They also usually come from larger companies with more money.
Whether you choose to start a business designing on Wix, WordPress, or both, get ready to be challenged.
You’ll need people skills as well as creative and technical skills. You’ll need to be able to make sales, build relationships and manage clients, as well as know basic coding, design, Adobe Creative Suite, platform intricacies, SEO and digital marketing.
Running a web design business is not easy. You’ll often be competing with other businesses around the world.
That said, it’s rewarding and often fun.
Wix and WordPress are both fantastic platforms that have made a lot of people a lot of money. Fundamentally, however, they target different markets.
Brand new businesses without much (or any) revenue, as well as very small businesses, generally do better on Wix. The sites are simpler, without much to confuse a non-technical business owner.
If you plan to DIY and have 0 experience with websites, I recommend Wix.
WordPress serves more established businesses ready for a more powerful website tailored to their needs. WordPress sites are faster, larger, and better optimized for search engines. WooCommerce is also a superior e-commerce platform. But be ready to spend more time and money developing and managing a WordPress site.
If you have the funds and the time, WordPress is better for your business.
So, Wix vs. WordPress: Which platform are you going to build on? Let me know in the comments!