The Catalyst Team at Sussex Innovation has worked on web design projects for our members using both Wix and WordPress - two of the market-leading options for building your own website. But which will suit your needs better? Our four-part series tells you all you need to know. Click here to read Part 1 - Usability, Part 2 - Design Options and Functionality, or Part 3 - SEO, Analytics and Performance.
Round Seven: Costs & Hosting
Wix is, at first glance, the more expensive of the two options here, and offers less flexibility in hosting.
Wix pricing plans include a range of different options
These costs are above average for self-managed website builders, but most offerings include a free domain and vouchers for premium apps or advertising. However, it's important to note that Wix does not allow you to self-host your website. This has its benefits – Wix will maintain, backup and update your website with the latest security and functionality – but for those looking for control over their domain Wix is not the best option. For small businesses, the "Unlimited" or "eCommerce" options are good choices, depending on whether or not you want to include an online store. However, in considering cost it's important to remember that Wix's templates are all free, and the majority of their apps are, as well.
On the other hand, WordPress.org has cheaper hosting costs. Because WordPress is fundamentally free software for self-hosting, the easiest route is to register with a web host such as GoDaddy, who will set up and maintain your WordPress site for you.
GoDaddy pricing plans are typical of web hosts that can be used to easily host your WordPress site
Again, most of these plans include a domain, as well as setup and maintenance of your WordPress site. For small businesses, the "Deluxe" or "Basic" plans are likely the best choice. An important factor is that WordPress is technically self-hosted and you have complete control over the management of your domain and its hosting and storage if you need it. However, we must also consider that using WordPress means that you're more likely to pay a fee for a theme or a few plugins, and if so, we can expect that to come to around an additional £50. Ultimately, all things considered, the costs aren't too different – but WordPress does allow you more control over your website's domain and hosting, and you can always shop around for cheaper hosting options.
Winner: WordPress (though it is close!)
After a bit of experience with both platforms, it is clear that Wix and WordPress are designed for very different customers, and target specific needs.
Wix is superior in providing a quick and intuitive way to build a website exactly as you want it, without any programming knowledge. It doesn't have much of a learning curve and allows you to quickly carve out a space on the web for your business or start-up. However, by being designed for simplicity above all else it has some inherent weaknesses, and it's hard to recommend for those who want to carefully manage their SEO or have complete control over the management of their domain. Building a website for your start-up with Wix is a good idea if you want something you have complete design control over without spending too much time learning how to use it, but you do have to relinquish some control over the inner workings of the website.
On the other hand, WordPress is noticeably harder to use, and requires time and research to use effectively. While you can achieve almost anything you need to with a bit of work, it will often require you to search carefully for plugins and themes to get what you want. Ultimately, the power of WordPress is in its versatility - the range of plugins is fantastic, and the amount of control it gives you over your website is far superior for building a web presence to effectively promote your business. WordPress, even with the help of Elementor, requires a significantly greater time investment than Wix, and you have to understand that without coding your customisation abilities may be limited. If you plan for your web presence to be a significant part of your strategy, WordPress has some significant advantages over the competition.