These days, it seems that if you want to be found by lots of people at once, then you have to be on the Internet. People need the ability to access information about you (or your products/services) in a matter of seconds, no matter where you are. One of the simplest ways to have the online presence that you need is with your own website.
However, buying a domain name (that uniquely identifies your website on the Internet) can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Add to that the expenses associated with running your own server computer to host your website on (or paying someone else to host it on theirs), and the cost of running your own website can really add up. So how do you get a custom website if you don’t have the funding to support it?
There are some websites out there that help you create your own website using their templates, and then host the website for you absolutely free! You can also typically manipulate the website's pages to get them to look exactly how you want, so you can customize your website for nearly any purpose! One of the most popular websites for doing all this is Wix.
What can we tell you about Wix?
Wix.com is an online development platform that allows users to create websites that are compatible with both desktop computers and mobile devices. Users select a template to start their own website with, and then drag, drop, and edit different elements to build a website as big or as small as they want.
How does Wix work?
When you first visit Wix, you can select a template for your website (and Wix has many free templates for you to choose from). From there, you can alter every aspect of each page on your website to meet your needs. You can add text and images anywhere, and customize each page down to the last detail. And rather than needing to write the code for each page, you simply drag and drop each element onto the page, and then use individual toolbars to customize them.
The platform's menus are so easy to use. You can easily add text, images, videos, buttons, forms, menus, backgrounds, social media tools, and so much more to any page on your website. Simply click the Add + button, and then choose what kind of element you would like to add to the current page. Wix prompts you to make decisions at every step of the way until you’ve created exactly what you want. Then simply drag and drop your finished product wherever you like on the page.
3 reasons why you should start using Wix
1. You need a free host
Don’t have the money to buy a domain name or run your own server? Wix fixes that problem, allowing you to use most features of the website for free. Even if you want to set up a payment plan, or invest a small amount of money into additional templates, the platform will likely still end up costing you much less than hosting your own website on your own server.
2. You have little or no training in web development
Even if you can afford to host your own website, what do you do if you have no formal training in web development? You usually need to either learn how to do it yourself (which is very time consuming and likely expensive), or pay someone to develop your website for you. With Wix, though, working from templates requires much less knowledge of web development, and just a little of your own creativity!
3. You want an introduction into website development
If you just want to learn about web development and hone your skill in it in your spare time, without investing money or a significant amount of time, then Wix may be for you. You can practice editing and developing as many website pages as you want, and it's all for free! It can also be a great way to test out templates for your own website, in the event that you have already bought a web domain name or are paying to host a website.
When is Wix free, and how much can it cost?
Wix is free to sign up for and use, and gives users access to hundreds of templates and features for free. Users can also purchase premium plans to gain more and more features to the website, including more storage space, advertisement vouchers, and customer service. There are currently five plans to choose from.
Anyone can sign up and use the service for free by going to www.wix.com. If you want to purchase a premium plan for your website, you can visit www.wix.com/upgrade/website. The five Wix plans available for purchase (from least expensive to most) are “Connect Domain,” “Combo,” “Unlimited,” “eCommerce,” and “VIP.” Each plan adds additional features to try to suit your specific needs. Plans range in price from $4.08/month to $24.92/month (with prices in U.S. dollars).
To learn more about the costs associated with using the platform, and to see a detailed breakdown and comparison of each plan, visit our article on Wix pricing.
The pros and cons of Wix
If you’re interested in trying it out, there are a few things you should consider first. To start, Wix is mostly free to use. It also comes equipped with many free templates, so you don’t need to start from scratch when you begin building your website. It also requires no knowledge of code, so almost anyone can use it to build a website, even if they aren't that tech-savvy.. Even the free basic Wix website suits the needs of most people, and has helped thousands build their personal or business-related websites.
Though the basic website is free, you are limiting your features unless you pay for a premium plan. Some of the benefits of upgraded plans — such as increasing your file storage space or connecting your already-existing web domain to the platform — may be important to you, depending on your situation. You are also stuck with one template; after you choose it at the start, you cannot change it (unless you delete your website and start a new one), nor can you use different templates for multiple pages. It can also be a time-consuming and complex process to shut down your Wix account, should you decide to.
The history of Wix, and why it’s so popular
Wix is an Israel-based company that was founded in 2006 by Avishai and Nadav Abrahami, along with Giora Kaplan. When it first launched, it used Adobe Flash technology to help its users create their websites. Its service switched to an HTML5-based system in 2012, which attracted millions of additional users and (thus) helped increase the company's revenue significantly. By 2014, the service had over 51 million registered users in 190 countries.
Afterwards, Wix began exploring new avenues for potential revenue, including selling premium feature packages to users looking to build specific types of websites. Examples include the Wix App Market for users to build and sell Internet or mobile device applications; Wix Hotels for businesses looking to facilitate online vacation accommodation bookings; Wix Music for musicians who want to sell their music online; and their newest development, Wix Restaurants, for users who want to build a website for their food service business.
Wix is so popular because it allows users with very little technical knowledge to build a website to promote themselves. By providing users with templates to work from, creating a custom website becomes easy. Best of all, it does not require the complex process of hosting a domain, or the expense of hiring a web developer.
How hard will it be to set up my own website? And how long will it take?
Using Wix is easy because of the hundreds of templates it provides. It also has a toolbar that is similar to most word processors, so you can easily change fonts and backgrounds, or add images and videos to your web page. It is also simple to sign up for an account, so in a matter of minutes you can begin creating your website.
Using Wix to create your website can be time-consuming, however. It all depends on how complex you want your website to be, including how many pages it will be comprised of. However, in almost all cases, using it will be substantially faster than developing an HTML page from scratch, and significantly less expensive than paying a web developer to do it for you. The platform's editor is much simpler than learning to code in HTML.
There are quite a few websites like Wix out there, all with slightly different features to offer you. The most popular alternative is Weebly.com, which has the same concept and basic payment structure. Another popular alternative is Jimdo.com, which offers an online store option with its free service; this is different from Wix and Weebly, which require you to pay for a premium plan to unlock this feature. Another option is Shopify.com, which focuses on helping users set up an online storefront (and offers a free trial!). To learn more about these and other competitors, check out this detailed article.
That’s our introduction to Wix. In the rest of our Wix course, we'll show you how to put together your very own website, from signing up for an account to picking the right template for your website to how to work some of the basic editing functions.