Updated: Apr 25
Read on to learn six awesome features Wix offers bloggers, and four annoyances that drive me crazy.
No one wants to start off on the wrong foot. Take it from me, switching platforms is super annoying. So you start researching the best places to set up your soapbox.
I had a blog on Blogger a number of years ago. When I decided to jump back into the blogging world, I automatically went back to the one I knew. I was able to set up a free page in a couple of hours. Loaded photos and posts, and boom! I was done. Gleefully typing away without a care in the world.
Then I learned about a pesky thing called SEO. (Search Engine Optimization.) Nothing will frustrate a new blogger more than SEO! On the advice on dozens of [paid!] review pages I decided I had to leave Blogger. Other sites had more options. They were supposed to be optimized for SEO because you'll have your own hosting and a domain. They are still rumoring that Blogger is going to suddenly shut down and everyone is going to be frantically trying to download their sites before they lose their blogs. Sort of like how my hometown keeps talking about the new Costco that's coming in. (Still not here, ten years later.)
I digress. When I was shopping for a shiny new blog home, it seemed everyone was pointing to Wordpress with big flashing arrows. I shrugged. Well, why not go with the big name? I went over and began setting up a page with a free theme. It wasn't great. I tried to move a button an inch to the left. Shouldn't I be able to just click on it and drag it over a bit? Apparently wizardry (aka code) is more complicated than that! I tried messing around in the code and went cross-eyed. At this point I slammed my laptop shut and went to do something more enjoyable. Like scrubbing the bathroom.
If you want to use Wordpress—and want more than a generic, basic site—I highly advise you either hire someone to set it up for you or buy a theme that has most of the work done for you. I, however, am on a super tight budget and wanted to set it up myself, not hire someone or google a thousand steps just so I could add a drop-down menu.
I am not making a cent off this blog. This is a 100% honest, authentic review.
Wix has some definite perks for blogging, but some downsides too.
What I Love About Wix
1. Easy to set up!
There's even an option to answer some basic questions and have a layout made for you in minutes. At any time, you can go to the Wix Editor and move things around, change colors, themes, photos, fonts, and even completely change the layout all around. Adding a blog section takes seconds. Easily add a store with a click (and a fee). The editor is set-up to click, drag, and drop. I was able to set up an attractive blog in a few hours and focus on what I wanted to do, write!
2. You can set up Hosting and Domain in a few clicks.
Upgrade to a premium plan and you can purchase Wix hosting for a year and a domain name without even leaving the site. (Don't do what I did and screw up your domain name. You can't change it, there are no refunds! But that's another post.) The most basic plan costs about the same as a fancy dinner at a restaurant. (Sorry, honey, we're staying home tonight!)
3. Linking Buttons to Social Media is a snap.
It's as easy as clicking "social" in the Wix Editor, choosing the button you want, adding the link and presto, done! Also, there is an easy "cookie warning" add-on that automatically includes a link for more cookies information. If you live in a country where it is required, you can set it up in seconds.
4. The blog set up is attractive.
You can choose how you want the posts to be arranged. You can encourage clicks with featured posts. It's easy to add photos and there's a library of photos and a basic photo editing tool as well. Right on the post you can click the settings and change your SEO preferences.
5. Speaking of SEO!
A couple of months ago I didn't even know what SEO was. (Ah, the innocence.) Wix has a really nice walk through to make sure your site is optimized to be found on search engines. It leads you through keywords, alt text, descriptions, and so on. It's really satisfying to see all those little checkmarks. Perfect for a newbie like me.
6. The Wix app add-ons are (pretty) well made.
There are a lot fewer add-on apps (plugins) for Wix than Wordpress. BUT, they are all approved by Wix as far as I can tell, so they are of good quality and easy to install and integrate. Instead of weeding through a hundred apps promising the world, you get one that works. They have customer support for any glitches on the apps. Warning though, some do cost additional monthly fees.
7. Built-in Analytics
It's easy to set up your analytics and even see them right on your dashboard when you log in. You can see in a second how your pageviews and social shares are trending.
What I Don't Like About Wix for Blogging
1. The built-in Comment box is awkward.
I always leave my name and email on comments, that's kinda the norm nowadays. But when I have to create and remember a password, this feels like commitment and work.
On top of all this, there is no option to reply to individual comments on the built-in comments box.
There is a request gathering votes on Wix right now to revamp the comments box. I hope they resolve this issue because bloggers love comments! Since leaving Blogger my comments have plummeted. It's really disheartening.
If I want to get a Comments App add-on, it would cost me an additional $5 US a month. Just for a comment box (and yes, I know, analytics for it, which I don't want or need). I was frustrated to know I would have to hand out more cash if I wanted a seemingly simple option.
Also, I find that the option to comment is not easy to see, nor is the set-up attractive to look at. You can work around this by adding the Facebook comments plugin, which is super easy to install right in the Editor. (I personally am not a fan of Disqus because of the ads.)
2. You get only three Shout Outs a month with the basic plan.
Shout Outs are a jazzy name for an email campaign. As a blogger, I wanted to send out a weekly newsletter. Blogger didn't have a built-in option for newsletters, so I was really pumped about this one. You only get three a month which is a bit weird (frustrating really!) You can work around this annoyance by out-sourcing to Mailchimp or Mailerlite, or send newsletters less frequently. I do have my blog set so that when I publish a new post, my subscribers get an email notification and there doesn't seem to be a limit on those. All in all, this one is only minor annoyance now.
3. Tinkering with advanced SEO is tricky.
Wix does a lot of optimizing for you for SEO. They claim to optimize your images and increase your site speed with no work for you whatsoever. You can toggle specific site pages to be ignored by crawlers. While these features are nice, if you want to get into the nuts and bolts such as alter your site's robots.txt file, you will hit doors. They also did a few odd things, in my opinion. When titling blog text you get T1 and T2 options rather than the familiar H1, H2, and H3. Why change the familiar language? (T1 = H2 and T2 = H3, just for your reference.)
4. Troubleshooting is different on Wix.
I'm not sure if this really qualifies as a con, but I did find it weird. When I couldn't get my Pinterest URL to accept I tried to Google possible solutions and got . . . nothing. The Wix help center is like their apps. Streamlined so you're not bogged down with thousands of forums and badly answered questions, but if you don't see the answer to your problem, you're going to have to wait for someone to reply to your email. It took me about three or four days to fix my Pinterest button. The personal help was awesome, but it did feel slow not to be able to Google a solution.
5. No option to have a pdf download in a pop-up or in a blog post
Sometimes we bloggers want to include a pdf in our blog post for our readers to download and enjoy, or we want to offer a pdf immediately via a pop-up in an opt-in offer for subscribers. Currently, there is no option to do either. You can add file downloads to a page, so I send people to a place I've called the download library to download what they want. It works, but the more steps there are to get the product, the less likely people are to utilize what I offer.
So, the big question - would I recommend Wix?
Yes! And a little no.
Wix seems to base its goals on ease-of-use while maintaining an attractive, professional-looking site for everyone from bloggers to online stores to businesses. For the most part, I think they've achieved that.
The biggest, most important part of a blog is how it serves the viewers. I write for my readers after all! Wix allows me to craft them an easy-to-use site with a low-tech skill set. It looks pretty good for a newbie web page designer if I do say so myself. I've seen some rough-looking blogs on Wordpress. Going with the "big name" does not guarantee you a nice looking page unless you have the skills or patience.
If you want options for plugins and do want to go with the big name, I believe the new Gutenberg editor on Wordpress is a drop and drag format. A fellow blogger has given an in-depth, three-part review. Here is her Have Fun with the New Gutenburg Editor: Part One if you'd like to check it out.
I've seen some nice pop-up options on Wordpress blogs, as well as smoother comment options. Wordpress also gives you the option to 100% own your hosting, which some people like for the security of knowing no one can disable their site. (I've never heard of that actually happening, but feel free to share any horror stories of losing your blog in the comments!)
What platform do you use for your blog? Do you like it?