Now just before I start, this article may sound a little like I am just bashing one of my competitors but nothing could be further from the truth. I LOVE WIX! Why?Because they regularly send me new clients who have fallen for their less than honest advertising.
Ok so back to the question at hand "Is Wix Really Free?"
Yes and no. I know you have probably heard the old saying "If it sounds too good to be true it probably is" these sayings have been around for hundreds of years because they nearly always carry a truth.
If you want to simply put up a few pages of information on the web, perhaps a hobby site or a family page then Wix is probably a very good way to go.
If you want a website for your business BEWARE!!! Wix is not what it seems. Yes the basic account is free, however, it is not a good choice for a business website for MANY reasons that I will cover below.
Any good business person that sees a service offered "Free" knows that the company offering that service HAS to be making money somewhere. Hosting websites and running expensive TV ads costs Wix PLENTY of money so how ARE they making their money?
They are reeling customers in with "Free" and then selling them apps to add functionality to the VERY basic free accounts.
1. Cost (This will be the longest explanation)
This is the thing that attracts most people to Wix, it advertises the BEST cost of all FREE!
Good marketing perhaps, but not strictly true if you want a REAL business website. When you start adding BASIC functions that come free with custom built websites Wix start hitting you with little extra subscription charges that quickly add up to a significant monthly spend. I am not talking about bells and whistles here I am talking about the basic tools that an effective business website needs.
As an example let's look at a few things you WILL end up paying for monthly that you would not have to pay if you just invested one time having a real website built.
In red will be the Wix price in green the price my company 3001 web charges. We build custom, fully functional websites that our clients own themselves.
Wix £0 Our Price From £350 One time
Wix wins! Or do they? You will need to build your site yourself, that involves time and probably plenty of it. Designing a website THAT WORKS for a business requires more than the time, it also requires knowledge. You can learn most of the things you would need to design a good site online but that's more time required and a learning curve.
Anyone who tells you can pop up a quick site and people will come, buy, sign up or join (depending on your desired results) is deceiving you or at very least not giving you the full picture.
Are you aware of web design standards? Usability? In other words what will get the best results from your site visitors, what they expect from a website what they don't like? Do you know the do's and don'ts that could get your site penalised in Google's search results? Do you know about sales or enquiry funnels, calls to action and the many other things required to REALLY make a business website get results for you? Do you know what size, colour, and font your text should be? Do you know if you get that bit wrong people will not stay on your site as long as they would if you got it right? Do you know how fast your website needs to be to maximise your visitor numbers?
Probably not, this is not a dig at you, why would you know the 101 little things that can make or break your website if you don't design them for a living? THAT is what you pay for when you pay a web designer, the experience, the guidance and the help. They will know all these things and more. The issue here is Wix won't guide you on site design they will just show you a template that has been used by thousands of other people and let you edit it.
Buying A Domain Name
Wix £12 Per Year+ £2.55 a month to connect it to your Wix Site.
Our Price £10.99 Per Year + £0 per month.
A domain name is the www.mysite.com your site is known by. They are rented yearly from a domain registrar. Note here to attach a domain name to your Wix site you will pay an extra monthly fee, yes it looks small at £2.55 a month but it actually means you are paying £42.60 per year for your own domain name instead of just £10.99 and your site will STILL be covered in Wix ads.
Wix (they call it premium account) 3GB Space £5.16 per month
Our Price: Our smallest account is 5GB Space £9.99 per month
On the face of it they win here but read on we haven't started with their extras yet. Do you need to upgrade? With your free account, you get up to 500MB of storage and up to 500MB bandwidth (this is like data on your phone) this is NOT enough to run a website the average home page is 2MB in size so assuming everyone only looks at your home page 250 visitors in one month and you are out of bandwidth and upgrading to a paid account.
Now they have you, you are not going to move after spending all that time building your site so you pay every month or close your site. Getting it yet?
Email Form Builder
Wix Free/ £2.77 a month
Our Price FREE unlimited forms unlimited uses
Yes, they offer a free version but you are limited to just 8 different forms and 100 uses per month. Hard for us to believe this one. You need to be sure your clients can contact you as many times as they like.
We provide an excellent free form builder for you with no limits.
Wix Free/£2.77 per month
Our Price: Free
Wix calendar limited to 5 events on display. So, in reality, a working calendar is £2.77 a month. With us, you can easily install one yourself with a few clicks or we will install it for you for a one time fee of £5 there will be no limitations on use and no monthly fees.
Wix Free/£2.76 a month
Our Price: Free Included with design no fees.
More nonsense, the free version is limited to 10 comments. This is a BASIC functionality that they are charging for EVERY MONTH!
Wix Free/ Starts at £11 per month
Our Price: Free with e-commerce site design package
Free version at Wix limited to 10 products (not much of an online store) then you are into monthly fees bear in mind the £11 is a "STARTS AT" price, as your store grows they will want more. If we design an e-commerce site for you the store is included in that one off design fee.
If you have an info site with us and want to add a shop later we would bill you just once for the time it would take us to install and configure the shopping cart system for you. No monthly fees.
Wix Free/£3.47 a month
Our Price FREE included
This makes me laugh again this is bare bones functionality they should NOT be charging for. Free version 30 searches limitation really? I could use that all on my own what about your other visitors?
Site search is included in all our sites free, if you want something fancier like a show matching products as you type kind of functionality there are plugins that can be bought for as little as £10 one time fee.
Our Price FREE
With our sites, when you create your pages you paste in the URL of the video you want to display on a page or product page and the player automatically appears. Basic functionality NO CHARGE.
Wix Free/From £2.89 a month
Our Price: Stats free with hosting
Again basic functionality we provide free AW stats with all hosting accounts. If you want more in-depth stats from your site there are free and paid plugins available for one-off small fees.
Wix £6.94 per month
Our Price: One-Off Plugin install £10 or install yourself free
If you have an e-commerce site with us then downloads can be sold by the shopping cart as well as physical products so there would be no charge there.
Wix From £13.21 a month
Our Price: One-off installation £20 / Free if you install yourself
This is live chat whereby your customers can chat to you from directly from your site.
Simple Google Maps
Wix Free/£1.56 a month
Our Price FREE
Again basic free functionality with a real website.
Social Media Like Buttons
Our Price Free
Included in ALL our designs free
This list goes ON and ON basic functionalities that they will charge you for EVERY month.
Based on the short example above (and it is nothing major) Wix will be charging you £ 60.99 a month. After you pay for your design ONCE we would be charging you £9.99 a month. Don't let a one-off design fee put you off having a real site built, it is much cheaper than "free" with a dozen apps you pay for every month.
THIS is how Wix makes their money and the inflated prices you pay for BASIC functionality will fund all the free sites of people who do not want much functionality.
2. Branding And Originality
Building a site at Wix you will be using a template that thousands of other people have used to build their site. This hardly reflects well on your company or brand. For a one-off design fee and much lower monthly payments, we would build you a unique custom site.
Another thought on their free offering, if you build a business website covered in "built with Wix" ads everyone knows that is free. What do you think your customers might think when they see you do not even value your own business enough to invest in a modern custom website?
3. Limited Customisation Options
Forgetting the monthly pricing of Wix apps for adding functionality, you are also limiting your choices. At the time of writing this article Wix have 260 apps. There are literally TENS OF THOUSANDS of plugins for WordPress websites to achieve almost any functionality you can dream of.
If a functionality does not exist in a plugin you can have a coder write a plugin for you, not possible using a system like Wix.
4. You do not own your site.
In fact, I will go one step further and say you don't actually HAVE a website. You have a group of pages on Wix's website with a domain name pointing at them.
If 6 months from now you decide you want to leave for any reason, you can not just move your site to another company. It is built on THEIR own technology rather than a widely used platform like WordPress. If you ever want to leave their service or they stop offering the support you need you are well and truly stuck. To move you will have to pay a web designer to copy all the data from your site and move it to a new platform. That may be VERY expensive.
I get it, I do, we all like a freebie but is the online face of your business the right place for a freebie?
Do the maths over the first five years of your business
In Green Custom site including a £350 design fee, domain name and £9.99 a month hosting fee.
In Red Free Wix site using the basic functionalities we listed above
Year 1 £480.77 £731.88
Year 2 £130.87 £731.88
Year 3 £130.87 £731.88
Year 4 £130.87 £731.88
Year 5 £130.87 £731.88
Totals £1004.25 £3659.40