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  • Mark Redman

Can you really build a professional website with Wix.com

Updated: Jun 23

We specialise in building bespoke web development projects using world class 

software development tools, application services and cloud hosting technologies,

but sometimes the most simplest solution using the right tool for the job is required.




We build web based applications from the ground up, hand coding and designing platforms, user interfaces and use all sorts of front and back end technologies, techniques and best practices to deliver software solutions for ourselves and our customers. Having built and used many content management systems, we decided to build a website using Wix, From the outset we wanted to ;

  • Keep and open mind

  • See what value we get using a website builder (not disrespecting online website builders, but assuming a 'low cost' website)

  • Build an actual website, not just a test.

To test building websites using Wix, we replaced 2 hand-coded websites. The first website is www.brightertools.com


This website was created using the Wix ADI editor, this is the easiest way to build a website in Wix, where a template/design is selected and the builder ask for various details, we built the majority of the site was built in minutes. The site was then opened in the full editor to complete and customise the design.


This website is a very standard website with clear content blocks, where the concept of "Strips" to build a Wix site is clear to see and this used built in components to present the gallery etc.


In addition to standard components we integrated Tawk.to, a third party chat widget and google analytics.




The second website is www.mediamarkup.com


This website was created using the full Wix editor starting from from a blank template. The design was re-implemented from the existing website that was originally built and exported using WebFlow.


Wix websites follow a principle of using 'Strips' which are used to build up content sections within a site in blocks, this doesn't mean websites need to look "blocky". Implementing this fluid design mean't breaking down the elements into blocks, and using a combination of background and layered images.


In addition to standard components we integrated Tawk.to, a third party chat widget and google analytics.



Conclusions


Both site designs above were created using zero code, no JavaScript etc, where only the editor was used. There are some specific ways of doing things specific to Wix, but in general the editor is easy to use.


Like many things, expectation and limitations start becoming more realistic, in our case we are developers that are used to having to hand code everything without limits. Initially we saw many design elements to be used to build sites quickly, but in reality these are mostly starting points or ideas where elements really need to be adjusted and or built to implement the design and site you want to build or maintain some kind of consistency across the site. In the spirit of keeping an open mind, we worked with these limitations and implemented what we needed using the available tools, in these cases Wix has been the right tool for the job.


Did we achieve the value we expected? We have all seen the adverts to build websites at very low cost, the lowest cost for a Wix website (without ads) is currently £6 for a personal site. This is obviously great value considering the features, hosting and SSL certificate supplied with the site.

If we only factor in the above, yes this is great value, but this is not the end of the story... Building a new design, implementing an existing design or building a site by starting off with a template will take time to create, considering the overall layout of the template pages, interactive elements (web components/apps) and of course the content. We implemented real working websites (but very basic) and went for a business subscription. Admitting that we embraced Wix and made decisions based on the limitations we found, to keep things simple and get it done, and accepted that some things were not possible with custom code, the total cost to produce and host these less than, creating a development environment, hand coding, deploying to our hosting infrastructure and purchasing SSL certificates, I would say about 45% more cost effective. Given that these site are our sites, again this is not the end of the story... When building websites with a customer, we usually agree on an overall design, layout and there are usually specific interactive elements required or expected. Content is then provided over time, (rarely upfront, and usually the aspect that slows the project down.. sorry customers but this is true most of the time) with various change requests as the project moves along. This is usually where the real time consuming work is and if are implementing a site using Wix, although we can achieve more than we expected, there are limitations (without custom coding) and these expectations would need to be managed. Custom coding within Wix is possible and within the constraints of Wix, so bespoke development is slightly different, but overall the cost of producing a site would probably be the same as hand coded site., is this the end of the story.. nearly.. The production and deployment of a website is the "start" of a web project, websites need to be maintained; Hosting environments, updating content, renewing SSL certificates, supporting newer browsers and ideally grow with a business. There are a lot of web agencies using a preferred content management system (CMS) to implement websites, either self hosting or using hosted services and implementing new or off the shelf design templates. This is a valid process, however, we have found that implementing a CMS has a relatively short life in terms of its versioning, template support and how easily it might be to upgrade. If a CMS is not updated regularly, it becomes vulnerable to malicious hackers, and becomes increasingly harder to upgrade to the latest version as time goes by, in the past we had one case we used a CMS which was subsequently discontinued. Wix provides a full upgrade path to all sites and interactive elements, some seamlessly and some with optional upgrades, this means no CMS upgrades. SSL certificates are automatically applied and infrastructure improvements are updated on-going. These are huge benefits for most websites. So although production costs might be the same, a Wix site will be more cost effective over time. That's the end of this story.


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