One of the many great things about the internet is choice – if you search for ‘website design’ there are literally thousands of pages (millions of listings) of individuals and businesses offering to design and build your website. How on earth do you choose?
You need to decide what you want and how much time and money you have to spend. You can choose anything from ‘100% do-it-yourself’, where you are totally in control. You do everything, the cost is minimal – however, this is more complicated than you may think and is time-consuming, and although cheap to set up, can be costly if things go wrong and you need to pay for a web developer to solve any issues. The other end of the spectrum is the ‘All Inclusive package’, where companies will do everything for you.
They offer support when you need it, but you have no control at all. This is costly and for most small businesses it is not affordable. Most people are looking for something in between – small cost, minimal headache, and autonomy over their website.
There will always be compromises and consequences based on the way you choose to design and build your website. The way you choose to set up your business website today will have long-term consequences as to its:
- Functionality – is it easy for your potential customers to navigate? does it load quickly? is it intuitive?
- Versatility- Does it work across all platforms including Android, iPhone/iPad, pc, mac? Is it easy to view and quick to access across all those platforms?
- Brand – Does it properly reflect your brand? Your website is your virtual shop window and speaks volumes about your business – are you proud of your website? Does it say who you are and what you represent?
You must decide how much time you can dedicate to managing the website and your SEO, it is crucial to keep the site up to date. You can search for ‘best website builder’ ‘top website builder’, but ultimately you need the ‘right’ website builder for your business.
Why do I need to pay for a website, when I can have one for free with Wix?
Many of the website design companies, like Wix, claim to do it all for free. However, as with many things, when something looks too good to be true, it often is!
Wix does indeed offer to design and build your website for free, but there is a catch (or actually a number of them). Firstly, you would have to have a Wix subdomain (this means rather than yourwesbite.co.uk or yourwebsite.com, it would have to be yourwebsite.wix.com).
Secondly, your website would have to display Wix adverts, and this is true for some of the premium packages as well. Thirdly, your website would have limited functionality – you won’t be able to do much with it.
For some, these ‘catches’ aren’t a problem and are happy to make the compromise. However, you need to think about the long-term effects on your businesses and your brand.
The first two: having the Wix subdomain and the Wix adverts on your website highlight the fact that you have used Wix and haven’t put much effort (or money) into your own website – this can and does reflect on your brand and right there you are on the back foot with potential customers – your brand has already been damaged. The third catch: having limited functionality, this can and will affect the way potential customers use the website – if it isn’t easy or intuitive to navigate, they will leave – you may never get viewers past the landing page.
I want my own domain and better functionality, why wouldn’t I choose a Wix Premium Package?
Wix does offer premium packages, you have to commit to a year if you want the packages they advertise – if don’t want to commit to the year, you can have a monthly subscription.
The prices are not advertised for monthly subscription, but Wix do state that the Site Booster (drive more traffic to your website), Form Builder (create a web form for your website), a free domain (this is actually only free for 1 year with the monthly subscription and Wix does not tell you how much it would cost after that first year, or how much a monthly subscriber would pay) and ad vouchers are not included in the monthly subscriptions. (these vouchers are actually from Google to encourage businesses like Wix to get customers to set up and AdWords account – these don’t cost Wix anything, so the only reason to penalise the customer who only wants to commit to a month at a time is to make them sign up for at least a year).
It’s worth checking exactly what the packages offer you – it is only the top package that offers you support and the free domain is actually only for 1 year, after that, you will have to start paying for it. Another thing to consider is that regardless of how much you are paying each month, you do not have unlimited file storage – you could end up paying much more each month simply to store your data.
I want my business to be on the first page of Google. If I use Wix, will I be number 1?
The quick answer is no, but to be fair to Wix, no one can guarantee the number #1 spot on Google, unless you pay top dollar via Pay-Per-Click (PPC).
You need to make a decision about how you want to move up the ranking on Google.
The quick fix is AdWords – Google’s pay-per-click advertising. It is exactly what you think – you pay Google every time someone clicks on your advert. This can be extremely effective and delivers measurable ROI. You can quickly and easily see what is and what isn’t working, and decide which campaigns are actually working and returning ROI.
The long game is Organic SEO – This is the best choice for longevity, but it not just about choosing some keywords and hoping for the best. You need to make sure you have quality content, that all images have alt tags, good on-page optimisation and good knowledge of your competitors
Wix does offer an SEO Wiz tool free add-on which is designed to help you get your SEO right. It is OK as an add-on, but it isn’t something to rely upon to manage your SEO strategy as it will only help you with basic search engine ranking.
The most important thing to remember is that you need to have a strong SEO strategy which works as part of your overall marketing plan, without an SEO strategy, you can waste a lot of time and money trying to increase your search engine rankings, with little success. SEO is not just an add-on, it is a crucial part of your online business success.
You need to be thinking about: Who are you looking to attract, what age are they? Where do they live? What keywords are your competitors using? What is unique about your business? How are customers likely to search for you?
You also need to regularly update and amend your SEO strategy based on what people are searching. Like your marketing plan, your SEO strategy is an ever-evolving and should reflect the marketplace.
To Wix or not to Wix?
If you want an easy and quick to build a basic website, then Wix may offer the right solution for you.
- Wix websites respond quickly.
- Wix websites take a while to fully load (this is where you could lose visitors – people hate waiting for websites, they would rather go elsewhere than watch a loading screen).
- Wix gets you up and running relatively quickly and easily and have a range of templates for you to choose from.
You cannot change your template style or mix two styles together. The style you choose for your website is the one you will always have for that website – if you want to change a Wix template, you have to build a new site.
You can never leave. Well, you can, but your data and content can’t. The only way to move your data from Wix is to physically cut and paste to a new website – they have your money, they have you on a contract, they don’t want you to leave. Wix adds a short extra string to the URLs of blog posts and product pages which is not great for SEO rankings.
Wix will generate an automatic sitemap (a sitemap speeds up search engines indexations which keeps your indexed pages up to date), however, you are unable to access your Wix sitemap and can’t customise it for your needs. Although Wix provides a mobile editor to help your website be mobile friendly (very important), this feature is again, not customisable.
Canonical tags are not available with Wix. These tags show search engines that two pages offer the same content and that one should be considered over the other, avoiding duplication of content, this is very important for rankings.
So, is Wix right for you?
If you want a website that is different from hundreds of other businesses, which loads quickly, is versatile across all platforms, is fully SEO optimised and is easy for you to update, then Wix is probably NOT the solution for your business.
Unless you have a lot of spare time and good website knowledge, then look for someone who will design your website, taking your brand and business goals into consideration, will provide you with CMS so you can easily update your own pages, who will manage and regularly update your SEO for you and won’t tie you into any long-term contracts.
Consider all marketing channels including organic SEO, PPC, and social marketing, and have a good mix, make the most of your marketing budget and regularly update your marketing plan. If something isn’t working, change it!