WordPress has been around for a long time and is a popular choice for many who are looking to build their own websites from scratch. Wix, on the other hand, has quickly gained popularity thanks to its ease of use, and of course, the company's well-placed marketing strategies.
In this review, I'll compare these two awesome website builders, and hopefully by the end of it, you’ll be able to decide which website builder is the best for you as an indie author.
Without further ado…
Prices and Costs
The costs involved in building and maintaining a website are a major consideration for anyone trying to set up their own site. Of course, these costs will vary, but you can definitely find one within your budget as an indie author.
Wix is completely free to start with, but before you decide to jump in, there are a few downsides to the free version of the platform.
Firstly, you won't be able to use a custom domain name using the free version, so you'll get something like username.wix.com/sitename. Secondly, your site will show Wix advertisements at the top and bottom of the website. And thirdly, you won't get some important web tools, such as Google Analytics, eCommerce, or Favicons, but these features may or may not be important to you, so that's definitely something to think about.
For better Wix features, you’ll need to upgrade to the premium version, with the most affordable option being the unlimited plan at £9.50 a month. However, if you're really serious about treating your writing career as a business, there's the eCommerce plan at £13 a month.
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WordPress, on the other hand, is free to use for anyone, which begs the question, why?
Well, while the platform is an open source, you'll need your own hosting and web domain, therefore technically removing Wordpress' 'free' badge. There are many WordPress hosting providers, each with their own service fee, but of course, some are more affordable than others.
However, to keep costs low, hosting providers like Bluehost will charge £2.05 a month. And what’s more, you get a free custom domain as well!
Other WordPress hosting providers like WP Engine will cost £18 a month, so it's worth shopping around to find the cheapest and best for you as an indie author.
Keep in mind that the cost of maintaining your website will increase when you install premium WordPress themes. That said, you always have the option of the free ones if you're not too bothered about having a specific design. But if you want to create a recognisable brand around your books, it may be more beneficial to use a unique theme that suits you.
WordPress is the clear winner when it comes to the flexibility of web hosting services. Plus, users can use their WordPress in any way they like that fits their budget, but definitely investigate both Wix and Wordpress to assess which option would suit you better.
You never know, Wix may be the one for you despite Wordpress being slightly cheaper!
Ease of Use
Many people who are building their website for the first time don’t have any coding experience and would prefer an easier way to set up their websites. The great thing is that both Wix and WordPress allow you to build your website without any coding experience or graphic design skills.
But... which is the better of the two when it comes to ease of use?
Wix offers a drag and drop interface that lets you build your website with ease, so you can simply pick an element of your choice and drag and drop it wherever you want. The WYSIWYG interface allows you to edit everything in the way you want as well, so you don't need to worry that once you've dragged and dropped, that's it!
When I created my website for Stand Corrected Editing, I used Wix and found it super easy. I'd never built a website before and had no skills in graphic design, or even art, but Wix's designing interface made it ridiculously easy!
WordPress comes with a block editor that lets you edit different pages using a live preview. The blocks let you create and edit things like headings, buttons, background images, and galleries.
You also have access to thousands of themes, which you can also customise in any way you like.
Not forgetting that WordPress has some pretty nice drag and drop plugins that provide you with even more website-building options.
When it comes to ease of use, both Wix and WordPress perform really well. They both offer super easy ways to set up a website and require no coding experience, so you'll (hopefully!) be stress-free if you choose either option for your indie author platform.
A lot of website builders are looking for a platform that comes with a blog as regularly blogging is a must for many people, especially authors who need to connect with their audience. Both Wix and WordPress offer great options for bloggers.
But which one is best for indie authors?
With Wix, you can quickly and easily add a blog section on your site with all the basic features you might need, including videos and photos. Take a look at my blog to give you an idea of how yours could look!
That being said, the writing interface uses plain text, therefore offering limited options when it comes to formatting the blog, so if you're 100% set on having a blog you can customise, Wix may not be the right fit for you. The only thing I've been able to customise on my blog is the font, but that side of things didn't bother me too much!
WordPress was initially designed as a platform for bloggers but was later changed to a website builder, so users get all the blogging features they need, including the Glutenberg editor, which would let you create stunning layouts for the blog...something you wouldn't get with Wix, I'm afraid.
As a blogging platform, it's clear who the winner is - WordPress. Wix lacks some important blogging features and can be a little too basic for some users, but as mentioned above, WordPress offers the Gutenberg blog editor, which would help you to truly make your blog your own.
However, it all depends on how fancy you want your blog to be, or how important blogging is to you as an indie author.
When I launched Stand Corrected Editing using Wix, I knew I wanted to blog regularly, but I wasn't too bothered about having a fancy theme. As long as I could write an unlimited number of blog posts that looked decent enough, that's all that mattered at the time.
I've read stories about many bloggers who started off using Wix and later switched to Wordpress out of regret, but I honestly don't have any regrets about using Wix due to its simplicity.
As you're an indie author, you may already have a backlog of published novels, so it's important for you to have a diverse selection of apps and plugins that can help you set up an attractive online store, boost traffic and make sales.
So, how do Wix and WordPress compare?
If you're looking to build a website on a limited budget, Wix may not be for you as you only get e-commerce features with Wix's paid plans, so you'll only be able to set up a proper store on the website if you opt for the premium option.
However, if you decide that Wix is for you, you may find it useful to know that Wix lets you take payments using their own payment system, but you could also opt for third-party ones, such as PayPal, if you preferred. But let’s say you decided to go with Wix payments - they'd charge 2% of the value of each transaction you make. While this percentage may seem like a trivial amount, the more your sales, the more substantial this fee becomes.
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WordPress gives you access to WooCommerce, which is the most popular eCommerce platform that could help you create your online store. Plus, you can also get access to more eCommerce plugins that let you optimise the store and let you sell digital & physical goods, events and services.
So, this could come in super handy if you have a few published books already!
WordPress together with WooCommerce offers a broader range of options and plugins compared to Wix, but if you're not necessarily looking to sell your books on an online store, and are happy selling your books on Amazon, don't rule Wix out completely!
If you're just after a website to promote yourself as an indie author, you may not need the e-commerce feature at all.
The Design and Layout
The design and layout features of any website can be the difference between success and failure, so it needs to look appealing to your audience, and more importantly, it should be easy to navigate.
Wix offers over 900 templates that you can choose from, and all of them are made from HTML, making them really responsive. You can also use Wix tools to further customise the designs of the templates to your liking.
However, there's a minor drawback that may or may not put you off. As soon as you've officially chosen a template, you won't be able to change it for another one. Sure, you can customise it, but you can't change it.
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With WordPress, you have access to thousands of both free and paid themes. The free templates have a few limitations, but the paid templates have far more features, so it depends how advanced you want your indie author website to be.
Also, unlike Wix, users can also change the theme of their website whenever they like, so if you choose one you really like now but fancy a change six months later, you can choose another one.
WordPress offers many more template options and themes compared to Wix, and users can also change their themes whenever they like and customise them in any way they desire.
As a result, Wordpress seems to be a clear winner, but despite our findings here, you may actually prefer Wix for your indie author website, so do play around with both before you make a decision.
Apps and Plugins
Depending on your experience with website building or the general jargon of websites, you may not know exactly what plugins are or how apps work in relation to a website, so here's a brief explanation - plugins and apps are extensions that you can add to your website for even more options regarding functionality and features.
With Wix, they're called apps, and with WordPress, they're called plugins.
Wix offers over 200 free apps, which can range from social media apps to email marking...
...whereas Wordpress offers over 58,000 free plugins. Not to mention that they also have plenty of premium ones as well if you decide to pay more for your website.
Again, WordPress is the clear winner when it comes to plugins due to the vast amount on offer, but again, if you're unlikely to find a use for these plugins and apps as an indie author, you may be happy with Wix, which I have to admit, is a lot simpler to use than Wordpress.
The Pros and Cons of Wix and WordPress
So, after all of that, we come to the list of pros and cons of Wix and Wordpress, which may help you to evaluate which website builder might suit you better as an indie author.
Pros of WordPress
Offers a huge variety of templates and themes
Easy to change themes and upgrade the site
Well suited to blogging and eCommerce
Search engine optimisation is much easier on WordPress
Cons of WordPress
It's not as a user-friendly as Wix and can be challenging for newbies
WordPress can prove costly when using premium themes and plugins
Doesn’t offer the best security features and can be a prime target for cybercrime
Requires frequent updates for proper functionality
Pros of Wix
Wix has excellent site load speed and site-building capabilities
Users can use the Wix app market to expand site features
Users get access to upgraded templates and themes
Intuitive and simple-to-use interface
Users can easily switch over to long term plans at any time
Cons of Wix
The starter plans show apps on the website page, making the website look less professional
Users don’t get access to unlimited plans
Some people find that the drag and drop features hinder their creativity
Wix doesn’t offer the best or easiest SEO features
While Wix is a good option for setting up a website, it's still yet to offer as much as Wordpress in terms of features, the number of plugins and level of flexibility. Granted, Wix is easy to build and set up, but you'll be able to do more with WordPress if that's what you're looking for as an indie author.
However, I used Wix to build my website, and I haven't had any problems. I had never built a website before, so the idea of using Wordpress with all its technicalities felt a little overwhelming - I just wanted a ready-made template that I could customise, and that's what Wix allowed me to do.
Yes, all the top bloggers use Wordpress and sell the idea of having a self-hosted website, but as an indie author, what do you actually need?
It's definitely worth investigating both platforms and deciding which one is best for you and your needs!
I really hope this article helped and gave you a little more insight into both platforms. If you're swaying more towards Wix but have a few questions, feel free to send me an email and I'll try to help you! I've been using Wix for several years now, so I've got used to it and love it!
- Speak soon,
Hey! I'm Chelsea and I'm a professional book editor at Stand Corrected Editing, my independent editorial business in the UK. If you would like to have your manuscript thoroughly edited by myself, please get in touch!
With my book editing and proofreading services, I hope to spread my knowledge and expertise on how to make your novel a success, and be a mentor to others who desperately want to pursue a fruitful career as an author!