What is better for building a website for a small business or a blog: Weebly or Wix or WordPress?
Overall, this post is a look at the pros and cons of an Open Source platform like WordPress.org vs a company owned website like Weebly or Wix.
I’ve hosted websites on each of these platforms for several years.
While WordPress.org is more challenging to set up and learn, the SEO, features, and reduced cost make it the clear winner.
Why Weebly and Wix Are Limited
Weebly and Wix have one central company which releases all their features. Squarespace would fall under this category as well. There may be a few external developers that can add tools, but the entire platform is built and managed by one central company.
When I suddenly had a feature that I needed on Wix and asked when they would release it, the response I received was
“We have no plans to release that feature at this time”
There is a plug in for everything imaginable on WordPress. The entire platform is built around plugins that solve different solutions.
WordPress reports that it’s website has over 50,000 plug ins.
Meanwhile Wix has around 250 Wix apps and Weebly has a little over 400. While 250-500 sounds like a lot, many of the apps are paid, and there’s very few choices.
Want to display social icons? You’ve got 2 apps to choose from and only one free option.
You can definitely create all sorts of insane or complex websites on WordPress using only free plugins. And there aren’t any features where you’ll need to wait to see when the company decides to add it.
Think of Wix and Weebly like one app on your phone, only WordPress is the App Store.
Open source vs Designed By a Company
WordPress is an open-source framework for building websites. It’s not one central company that comes out with all the features and add-ons. There is a whole community of developers who are contributing to WordPress.
What is open source? It means that the source code is free and openly available. It’s not owned by one parent company. Thousands of individuals can work on improving it. To get a more in-depth description of open source, take a look at the description from Opensource.org.
Wix and Weebly are both more expensive than WordPress. WordPress itself is FREE. However, you’ll still need to pay for hosting and the domain. With Wix and Weebly, they include the hosting and domain with the overall cost.
With WordPress I get my hosting and domain for around $65 a year. For a cheaper cost, I’ve found A2 hosting is best, but Cloudways is the best combination of fast speed and great great price.
For Wix the price range is between $168 a year and $468 a year.
The issue I ran into with Weebly and Wix is I would think I only needed a basic plan. But pretty quickly, I would need one feature (like adding a pixel or accepting an online payment) and I would need spend an extra several hundred a year on a more expensive plan.
Wix and Weebly do have free options where your website url has includes their brand name and there’s ads for their website and very limited features. But, it’s not wise to use this professionally. It doesn’t inspire any trust or confidence and the feature set is too limited for businesses.
If the servers Wix or Weebly go down you’re relying on them to get your website back up. While any web host can go down, the ability to choose any host you want, pick a reliable host, and switch hosts if you’re unhappy make WordPress more reliable.
While Wix or Weebly could go out of business, WordPress is open source and created by a ever changing group of people who update it. WordPress can’t go out of business and will be around for a long time. It’s the #1 website builder in the world and his a big advantage in terms of reliability.
Ease of Use
Initially, it’s easier to build webpages in Wix and Weebly. It’s simpler to drag and drop everything on the page.
If you use a page builder on WordPress like Elementor or Thrive Architect (Thrive is my Favorite), you can visually build pages nearly as easily.
When creating more complex design, WordPress actually becomes MUCH easier.
At first it seems nice that Wix and Weebly are drag and drop where you can place things anywhere. But, as you try and adjust your page to fit all types of screen sizes, it becomes a nightmare getting it to look great. The right way to create webpages to get them to display properly is to use containers. That’s the default using a tool like Thrive Architect.
WordPress.org is also so common that it’s easier to hire a professional to fix problems or update your website.
How Good are They for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
In order to rank on Google, SEO is important. The famous SEO expert Neil Patel did a full SEO breakdown and found that WordPress offers more flexibility with creating sitemaps, metadata, split testing (testing 2 titles and seeing which performs best), and options to boost page speed (a ranking factor) make it a pretty clear winner of Wix and Weebly.
What Permissions do They Offer?
You may need to hire some to work on your website. You may need to give someone access to do different functions on the website. OneWordPress.org people can have access to be a:
On Wix, you have the following permissions:
- Admin (Co-Owner)
- Website Manager
- Website Designer
- Back Office Manager
- Billing Manager
- Domains Manager
- Payments Manager
- Blog Editor / Writer
- Bookings Admin
- Bookings Staff Member
- Events Check-In Assistant
- Store Manager
On Weebly, you can only choose admin on the lower plans and editor or admin on more expensive plans.
Weebly is clearly at a disadvantage here. And while may seem like Wix has way more options than WordPress, Wix houses everything related to hosting, domains, shops, and online shops, whereas in WordPress you’d grant access to other vendors via your host or other plugins. Both give you complete control over who can access each area of your website.
Recommendations: Is there ever a time where it makes more sense to use Weebly or Wix for Small Business.
The main benefit is you can create a good looking site quickly with Wix or Weebly. You don’t need to research hosts, domains, and download and install WordPress. I believe it is only the best option if you want a basic and temporary website to just let people know who you are and what you do.
Every time I worked to grow, create more pages, and increase SEO, I ran into challenges with company owned solutions. But, for basic simple websites, Weebly and Wix can be a good place to get started.
If you really want to grow your traffic and create a website that brings in significant business, I would jump directly to WordPress.
However, if it’s anything related to the business that needs to run online campaigns and make money from the website as well, you won’t find many features on Wix or Weebly.
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