There’s a time and a place for everything. For some people, Wix is the right fit. If you’re a personal blogger, or a startup photographer Wix may be a really good option. For most small businesses, it is not. Especially if you rely at all on search traffic for people to find your business.
The honest truth is, Wix is not good for SEO, and they’re not a good solution for most business sites. They do have SEO tools built in, and they have made improvements over the year to make them better for SEO, but they still have major problems which cause us to urge business to stay far, far away.
First, the Good
We do want to be straightforward and honest. Website builders like Wix aren’t all bad. There’s a reason people like to use them. Really, there’s three big reasons that people like to use Wix websites, and we get it.
- Cost – There is a free version of Wix that you can upgrade to a “premium” version. This can save you a lot of money. So, if you’re just building a site to support a hobby, this is great. You can have a nice website and keep your costs minimal.
- Nice Templates – The templates available through Wix are fairly nice. There’s a good chance that you’ll find something you resonate with and can use. This library also regularly expands, so you have plenty of options. Great if you’re not a designer!
- Easy to Use – You don’t need to have any kind of development knowledge to design a website with Wix. It’s mostly drag and drop. This is probably the biggest advantage to the platform. It’s quick, requires no experience, and you look like you have a legitimate website in no time!
There are also free “SEO tools” that are a part of the platform. There have been improvements to them, and they cover the basics. Unfortunately, most businesses need more than the bare minimum.
Next, Why Wix Is Bad for SEO
Unfortunately, that’s about where the good ends. There are multiple problems that Wix creates for businesses besides the SEO issues. Here is why we don’t feel comfortable recommending Wix:
Site Speed Is Poor
Google has been officially using site speed as a ranking factor for a while now (and even as a factor in Google Ads!), and most people realize how important it is. People don’t wait the extra 2 seconds for the microwave to finish, do you think that they’re going to wait 4 extra seconds for your website to load? Of course not. And unfortunately there is a lot of bloat in the code on Wix sites that cause them to load slowly.
What’s truly appalling is how Wix tries to get around this. They have created their own site speed test, claiming Google’s PageSpeed Insights is incorrect (first of all, conflict of interest…). Let’s pretend for a second that they are correct (even though they are not). Google is the one determining your position in the search engine results based on their metrics. What Wix says doesn’t matter. Wix could say your site loads in a tenth of a second. If Google says it loads in 5 seconds, guess which of those numbers is going to be used to determine your position? The description below alone is enough to be very skeptical of Wix websites (they’re too convoluted for other software to figure out when the page is loaded?), but also enough to create significant distrust for Wix.
No Access to Critical Files
File access is limited in Wix. This means you can’t view and customize sitemaps, update your .htaccess file, or other configurations that are common in SEO. While the average person may not be doing much with these on their site, these are files which agencies and professionals very often do use. Wix needlessly limits file access, which can cause greater frustration and minimize customization.
For example, we recently needed to create a significant number of redirects for a website. The fix wound up being 15 minutes of creating and testing a regular expression, adding to the .htaccess file, and uploading to the site. Doing one by one redirects in Wix would have taken hours and hours.
Structured Data Issues
Structured data is markup that helps search engines and other bots understand the data on your website. It’s an important part of SEO, and can get a little complicated (again, something the average person may not be worried as much about, but anyone that is trying to rank their website for search engines is). It helps show non-traditional elements in search engine results as well (think recipes, reviews, thumbnails, etc.). Technically, yes, you can add structured data through Wix. Can you do it well? No. Wix admits that you cannot add multiple structured data elements to a page. Even adding it can be tricky, and Wix isn’t great at keeping up with updates.
Wix makes things easy by allowing you to simply drag and drop to create a site. Unfortunately, this also means that your stuck with the limitations of the tools at hand. There is very little in customization offered, and any significant customization requires external tools to be imported, if possible at all. This goes for design, code, functionality – anything.
You’re Stuck with Them
This is one of the most frustrating things about Wix. You have the illusion that you “own” your website. Functionally, it’s much more like “renting” your website. If you ever want to leave, you can’t take what you have with you. There’s no export or download. Your files are hosted by them. From their website, “Your Wix site and all of its content is hosted exclusively on Wix’s servers, and cannot be exported elsewhere.” So basically, they try to trap you with them. This is not a good long-term solution if you plan on expanding your business at all, or ever have thoughts of increasing your web presence. There are some tools which can help the transition process, but it’s not perfect – and Wix likes it that way.
In Short, Wix Is a Hard Pass
You’ve probably heard that Wix used to be bad for SEO, but has made major improvements. The honest truth is, that’s half correct. Wix really has made major adjustments to help increase viability for SEO (like enabling customization of basic meta data – yes, you really couldn’t do that before). However, in 2021, it is still not a viable platform for a business that plans on growing.
If you’re looking to rebuild or revamp your website, we highly recommend WordPress for most businesses, but there are certainly exceptions. While we don’t handle most website projects ourselves, we have a network of agencies that we fully trust and work with on a regular basis. Just reach out to us and let us know your needs, and we’ll connect you with an agency that’s right for you and will give you a site you are proud of.