Salina Mendoza, October 24, 2017
While Wix has dominated the web design space for many years, by no means is it the be-all end-all of website creation. There is no shortage of alternatives when it comes to website design platforms at your disposal.
Choosing the right website builder really comes down to what YOUR needs are, your level of design experience, code, and the amount of support you need to create your own website.
Speaking from experience, I’ve tried dozens of platforms and as much as people think they’re all the same, each one is very different. Wix didn’t work for my needs - and it might not for yours, either. Let’s dive into what I’ve been testing out over the last year.
PageCloud is the youngest website builder I've tried and by far the closest alternative to Wix. Over the past couple years, the two have been compared many times because of their adaptive approach to mobile websites and their “what you see is what you get” editors (WYSIWYG).
When it comes to PageCloud, it’s the small things that make it stand out as a platform, like how everything can be fully customized.
Instead of designing via multiple clicks, excessive dropdowns and pop-ups, you get a smooth, drag-and-drop experience that mimics desktop tools like Powerpoint, Keynote, InDesign or Photoshop.
Adding pictures, videos and apps has never been easier. You can simply drag and drop from your desktop—never upload anything again. Even better, PageCloud’s automatic image optimization means you’ll never have to waste time resizing an image—your website will always load as fast as possible for every screen.
If you’re not a fan of rigid templates and want a custom website that gives you complete control over your content, PageCloud is an excellent tool.
Even though Squarespace is often compared to Wix (because of similar market size), the tools offer completely different editing experiences. Squarespace’s technology ensures users don’t “break their site” by limiting creation to simple content changes (text, pictures and videos) within a predetermined layout. (There is not a lot of layout flexibility here.)
Although this limitation has caused frustration amongst several past customers (including me), Squarespace has found a way to address this limitation by offering dozens of beautiful template options for almost every business type.
If you're looking to get a great looking website up and running quickly - and don’t think you’re going to be making any layout changes - Squarespace might be for you.
Weebly is another website builder that’s been around for years, and often gets tossed into comparisons with Wix because of its large web presence.
When you look at Weebly’s editing experience, you’ll quickly notice a trend where your content is stuffed into predetermined spaces in a grid. Although it’s not as constraining as Squarespace, it’s a very different experience than what is offered by visual site builders like Wix or PageCloud.
As you look to customize your website, Weebly gives you an array of elements to add from basic text and image galleries, to more advanced things like a search box or ecommerce.
At first glance, you wouldn’t think of Webflow as an alternative to WIx. However, keep in mind that not all website builders have the end customer in mind!
Webflow understood that there are tons of pro designers looking to build websites for customers who don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for a custom-coded website by a developer.
Webflow’s goal is to empower experienced designers with a tool that replicates the advanced functionality found in design tools like Photoshop or InDesign. This comes into direct competition with the Wix Arena, a marketplace that connects users with Wix designers to help build a site.
The distinction here is clear: Wix is a simple tool that anyone can use to build a website for themselves or someone else (with limited customizations). Webflow on the other hand is a pro tool, geared towards experienced designers and developers to help them create responsive websites for their clients.
If you’ve never heard of WordPress (ha!) here is a fun fact - WordPress powers 28% of the internet. So, if you’re going to look for an alternative to Wix, you have to include the world’s biggest CMS on your list.
Here’s the deal: WordPress (WP) has two options: WordPress.org which is the original open-source CMS intended for developers and WordPress.com, the newer offering geared towards less experienced users.WP became popular due to its very inexpensive blogging and hosting capabilities. It’s praised by developers, because it gives them complete control over everything “under the hood” of a website.
WP also made a splash with small business owners by offering tens of thousands of template options with almost as many plugins and apps. The only issue is that customizations are just about impossible if you don’t know how to code. You want to make a layout change to your website? Sure, no problem - just send it over to your local developer who will be happy to charge you between $50 - $150/ hour to make basic changes.
Don’t get me wrong, WP is a very powerful tool! It's the platform of choice for some of the largest brands in the world, and is very inexpensive to get a site up and running. The only issue is the lack of customization options available and the cost to change a site if you’re not a seasoned developer.
If you end up choosing WP as a Wix alternative, chances are Wix was never right for you to begin with—they sit at opposite ends of the spectrum.
There are tons of Wix alternatives available for every project type. For basic websites, PageCloud is the closest thing to Wix and offers the most flexibility for novices and advanced designers alike.
The most important thing is to ask yourself questions before you choose a platform to make sure you don’t run into problems down the road.