Is a site builder (like WIX) really the cheapest way to build a website?
Using WIX as a case study:
Well known and easy to use there are many website builders out there. But is it really the cheapest way to build a website? The answer is both yes ..and no..
Most people look for a quick website solution either at the time when starting a business. Or, when marketing efforts need a boost, their current website is out of date or they just don’t have one.
Other decisions center around what sort of website to have. i.e. An informational /blog website, an online store, etc.. Let’s take a look at a popular option as an example. WIX, can do it all to build anything you may need and there’s the choice of free or paid for solutions.
The down side of a free option
So at a cost effective start, you can go for the free option. You’ll get all the design features you will need, and even get it published online. But there is a down side to sticking with the free plan- Adverts on your site.. Which are out of your control as to what will be advertised. This can distract your website visitors in a bad way. The free option offers connection of your site to a web address that is not your own and will look something like:
Paid for option
To get an add-free solution and your own web address (or domain name), you will need to sign up with a paid for plan. There are multiple pricing options with prices starting from about $4.50*. At current exchange rates, this is anywhere from R 83* per month.
Beware the hidden costs though..
WIX auto renewal is automatically set once you’ve signed up. You’ll need to head on over to settings to disable it for better cost control. The “cancel now” feature is also a bit misleading. What this feature does is make sure your auto renewal is deactivated by renewal date.
The below graph shows some basic differences between WIX and most web agencies
A universal truth
Like many providers, signing up an annual paid for plan includes a domain name at no extra cost for the first year. It is important that this annual payment is always made on time. If your domain name expires, it goes back to open market for someone else to register it. For this reason, WIX includes domains to be set to auto renew so keep in mind this extra cost. In their case, this can mean a separate annual charge from your monthly billing. After that, your domain renewal is set to auto renew.
Some of the WIX premium apps cost extra to use and are included in the auto renew. So if you discontinue use of a particular paid for app, be sure to deactivate it in the auto renew settings.
Also, if you really like your WIX site you have built but wish to use another hosting provider ..you can’t. WIX is built to run ONLY on their servers. This is probably the most undesirable part about WIX
The WIX verdict
WIX is a reliable solid solution with many features. But do be aware that using WIX premium comes at a dollar price. In our local currency it’s a, “measure twice cut once” philosophy as we have all had to become cost saving gurus with our time and money. What’s more is your web hosting – that is, the place where your website is stored and accessed from – and support is far away in another part of the world.
At Webworks, there was a time in our past where sites were hosted in the US. This was back when local hosting infrastructures were on a see saw of either being unreliable or really really expensive. Since then a lot has changed. Hosting prices in SA are very reasonable and so, we too host locally. With business being tough and all, I have seen that local providers seem to offer spectacular support service compared to overseas providers (timezone dependent). What can I say.. Us South Africans know how to be hard (and proud) workers.
Tips to building a free website
There are many many solutions out there to build a free website. For best results some paid for tools (stating with your own domain) is encouraged. The other thing is time. It takes a fair amount of time to build a website that has well written content, a clear description of your product / service offerings and how web visitors can get in touch with you. Another important factor is design. It must look professional, match your brand and content should not appear cluttered. In short, you must ask yourself, “Will my website still look professional in 3 – 5 years?”.
*Disclaimer: The prices shown in the above article were correct at the time of writing. Aside from varying exchange rates, WIX is currently going through a period of testing prices. Plans you find on the Wix pricing page may be different from ones described here.