Wix.com: Host & Builder for Starting Your Blog-wip
If you want to start a blog but aren’t sure where to start, Wix just might be your best buddy. You can start with a simple blog and then expand out into a full-fledged website or an online store later.
Although Wix appears focused on business websites, blogs are well-supported with lots of wizards and built-in help for even the newest of newbies.
A Blogger’s Site Builder
Wix is a drag-and-drop site builder that’s easy to use and blogger-friendly. It lets you create exactly what you want, so don’t worry that you’ll be required to create an online store in order to start a blog.
Founded in 2006 by Avishai Abrahami, Nadav Abrahami, and Giora Kaplan, and now hosting hundreds of thousands of websites in 190+ countries around the world, Wix is a great example of internet success. They boast of keeping the “techy processes behind the curtain” so your blogging process remains simple. Everything on your blog is created via a drag-and-drop builder, with mockups showing you exactly how updates will look when published.
The company is based in Tel Aviv and now has over 2,400 employees. It took them 3 years (2009) to reach 1 million users, but Wix has grown exponentially to 110 million users in 2017.
Wix is primarily aimed at small businesses and hobbyists who want to make a website, but don’t have the time or desire to learn web development. You won’t see big businesses using Wix, but you’ll see tons of bloggers and small businesses.
Bloggers who are interested in the techy stuff should be pleased that Wix has data centers located across the globe. Servers boast 99.8 percent uptime and are located in:
The diverse locations help contribute to the best load time possible for your blog. Wix’s support and corporate offices are in Tel Aviv, New York, San Francisco, and Dnipro.
Wix doesn’t go into detail about their backup systems and processes except to say that servers are duplicated and protected against corruption. They do, however, offer two ways of retrieving previous versions of your blog:
- If you’re planning a big overhaul, you can create a duplicate of your blog manually. It only takes one click.
- If you accidentally make a mistake, you can roll back to a saved version of your blog from your “site history” panel.
A new version of your site is created whenever you hit “save.”
Uptime and Response Time
Having collected 10 months worth of historical data from Pingdom, it’s evident that Wix’s infrastructure is worthy of supporting businesses of any size and scale.
See for yourself:
|Month & Year||Uptime||Response Time|
|November 2018||100%||240 ms|
|October 2018||99.96%||251 ms|
|September 2018||100%||307 ms|
|August 2018||100%||291 ms|
|July 2018||100%||254 ms|
|June 2018||99.96%||264 ms|
|May 2018||100%||330 ms|
|April 2018||99.92%||309 ms|
|March 2018||100%||310 ms|
|February 2018||100%||278 ms|
Impressive. Wix’s average uptime over the past 10 months was 99.984% along with an average response time of 283.4 ms. According to the statistics, Wix has outperformed their promised standard of 99.8% uptime which appears to be promising.
Starting a Wix Blog
Wix is built primarily for simplicity, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that starting a blog only takes a few minutes.
Step 1 – Create Site
After creating an account (start with a free one), go to “my sites” along the top menu, and click the “create new site” button.
Step 2 – Select Your Type of Site
It will ask you what type of site you’d like to create.
In our case, we’ll pick a blog, but if you want to create a portfolio or store (and add a blog later), you can do that too. The site type will determine what settings are pre-configured as, and what site templates are recommended.
Step 3 – Select a Template
You can either start from “scratch” in the editor, or use Wix’s ADI feature to continue (more on that shortly). Pick the editor option if you want more control over the look, or pick the ADI if you want the fastest and easiest option.
If you picked “blog” before, you’ll see Wix’s themes that are focused on blogs, click “edit” on one you like to continue. The second step corresponds with the third.
Step 4 – Use the Wix Editor
This brings up the main Wix editor that you’ll get used to pretty quickly.
It’s a drag-and-drop editor, meaning that you can drag around elements on the page wherever you’d like.
If you need to add a new element, you’ll use the clearly labeled “add” button along the main left menu.
You can add text elements, images, shapes, buttons, and pretty much everything you could imagine. It’s a complete toolbox.
Step 5 – Publish Your Site
When you’re done, you click “publish” in the top right corner, and pick a subdomain or a custom domain that you own.
You can go back to the editor through the “my sites” section at any time and make changes.
Step 6 – Using Your Blog Manager
Back in the editor, you can click the bottom left menu option, “blog”, to open up your blog manager. You have a blog by default, and this is where you’ll create or manage posts.
There are some example posts that you can play around with to get a feel for an editor and delete when you’re ready.
When you go to create or edit a post, you’ll notice that the editor is very minimal. If you’re used to writing in Word files, it’s similar and an easy transition to make.
There’s a bit of a learning curve if you want to use any advanced features, but the basics are reasonably simple, as you saw here. You can get a basic site up and running within a few hours, and write your first blog post.
How Wix Uses Artificial Intelligence to Design Your Blog
Bloggers can choose to try out Wix’s “Artificial Design Intelligence” (ADI), an advanced wizard that asks you about your personal style, colors you like, and other questions that inform the design it creates, all the way down to font choices.
Designing a blog with raw code is painfully time consuming with no previous experience.
You don’t have to worry about getting stuck with the design ADI creates for you because you can always start ADI over, or just jump in and handle all the design features yourself from scratch.
What’s more, if you use ADI, you can forego setting up a website and just stick to creating a standalone blog.
To try ADI, choose it during the second step of creating a new site. You’ll be asked to answer a few questions about your preferences.
Choose a title that is descriptive for the first question that asks what kind of site you’d like to make. It should include “blogger” in it. You can skip any of the questions, but keep in mind that it will affect the quality of the site that Wix’s ADI generates for you.
The questions should take under a minute to answer, and it will give you a chance to review your answers before continuing.
Give ADI a Helping Hand
The second major step is to tell the ADI what types of designs you like.
This choice will influence the theme that Wix picks for you, but you can change it later in the site editor. Whole the ADI is an independent wizard, your choices greatly influence its overall product – it’s important that you pay attention when you select the themes you like.
That’s it! The ADI will create your site in about 60 seconds and open it in the editor for you.
Wix SEO Wiz
New bloggers need to understand search engine optimization (SEO). There’s a deluge of information online about SEO. Where do you start? How can you, as a newbie, determine what SEO tactics are most important to you? How can you tell whether the information you’re reading online is up-to-date and relevant to your venture?
There’s a “Wix fix” for this – their SEO Wizard.
How Does SEO Wizard Work?
All you need to do is fill in the blanks on Wix’s SEO Wizard and then follow the step-by-step plan created for your site. There’s plenty of help along the way, including how to choose the best keywords for your site.
Wix also helps you with SEO for your individual blog posts. Inside the Wix app, whenever you add a post to your blog you can fill out metadata and see how the post’s snippet will look in Google search results. The SEO Wiz also automatically creates an XML sitemap for search engines.
Wix Features for Bloggers
In addition to the ADI design wizard and the SEO Wiz, Wix offers many features of interest to bloggers, some of them being:
- Free stock photos
- Free icons
- Easy-to-use buttons
- Responsive themes
- Social media integration
- Scheduled posts
- Wix mobile app
- iCloud integration
- Ability to collect user information
- Site rollbacks
- Wix plugins
Free Stock Photos, Icons, and Buttons
All plans come with access to free stock photos, icons, and buttons. In the blog post editor, if you click “add image,” you’ll have a few different options.
You can upload one from your computer, social media, or click the “Free from Wix” tab, which contains a collection of free stock photos.
There’s a large variety, and it’s a nice freebie so you don’t have to unnecessarily spend more on images for your site.
Themes Are All Responsive
One important aspect of the themes (“templates” on Wix) that we looked at before is that every theme’s design is responsive. That means that whether someone reads your blog on their phone or desktop, your site will adapt and still look nice.
These themes are all professionally designed, so you’ll rarely need to edit styling options. You’ll rarely if ever, need to touch any CSS code.
Back to the editor, you can make small tweaks with a few clicks by clicking on any main layout element on the page, and choosing “layouts.”
You’ll be able to change alignment and the number of columns in certain sections.
Easy Commenting and Social Media Sharing Options
There’s no need to install or code a commenting system, it’s already enabled on blog posts by default.
You can also add social media buttons to any page using the “add” button in the site editor.
There are several designs to choose from, and it’s far simpler than signing up for a third-party service or creating your own as you would have to do for most other hosts and website builders.
Schedule Posts and Have Multiple Authors
You can schedule posts to publish in the future and create multiple authors for your blog. Since many authors often contribute to content, this has proven to be a useful feature.
Wix Has a Mobile App
Wix allows you to add blog posts and do other editing on-the-go from the Wix mobile app. It’s available on both Android and iPhone.
It’s a really good concept but unfortunately doesn’t have the greatest ratings. It’s worth trying if you’d like to manage your blog or chat with your visitors on the go, but it’s not going to be as smooth as managing your site on a desktop.
The mobile apps complete list of feature stands as follows:
- Manage contact submissions
- Manage online store
- Update orders
- Track store orders
- Upload images and media
- All changes on mobile automatically transferred to the desktop
- Schedule appointments
- Launch promos
- Send clients messages on the go
Mac iCloud with Photos Integration
If you use Mac’s iCloud with Photos and you’re running High Sierra on your desktop, Wix allows for gallery integration with your photo albums.
Collect and Display User Submitted Information
Many bloggers need to collect user information, whether to contact their readers about new posts or keep track of order information. Wix has a great form builder that allows you to customize which information you collect, and you can see all the collected data in your account.
Send Emails To Subscribers
Many site builders require you to integrate a paid third-party email marketing tool if you’d like to email subscribers, but Wix has a built-in “ShoutOut” feature that lets you set-up and sends email campaigns or newsletters to your readers.
Just like the site editor, the email editor is simple and only includes the most useful features. It’s a drag-and-drop editor and has several themes and styling options to choose from.
Easily Roll Back to an Earlier Site Version
While editing your site, you’ll notice that it’s automatically saved fairly often.
Hovering over the “save” button in the top right corner of the editor reveals a link to your “site history” panel.
You can click between different past versions and restore any old versions with just a click if you somehow made a mistake.
Plug-ins via Wix App Market
If you’ve been a blogger (or an aspiring blogger) for any length of time, you’ll no doubt have heard of “plug-ins.” Plug-ins on platforms like WordPress add functionality. The same is true for Wix except that Wix calls them “apps.” Many apps are free, but some require one-time or subscription fees.
Some of Wix’s apps that you’ll find on their app market:
- In-depth site analytics
- Display your latest Twitter or Instagram posts
- Chat with site visitors
- Create an online forum for your readers
- And over 500 more.
Despite not being as big as the WordPress community, Wix has an app for just about every custom piece of functionality your site might need. Most other website builders don’t have nearly the same selection.
Wix Hosting Plans
There’s a Wix plan for any blogger’s budget. You can try premium plans for two weeks, and you can continue on with a free plan for as long as you like afterward.
After 14 days of paying for a premium plan, you can ask for your money back if you’re not satisfied.
The more you pay for Wix paid plans, the more storage, and bandwidth you get. Paid plans can also get you an online store, advertising credits, and some performance boosts. The Wix free plan displays ads on your blog.
You’ve got three fairly standard domain hosting options:
- Start a free blog under a Wix.com subdomain (e.g., yoursite.wix.com)
- Transfer a domain you already own to Wix
- Buy a new domain directly from Wix, straight from your blog’s dashboard.
You can also purchase a domain from Wix.
Upgrading Domain Hosting Plans with Wix
At any time, you might need access to a particular feature or more resources (storage, shoutouts, etc.). That’s when you’ll need to upgrade to a premium plan. There are 5 main plans, all of which are priced competitively with most web hosts. Consider all the extra features you get on top of just the hosting, and it’s a pretty good deal.
Here are the main highlights of each plan:
|Features||Can use a custom domain||Free domain, no Wix ads||Site booster and form builder app||Can create an online store||VIP support|
|Storage & Bandwidth||500 MB storage|
1 GB bandwidth
|3 GB storage|
2 GB bandwidth
|10 GB storage|
|20 GB storage|
|20 GB storage
For most bloggers, the two lowest plans will be fine while you’re starting out. If you don’t want the Wix branding, choose the Combo plan. Unless you include a lot of rich media in your posts, you won’t need much storage, so 500 MB is enough to get by for a while. Each plan costs more than the one before it and includes everything that the lower one does, plus an extra feature or two, and more resources.
Should Bloggers Upgrade?
If you’re a new blogger, it’s probably best to start with the free plan to see if it’s workable for you.
More experienced or entrepreneurial bloggers might want to purchase a paid plan if you’re expecting heavy storage or bandwidth usage, or if you want to add an extensive store alongside your blog. Most bloggers will probably want to upgrade at some point in order to get rid of ads.
Support from video tutorials aids your own learning curve.
All of Wix’s plans — including the free plan — come with premier support. You can email support or call them during business hours (Pacific Time).
If you prefer self-educating, there are also plenty of wizards and guidance within the dashboard and the blogging areas, accessible as you move from task to task. Wix also has a large repository of video tutorials and walkthroughs and a helpful user community.
Advantages, Weaknesses, and Alternatives
There are some things about Wix that are great for bloggers, and some that aren’t as good. I’ll try and summarize them here.
- Very simple and you never need to touch code.
- Huge app market to enable advanced site functionality.
- Reasonably priced plans.
- Great variety of themes to choose from.
- The editor has a lot going on (3 total menus, with more sub-menus).
- Limited customization options (because simplicity is the main goal).
- Lack of SEO features
Final Thoughts on Wix.com for Bloggers
Starting a blog doesn’t have to be an eye-glazing chore filled with code. Wix is a site builder that caters to bloggers and provides an easy and economical way for newbies to get blogging quickly. Since it’s free to start, give Wix a shot and let us know how it goes!
Alternatives to Wix
If any of those cons are important to you, you might want to try some of these other hosts:
A site builder that’s designed specifically for businesses. More powerful than Wix stores if you’re planning on selling products. Here’s our full Shopify review with more detail.
A similar type of site builder, but has a cleaner editor than Wix and has a decent level of customization options. Here’s a more detailed Weebly review if you’d like to learn more.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wix (FAQs)
Here are a few questions that you might have in mind the first time you hear about Wix.
Are Wix apps free?
Some of the apps on the Wix app store are free, while others are “premium” meaning that you’ll need to pay for them. Certain premium apps come with the higher tier paid plans (form builder and site booster apps).
Is “unlimited” storage actually unlimited?
When a host or website builder says unlimited storage, it never actually means “unlimited.” Instead, it means that you get as much as a site could reasonably be expected to need. In the vast majority of cases, you’ll never run into issues unless you’re trying to abuse an “unlimited” guarantee.
How many sites can you make?
Even on the free plan, you can create as many sites as you’d like. You’ll manage them from the “my sites” dashboard in your account.