Wix vs Wordpress vs Webflow: Which website builder is the best?

Gone are the days where you need to understand complex coding to build a fully functional and beautiful website. Today, there are hundreds of website builders available, all with their own unique pros and cons. With so much competition in this space, how do you know what the best website builder is for you? There are many variables to consider, but Galaxy Marketing is here to help you simplify the decision.

We’ve distilled the options down to the 3 W’s. The two biggest players in the market: Wix and Wordpress, and the rising star: Webflow.

A Beginners Guide to Building Websites

The truth is, learning to build websites will take a large time investment – even if you pick the builder with the shortest learning curve. The first question you should ask yourself is: is it worth my time learning how to build websites, or would it be more efficient to outsource it?

If you have a high standard for your brand than outsourcing is better. It will take you months or years to learn the skillset that a professional has - and that time is likely better spent on the things you’re good at, like building your business.

People so often romanticize new ideas - we see how easy the drag-and-drop features are of website builders and think to ourselves: “I could do that!”. Beware: the deeper you go into learning these tools, the more sophisticated and complex things become.

With that being said, we don’t want to dissuade you. Building your own website may be the perfect solution if your organization is new and/or your budget is low. If you want to build a super simple, low functionality website for your business – something akin to a resume – then this is the guide for you.

Picking the Best Website Builder - What to Look For?

Most of the time, there is no perfect website builder for your business. You will almost certainly need to sacrifice something in one area to achieve a requirement in another. Here’s a list of 4 ways you can categorize and understand the differences:

  • Pricing - how much will it cost?
  • Learning Curve - how easy is it to learn and use?
  • Creative Freedom - how much freedom do I have to design it the way I want?
  • Maintenance - how much time on upkeep do I need to spend per month?

1) Website Builder Pricing

Pricing is generally the first variable to consider, particularly for small or new businesses that are budget conscious. All website builder hosting costs are relatively affordable. At the high end you might spend around $40 CAD per month, and on the low end $10 CAD per month.

When you consider typical business costs, these prices are very reasonable. After all, your website is the centre of your digital ecosystem and the single most important digital asset you own. Keeping it online for only a few hundred dollars a year is worthwhile for almost any business.

Wix Pricing

In general, Wix offers the best pricing. Most of our clients fit into Wix's combo pricing plan that starts at $14 per month (billed annually). It's ad-free, includes hosting, and they even package a domain name for one year. Wix also gives you $300 in ad vouchers to use on Google Ads. Incredible value!

Wordpress Pricing

Wordpress has fine value but we rate it lower than Wix because of the strange price jump between plans. If you’re a freelancer, great, it only costs $10 per month (billed annually), but for the next plan up – the Business Plan – it costs $33 per month (billed annually).

You can’t access the Wordpress plugins without buying the Business Plan, and as you will see further in this guide, plugins are an essential part of building a Wordpress website. Worse yet, if you are building an e-commerce website, you’ll pay $59 per month on Wordpress and only $32 per month on Wix - a difference of $324 per year for a very similar service.

Webflow Pricing

Webflow is a lot more straightforward. You can expect to pay $15 CAD per month for a basic website, $20 per month if you want a blog (or any other type of content management system), and $37 per month for an e-commerce website.

Summary

Here’s how it shakes out:

Very basic website?

  1. Wordpress $10
  2. Wix $12.50
  3. Webflow $15

CMS website?

  1. Wix $14
  2. Webflow $20
  3. Wordpress $33

E-commerce website?

  1. Wix $32
  2. Webflow $37
  3. Wordpress $59

2) Website Builder Learning Curve

There is a learning curve for all website builders - this is not something you can learn overnight. All website builders have resources to help you learn (like tutorials and community forums), and of course, there are tons of YouTube videos and other resources available to help you.

All 3 builders also offer templates – a great way to get a head start. You can begin your project with a beautiful template - getting most of the heavy lifting out of the way - and then customize it to your liking.

Example of Wix Templates

Wix Learning Curve

Wix is the easiest to learn for most people. It’s a drag-and-drop website builder, tapping into the intuitive side of the human brain. “Oh, I want to put this image over there.” Cool, just drag it over. There are downsides to this way of building that we will highlight in the next section about Creative Freedom. But in general, Wix has done a great job making website building easier to learn.

Wordpress Learning Curve

Wordpress is not natively drag-and-drop. You need to download a plugin like SeedProd, Beaver Builder or Divi. That means you need to spend $33 per month, to access plugins, if you want the builder to be drag-and-drop. Otherwise, it is still relatively easy to learn but certainly more difficult than Wix.

Webflow Learning Curve

Webflow is by far the hardest to learn out of the 3. However, once you learn it – it is the most powerful. It isn’t drag-and-drop, instead you set margins and spacing for each item based on their reference points to other items. This system, called “dynamic content layouts,” automatically adjusts according to the device your viewer is visiting from. Incredibly powerful, but harder to learn and even harder to master.

3) Website Builder Creative Freedom

Creative, or artistic, freedom is the ability to create anything you want without hindrance. Sometimes when you’re building a website you get an idea - something out-of-the-box. Are you able to do it? This section will help you understand which website builder has the least resistance on your creativity.

Wix vs Webflow: Case Study

Wix is like a blank canvas. You can drag things around, resize and reshape them easily and stack and layer sections to meet your needs. It is a beautiful concept for website building – intuitive and artistic at its very core. But there is one major downside.

When you design websites, you must keep in mind that users visit from many different devices; phones, tablets, desktop computers and smart TVs. Every device has a different aspect ratio (screen size), and so the content you create on your website must display properly for everyone. This is referred to as the User Experience and is paramount in how people perceive the value of your brand.

To simplify website building, Wix has narrowed their builder down to only two devices: desktop and mobile. So, if someone visits your website from a tablet, will they be able to see your website? Yes. How is this possible?

Wix only has two aspect ratios

Wix has something called ‘grid lines’ or ‘safety lines’ that you must build within so that your website looks good on all devices. Wix automatically changes the aspect ratio of your website depending on the viewers device - but be careful! If you build outside of the grid lines, some of your content won’t show up on other devices.

Wix gridlines

This is great feature if you are building a super basic website, but a major flaw if you want complete freedom. Essentially, you can never put an image outside the gridlines if you want to maintain a consistent user experience. Oh, what about your super creative idea about putting an image in the bottom right corner? This is not achievable on Wix.

Webflow, on the other hand, let’s you customize your website for every aspect ratio. You can even create your own ratios. Webflow is the definition of ultimate creative freedom. You can literally build anything you want – you could recreate the highly sophisticated Apple website if you had the time (and desire to be sued). Just about any idea you ever come up with is achievable in some way on Webflow.

Webflow has many aspect ratios

Summary

Webflow is the most cutting-edge website builder for creative freedom. It takes longer to learn than Wix, longer to build, is less intuitive - but Webflow cannot be beat when it comes to flexibility.

In fact, Webflow is so powerful that Wix started working on a new website builder of their own - called Editor X - to directly compete with tools like Webflow. Editor X is still in its early stages and is quite primitive compared to Webflow, but it is telling that Wix is sinking a lot of money into making a tool that looks extremely similar.

4) Website Builder Maintenance

After you’ve built your website, you need to maintain it. How easy is this to do for each builder?

Wix Maintenance

Wix is super simple for maintenance. You will need to spend little to no time maintaining what you built unless you want to add something major to your site.

Wordpress Maintenance

Wordpress is difficult to maintain because of the plugin system. Every interesting feature of a Wordpress website is achieved by downloading a plugin. Most of these plugins are created by third-party providers. Some are free, others have a fee. There’s over 58,000 free Wordpress plugins.

Your website might have 15-20 different plugins for all your different features. The result is a Frankenstein-like website - a patchwork of different coding - made by an array of third parties. You consistently need to update your plugins to ensure the health of your website. It can be a pain, particularly if you have a small team and time is scarce.

Webflow Maintenance

Webflow is very similar to Wix regarding maintenance – simple and easy. It becomes more complicated if you have custom Java Script coding on your website, like node.js or others. But for the purpose of this beginners’ guide, you can assume it is low maintenance.

Conclusion

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to website builders. You will always sacrifice something in one area to achieve a requirement in another. What is best for your business ultimately comes down to how you weigh the importance of each feature.

If you have extra time to learn, and you want ultimate creative freedom and flexibility, go with Webflow.

If you want something super simple, with a short learning curve, go with Wix.

If you want to pay more for less, go with Wordpress. Just kidding. Wordpress is good for blogs and the variety of plugins available. It is popular for a reason. But in our opinion, it is outperformed on most variables by other website builders. Wordpress is like a jack-of-all-trades but a master of none.

And remember, if all this website builder stuff seems daunting, that’s because it is. Outsourcing to reputable experts - like Galaxy Marketing, for example - is the better path for most businesses.

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