The Bane of Free Site Builders (Why Wix,, etc. are bad)

Let’s start by admitting our bias – we are a web design firm, so of course we’re going to attack our competition right? Here we are telling people why Wix and are bad because we’re just haters! “They turn a higher profit than Apex Digital Media does and as a result you need to attack them!” – I realize that’s how this might look… but we are only here to educate people so they can make the right decision for them.

When You Need Cheap & Easy and First Impressions Don’t Matter

To prove it I will start by admitting that services like Wix and are ok for a certain type of customer… just not a professional business. A site built on a system like Wix or is great if you have zero marketing budget and just need to quickly get your name, phone number and a picture online. These are perfect plug and play solutions for the average joe or an extremely bootstrapped business who just need to have something online – yesterday.

You Get What You Pay For

macklemore ad
Fresh Ad for Wix

I won’t fault Wix for using Macklemore in their ads, I’ll even admit his new single is kind of catchy. What I am going to fault them for is setting the expectation that pretty much anyone can design and put together a great website. It’s just patently false – especially in today’s world where responsive design is key. Wix works on very simple templates that may or may not provide the types of functionality a modern business needs. If you run a business, the purpose of your website is to drive revenue and it’s important that you create a web presence with your business goals in mind.

The good people over at “A Visual Identity” accurately point out that everyday, multi-million dollar companies and individuals hire people to develop UX in order to make their website more user friendly and enable better conversion rates. If Wix was the total solution it claimed to be, corporations and high powered companies would just use them. They wouldn’t need to spend millions of dollars hiring experts in e-commerce and web design to refine their presence and improve performance. They could just set up on Wix or and let the sales roll in.

If you’re running a small business, you might think “hey, I just need a free, basic site with a phone number and an email” but it’s a competitive world. If you look at the research, on average you have roughly 1 – 10 seconds to capture a person’s interest before they move on to their next option. So if you’re if you’re in an industry like plumbing or heating / AC where there’s a lot of available options you really want to make sure that your website looks clean and loads quickly. According to Forbes, 8 out of 10 of small businesses fail within the first 18 months. If your website is not effectively driving new business and bringing you profits it’s something that needs to be re-examined.

The Inevitable Up-sell

Super Hip Hop Squarespace Ad G

Since Wix & Squarespace are very basic and offer a minimal amount of options to “free” customers, there are of course the inevitable upsells. “Oh you don’t like this basic template and are ready to pay us for something better?” – Now you’re paying for something that you thought was “free” and probably should’ve just bought to begin with. I always like to use shoes as a metaphor here because when I was a kid we shopped at “Payless Shoes” quite a bit. We paid less on an initial purchase, but after 2 weeks my “XJ-900’s” we paid $20 for were falling apart and I should’ve just ponied up the $80 for a pair of Nike’s that would’ve lasted a year. It’s a sales funnel and much like crack, the first hit is free but after that you’re gonna pay big in ways you didn’t even initially consider.

Could this be the reason when I type “why wix…” into Google it completes my sentence with “is bad?”

(We’ll just let’s reviews do the talking for them…)

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