In today’s market, every business needs an online presence to truly be successful. When it comes to website design, there are a myriad of tools available. But, as anyone who’s ever had to comb through 100 lines of HTML to troubleshoot a problem can tell you, web development is a rather complicated and specialized field.
So, what’s the best web development tool on the market today?
Personally, I use WordPress. It’s versatile; and includes an insane number of plugins to do anything I want under the sun. The same goes for the themes, or templates—some of which include different ways to build the site. If the basic editors can’t do what I want them to do, I can always code by hand, which is always a whole lot of fun until I miss one [CREATIVE EXPLETIVE DELETED] bracket.
WordPress is simply bulging with tools and different ways to do any one thing. So, if I want something to look a certain way, it will look that certain way. Hard stop. There’s a reason WordPress is the most utilized web development tool currently available.
However, the glorious collective mind of the free market has put forth several solutions for the layperson, with products such as Squarespace and Wix.
I recently jumped into Wix to get a feel for it. In the process, I managed to make a jumbled mess of a site that would most likely make my father, a man who’s been developing websites since before I can remember, cry. But esthetics wasn’t really the purpose of my experiment. I wanted to find out more about functionality and usability.
At first glance, Wix automatically won 10 points as it had the same pink guide lines while moving things that Adobe Illustrator has. They look the same. They function the same, and Adobe always makes me happy. Beyond this, I scrolled through a few of the templates available and to WIX’s credit, they look nice. Generic, but nice. Templates that create the same sort of site that would fit in just fine with any other site built in the 2010s. (Not that any basic WordPress themes stand out on their own, either.)
The downside of Wix (especially to someone like me, who’s used to the creative freedom of WordPress) became apparent once I started trying to design the site. Wix has a lovely catalog of apps and vectors, but using these alone does not constitute creative freedom or even proper corporate branding. The apps are categorized in a way that makes them easy enough to find, but the vector art and basic shapes are frustratingly limited in their use. I could do some interesting things with them, but it’d be a thousand times easier and more versatile to build the vectors in Adobe.
Wix apps are useful but in a very limited way. The design settings were so limited that at one point, I actually had to stop writing and retreat to the corner of the room for a brief cry (not even kidding). Wix just gives you a lot of stuff to drag and drop into place and call it a day.
It may sound like I’m coming down on Wix. Okay, well I guess I am. The program isn’t without its merits, though. For a small business just starting up, Wix wouldn’t be a terrible solution. Developers come with an expense; Wix does not. One could build a perfectly functional website with Wix. The site probably wouldn’t stand out, but it would work just fine.
The difference between WordPress and Wix is sort of like drawing a picture by hand compared to using a box of rubber stamps. With WordPress you can draw anything you want, exactly how you want. Wix is the box of stamps. Maybe one stamped image doesn’t stand out all that well; maybe even a group of them arranged together isn’t exactly what you’re looking for. But if you can’t draw, those stamps don’t seem half bad.
For myself, though, I do believe I’m going to go make sure my pencil is nice and sharp.