Fix your website with Wix

Wix, which went public in November 2013, offers its editor, design tools and hosting services at no cost.

Wix templates, available on its website. (photo credit: WIX)
Wix templates, available on its website.
(photo credit: WIX)
No business, mega, local or family, would dismiss the need for a company website. And almost no potential customer would purchase a significant product or service without first checking its website, reading reviews and comparing prices on the Internet.
Indeed, we appear to have reached a point in commerce where the absence of a website would be highly suspicious.
What, a customer might ponder, is this company hiding? Is it so unsuccessful and lacking in business marketing savvy to disdain an online presence? Large international companies can allow themselves to invest vast sums in web designers and programmers to create websites that will impress their current and future customers. However, the small family or private business owner has fewer resources to channel toward a really professional-looking website.
Private individuals also want to build websites to showcase their hobbies, life-cycle events, kids’ achievements, memorials to lost loved ones – the list is endless. Yet not everyone possesses the skills or the money to create a website to be proud of.
Wix is a website creation platform that allows small business owners as well as any individual who wants a presence on the Internet – to quote Eric Mason, Wix director of communications – “to drag and drop his way to a beautiful website.”
Over 43 million users worldwide would appear to agree with him.
And it is no empty bluster. Wix provides hundreds of templates that can be easily manipulated to create the website that best expresses your needs. You can use all the design elements in a template, none of the elements or only some of them. You can embed video, create forms, add a photo album, provide interactive maps, restrict your users to those who register to the site and much more. And it’s free.
Continues Mason, who was on a visit to Tel Aviv in December last year from the Wix San Francisco office: “We built a true WYSIWYG [what you see is what you get] drag and drop editor, and that’s not just a catch phrase. Most web creation editors let you drag an element onto the screen, but make you drop it where they want it to go. With Wix, you can place it anywhere you like on the screen. Giving users the power to manifest their own vision online is right at the core of the company’s values.”
The company came into being almost by accident. In 2006, brothers Avishai and Nadav Abrahami and their friend Gig Kaplan were involved in another hi-tech venture for which Avishai was given the task of building a website to support their quest for funding. One week later, frustrated by the lack of tools that would enable him to build a professional and unique website, Avishai and his co-founders realized that they’d identified a vacuum in the market and set about filling it.
Today, over 1 million new websites in 190 countries are built every month using the Wix platform. The software is fully supportive in five languages with basic support in 11 languages.
With a global presence in the US, Ukraine and Lithuania, the trendy Wix offices at the Tel Aviv Port and the layout of its work area attest to the innovative character and vigor of the company.
“On the fourth floor, we have a complete design studio,” says Mason, “whose job is to look for best practices in design. We’re aiming to build templates that are state-of-the-art, fluid, contemporary beautiful designs that our users can use as a base. They can take the designs in any direction they want.
“Our job is to provide the guidelines, explain how to navigate, suggest which images look good. You can use any background you want, put up that photo album, connect to Facebook, Twitter and other social media. There are no restrictions. People take our templates and do whatever they want with them.”
Before joining Wix, Mason was a graphic designer helping small businesses get online.
He was familiar with highly technical software that he manipulated while attempting to interpret what his customers wanted in order to bring their dream website to life. Now, as he watches people use Wix for the first time, he distances himself from his earlier role and relishes their response when they discover that they too can create something unique.
“I see people using the tool for the first time and then there’s this amazing ‘aha’ moment when they suddenly realize that they can create, develop and design a wonderful website of their wedding, their kid’s soccer team, or their family’s baked goods business. It’s actually an emotional experience when you watch people do this. It’s like yes, you have the voice, you can create. And that’s a fun moment.”
Wix user Yochi Eisner, owner of the Kallah Whisperer, launched her bridal makeup and hair styling business just over six years ago.
“Originally, I worked with an Internet media company that undertook to create my website and deal with all the issues of Internet marketing. I ended up with a substandard site, no Internet promotion and a 12-month no-way-out contract.
Personally, I have no programming experience and I never believed that I’d be able to create my own site. But using Wix, my site was up and running within a month and a half, and I’m still getting compliments on it. It’s a work in progress but what I have is a professional, highly visual, easily updatable website and I have complete control over it.
“I definitely recommend it to other small business owners.”
In comparison with other website creation platforms in the market, Mason insists that Wix is in a league of its own.
“There are some great tools out there,” he says. “For the more advanced ones, users need a range of technical skills to build a fully functional site. At the other end of the scale, there are tools that are easy to use but have limited functionality. We’ve changed that. We’re giving people who have no technical skills the opportunity to build highly functional websites. We feel like we’ve struck the appropriate balance between those two extremes and we have no competitors. We’re in the sweet spot.
“It’s far more difficult to build a website from scratch today than it was, say, 15 years ago. There are so many more elements, such as interactive forms, shopping carts, etc. Nowadays, you need to know a range of programming languages like PHP, JavaScript and HTML and how to manipulate servers. But Wix has taken all these things away; we’re making sure that it gets increasingly easier for the average user to create something beautiful and functional.”
Wix technical support is available at different levels. At the most basic level, users who find themselves floundering while working in the Wix editor can click an on-screen question mark to access a video that walks them through the process.
Explains Mason: “We’re actually monitoring how the user uses the editor and watching where they get stuck so we can immediately address the problem. And if we see that people are viewing the same video 10 times a day, we get it that we need to make the function a little more clear. We update the editor on the fly from our users’ feedback.”
Wix offers an online forum where users can get live feedback for their issues as well as email support.
An additional way to improve your website creation skills on the job is to read the Wix blog, which is designed to give added value to the community of small businesses. The company employs a team of bloggers who write in different languages on a variety of topics from how to use Instagram effectively, add a shopping cart and build a good-looking contact form, to quantifying the real value of email.
“We aim to become a resource for business good practices, instead of just saying, ‘here, use the latest feature on Wix,’” asserts Mason.
“Furthermore, website functionality can be greatly expanded by integrating apps from the Wix App Market. More than 175 third-party apps are available either for free or as a premium option, depending on the type and style of the app and the vendor. These apps cover anything from shopping carts for an online store to enabling comments at the site.”
Another area in which the Wix simplifies a complex technical issue is the search engine optimization wizard.
“SEO is about being found online. You’ve built your website and now you want people to find it. Our blog also includes some informational technical pieces on how best to leverage your site for SEO. We’re hoping to become a one-stop shop for small business so we want to advise people on best practices and also give them marketing tools to be able to leverage and share their story online.”
Websites built with Wix can be displayed on any browser or platform.
“Wix has always been responsive to the size of the screen on which the website is displayed,” explains Mason. “And today, with the mobile experience becoming more critical all the time, Wix websites can be optimized for viewing and editing on a mobile device.”
Wix, which went public in November 2013, offers its editor, design tools and hosting services at no cost.
The company offers a number of premium services, such as a domain name, removal of the Wix brand from the page, incorporating shopping carts and expanded bandwidth at a small cost on a monthly or annual basis. 
The writer has worked for over 20 years in hi-tech. If you have a question about any of the products featured in this column or have developed a product you’d like to share, contact