Bernadine Racoma, Content Manager at WorkSmartr.com, looks at the usability and reliability of two big names within the world of website building: Wix and WordPress.
We enter into a complicated relationship with our chosen website builder. If done right, it can be an incredibly productive and fruitful relationship. If, on the other hand, we choose incorrectly, we can begin to feel pinned down by an unreliable, confounding and, of course, frustrating programme.
Whether we are building a personal site or an entire platform for eCommerce, it is the nature of building a website that we should be all too conscious of quite how high the stakes are. From the average internet user, who is growing more and more discerning of the hallmarks of a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ website, to those omnipresent digital observers, such as Google’s own algorithm, making a website that stands a genuine chance of success is about far more than the basics.
This is, of course, why website builders have seen such a steady growth in popularity over the past decade or so. Barring the professional website designers of the world, the overwhelming majority of us would flounder in the face of writing code, handling HTTP or FTP, and so forth – and that’s why a purpose-built platform is such a blessing.
In the very early days, this may well have been enough – but we are all aware that, given how difficult it is to be noticed and remembered online, the onus falls on the worldwide web’s leading website builders to ensure that they are equipped to meet the demands of users operating in 2021 – and no sooner.
This is, of course, all a thinly veiled analysis of the two platforms who are, and have been, in a race of their own for the longest time: Wix and WordPress. But which has taken a definitive lead?
When it comes to usability, it is no doubt better to begin with an example. As Wix writes on its website, for instance, the company’s landing page builder enables users to create unique landing pages at scale – and the main driving force behind this ability is the fact that everything occurs within a single, integrated platform. In essence, this means that, however many tools users of this website builder require, they essentially ‘fit together’ within the platform like well-cut pieces of a single jigsaw puzzle.
In terms of immediate useability, this translates to a pretty seamless, fluid experience for even the most technophobic of the builder’s users. Looking at the broader picture, it creates a safe and consistent platform for individuals and businesses to use and evolve with over years’ worth of use, and a website that is user-friendly.
WordPress’s reliance on third-party plug-ins, however, needs no real introduction. It is no secret that this platform continues to suffer the fallout created by the conflicts that do – and will continue to – rage on between these plug-ins – nor that users are made highly vulnerable to malware, each and every time they seek to improve their website via additional plug-ins.
A website builder needs to be reliable in more ways than one. In the one camp, we have the demands of the user – the need for the platform to be ready and available for edits, updates and new additions at the drop of a hat. Beyond that, we have the need for it to maintain rigorous security standards, the need for it to offer a powerful and smooth experience for users, and the need for it to be supported by a human team ready to offer help as and when the user needs it.
WordPress’s updates are, to put it lightly, difficult (if not impossible) to ignore or work around. What’s more, given the lack of integration across the platform that we discussed above, the rate at which updates are required across software and a potentially long list of third-party plug-ins is incredibly high and, as a result, disruptive. What’s more, we have already touched upon the security issues inherent within WordPress’s third-party plug-in reliability.
Wix, on the other hand, has garnered a great deal of attention over the years for its ability to separate users from the ‘backend’ of website development. At this point in time, they are able to boast 99.95% server uptime, which means that updates and backups occur out of sight and out of mind for users – and that they possess bragging rights over WordPress, which they have put to good use as per their new campaign, ‘You Deserve Better’.
Within this integrated platform is, of course, the direct antidote needed by those who have suffered at the hands of poor security practices. Ensuring strong data diligence, and a commitment to protecting transactions and pursuing best practices are all built into the platform itself.
In essence, a fully integrated platform represents the cutting edge of website builders looking to offer users a service that is not only genuinely useable, but able to go the extra mile now essential in the modern digital landscape. As such, the more effort a website builder is able to invest into developing a unified and comprehensive toolset, the less likely it is that its users will begin to feel as though they have committed themselves to a bad, difficult and wearisome relationship.
Still, with integrated builder platforms like Wix rapidly developing alongside the demands of the web, these ailing relationships with outdated platforms needn’t be a life sentence when we consider how fast and easy it is to create an entirely new site to an entirely modern standard.