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Whether you choose WordPress or Wix, each package contains all the tools you need to design and deliver a striking personal website. If it’s practical for you, self-hosting gives you the most freedom and control over your site, which makes WordPress the obvious choice. The fact it can be downloaded for free and is so widely supported means that, even for beginners, it’s an easy introducti­on to running web apps.

However, not everyone is in a position to run their own site. If you’re looking for a hosted solution, then may at first look like the obvious choice, since it’s free. However, the fact that you can’t install plugins without an expensive subscripti­on means it could well hold you back once you start wanting to develop your site.

A hosted Wix solution also provides a more app-like experience, where tweaking a template feels like designing a page for print in DTP. WordPress’s block editor for posts and pages narrows the gap, but Wix still has the edge.

It is worth noting that Wix isn’t ideally suited to big projects. Officially, Wix sites are capped at 100 pages, and even if you’re within this count, Wix warns that adding pages can affect loading time and performanc­e (https:// There are getarounds, such as building dynamic pages that draw content out of a database, but WordPress is better suited to managing large sites by design.

available, too, such as music streaming and the ability to take food orders or sell membership­s. Be warned – it may not be obvious at the time, but some of the features offered here are premium tools that need to be paid for.

Once you’ve chosen your elements, you can start building your site using the Wix Editor, which offers large thumbnails and full-screen previews to give you a clear impression of what the finished product will look like. Alternativ­ely, you can take advantage of the new Wix ADI, which uses AI to come up with an appropriat­e design for you.

If you already have a website, ADI offers to import its content. We clicked past this and were presented with six theme options, each of which is shown as a single font and colour. Hovering over each one gives a short descriptio­n, and once you’ve chosen one, you can pick from a selection of suggested layouts. It’s a good idea, but the theme descriptio­ns are a bit brief for our liking, and if you change your mind and hit the Back button, you’re returned right to the start of the ADI process. When you’ve chosen your layout, you can easily add pages for About, Contact, an Instagram feed, and so on, then edit and publish your site.

Maintainin­g your site

Both WordPress and Wix offer administra­tive dashboards, featuring a wide range of tools for managing, maintainin­g and monitoring your site.

The approaches are slightly different, however.

WordPress distinguis­hes between pages – which are the permanent fixtures of your site, such as About and Contact pages – and posts, which are more immediate and analogous to blog entries.

You can organise posts into categories and tag them; these variables are automatica­lly used to populate category pages and help readers find related content, though not all themes have category or tag pages, or tag links at the bottom of posts. If you’re selfhostin­g and happy to wade into the code, you can easily add your own; the WordPress back-end is minutely documented, and you’ll find plenty of users keen to help in forums and on sites like StackExcha­nge.

You can’t dig into the code if you’re publishing at, beyond adding custom HTML blocks to pages. However, you can use the Customiser (as you can when self-hosting) to adjust individual components of a template, such as the position and make-up of menus and titles. Again, exactly what is and isn’t customisab­le varies between templates.

You can also choose whether to use the Classic writing screen to compose and edit pages and posts, or to use the block editor, which lets you mark out sections for images, headings, text, galleries and so on, which can be rearranged at will. The latest release even introduces a block-based site editor (currently in beta), which lets you use blocks to build and reorganise entire pages, rather than only content spaces.

If this all sounds complicate­d, don’t worry: there’s no need to edit the site design at all if you don’t want to. You can just switch to a different template when you feel like a change and instantly give your pages a total makeover. There are hundreds of free themes, so even if you’re not paying for your site, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t reflect your personalit­y.

Wix also distinguis­hes between blog posts and pages, and lets you tag posts and add them to categories. The post editor is similar to WordPress’s block editor – click the floating plus sign on the page, and you can embed images, galleries, tables and more. As for tweaking templates, you don’t have access to the underlying code, but you can embed code blocks, and add elements such as contact forms, social media boxes, video players and galleries with a click.

The site editor also lets you drag and drop a range of elements directly on to the page; hover over the live page and live guidelines show where an element will appear once released. These also appear as you reposition and resize elements, so you can check that they properly align with other objects on the page.

Floating toolboxes, meanwhile, can be turned on and off, giving you the option of more fine-grained adjustment­s by typing in values – for example, you can shunt an image a certain distance to the side, rather than trying to drag it with pixel-perfect precision. If you want to create a bespoke site but don’t know how to code, it really doesn’t get much easier than this.

Extending your site

Both Wix and WordPress let you go beyond the basics by extending their core features. The Wix App Market is neatly categorise­d and easily searched, with a full

descriptio­n on hand for every app. There’s plenty of free content, but also a fair number of commercial addons, which don’t always have a free tier or trial. A busy reviews system enables users to share their views, and gives developers an opportunit­y to respond to comments directly.

When you add an app to your site, Wix warns you exactly which aspects of your code and content it will have access to; once integrated, an app has similar controls to the rest of the editing interface, so it can be easily reposition­ed by dragging, and tweaked using floating control panels.

WordPress also offers a mix of free and paid-for plugins through the site dashboard. However, if you’re hosting your site at, then plugins – even free ones – require a business subscripti­on. This costs a steep £240 per year, or £27 per month; it’s disappoint­ing that even those paying for a Personal plan are excluded. For self-hosting, no such restrictio­n applies. You can install plugins directly from the dashboard or upload them to your server manually. As with the Wix App Store, there’s an active community of users rating plugins in the catalogue, which can be handy because there are often multiple options that do similar things.

Clearly, your choice of site platform is a nuanced one. If you want to self-host, WordPress is your only option, and it promises easier options for future growth. However, for a slick all-round experience, Wix shines through. The interface is attractive and easy to use, making it a stronger choice for less experience­d users, as well as anyone who feels comfortabl­e using page layout software for print.

In the end, you do need to make a decision; once you’ve built a site in Wix or WordPress, there’s no simple way to migrate it to the other platform. However, since both services offer free accounts, you can test the waters by trying out the various tools and features on offer, and optionally upgrade to a paid-for service once you are ready to make a commitment.


“Once you’ve built a site in Wix or WordPress, there’s no simple way to migrate it to the other platform.”

 ?? ?? The Wix Owner app lets you administer your site on the go.
The Wix Owner app lets you administer your site on the go.
 ?? ?? The WordPress app makes it easy to manage posts and monitor stats on the move.
The WordPress app makes it easy to manage posts and monitor stats on the move.
 ?? ?? The Wix Editor has a very app-like look and feel.
The Wix Editor has a very app-like look and feel.
 ?? ?? The WordPress block editor lets you tailor what appears on the page – and where.
The WordPress block editor lets you tailor what appears on the page – and where.

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