Wix vs Shopify: Why I Made the Switch
Let me start this WHOLE thing off by saying it’s a miracle I made the leap for my own site in the first place. I knew absolutely nothing other than the fact that I wanted one at some point, and I thought, “So why not now?” That’s it. That’s literally all the thought that went into shutting down my Etsy store and switching over to my own site completely.
If that’s all I thought about, then you know I definitely didn’t think about these things:
- The rules and regulations that your site must follow in order to be compliant with privacy laws and whatnot
- The fact that making a website that fits your brand and that you love requires some coding experience (if not graphic design experience)
- There are other services that are helpful (read: absolutely necessary to saving money) that not all hosts will offer
- The amount of time it would take to make AND maintain a beautiful site that you and your customers love
But I did it anyway, and now, I have come out on the other side just a tiiiiiny bit wiser while still maintaining that I know basically nothing. So here I am, writing a blog post about something I have figured very little out about. And here you are, reading a blog post by someone who doesn’t even claim to have the answers you’re looking for. Which means you’re probably as clueless as I was and just reading any article about e-commerce platforms that you can get your hands on. Just like I was.
Here’s to being clueless together and making it through anyway.
I started with Wix because it was the cheapest plan that included everything I wanted at face value. I bought my one year subscription while they were running a sale so I got my website with a custom domain for essentially $8 a month when I paid the year up front. There were only a few things I was looking for when it came to choosing my first website host:
- Is it affordable?
- Will this website make me go broke?
- Can I still pay rent after posting my monthly fee?
- Will it let me sell stuff?
I’m truly surprised I even got an e-commerce platform (probably by dumb luck) because I was SO fixated on the cost per month. Granted, at the time that I made this decision, my husband, Thomas, and I were in a tough spot financially (just fresh out of college and moving to a new city). So, cut me some slack.
Even though I made a hasty decision, Wix was (and yes I firmly believe this) a wonderful starter host. Here is why:
Major Pros to Wix
- Email integration on your dashboard = No need for third party connecting like MailChimp
- Little to no coding experience is required = You just need spend a bit of time familiarizing yourself with the way it works (patience is KEY) and then drag and drop the elements you want
- SEO guidance = There’s a checklist that you run through and it tells you if your SEO works with your key words or if you should change it
Major Cons to Wix
- No shipping label set up = Paying individual prices through USPS (or other) as opposed to getting business pricing for any and all shipments through the site
- SEO Optimization = I know, I know, I just said SEO was a pro, but here me out. The checklist was great, but the optimization of that checklist compared to other platforms isn’t as great
And this one con brought the whole Wix operation down- Shipping Labels. I ended up paying *more* out of pocket for shipping labels than I would have if I just paid the higher monthly fee for Shopify. Because no one wants to spend $35 on a hat and then $7 in shipping (I know I wouldn’t) and as a result, I was eating that extra cost.
So I left my previous host and began the journey towards new e-commerce life in the Promised Land: Shopify.
I moved over to Shopify because all of the small businesses I looked up to were also using it. It was very much a, “I saw Cady Heron wearing army pants and flip flops, so I bought army pants and flip flops” situation. That’s not to say I didn’t also remember all of the wonderful things I’d read while article diving this topic online, but it definitely helped make the decision a little easier.
Knowing what I know now, I wish I would’ve just started with Shopify
Knowing what I know now, I wish I would’ve just started with Shopify. Not because it’s easier to navigate the dashboard (it is not) or because it has better email integration (it does not) or because it was easier to build my site (it was not) but because I lost so much along the way.
I lost order numbers, customer data, and product data that I would have to figure out how to download into Shopify (still haven’t, because I don’t know computers or file types, or data transmission and frankly, I’ve given up and don’t want to know). I lost email and sales stats in addition to my sanity during this process and it made me want to throw in the towel and say goodbye to knitting forever. Thankfully, the “pressing every single button until it does what you want” method still works, otherwise I still wouldn’t have a working forwarding email (let’s agree to never ask me how many times I cried to my husband over this issue, okay?).
All of this said, there are some stellar pros to having Shopify host your biz:
Major Pros to Shopify
- SHIPPING LABELS = Period. End of story.
- Enhanced and detailed store analytics = Wix had this, but it was minimal. You can tell it’s not a host optimized for e-commerce like Shopify is
- Ability to sell on other platforms = You want the fancy product tags on your Instagram posts? Pay $29 a month for Shopify and you get it
- Legal pages are ready = You just have to activate them and enter your shop policies
Major Cons to Shopify
- App addition for basically everything = Having to get a MailChimp account to create professional email campaigns was the most surprising to me (coming from Wix where it was already there)
- Needing some coding experience = But not a lot. I haven’t coded a single thing and my website ‘works’ but there are some things I would love to do that I just haven’t taken the time (or spent the money) to do. Example: I want to change the way my “Collections” page looks on my site when you hit the Shop button (I want to directly customize this, but you need to code to do it, otherwise, Shopify will just default whatever it wants in there)
- Separate Point of Sale (POS) equipment = Use square? Now when you sell at markets, your website analytics won’t recognize the sales you make when there. Unless you use Shopify specific POS. This isn't a huge deal though, because they'll send it to you for free. It's just a problem when you spend $75 on new, fancy square equipment from Amazon four days before you figured this out (*cough, me)
These (and the same with the pros and cons for Wix) are just a little highlight reel of what was the best and most frustrating out of both hosts. It’s not a comprehensive list of what they can and can’t do because I don’t have a comprehensive knowledge of it for them.
In the end, Wix was an incredible starter website.
In the end, Wix was an incredible starter website that if you’re strapped for cash but still want a site, you sell mostly digital products, or the thought of coding makes you want to vomit, then go for it, just know its limitations. While Shopify is definitely the more accomplished older sibling, Wix shouldn't be counted out just because it isn't there yet. I loved everything that Wix taught me about setting up my own legit legal pages, what I want a landing page for our brand to feel like, and what was ultimately the most important to me when running a business (clearly affordable shipping labels mean WAY more to be than I originally thought *face palm*).
Let’s see how posting my first blog post goes for Shopify, though. I could never get Wix to do what I want on the blog side… But that’s for another day!
*If you have any questions, email me or DM me on insta! @knitologyco