Wix hosts over 3.8 million websites around the world. With simple, easy-to-use, and professional-looking templates, Wix’s business, online store, photography, music, designer, restaurant, and event websites are first rate.
But increasingly, the opportunity is emerging for more people, businesses, and brands to build a different kind of website. Whether it’s supporting an ecommerce store selling physical products or one that delivers online courses, or offers community membership benefits and paid subscriptions, a static website like those Wix offers may no longer be enough.
You are not alone in looking for Wix alternatives. In this article, we’ll share the changing nature of website builders in 2021 and which platforms offer the best alternatives to Wix by category.
The changing nature of website builders
When Wix was launched in 2006, the ability to have your own professional-looking website that didn’t require you to know how to code or set up your own server to run was a revelation. Before Wix or Wix alternatives like Squarespace or Weebly, only developers who knew how to code HTML could build a website. Then, if you wanted to make something beautiful and professional-looking? Good luck. Until Wix.
Yet, fast forward to 2021, and it’s an entirely different picture. Now millions of brands around the world have beautiful, professional-looking websites. The problem is that these static websites don’t do a lot. Most people show up once and never come back.
At the same time, social media, chat and direct messaging, mobile apps, ecommerce, online courses, and video chat have each (and together) permanently changed our digital habits.
This shift in our digital habits has had a major impact on what website builders should offer, creating more and more demand for alternatives.
There are a few flavors to Wix alternatives:
- A Wix alternative that offers memberships, online courses, and subscriptions. The newest website builder category is one that enables a person or business to sell digital memberships to content, build online communities, or offer online courses hosted in one place under your own brand–with no development or coding required.
- A Wix alternative that offers an ecommerce store. The next category of website builder is one that just delivers a world-class ecommerce store that lets you sell physical products. Wix offers an ecommerce option, but there are other Wix alternatives in the ecommerce category worth evaluating closely.
- A Wix alternative that offers more customization options. While Wix has the greatest assortment of templates for nearly every kind of category and doesn’t require you to know how to code to create something beautiful, if you want to add more features or *really* customize your website, there are better alternatives to Wix.
- A Wix alternative that offers the most similar service that just isn’t Wix. Lastly, you may not be looking for anything too different from Wix, but rather a similar platform with static websites, beautiful templates, and different options that just isn’t Wix. These obviously exist as well.
We researched and analyzed a dozen different alternatives to Wix across these categories and picked a winner for each one. Here are the results.
Wix alternative #1 – Mighty Networks: The winner for memberships, online courses, and subscriptions
When you want a website builder with member accounts, membership benefits, content, online courses, subscriptions, and more, a Mighty Network is by far the most developed of the options available for this newest type of Wix alternative.
A Mighty Network is beautifully designed with domain mapping and other features that you’d expect from a website builder, but that’s where the similarities to other Wix alternatives stop.
It’s also got the broadest choice of features you can turn on or off with a simple switch. From the option to create beautiful blog articles to enabling members to add “quick posts” (similar to what they would write on Facebook or Twitter), questions and interactive polls, events, and more, a Mighty Network is highly engaging and by far the most “sticky” of Wix alternatives.
But that’s not all.
There’s also the option to add the ability to create and sell online courses as well as run multiple paid “mastermind” groups within a Mighty Network. This means that with a Mighty Network, you can build a “freemium” website in one place, under your own brand, to run your own online courses or membership site either now or in the future.
Plus, every Mighty Network is also available on the Mighty Networks mobile apps on iOS and Android. And with “Mighty Pro,” Mighty Networks’ enterprise offering, you can even get your own mobile apps directly available in the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Where a Mighty Network lacks the full set of templates offered on Wix, the breadth, flexibility, and interactivity of its features more than make up for what it lacks in visual presentation options.
Wix alternative #2 – Shopify: The winner for an ecommerce store
While Wix offers an ecommerce option, if you need to build an ecommerce store, Shopify is the dominant ecommerce platform for both small merchants just getting started and larger brands. It currently serves over one million merchants and runs over $61 billion dollars through its system.
It’s easy to set up a Shopify store and it has a fantastic set of apps in its marketplace to extend its feature set (although still primarily for features around inventory and physical ecommerce, not so many options for digital products or community).
While there are other ecommerce options from platforms like Woo Commerce and others, Shopify is the ecommerce leader for a reason.
Wix alternative #3 – WordPress: The winner for more customization options
If you are building a website that is not easily categorized, WordPress is the best Wix alternative to explore. As of 2020, WordPress powers 35% of the Internet and is easily the most dominant “content management system” or CMS available today.
WordPress started in 2003 as an open source software that developers could download, customize, and run on their own servers. Today, WordPress.com also offers a hosted version with templates similar to Wix, but with superior search engine optimization, or the options it offers you as a publisher to become discoverable by search engines like Google.
Historically, WordPress has been used to build content-driven websites like blogs, membership sites, ecommerce stores, and even custom online course websites. In more recent years, each of these use cases have seen new website builder platforms emerge that offer not just a best-of-breed alternative to Wix, but to WordPress, removing the need for expensive website development projects or the need to code up a more sophisticated website yourself.
Yet, if you are building a website that doesn’t deliver memberships, online courses, or an ecommerce store, and you need a Wix alternative with endless customization options, WordPress is the runaway winner.
The WordPress ecosystem has the richest marketplace of plug-ins and features, plus the highest number of designers and developers available in every country around the world who specialize in building WordPress websites that can meet just about any demand you may have.
Wix alternative #4 – Squarespace: The winner for a similar service that just isn’t Wix
If you’re still convinced that all you need is a simple, static yet professional-looking website alternative to Wix, then look no further than Squarespace.
A favorite of the Instagram-ready designer crowd, Squarespace’s templates are expressly designed for sites heavy on visual content. While it is smaller than Wix with 2 million websites hosted to Wix’s 3.8 million and with fewer templates and flexibility than Wix, Squarespace is also more likely to deliver you a website that will look fantastic on social media, especially on the mobile web, without a lot of work.
There’s a Wix alternative that’s right for you
Whether you’re looking to build a community on web and mobile apps, sell content, courses, or memberships, run an ecommerce store, or launch something no one has seen on a website before, there’s a Wix alternative for you.