A while back I received an email from a mother asking for advice on behalf of her college-aged son — a marketing major wanting to earn some extra cash building websites. Mom wondered whether it’s worth her son’s time and effort to learn WordPress, noting:
A lot of people are looking to Wix these days in order to avoid the expense and hassle of finding a designer. Actually there are people out there who will pay to have a Wix site designed simply because they don’t have the time. Why should my son learn WordPress instead of Wix?
I guess it all depends on how you define “a lot of people.” The Wix Super Bowl commercial might have been viewed by 100 million people, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into demand.
Despite Wix’s game day exposure, its market share is dwarfed by WordPress. As of this writing, 23.4% of all websites run on WordPress while a mere 0.1% of sites run on Wix. It’s worth noting that WordPress has achieved its market share without any advertising — which may be why some mistakenly think that Wix is the larger of the two platforms.
With greater numbers come greater opportunities. With that in mind, here are five reasons why your son or daughter should spend their valuable time learning WordPress instead of Wix:
1. The demand for WordPress skills is huge and WordPress jobs pay well.
With everyone from small businesses to major media companies using WordPress, there’s simply more demand for people with WordPress skills. And those jobs pay well too. A recent survey found that the average WordPress developer salary is $79,000.
2. WordPress educational resources far outnumber those available for Wix.
Books and other training materials are hugely important when learning any new skill. As a result of WordPress’ popularity, there’s no shortage of training materials for the system.
To illustrate my point, I took a quick survey of books available from Amazon. Here’s what I found:
- WordPress: 3,209 books.
- Wix: 324 books. But most of those are for authors whose last name is Wix. When I filter on Computers and Technology I find only 38 results, but most of those refer to Windows Installer XML — an entirely different Wix. In fact, I couldn’t find a single book devoted to Wix the web publishing tool — although a few web design books do mention Wix by name.
3. WordPress is a more powerful platform.
WordPress has an extensive and well-documented API that supports all of the latest web technologies. Further, as an open source project, WordPress is constantly being improved and extended. There’s no limit to the kind of website you can build with WordPress.
Wix also has an API, but developers are limited by the proprietary nature of the product. There’s only so much a web developer can do with a closed-source content management system.
To make matters worse the Wix development roadmap is a mystery. That’s bad news for anyone who depends on the Wix platform.
4. Freedom to host your website anywhere and ownership of your creations.
When building websites for clients (or yourself, for that matter) you don’t want to be locked into a publishing system that can only be hosted with one provider.
WordPress sites can be hosted anywhere. Wix sites must be hosted on Wix servers. This raises some interesting questions about the ownership. If your website only runs on the Wix hosting service, is it really your website?
With WordPress, you’re free to do as you please and your original creations are your own.
When you start working with WordPress you’re also becoming part of a huge and vibrant community — not only online but in real life too. WordCamps bring WordPress users together from around the world. This is the kind of community that leads to improved technical skills, professional connections, and even life-long friendships.
What about the Wix community? The company hosts a web forum for Wix users, but that’s about it. Of course, WordPress also has an online forum and there are plenty of unofficial forums and blogs devoted exclusively to WordPress. Beyond the official Wix website, there really is no community of Wix enthusiasts.
Wix users must be very lonely.
The easiest path isn’t always the best path.
Wix may be an easy way to build very simple websites, but WordPress is an in-demand skill you can build a rewarding and high-paying career around.
I understand a mother wanting only the best for her son, and that’s precisely why I recommend that your son spends his time learning WordPress instead of Wix.