Not everyone knows how to code a website.
Still, they remain an integral part of life for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
A Little History
In the earliest days of the internet, programmers had to manually build their websites.
“The process required a deep knowledge of programming languages in addition to advanced web designing skills.
It took about two weeks for a team of experienced specialists to build a website that was still far from being perfect from users’ experience perspectives,” as Creators’ Mag explains.
In 1994, Geocities launched, offering budding young programmers the chance to hardcode their own websites by typing HTML into a text field.
An industry of programming books and tutorials sprung up in the wake of this as more people began to carve out their own space of the World Wide Web.
Image: Space Jam
Back in those days, the most advanced sites were things like the Space Jam website, which still exists today like some sort of artefact of the internet’s earliest period.
Slowly, companies like AngelFire and Tripod began to advance the technology of website building technology.
Tripod was the first website builder to provide a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) building tool.
In 2008, HTML 5 was first released to the public.
This is the current standard for programming on the web and made modern website building software possible.
Democratizing The Process
Though advances made it increasingly easier to design and build your own website, the job was still largely relegated to experts who had studied programming languages and knew how to write code.
That meant that companies still had to hire programmers to build out their websites.
It was a costly investment and didn’t make much sense for smaller businesses.
That was until HTML 5 rolled out, making it possible for companies to build easy and intuitive drag and drop website builders.
These effectively democratized the process of building a website, allowing anyone with a computer to put their stamp on the internet.
It’s a far cry from the early days of Geocities websites. These days, the garden of website building software is filled with many lush and healthy options.
Two of the most popular in the current arena of building technology are Divi and Wix.
Both of these services give people the ability to design their own page, implement various special features, promote products, and share ideas.
But which one is truly going to make your life easier? Which is the best use of your money? Which won’t cause you problems down the road?
We’re going to dig through both services and do our best to answer those questions for you.
Image: Elegant Themes
The Divi Builder plugin, version 2.0.68, sprung out of WordPress themes created by Elegant Themes, which was founded in 2008.
The first Divi Builder was launched in 2013 with the technology going through a number of iterations since its first release.
As you may guess, thanks to the builder’s history with WordPress themes, Divi functions solely through WordPress.
That’s neither a good thing or a bad thing, just a fact. So if you have some strange aversion to WordPress you may want to skip ahead.
But Divi Builder offers a number of powerful design options for website builders of just about every skill level.
Indeed, the company has been working diligently to shake its image as nothing more than a WordPress theme and attempting to reimagine itself into a website building platform in its own right.
Divi Inline Text Editing
Divi Builder’s inline text editing tool is perhaps its crowning achievement. It’s elegant and simple, while providing you with awesome results.
You begin by adding text as a normal pop-out module. But after that, you can make changes to both content and the layout all directly from within the page (also known as inline editing).
Image: Divi Space
This also gives you an accurate idea of what your visitors will see when they arrive at your page.
Since there’s no longer the need to switch between the backend and front end views, you’ll also save time.
Divi Front-End Wireframe Mode
Image: Elegant Themes
Divi Bulder’s “wireframe mode” evolved thanks to the tools’ origins as a back-end builder.
It allows you to enter “wireframe mode” with a quick click, and then you can work with and manipulate various structural elements of the page directly.
If you leave this editor you’ll be returned to a live-previewed front end shot of the page.
This tool is great if you’re feeling a little crafty and know a bit more about programming.
Here, you can get into the nuts and bolts of how the page is constructed, including which modules are in use and how they’ve been organized throughout the page.
This is great when you’re in the planning stages of your design and are less concerned with how it will ultimately appear, giving you the chance to focus on the overall structure of the site.
Divi’s Ecommerce Integrations
If you’re starting up your own eCommerce site, then Divi has a number of options to help you along on your journey.
For instance, you can use Divi’s WooCommerce integration to help display and sell your products.
But WooCommerce isn’t the only name you’ll recognize. Indeed, the service integrates with 17 of the most popular email marketing services on the web today, including:
One of the main criticisms leveled at Divi Builder is that, while it creates impressive page layouts, it does this by using shortcodes.
Shortcodes are codes that are specific to WordPress. They’re basically shortcuts designed to let builders accomplish certain tasks with minimal effort.
For example, they allow you to embed files or create objects that would usually be made from mountains of garish code and boil it down to just one line.
So, technically Divi does the job it sets out to do — create a website. And as long as Divi is your active theme one WordPress, then that won’t be a problem.
HOWEVER… if you ever want to change your WordPress theme your content will be eaten up by those nasty shortcodes.
And it won’t be a simple matter to fix. They aren’t sporadic little pieces of code spread throughout your page.
Your site will basically become polluted with the little things making it nigh unviewable.
For many people, this isn’t a problem. But if you like your content (including pages and posts that you’ve created with the Divi page builder) then you may be in trouble.
Still, in a world where many people switch WordPress themes like socks on a hot day, it may be a good thing to be tied to a single theme for a while.
It forces you to create a brand and stick to it without changing any fundamental elements.
And if you’re debating changing your theme, you should likely think long and hard about it, because Divi won’t make it easy for you.
Thankfully, the Divi Builder Plugin was rolled out by Elegant Themes in part to respond to these criticisms.
Divi Builder Plugin should be able to work with any WordPress theme.
Still, that leaves you stuck with the Divi Page Builder and unable to change paths in the future, if you so desire.
In order to use Divi Builder, you need to be a member of the Elegant Theme club.
You’ll find that this, in and of itself, will provide you a number of benefits, including access to Bloom, the email opt-in form builder, and Monarch, the media sharing plugin.
Image: Elegant Themes
If you’re interested in using Divi, you can either pay $89 for one year or you can get the life-time access option with a single payment of $249.
Both options provide you access to Elegant Theme’s various themes, both current and future.
One of the disappointing things about Divi is that it doesn’t provide a free trial period. However, they do provide a 30-day money back guarantee, which is basically just as good.
Now that we’ve taken a look at Divi, let’s dive into the world of Wix and see what it has to offer.
Wix hit the web in 2006, created by brothers Avishai and Nadav Abrahami and friend Giora (Gig) Kaplan.
The group were actually trying to build an online home as the basis for another start-up idea when they discovered how difficult it was to create their own website.
It was frustrating and costly, which led them to create a platform for others to create their own sites with no coding or design skills needed.
Evolving over the years, Wix now offers a drag and drop website builder that takes full advantage of the HTML 5 capabilities mentioned earlier in this piece.
It also has hundreds of designer-made templates, as well as apps and various other features for free.
The company also offers a premium service.
Wix is now used by more than 100 million people throughout 190 countries. And if you were wondering, there are 195 countries on the planet, so people are using Wix just about everywhere there’s an internet connection.
Wix Onboarding & Site Configuration
In general, Wix’s overall design is functional but the company has also cleaned up many of their services to make for a “prettier” experience, all while maintaining the various functions on a single screen.
Indeed, Wix has been repeatedly praised for how simple and intuitive the technology is.
For the HTML illiterate, it really is just a matter of dragging the elements you want to move and dropping them on a new area of the screen.
Thanks to this, you not only get the satisfaction of designing your own site, you also get to build it bit by bit and see it come together.
The basic elements of a website are all easy to configure, including the design, your pages, and the overall navigation.
The company’s onboarding process is also designed to streamline the process.
When you sign up, you’ll immediately begin an email training sequence to guide you through various design choices.
Ostensibly, Wix is a blank canvas editor. Where many building tools will allow you to drag and drop elements, those are usually only permitted within a predetermined grid.
But Wix removes many of those constraints, attempting to make creating a website a little more like editing an image within Photoshop.
The problem is, websites aren’t pictures, they’re structured documents and Wix’s editor can sometimes mess with that structure.
Image: Site Builder Report
So, adding text to a certain part of the page can cause images to shift in unusual or unwanted ways, for example.
It can all add up to the point where you feel like you’re just trying to balance a series of spinning plates.
Let’s face it though, these aren’t issues that make Wix unusable. It consistently proves that by remaining one of the most popular tools on the web.
These problems can be worked around, and if you’re the type of person who prefers a blank canvas editor then Wix is just about the best game in town.
And thanks to the inclusion of tools like undo, redo, snap-to-grid, and anchor dragging, you’re at least given the ability to stave off too much of the chaotic randomness that the editor can create.
Wix Mobile App Design
One of the most interesting aspects of Wix is its mobile experience.
Image: Website Tool Tester
The Wix app allows you to edit and publish articles and posts on the go. This means you can actually begin your designing from your mobile device and add the finishing touches when you have time.
Wix Design Templates
For those who aren’t innately familiar with coding languages, design templates will be your lifeline.
Wix is frequently updating and refurbishing their designs and theme section. This means they remain relatively current and never seem too dated.
Wix isn’t quite up to the level of a site like SquareSpace, but it still boasts a solid collection.
They also don’t require professional-grade photos for their themes to really work like many of those provided by a site like SquareSpace.
Wix provides a plethora of different elements to help you build your website. These come in the form of different navigation elements, boxes, buttons, menus, and much more.
Image: Site Builder Report
In addition to the native elements, Wix provides access to the App Market, which includes more than 300 apps that add additional features and elements. It really is one of the most attractive things about Wix.
Many of these features and elements that Wix offers are geared towards specific businesses or industries like hotels and music.
A couple examples include:
- Music – Wix offers one of the widest selections of audio players available on website builders. It also allows you the freedom to distribute music as you would through platforms like CD Baby. They also provide custom audio analytics for musicians.
- Events – Wix allows you to connect to a payment provider, create email invites, sell tickets, and track guest lists.
- Restaurants – Included are elements for restaurant menus, online delivery features, as well as a reservations app.
- Art Store – Through Wix you can sell digital images commission free or connect to a print-on-demand service.
Wix recently introduced its new “Artificial Design Intelligence,” or “Wix ADI.”
This is meant to manage the lion’s share of manual work of designing a site by using a powerful algorithm.
In essence, this should make designing your site even faster.
According to the product pitch, you enter your name and job title, then Wix ADI “learns what you need and creates a stunning website for you complete with beautiful images, video, and text.”
After that, you can add more sections and features as you grow your site.
Wix Speed and Security
Any site built using Wix is hosted on Wix’s servers.
That ensures that the servers are optimized for Wix websites, it also means that the folks working with the servers are incentivized to make sure your site remains fast.
As a result, those professionals are also in charge of making sure your site remains secure.
Wix’s sites rarely go down since you don’t have to be concerned with caching, CDNs, patches, or salts.
Wix offers a number of pricing plans for different types of businesses.
What’s important to remember though is that Wix maintains a free option for users.
However, this includes an ad that will scroll alongside your site. It’s not very attractive and may scare of some visitors.
Not to mention, you’ll be provided with a rather clunk subdomain that looks like “yourusername.wixsite.com/yoursite”. Obviously, not very attractive.
There’s also a 500 MB bandwidth limit on the free websites. You’ll bump up against that limit rather quickly if you’re receiving much traffic.
From there, the prices climb depending on what you need.
Keep in mind though, Wix’s prices are a per month cost of an annual plan. So that’s not actually the monthly cost you see, but the annual cost divided into twelve.
The two most basic plans are cheap, but they’re cheap for a reason.
The $5 per month Connect Domain plan does little more than get you in the door. It also includes two Wix brand ads on your site, which isn’t very attractive.
The Combo plan is ad free but limited to 2 GB of bandwidth per month. Each time a person visits your site they use up bandwidth. Keep in mind, the average Wix page is 1.4 MB.
From there, the features climb along with the price tag.
The Unlimited Plan is the sites most popular which makes sense, given that you receive unlimited bandwidth and no ads, making it great for small businesses.
Wix is also known for its transparent and easy cancellation process.
So even if you do opt to pay for their services (which, in all honesty, you probably should), if you decide you want out at a later date they won’t make it hard on you.
Conclusion – Divi Vs Wix
Divi and Wix are both solid website builders but they both also have their drawbacks.
Divi has been shown to rely a little too heavily on shortcodes for many people. This can lead to complications if you decide you want to switch your theme or try a different builder.
Wix, on the other hand, can generate design issues thanks to the blank canvas nature of its builder tool.
Both of these might be issues for different people, depending on what they’re looking for.
Looking at them from the other direction, they both offer a user friendly, sleak, intuitive option for designing, building, and maintaining a website.
While Divi does provide a 30-day money back guarantee, you might be best to start out by playing around with Wix’s free options to see if it’s a good fit.
But either way, you’ll have a chance to try out both options and see which one works best for you moving forward.
Websites are just a fact of life these days. You can’t get by without one.
But, while not everyone may know how to code a website, that’s no longer an issue with tools like Divi and Wix.THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE READ DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.
Sam Zaman loves to write on technology & related stuff. Ecommerce, mobile and internet marketing equally drive her interest. Likes gardening and experimenting with new recipes. An avid reader and absolutely mad @bout donuts 🙂