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How to Switch from Wix to WordPress

How to Transfer from Wix to WordPress

Before partnering with me on a custom WordPress site, SO many of my clients built their “starter” sites in Wix. And I get it! Wix appeals to beginners because it’s a one-stop shop that makes getting a website set up less overwhelming. However, ALL of those clients switched to WordPress because their Wix sites weren’t getting organic traffic, they couldn’t fully customize their sites’ functionality, and it was tough to get the look they were dreaming of.

Sound familiar? Then this blog is for you! Stick around for the details on why WordPress is better than Wix! I’ll spill the tea on how you can make the transition to WordPress as smooth as possible, with step-by-step instructions to show how to export Wix to WordPress. I’ll break down the following:

  • WordPress vs. Wix: The Similarities
  • WordPress vs. Wix: The Main Differences (and Why WordPress is better than Wix!)
  • How to export Wix to WordPress

WordPress vs. Wix: The Similarities

You can build a website from a variety of templates.

Templates can be a great starting point for building a custom site, and both Wix and WordPress have their starter templates included. You can grab one of those templates to start your website, or you could use Google to find other professionally-designed templates to purchase from designers and developers.

Once you’ve settled on a Wix template, you can use the drag-and-drop editor system to customize everything to your liking. If you’re working in WordPress, you can edit templates using the Gutenberg block editor, custom code, and plugins.

You can use plugins or apps to add additional site functionality.

If you want more than the most basic functions from your website, you’ll want to tweak your site with additional plugins. For example, if you’re building an e-commerce site, collecting email subscriptions, or adding Google Analytics, plugins make it possible!

If you have a Wix site, you can select from over 300 free and paid apps in the App Market. However, when it comes to plugins, WordPress beats out pretty much every other site builder. There are hundreds of free and paid WordPress plugins, and it’s one of the features that makes WordPress sites super adaptable.

They’re both top-rated services.

I’m a WordPress designer, so obviously, it’s my favorite way to build websites! Especially for service-based businesses and small business owners, it is truly THE best way to get a site that looks the way you’re envisioning and does almost anything you’d want.

That said, a lot of people love Wix. It’s a quick and easy solution to get a site live on the internet without putting in much tech work. But there’s a point where most brands outgrow Wix and should transfer to WordPress to get a fully custom site!

WordPress vs. Wix: The Main Differences

WordPress is a content management system; Wix is a full-service website builder.

One of the most significant differences between Wix and WordPress is that Wix is an all-in-one service that provides everything from your domain name to site hosting and building. In contrast, WordPress is an open-source content management system. That means WordPress leaves it up to you to buy a domain name, choose a hosting service, and figure out how to modify a template, which is more hands-on than using a service like Wix. While Wix is the easier path at first, it will eventually fall short of what businesses need (more on that below!)

WordPress websites are more customizable.

While you can customize the look and feel of both Wix and WordPress templates, Wix is more limited. Their drag-and-drop builder is convenient, but WordPress allows for custom CSS and HTML, which is the key to modifying every detail of a site’s appearance.

As for plugins, Wix has around 300 apps available. The WordPress plugin library features over 55,000 plugins 🤯 In particular, they have ones to help you optimize SEO, manage e-commerce, and gather email addresses for marketing, which are all things you can’t do with Wix apps.

WordPress sites are better at SEO.

In my experience, clients have a much harder time getting Wix sites to rank on Google. Why? For starters, free Wix sites don’t include custom domains, making it MUCH harder to get your site to appear in searches. But even if you upgrade to a version of Wix that includes a personalized domain, you can only change certain elements, like page titles, alt attributes of images, and heading. Those are only a slice of the SEO pie!

One of the downsides of Wix’s SEO is that file names are randomly assigned whenever you upload images. That’s a huge missed opportunity for Wix site owners! Google image search traffic makes up almost one-quarter of all search traffic on the internet, which is why renaming image files is one of my go-to strategies for driving organic traffic.

Not to mention, WordPress also has SEO plugins that Wix doesn’t (like Yoast), which can help you evaluate and revise on-page SEO for every post on your site.

It’s easier to tweak WordPress sites for faster loading speeds.

Faster loading speeds can determine if people get to your site and what they do when they get there. For one thing, Google’s algorithm prioritizes search results for faster-loading sites, which can help drive organic site traffic. And once people get to your site, 53% will click away from your site if it takes more than three seconds to load.

MANY factors can affect your site’s loading speed, like hosting, theme, and plugins…and WordPress gives you more control over all of them! For example, Wix packages their sites with hosting. If you’re looking for faster loading speeds, you can’t switch hosting providers without leaving Wix altogether. However, with WordPress, hosting is up to you, and you can always upgrade for a faster site.

Wix’s graphics-heavy themes can also result in slow loading times, especially on mobile. That’s a pretty big deal because over 60% of organic search visits happen on mobile devices! WordPress sites are generally quicker to load, and you can boost speed with additional plugins that optimize images and encourage better caching and compression.

E-commerce is built into Wix, but WordPress’ e-commerce has fewer limitations.

Wix has e-commerce built into its platform, but better solutions exist. If you want to sell more than a few products, it can be challenging to keep everything organized on Wix (and it can become one more thing that slows your site down.) If you have a lot of products, I recommend building a site on WordPress with the Woocommerce plugin.

The price difference between Wix and WordPress:

Wix has seven monthly plans, ranging from $16 to $59. Those lower price tiers might look pretty appealing, but hold the phone! You will get only a fraction of what you need for a business website for $16 per month. Instead, you’ll need the Business and E-commerce plans, which are $27-59 per month. These plans are all aimed at business owners who want to be able to accept payments, and they all share the same basic features. The main difference between each tier is how much video and data storage you’re allowed. At the VIP ($59) tier, you also get customized reports with data insights.

A WordPress site usually costs $12/year for a domain, $25/month for hosting, and the initial investment of hiring a web designer to create a custom site geared toward your business goals. You can add a Google Analytics plugin for free to get insights into user data.

How to make the switch from Wix to WordPress

If you’ve already decided to make the switch from Wix to WordPress, you’re probably wondering how to transfer your site from one to the other. Don’t worry, I’ve got you! You’ll have two options: transfer via RSS feed or plugin. I always recommend moving via plugin for less stress!

  1. To begin setting up a WordPress site, sign up for your own hosting. I prefer Flywheel or Kinsta!
  2. If you still need a domain, now’s the time to buy one. Set up a temporary domain if you plan using the same domain as your Wix website. You can choose this as an option when you purchase hosting.
  3. Follow the directions on your hosting provider to install WordPress.
  4. Choose and customize a WordPress theme. Once you’re signed into your WordPress account, you can find them in WordPress Appearance →Theme → Add New.
  5. Create an account on CMS2CMS, then fill out the information in the wizard. When asked if you want to use the connector plugin or bridge file, choose “plugin” and click to download the connector plugin.
  6. Navigate to “Plugins” in your WordPress dashboard, upload the connector plugin zip file, and click “activate plugin.”
    Now you should see “CMS2CMS Connector” in the left-hand menu of your dashboard. Click it and fill in your information to continue.
  7. Select which assets you want to transfer and click “Complete Migration.” You’ll be quoted a price and prompted to fill out payment information.
  8. If you’ve set up a new domain, then you’re good to go! If you’re transferring your new domain to your WordPress site, follow the domain transfer instructions at Wix and your new hosting provider. As a final step, follow your hosting provider’s instructions to turn off the temporary domain so your new WordPress site will display on your URL.

I hope this post has helped you understand how to transfer to Wix from WordPress, and why WordPress is the preferred choice over Wix. There are a few similarities between these two services, but there are also considerable differences! From my experience, WordPress is the way to go for people who want a custom website to help you stand out against the competition and that can grow with you!

Feeling like you’d rather head back to calc class? I’ve got you –  head over to my contact page to get in touch about getting started with your website on WordPress!

Steph O'Keefe, SEO strategist and WordPress designer sitting at desk wearing a white shirt in Raleigh, NC.

I'm Steph!

I'm the Founder and creative Director behind Southern Creative, a.k.a. your SEO strategist and web designer.

My passion is crafting websites rooted in strategy so you can put your focus where your heart is while we launch your dream website that shows up online.