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I received an email the other day from a graphic designer looking to have a site built for his new freelance business. At first I thought that a bit odd. I mean, the guy is a designer. But, truth be told, there are many designers who don’t know how to build sites and are happy as a clam in their print-centric world. They’re doing fine, for the most part, and have no desire to learn the ins and outs of html, php and various other acronyms that can make one’s head spin. For others, it simply scares the heck out of them.
Yet, in this day and age as graphic designers, we can’t afford to miss the opportunities the Web offers. There’s no escaping it. Designers who can offer Web, blog and email marketing design are in a much better competitive position. Print’s not dead, but it certainly isn’t as robust as it was when I started in the business. Also, offering Web design can be an inroad that leads to more work in the print arena. At least that’s how it’s worked for me.
Fortunately, there’s a way around this quandary. Enter Wix. In a nutshell, Wix gives an html-phobic designer the ability to easily offer Web design to their clients … and themselves. Sign up and you don’t need to call someone like me while reaching for your wallet.
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The Wix Solution
Wix started out as a small company with a problem. They needed an easy way to create high quality sites and other Web content without all the fuss. By creating the Wix editor, they found their solution. Offering it as a product was the natural next step. Built around Flash and Flex as well as having and incredibly awesome HTML5 option, an Adobe application framework for mobile, browser and desktop applications, the editor is centered on the “drag & drop” concept. What could be simplier?
Wix comes in several flavors. The basic account is free. Premium accounts are divided into Connect Domain, Combo, Unlimited and E-Commerce and are available on either a monthly or annual basis. Premium accounts come with your own domain, unlimited bandwidth, additional storage, Google Analytics, professional hosting and premium support. Not bad. Not bad at all.
How It Works – Wix Features
As part of my research in writing this review, I signed up for a free account so I could poke around a bit. Here’s what I found.
After creating an account, the interface guides you through the process in something of a “wizard” fashion, beginning with choosing a template. Wix, by the way, offers over 100 nifty templates for your editing pleasure. The templates are categorized, so finding one that’s just right is a snap, or rather, a click. And yes, they have templates specifically for graphic designers and other creative enterprises.
For this little experiment, I chose a portfolio site. After the editor launches, a help screen floats over the page with some good information get you started. Thoughtful. The icon set at the left of the screen lets you add pages, edit various design elements such as colors, backgrounds and fonts. The “plus” sign icon opens a window where you can add elements such as text, images, media, social media, buttons, menus and more.
Once you’re pleased as punch with your handiwork, previewing and publishing your site is as simple as clicking a few buttons. Wix provides hosting and will give you a URL.
Once your site is published, going to “My Account,” will provide you with a list of your sites for viewing and/or editing. Plus, you have the option of creating a mobile version of your site. Given that mobile is one of, if not the fastest growing segments in Web development, that’s pretty important and yet another revenue stream for you. Like McDonalds, you can up-sell. So, instead of “Would you like fries with that,” it’s “Would you like mobile with that?” Odds, are, you and your clients will love that option. The process is similar to the above. You add your content, choose various design elements, add pages, images, etc. and publish.
It’s as simple as that.