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If you thought that building a regular website was tricky, try building a Flash website. Until recently interactive websites built with Flash required mountains of code and extensive knowledge of HTML and CSS. These days however, just as regular website building has been made accessible, those of us without technical computing knowledge can quickly and easily construct our own Flash website using tools such as Wix that do all the heavy lifting. Although there are other Flash website building tools available, Wix was one of the trailblazers in this field and with over 13 million sites built to date, have maintained a strong record.
As is now standard in this category, sign up and choosing a site template is incredibly easy. Scroll through hundreds of professionally designed, swish looking template or narrow down your search by category. Although Wix does not boast many templates, and some key websites types are missing, the quality of the templates available is high. If you are an artist, musician, online store, or consultancy firm you are likely to find something. If you are looking for a website for journalism or your sports club, you are not. In this way, those with something specific in mind may either find exactly what they are looking for, or be disappointed, making Wix a bit of a gamble.
With your template chosen, Wix loads up its website editor and it is clear to see from the outset that it is one of the best in this category. With a drag and drop and WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) interface, building your site is a simple process of selecting your desired components and dropping them wherever you would like them to appear on your website. Wix provide you with all the standards such as uploading photos, videos, audio and text. Where they really excel however, is in the amount of Widgets on offer, which are all of excellent quality and easy to install. Wix is one of the only website builders that allows you to insert multiple layers which is excellent but can start to make things very complicated; remember one of the key rules of web design is “keep it simple”.
Although Flash is the state of the art website platform, it does have its drawbacks. Firstly, and maybe this is obvious, designing a Flash website is a very complex process, and although Wix does the hard work for you, this does mean that at times the website builder can be quite slow to respond and may occasionally act up. This can be especially frustrating for users with a slow internet connection and / or a slow computer. Secondly, Flash websites are notoriously hard to search and despite some handy search engine optimization tips and tools, this will be something you will inevitably sacrifice for the aesthetic appeal of Flash. Thirdly, and finally, Flash is not compatible with iPhones or iPads; now Wix have come up with a way for you to produce a separate iPhone compatible site which is excellent, but this will invariably entail more website design and maintenance work for you.
Overall, Wix comes with all the other features we would expect from a top ranking Web design tool including web site stats, a webstore and an integrated graphic imaging program. Wix also offer excellent customer support in the form of forums, wikis, tutorial videos and phone and Email contact. Although there is no blog, you can download a comments widget, but for a real blog you will have to look elsewhere. Our only slight gripe with Wix was the length of the URL you are assigned with the free version which appears as; www.wix.com/yourEmail/yourwebsitename. In this sense, although the free version will get you loads of great features, for a professional website you will have to pay for a premium account. Wix’s prices, however, are reasonable, with some potentially great offers for you to take advantage of. In conclusion, we would recommend Wix to Artists and Musicians who want to present a powerful image through their website. Those looking for a website for commercial purposes will have to consider Flash’s reduced searchability while those looking for something primarily practical or informative may simply not need the levels of complexity offered by Wix.
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