Consumers buy differently today than they did 10 years ago.
Before the internet, sales teams relied on cold calls, print advertising, and word of mouth to grow their business. Today, the marketing and sales landscape offers a virtually endless number of platforms and channels to reach buyers.
However, none of those digital marketing channels are effective without a strong website.
A few years ago, transformation in the manufacturing industry was off to a slow start. Still a relative newcomer to the B2B digital marketing world, there were companies that hadn't updated their website in a decade — or some that didn't even have a website (make sure to check for signs your website is out of date if you're not sure).
But recently, we're seeing more manufacturers who are ready to get their hands dirty and create a new website on their own. With so many easy digital tools out there, it's no surprise manufacturing and industrial companies are taking the initiative.
One of the best options in the website builder market for manufacturers today is WordPress. More than 64 million websites are using WordPress. This platform allows you to create strong experiences for your customers and gives you the tools you need to make edits as needed and make sure your site is getting found by relevant users.
And then there's Wix, which our data shows as another popular alternative you may have come across for website design. So how does Wix stack up against WordPress? Which one should you choose for your website platforms? Let's go through a quick comparison.
What's The Difference Between WordPress And Wix?
The biggest difference between WordPress and Wix for manufacturers is customization.
Wix is appealing to small manufacturing businesses and startups for its drag-and-drop features that allow you to design a simple website without formal design or development training.
Think of it as a standard industrial product versus custom manufactured products: Standard products may come in different sizes or specs, but overall the fundamental design and structure can't be changed. We hear a lot from manufacturing leaders it's difficult to make changes on their website so their pages tend to go months or years without updating. With WordPress, that's no longer a challenge.
Here's a general overview of the differences:
With WordPress, users download the software before building a site (a good thing, because it creates a website platform that can be modified and redistributed again and again for free). Although Wix users don't need to spend much time to learn the platform like WordPress
While Wix is tool/service and WordPress is a software, they're both completely different experiences getting started.
WordPress vs. Wix: Which is Optimized for SEO?
Let's refresh your memory on the marketing acronym, SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it's the process of optimizing your website to get a higher ranking in Google and other search engines.
SEO is a big part of the strategy to generate more qualified leads and is one of the top reasons why most industrial companies use WordPress for their website. As we covered above, Wix's limited customization can get in the way of advanced SEO tactics, such as development optimizations for site speed. Page speed is important because your target audiences demand a smooth, fast user experience. Studies show that if a page takes longer than 3 seconds to load, over a quarter of users will click away and choose a different search result — likely a competitor.
Wix Analytics has a Site Speed dashboard to see your site performance but Wix websites load slower than those built on HTML (like WordPress). In fact, a 2019 analysis of more than 150,000 small business websites revealed Wix performed the worst in Google PageSpeed scores.
As a company grows, the purpose of the website evolves with it and more web pages may need to be created to support new products, services, and the customers' changing needs. You can't just create a website and expect people to find you online if you don't have new content to increase SEO. Remember, better content that's targeted to your buyers moves your website closer to the top of the first page of Google, which increases your chances of getting found by more customers searching for the products and services you offer.
Fun fact — WordPress actually started out as a blogging platform before it evolved into a website builder, so you can also expect WordPress to be more advanced in that department than Wix.
WordPress vs. Wix: What's The Best Platform For Lead Generation?
Wix is a great tool for small business owners because of its easy-to-use templates and intuitive interface. While the Wix App Market does offer over 250 marketing, analytics and other business tools, it does not compare to more than 55,000 WordPress plugins.
Regardless of which platform you use, effective lead generation needs a clear goal and strategy. Your website is the foundation of your lead generation efforts but there are many components that should be aligned to see results. You should understand who your prospects are, their buying habits, be up to date on buyer trends, and leverage all digital marketing channels to successfully drive traffic and convert them to leads —that means emails, videos, paid campaigns together.
CJ Winter is a thread rolling manufacturer and invested in a new website focused on educating the industry about the cold root rolling process and tools. They publish a variety of content, guides, and videos to keep their buyers engaged and their website at the top of search results. Their new website and online marketing efforts have contributed to double growth sales year over year!
💡Thomas Tip: CJ Winter's growth is also attributed to its Company Profile on Thomasnet.com where more than 1.3 million B2B buyers, engineers, and procurement managers source industrial products and services. Get Started With A Free Company Profile Today.
Migrating From Wix To WordPress
Migrating a website from Wix to WordPress is, unfortunately, no easy feat, as Wix servers own all the content you build. So if your business is growing and you're looking to upgrade from Wix to WordPress for advanced SEO and customization, check out the following checklist:
6 Steps To Migrate Your Website From Wix to WordPress
1. Purchase new web hosting
Since using Wix means that Wix hosts your site, migrating your site over to WordPress will require you to purchase a new web hosting account. Once you make this purchase, you'll be able to install WordPress to your account.
2. Set up a temporary domain
If you set up your domain using a premium domain with Wix, you'll need to create a temporary domain on your WordPress side while you're still moving all the content over from your live Wix site.
3. Settings & plugins
Before customizing your website it's important to do some backend setup. Upon logging into your WordPress account, you'll see your dashboard. At this point it's good to navigate to the following to get you started:
- Settings > Permalinks and update your url structure to make it more readable.
- Settings > General create your site title and tagline.
It's also a great idea to check out some essential plugins and their features. There are many to choose from, but these plugins can help your website perform better in terms of SEO, content, scheduling and more. Some of our favorite plugins include: Yoast, Jetpack, Google XML Sitemaps, and Gravity Forms.
4. Design your new website
Next, it's important to customize your website design. WordPress offers thousands of themes to get you started on building and crafting your business' online presence. Perhaps you need some website design inspiration?
Here are additional references to guide your design:
- 10 Best Industrial Websites Examples That Engage B2B Buyers
- Industrial Distributor Website Examples That Increase Sales
- 5 Factory Website Designs To Inspire Your Redesign
- 9 Elements Of An Effective Website Design
5. Transfer blog and website pages
While you can download your blog RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed for easy migration of blog-specific content, the only way to transfer other website content to WordPress is manually or through paid services with website experts. The length of time it will take for the full transfer to happen is really dependent on the size of your site and the pages and content you have to publish.
6. Transfer domain name to a new provider
If you had a premium domain registered Wix, you'll need to transfer that over once your site content is moved.
- Sign into Wix
- Navigate to Subscriptions
- Click domains in the dropdown
- Choose the relevant domain
- Select the Advanced tab
- Choose transfer away from Wix
- Click send code
- You will receive an authorization link via email to transfer to WordPress.
Deciding Which Website Platform You Can Scale With
Choosing which CMS to use is a business decision that shouldn't be an afterthought. Each platform has different capabilities, features, and tools that can make or break your digital marketing efforts. We understand the above steps go a little beyond the website basics but creating a high converting, optimized manufacturing website is a necessity for the success of your business and is no longer a "nice-to-have" — so it's important you base your decisions on your growth plans.
For example, if opening new locations or partnering with other countries is one of your business goals, WordPress is available in 57 different languages and is used is more than 175 countries, making it a truly global platform. Some of the largest global brands use WordPress like eBay and The Walt Disney Company, but it's favored by small companies too.
Need help deciding what to do about your website? Contact our website design experts for help. Our industrial marketers are supported by degreed engineers so we understand the complexities of your manufacturing business and can guide you through every phase of your growth. We'll run a free digital health check on your website to let you know how you compare against your competitor, what you can improve to reach more B2B buyers, and proven increase sales online.
"We tried other people with our website and marketing but found their focus wasn't on manufacturing, and Thomas is. We get a lot of activity now and steady results weekly — a lot of inquiries thanks to Thomas and our online marketing efforts," Ron Delfini, President at Engineering Specialties, Inc.
BONUS: Best eCommerce Platform For Manufacturers
The rise of adoption in eCommerce and product data management technologies continues to escalate. But there are many product solutions and tools for manufacturers to choose from. Which platform generates leads while supplying engineers and B2B buyers with what they need to make an easy purchasing decision? Read the comparison of two top-name brands in the eCommerce industry in our recent post: "Thomas Navigator Vs. Shopify: What's The Best Catalog Management & eCommerce Toolset For Manufacturers?"
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