In talking about using Wix to set up a travel blog, I especially have in mind full time travelers who want to blog as a hobby or as a way to keep in touch with friends and family by chronicling their travels. However, Wix can also be used to build a basic business website, so I’ll also talk briefly about some of the features Wix offers for promoting a business.
Full disclosure: Any links to Wix I share are affiliate links, meaning if you click one of my links to Wix and then decide to purchase a subscription I will receive a commission. I’m not an employee of Wix, though, and Wix didn’t pay me to write this blog post (they don’t even know I’m writing it!).
To the contrary, I signed up for the Wix affiliate program because I know a lot of people want to have a personal blog or start an online business and feel overwhelmed by WordPress and are looking for a simpler option. There are several other website building platforms similar to Wix that are also good alternatives, Squarespace.com, Weebly.com, and WordPress.com (which is different than WordPress.org), but in order to write this article, I needed to pick one to review in more detail, and I chose Wix.
As soon as you create an account
As soon as you create a new account at Wix.com, you’ll be offered the option of immediately customizing your website using the Wix Editor, or using “ADI” (Artificial Design Intelligence) to help you set up your site.
Choosing the “ADI” option is easier and faster and still gives you lots of options for customization. It’s what I used to build my demo travel blog in a little over an hour. If you don’t need anything fancy, that may be fine for you, and you can always start out using ADI and switch to the other option later (but not the other way around). However, using ADI does limit you to pre-built options as far as the design of your website. The other option, Wix editor, lets you do far more customization. For now I’m going to show you what it’s like to set up a Wix website using ADI, and later I’ll show you what the editor option is like.
Setting up a website with Wix “ADI”
The first question ADI will ask you is what kind of website you want to build. If you don’t see an option that describes your purpose, just start typing and more options will pop up.
Next you’ll be asked to choose a theme. This isn’t locking you into anything – it’s just for the general look and feel, and there are lots more options to choose from later. I chose “clean” for the demo travel blog I built.
When ADI asks you to pick a homepage design, the main thing you’re choosing is the placement of the pictures in relation to the text, but it’s very easy to change and experiment with different homepage layouts later, so don’t spend too much time on this decision.
Customizing your website using ADI
Once the basic layout of your website is loaded, you can start adding, removing, rearranging, and customizing the various blocks that make up the home page of your website. In the screenshot below, you can see the various layout options available for adding a “blog feed” section to the page.
One cool feature that I think a lot of full time RVers might appreciate is the ability to connect and display an Instagram feed. If you regularly post pictures of your RV travels on Instagram, you can have a section of your website that shows your feed where your blog visitors can comment or like your photos directly from your website.
Setting up a website using Wix Editor
Wix Editor can seem complex at first when compared with ADI, but the options for customization it gives you are really impressive, and in some ways actually outshine WordPress.
With WordPress, unless you know how to write custom code, the appearance of your website is pretty much limited to whatever features are included in your theme. Doing something like adding an image or a button is possible, but it’s not at all easy to change your site layout or randomly add a button to the home page of your WordPress website once your website is built.
Wix Editor, on the other hand, lets you edit elements on a web page similarly to how would edit a PowerPoint slideshow.
Adding a “strip” gives you a background for a particular section:
Then you can add elements to the background like images (which you can resize simply by dragging the corner of the picture):
Want to add a button? You have lots of styles to choose from:
Just drag your button where you want it, customize the appearance, and link it to wherever you want it to lead.
In the site menu section, you can easily rearrange the sections of your website by simply dragging them where you want them.
Adding blog posts to a Wix website
Once your Wix website is set up and published, adding a new blog post is very easy. You simply log in and navigate to the blog section, click “Create New Post”, and start writing. You can also organize your blog posts into categories so that when people visit your website, they can easily find articles that interest them without having to scroll through all your posts in reverse chronological order. (You can see what I mean by visiting my demo travel blog; if you go to the “blog” section, you’ll see categories I’ve set up such as “Places to Visit” and “Travel Tips”.)
Building a website from a Wix template
Wix also has lots of pre-built templates that you can start with and customize to save you time setting up your site and help you end up with a great looking design.
Here’s an example of one of their templates that’s geared toward building a travel blog:
Connecting your Wix website to your own domain name
If you choose to upgrade to a paid plan, you can change your domain name (website address) to be whatever you want instead of “yourusername.wixsite.com/yourwebsite”. You can either buy a domain name directly through Wix, or if you already own a domain name you’ve purchased separately (or if you prefer to manage all your domain names in one place) you can connect a domain name you already own. You can also set up a custom email address at your domain name (for example, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Business & marketing features available in Wix
So far I’ve mainly focused on setting up a travel blog using Wix, but Wix also offers some features that in my opinion set it apart from other website builders as a good option for business websites. In this section all go over a few of the features that particularly stand out to me.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
One advantage Wix has over some of its competitors is with SEO. Unlike some blogger websites that don’t do as well in Google search rankings, Wix lets you customize your website and blog posts to help them rise in search engine rankings, which is essential if you’re hoping to run your website as a business.
Social Media Posting
Most successful online businesses also maintain a presence on social media. Wix can help make this easier by allowing you to create social media posts directly from within your website. For example, when you publish a new blog post, you can then create an image to promote your new blog post on Instagram and share the image directly to your Instagram account.
Email Marketing Features
Building an email list is one of the most effective ways to convert website traffic into income. Wix can help you do this by letting you do simple email marketing within Wix itself (collect email addresses and send professionally designed emails from within Wix), or by letting you integrate your website with a Mailchimp (email marketing software) account and build custom email signup forms.
Integrating with other softwares
Even a website built with Wix ADI can integrate with some of the most common 3rd party marketing softwares, making it possible for you to track the number of visitors to your website, target potential customers with Facebook ads, do more advanced email marketing with Mailchimp, and put ads on your website for monetization.
Creating your website in the Wix Editor gives you access to even more marketing features and software integrations in the Wix App Store.
How much does Wix cost?
You can create an account and build a website with Wix completely for free. However, you’ll need to pay for one of their monthly plans if you want to set up a custom domain name, remove ads from your site, or increase the amount of data storage your website is allowed. You can look at the demo RV travel blog I built for an example of what the free website looks like. In other words, you’ll probably need to pay for a monthly plan in order to actually use Wix for your main website, but it costs nothing to go ahead and set up a site in order to determine if it’s going to be a good option for you.
Hopefully this article has given you a good idea of what it’s like to create a website using Wix.com. Even though WordPress is the more popular choice for blogs and business websites, if you’ve tried WordPress and found it harder to use than you expected and don’t have the time (or the desire) to learn, you do have other options, and one of those options is Wix. If you’d like to give it a try, go here to create a free account and start experimenting!
Also, if you’d like to watch someone else do it first, in the video below you can see me set up my demo travel blog using Wix ADI: