Whether you’re an aspiring online influencer in need of a homebase for your brand, a professional who needs a portfolio to show off your work, or a small business trying to spread word of your products and services beyond the town you set up shop in, building an awesome website is crucial to your success.

Benefits range from improving your likelihood of being discovered in today’s digital-oriented society to boosting your credibility as someone who cares enough to not only build an online presence but also take time to create an aesthetically pleasing portal into what you’re offering others.

The beauty of a cloud-based web development platform like Wix is that it gives you the ability to accomplish all of this and more with incredible ease at an affordable price. While other platforms are similar, they aren’t necessarily as intuitive.

Others may offer more potential, but they also require more skill, i.e., coding knowledge. Often, platforms on both ends of the spectrum can end up costing more while offering relatively fewer benefits to those who aren’t programmers yet want a site that looks like a programmer built it.

After trying multiple web platforms to build my own portfolio site, here’s why I’ve come to love Wix and how you too can leverage its technology to build an awesome website for you or your business.

Free or Freedom

First thing’s first: what are you looking for in your website? The answer could depend on how comfortable you are with designing and organizing a site.

If you’re not at all comfortable or are short on time, Wix Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) can build a free website for you. But if you have the skills or want to build them and have the time, Wix also gives you the option to have full control over design with the Wix Editor.

Wix ADI

Wix ADI doesn’t just give generalized templates to choose from; it gathers information about you and your needs and legitimately builds a customized space based on what you tell it to create. Once the skeleton of the site is produced, with some additional input from you on thematic choices, Wix hands over control to you to start adding additional pages and making changes to themes, fonts, colors, and more.

The upside is you get everything you need in a basic website that requires zero effort on your end to actually set up–and it’s free. All you need to worry about is providing the content for your site and making sure it looks how you want it to.

The downside is you might find yourself wishing for functionality or options you don’t get with Wix ADI, such as the ability to use your own domain. This and other advanced features require a premium plan. Here’s where you can really experience design freedom.

Drag and Drop Editor

If you decide to pay for a site you build with Wix Editor, like I did, your options expand considerably. There are several premium options available, ranging from just $5/month to $25/month, with each offering additional services. However, each premium plan includes:

  • Free hosting
  • Domain connection
  • 500MB+ storage
  • Google Analytics
  • Premium support
  • No setup fee

To begin with, there are several Wix templates other users have created that you can leverage for your own design. The site I built, for instance, was originally a layout from someone else who had published their design for others to use. Now, it looks nothing like the original, as I’ve made several changes both aesthetically and to the flow.

Once you have the layout you’re looking for in a website, whether you start from scratch or build off someone else’s available design, you can really start transforming your site into something unique with the drag and drop editor Wix offers.

Add Elements

Move text and design elements around on the page. Create new pages and menus with a couple clicks. Add a slew of creative elements to make any page more than just text, from vector art to call-to-action buttons and music to an online store.

There’s way more to choose from, and Wix helps you identify whether something might be of good use for your site by providing detailed information about each element when you hover over/select it.

Almost anything you can imagine a legitimate site requiring to be both aesthetically appealing and highly professional, Wix makes it available to simply select, drop in and move around.

This process is so intuitive and iterative, it’s easy to experiment with different design or logistical elements on your site, preview them, then decide to keep or delete with practically no work on your end other than deciding where to put something.

Add Apps

Another great feature of the the Wix Editor is the ability to add apps, several of which are fre. There are over 300 to choose from–Wix itself offers over 100 apps developed in-house–from social tools to chat apps to business tools.

Adding these apps to your site is as easy as adding any other design element you drag and drop in. There an easy way to make your site less static, more dynamic, more interactive to really capture the attention of visitors–and make you look like a total web dev pro.

Make It Mobile Friendly

Once you’ve made finishing touches to your website, check to make sure it’s displaying properly on a mobile interface using Wix’s mobile editor. This is of growing importance, as most people today access websites and services via their mobile phones more than any other device.

Ensuring you provide an elegant user experience (UX) that transitions seamlessly from a ~13” to a ~5” display is critical. Bad UX can ruin your chances at securing confidence from a site visitor.

You will lose their attention or their business and end up increasing your bounce rate, a metric that measures how quickly someone visits and leaves your site. The higher the bounce rate, the less likely you are to appear in Google searches.

Once you’re in the Wix mobile editor, you can rearrange images and text and hide elements you don’t want to display to ensure your site’s user experience is as elegant in the palm of a hand as it is on tablet or monitor. It only takes a few minutes to clean things up before hitting publish.

Email Marketing

One of the coolest extras Wix offers is email marketing. Once you’ve built your site, you might want to promote it–especially if you’re an aspiring influencer trying to garner followers; a creative professional trying to land a new job or freelance gigs with a sharp new portfolio; or a business trying to attract new customers.

As with everything, Wix makes this super easy, providing you with a flashy email template that only requires you inputting information and tweaking it to fit your brand. Besides that, your biggest job is providing a contacts list to which you send the email.

It’s possible you already have hundreds of contacts you could promote your new site to. If not, there are data-collection companies out there whom you can purchase email lists from (it sounds sketchy, but this is how the world works today).

That’s it. Click send and watch your site stats spike over the next few days. By the way, make sure you have a submission form somewhere on your site that visitors can use to contact you. You’ll definitely want to provide a way for visitors to communicate with you if you’re putting yourself out there like this.

Wix also offers an app that can help you grow your subscribers list if that makes sense for your site. This is a great way to keep yourself or your business in the spotlight with a growing list of contacts, increasing your visibility and potentially your profit or status.

View Stats and Build SEO

We’ve talked a little about the importance of making your brand–whether it’s personal or business–more visible to the online world with a stellar website. But building a great site can only take you so far.

A lot of the hard work involves playing the game of search engine optimization (SEO). Google and other search engines use algorithms to decide what results appear first in a search. There are specific best practices to follow if you want Google and other search engines to put your site higher in its search index.

Learning these best practices and understanding how to effectively apply them takes time and trial and error. Fortunately for Wix users, Wix SEO Wiz makes this much easier. It gives you a step-by-step process to follow to ensure your site is optimized correctly before even allowing you to connect it to Google in order to be indexed and ranked in searches–talk about due diligence!

Once you’re connected to Google, Wix will take you to your SEO plan where you can continue to optimize the rest of your site. You’re never alone in this; Wix SEO Wiz continues to give you a checklist of items to complete to help your site perform better.

When you’re ready to see how well your site is performing, you can connect it to Google Analytics, the most powerful analytics platform available for measuring organic and paid SEO, and start monitoring things like on-page time, click-through rate and site traffic amongst many other metrics.

End Your Site Search

If you’re looking for an all-inclusive cloud-based web development platform, Wix offers quite possible everything you need without the burden of mastering technical skills to derive the utmost value from it. Whether you need a lot or a little for your personal or business site, Wix is definitely what you’re looking for.