Your website is one of the most visible representations of your brand. Many new business owners turn to Wix as a DIY tool to create their own website.

A great small business website reflects your visual style by using the right colors, fonts, and imagery. It also conveys the right message about your benefits so that your product or service is appealing to your target customer.

How to make a great looking Wix website

Let’s walk through how you set up and customize your Wix website.

You’ll start by choosing either the ADI system or creating the site using the Editor.

If you prefer to create your site the more manual way, you’ll choose the Editor. The first question is about what type of website you want to create. The answers are a mix of types of business (Photography, Fitness, Events, Restaurant & Food) and also types of websites (Blog, Online Store, etc.). We’ll assume you are trying to create a Business site and choose that option.

Wix Editor
This is the first question you have to answer to begin your Wix site.

From there, you’ll choose a template. There are lots of templates in every category.

Samples of Wix templates
Next, you’ll choose a template.

Once you choose a template, you’ll get to the main editing window. As you can see, there are menus everywhere. You can control and customize everything! But, it can feel very confusing and overwhelming.

What’s challenging about going this route is that if you keep the general design of the site, your site might easily end up looking like other people who are in your same profession. That’s not good because you want your visual identity to be unique to you, connected to the traits of your product and service, and distinct from your competitors. However, if you decide to customize your site by starting with one of these templates, it’s very challenging.

The menu and toolbars are confusing and overwhelming!

What is the Wix ADI?

At this point, you may want to back up and try the Wix ADI. What is Wix ADI? ADI = Artificial Design Intelligence.

The User Interface of the ADI is much more friendly. You answer a few very basic questions about your business and then you’re prompted to start by choosing a theme. No matter what type of business you choose, it always seems to serve up six options to start with. See more below about changing your theme.

Wix ADI pick a theme
You always get six choices at this point.

Next, they ask you to choose a home page design. They say you can skip this step, but if you don’t choose, you end up with the first design. It worth it to look at the options here and choose the one you like best. Otherwise, you’re going to spend a lot of time reworking everything.

Wix - Pick your favorite hompage design
Take a moment and choose the one you like best, it will save you time in the long run.

For example, if you look at these sample home pages you’ll notice:

  • The first has a black background and has a photo that takes up the left half of the screen. As you look down, you’ll see another black box with light type and then a section with three photos.
  • The second choice has a lighter background and a large full-width image. Further down is another large photo.
  • The third option has a smaller, full-width image. Further down is an area with text on the left and a smaller photo on the right.

These feel so different! Two of them are very light, while one is very dark with all the black background. The middle one features a very inspirational photo, while the other two show more realistic photos—but if you use your own imagery this will completely change the feel of the page. And depending on what type of content—words or pictures—that you want to highlight on your homepage, the bottom sections may or may not work for you.

If this is the case, your next step is to use the design editing tools to customize your site.

Choose new themes and customize the design

There are two main editing menus that you’ll use to customize your Wix website: the ‘Add’ menu and the ‘Design’ menu.

Wix editing menus
The two primary editing menus in Wix.

It’s helpful to understand what part of the design is affected by each menu.

Themes and visual styles: When you choose a theme, it comes along with default colors and fonts. You can override these choices by using the colors and font menus.

Page structure: There are several ways to change the elements on each page.

  • If you choose ‘page design’ in the ‘design’ menu you end up at the same screen we featured above that shows the home page.
  • You can then customize any page by using the ‘Add’ menu and choosing ‘Section of a page’.
  • Every time you add a new page, you can choose from a list of page types as your starting point. After that, you can add new sections to your page. You can choose from pre-designed pieces or more general content types like text, image, list, form, etc.

Is Wix the best choice for your small business website?

Using Wix’s templates or ADI is supposed to guide you in the website building process. However, it’s likely that once you insert your own images and text, you may find these pre-built options don’t look at great as you anticipated.

What’s challenging is that Wix tries to make things easy for you by preselecting design elements. If you use the layouts as-is, Wix feels really easy to use. But…. your website should look unique. If you rely on Wix’s pre-built designs your site might look very similar to your competitors’ sites. Then, if you make the decision to try and customize the design, it can quickly get overwhelming.

Create a website that is consistent with your brand

Remember, your website should match everything else in your branding. In fact, depending on your type of business, it’s likely that your website is one of the most important pieces to establishing your brand identity. As you customize your Wix site, make sure you:

  • Use your brand color and fonts. You can customize this in the design menu.
  • Make it clear what you offer and write using the right tone of voice for your brand.
  • Use imagery that matches your branding.

If you already have defined your brand traits and styles, you’ll be able to choose the right colors and fonts within Wix. But these aren’t well defined, Wix can quickly lead you astray with their pre-built designs.