SmugMug and Wix are two website builders that allow starting quality websites yet target diverse audience types. The systems differ in complexity, specialization, functionality and pricing options. This is what triggers the necessity to choose the system that adheres to your web design needs most.
SmugMug is a specialized photography website builder, which targets industry pros willing to sell their works on the web. The service lets you create modern portfolios and online galleries that can be used for a variety of purposes. Wix is the all-in-one platform, which lets you start and manage professional web projects, using a powerful integrated feature set of the service. The website builder does not imply coding awareness, which is a great feature for newbies.
Website Builders Comparison Chart
|Best for:||Photography websites||Business websites, blogs, landing pages, promo websites, small/medium web stores|
|Templates:||Limited template collection||Numerous free, mobile-ready, niche-specific designs|
|Technical Support:||Powerful customer support, YouTube channel, email support, live chat, extensive user community||Rich knowledge base, ticketing system, VIP support, phone support|
|Blogging:||No blogging engine||Built-in blogging platform|
|SEO Options:||SEO-friendly website builder||Extensive SEO features|
|Pricing:||Free to $42/mo||Free to $49/mo|
|More info:||SmugMug Review →||Wix Review →|
Both website builders deserve user attention – each in their niche. The platforms allow starting quality projects, offering powerful functionality out-of-the-box. To define their major distinctions and special features, it makes sense to compare the systems to see what each of them has to offer. Let’s get started now.
SmugMug vs Wix: General Overview
SmugMug is a full-featured multi-functional photography website builder. The system mostly targets professional photographers, who aim at selling their works on the web. It allows creating and managing quality online galleries, granting shared access rights to let photo enthusiasts from across the globe tell their stories in the most appealing and impressive way.
The website builder was introduced to the market in 2002. It differs from lots of its competitors as it does not only let users present their works in the most favorable light, but also to create stock galleries and sell them online. The use of the system does not imply deep coding awareness as the entire web design process is intuitive and hassle-free here. According to statistics, the overall number of portfolios created with the system has reached 99,379 projects, while that of live websites now constitutes 55,188 projects.
Wix is the world-renowned website builder which provides powerful out-of-the box functionality and lets you start any type of web project with regard to your actual needs. The software has distinguished itself as an advanced contemporary service based on the innovative AI technologies. This is the best solution for those, who wish to launch professional websites for personal and business use. Portfolio/photography websites are not an exception.
The platform was launched in 2006 and it has notably developed since the day of its foundation to now become the leader of the web design niche. No programming skills are required to start functional websites with the system – so intuitive and understandable it is. Current statistics tells about 3,800,881 live websites powered by Wix, while the overall number of its subscribers has reached 154 million users and it keeps growing steadily.
SmugMug and Wix are quality DIY website builders that enjoy user popularity. However, they are still used for various purposes. While SmugMug is a photography-focused website builder, Wix is the all-in-one system, which boasts global recognition. To realize its actual potential, have a look at its current statistics, which undoubtedly speaks for itself.
SmugMug vs Wix: Which One Is Easier to Use?
SmugMug is quite a simple DIY website builder. The main sphere of its application focuses on the creation, storage, promotion and selling of photography projects. This is a great tool for photo enthusiasts and industry pros as well as designers, artists and ordinary users willing to save their life memories. Such photo orientation explains the distinctive focus of the system, which affects its popularity with users.
The website builder is oriented both on the needs of beginners and web design pros. That is why the system is not complicated at all. Its interface, however, may seem somewhat overloaded with design customization tools and elements, but it’s still quite easy, convenient and fast to get used to it, when proceeding to website creation. One of the highlights of the platform is its drag-and-zoom image editing options. Inexperienced users, however, may find such fixed block structure complicated, while the process of photo publication and gallery creation takes a few minutes only.
To simplify the process of photography website creation, the website builder offers informative and versatile customer support options. There are useful guidelines and tips on each stage of the website development process. This contributes to easy and hassle-free system exploration. Additionally, SmugMug users can get access to a powerful Support Center of the service with lots of tutorials and reference materials. There is also a YouTube channel containing versatile video tutorials as well as email support, live chat and extensive user community here. Whatever system-related questions you have, you will surely find informative answers here.
Wix is an easy-to-use website builder, which comes with a powerful drag-and-drop editor as well as advanced Wix ADI tools that lets you get the most out of the AI-based web design approach the system offers to inexperienced users. Along with the AI tool, there is access to the Standard Editor, which helps give your website a touch of personalization.
Getting started with Wix is super-easy – just fill out the login details or register via social networks to get access to the system dashboard. Right after that, you will be offered to pick the web design method along with a template that fits your industry and design preferences. If there is anything you don’t understand on any stage of the website development process, Wix grants access to the powerful Support Center. This is where you will encounter multiple tips and guidelines, useful blog articles, informative forum, ticketing system, phone support and other user assistance options.
When it comes to the ease of use, Wix certainly goes first. The website builder comes with a handy WYSIWYG editor, multiple customizable templates and extensive customer support options. It grants an opportunity to pick a more preferable website editing option as opposed to SmugMug that does not have such a possibility.
SmugMug vs Wix: Design and Flexibility
SmugMug and Wix both offer distinctive and high end functionality. The website builders are full-featured and powerful, which lets you get the most out of their flexibility. Wix seems to be more feature-rich as compared to SmugMug, but it also has much to offer to its target audience. To define the platform that overcomes its competitor in terms of functionality, let’s compare the main advantages and special features of both systems now.
SmugMug lets you set up quality online stores to sell your photos there. This is also the place where you can add descriptions for your images, customize price lists, organize photos into thematic collections, adjust image selection options to enable them to download both separate shots and entire photo collections. SmugMug also lets you issue gift certificates, sell photo prints, adjust web store security settings.
There is an opportunity to customize an integrated shopping cart along with payment options. Among other eCommerce features that contribute to effective web store management and promotion, it makes sense to mention logo creation watermark sign and digital branding application, multi currency support and more.
Wix boasts a powerful eCommerce engine, which lets you set up and manage small and medium online stores. The website builder comes with a powerful Wix Stores widget that allows for quality shopping cart customization, intuitive products management, creating and further updates of product galleries.
There is an opportunity to create impressive photo collections and show windows, add product descriptions and reviews, implement promotion and statistics tracking tools, set up shipping/payment parameters etc.
When it tackles the eCommerce aspect, Wix and SmugMug both deserve special user attention. Website builders come with integrated eCommerce engines that let you sell products/images you wish to offer to the target audience. Wix, however, offers greater eCommerce flexibility and more extensive web store customization options that eventually ensure better result.
Image Management Options
SmugMug abounds in photo management options This is no wonder considering the specialized focus of the system. The website builder allows for convenient photo organization, making it possible to create and update thematic collections, folders and galleries. The system also lets you control image safety and accessibility by means of adjusting image sharing options. Thus, users can grant access to social networks to share their photos, galleries and portfolios there and they are also able to invite other users to edit/manage their photos together in the live mode.
Wix also delivers extensive image management options. Apart from the availability of website editing options, the website builder grants access to photography-related apps and widgets. They are free and paid, while the choice is really impressive.
Special attention should be given to Wix Photography widget, which lets you launch and manage professional photography websites. This becomes possible via Wix Photo Albums and Wix Pro Gallery widgets integration.
Speaking about image management, SmugMug has much to offer due to its special photography focus. There are multiple image editing/sharing options to choose from, but Wix also abounds in photo-related settings. Its Wix Photography widget allows setting up a professional portfolio website that is worth special user attention.
SmugMug allows for Lightroom plugin integration. The website builder lets you effectively upload, organize, edit, manage and promote photos by means of automatic synchronization with the platform. Lightroom plugin integration contributes to better preservation of website structure and more convenient SEO optimization. What’s more, SmugMug has recently announced its integration with Flickr. This notably boosted brand recognition as well as overall functionality of the service. As a result of this integration, SmugMug has become one of the most influential photography-focused communities.
Wix provides extensive integration options that make it possible to complete a variety of web design tasks. The system grants access to the powerful App Market, which has a rich choice of free and paid widgets/third-party extensions.
This is where you can browse and pick those apps, which contribute to your website development and promotion. Maong the most popular App Market widgets, it makes sense to mention Wix Video, Wix Forum, Wix Restaurants, Wix Hotels, Wix Events, Wix Music, Wix Photography and more.
To sum it up, both SmugMug and Wix abound in integration options. Wix, however, has a more extensive and powerful selection of widgets/apps to be used for your website promotion. SmugMug somewhat lags behind Wix in this respect.
SmugMug has a pretty limited template collection, but it’s not about the quantity of designs here, it’s all about gallery settings and uploaded images. Currently, the website builder offers 8 pre-design themes only, but their quality is far beyond the average. Power Plan users can get access to all 26 themes they may choose from.
When it comes to the template aspect, design unicity doesn’t matter a lot as the prevailing amount of portfolio website content will still consist of photos. Irrespective of the limited template choice, they match various portfolio types. Some of them ensure full-screen image display that is a perfect solution for small portfolios. Others are specially structured to effectively showcase image-rich portfolios. If necessary, you can switch between the themes on any stage of the design customization process. All the templates are free and mobile-optimized.
Wix has one of the best template collections in the world. This concerns both the number of themes and their quality. Currently, the number of designs constitutes 550 themes, all of which are free and mobile-ready. They are also divided into several categories based on the niches they belong to.
All Wix themes are impressive and professional, but the system does not let you switch between them, while working on the design customization process. This is the result of the absolute positioning approach it practices. If you decide to switch to another template, get ready to submit the content once again. As to the design editing, Wix lets you choose between two options – either Wix ADI or Standard Editor. It’s also possible to pick a blank theme and customize it from scratch.
Speaking about the design aspect, Wix definitely has more to offer. This concerns both the stunning template number as well as their quality and customizability. SmugMug template collection is too limited, although, the website builder excels at its powerful photo focus.
SmugMug vs Wix: General Pricing Comparison
SmugMug doesn’t have a completely free plan, but there is a free 14-day trial that lets you test the functionality of the system prior to deciding on one of its paid subscriptions. For those users, who decide that they are ready to upgrade to the paid plan, the system offers 4 subscriptions, namely:
- Basic ($7/mo or $55/year) – full Homepage customization, unlimited image uploads, password-protect for galleries, pages and folders;
- Power ($11/mo or $85/year) – 21 extra templates, right-click image protection, HTML/CSS code adding, opportunity to connect your own domain;
- Portfolio ($27/mo or $200/year) – opportunity to sell photos and videos, apply watermarks, create eCommerce optimized galleries, fulfill orders from WHCC, Bay Photo, Loxley and EZPrints, set site wide pricing (this allows keeping around 85% of the markup);
- Pro ($41.99/mo or $360/year) – opportunity to create custom coupons, packages and events, set prices for individual galleries or images, create group galleries under events, provide gift-wrapped packaging and brand shipped client options.
You can save up to 38% of the initial plan cost by upgrading for the annual subscription and making the one-time payment. All the plans come with unlimited Storage space for photo/video uploading and storage. They also include the opportunity to upload up to 210 MegaPixels or 150MB images, which is a huge advantage for professional photographers. This makes the website builder a moderately-priced system for photo experts. Mind, however, that the cheapest plan does not let you connect your own domain name, which is a notable demerit for most users.
Wix has a free unlimited plan, which is enough for testing the integrated functionality of the paltorm. As soon as you decide to start a feature-laden project, get ready to upgrade to one of the paid subscriptions. There are actually two types of subscriptions to choose from. Each of them includes more detailed plans to come up to the major users’ needs and expectations. Have a look at them now.
Standard Wix Plans
- Combo ($13/mo) – absence of system ad banners, free hosting, free domain name connection etc.;
- Unlimited ($17/mo) – 10GB storage space, unlimited bandwidth etc.;
- Pro ($22/mo) – 2 hours of video storage space, integrated Google Analytics and statistics collection tools etc.;
- VIP ($39/mo) – first priority support, professional logo etc.
- Business Basic ($23/mo) – online payments acception;
- Business Unlimited ($27/mo) – special apps for entrepreneurs, business development tools, integrated eCommerce platform etc.;
- Business VIP ($49/mo) – availability of the complete Wix Suite, unlimited bandwidth and unlimited video storage space;
- Enterprise ($500/mo) – end-to-end business solution that offers the utmost system functionality and maximum number of web design tools.
Wix is known for its 14-day money-back guarantee, which lets you get a budget refund in case you are not satisfied with the paid plan chosen. The system also frequently offers loyalty programs, bonuses, special offers and other benefits to new and current users. These offers help them save big, when picking the most suitable subscription.
When it tackles the pricing aspect, both website builders are moderately-priced. Wix, however, has a more extensive and rich selection of plans that lets you pick the best offer to come up to your special requirements. Its money-back offer is also worth special attention, while SmugMug doesn’t have such an option for its subscribers.
SmugMug vs Wix: Which One Is the Best for SEO?
SmugMug is a SEO-friendly website builder, which means that photography websites launched with it are well-optimized for the search engines. You can fill out the main SEO parameters of your project, which are available in a separate field. Among the settings you can adjust, it makes sense to mention standard meta tags that include titles, descriptions and keywords.
Additionally, the website builder grants access to advanced SEO tools, detailed statistics collection and analytics as well as other parameters that let you track traffic fluctuations as well as other SEO-related parameters.
Wix allows setting up and configuring the main SEO parameters of your website. Apart from setting up standard SEO settings for separate website pages and for the entire projects, it is possible to access and edit web page URLs to boost their search engine potential.
The website builder also stands out from the crowd due to its integrated SEO Wizard that simplifies the process of setting up search engine optimization parameters.
When it comes to SEO, Wix unveils more options for effective website optimization. Its high end SEO Wizard will help even a newbie go through the complex SEO set up process with minimum effort/time investment. SmugMug also boasts extensive SEO functionality, but it definitely lags behind that offered by Wix.
SmugMug vs Wix: Which One Is Better for a Photography Website?
SmugMug is a perfect choice for photography website development. The website builder was specially designed to start and run professional portfolio/photography projects. It lets you conveniently organize, edit and manage photo galleries. It is possible to store images, adjust their settings and offer them for sale, if required. The website builder makes it possible to create photo collections and divide images into thematic sections. You can also control accessibility settings and your photo safety by adjusting image sharing options and protecting them by your own copyright.
SmugMug integrates with Lightroom. This helps keep your project structure and SEP parameters well-organized. To boost your project popularity, you can share it on social networks. What’s more, it is possible to invite other users to edit your photography website in the live mode via the shareable link. The website builder comes with multiple customer engagement features. Thus, it has one of the most rewarding systems – the website builder grants 100% print satisfaction guarantee and it lets users order photos from well-known print laboratories directly from your website. The platform has recently acquired Flickr, which has made it one of the most powerful and well-known photography communities in the contemporary web design niche.
Wix is also a great pick for a photography website. The platform delivers extensive portfolio development and management settings (take a look at these stunning Wix portfolios). Apart from the rich photography/portfolio template collection and abundance of design customization tools, the website builder grants access to the feature-laden App Market. This is where you can browse and choose lots of free and paid widgets, including those meant for high end photography projects.
Wix Photography is the most popular and widely-used photo-related widget you can find in the App Market. It encompasses Wix Photo Albums and Wix Pro Gallery widgets. The first one is a must-have for a photography expert willing to establish professional online reputation. The widget makes it possible to create, manage and update visually-appealing and stand-alone photo websites without paying anything for them. Wix Pro Gallery is the app, which also lets you start stunning photo galleries with hundreds of images you intend to offer for sale. What you can do here is adjust image settings, protect images from third-party downloading, make them fit the screen and parameters of desktop and mobile devices, assign social sharing options etc.
When it comes to starting photography websites, SmugMug works really great. The website builder is a niche system that focuses exclusively on photo website development and thus, it can’t but offers powerful photo-related features/tools. Wix, however, offers more extensive photo-related features and design customization opportunities. It’s also easier to use and this is what makes it a more popular solution for many users.
SmugMug vs Wix: Which One Is Better for an eCommerce Website?
SmugMug functionality does not go down to website development and image storing only. The website builder allows selling the images/photo collections you have downloaded. Setting up a web store is not a problem here. What you can do to start selling digital photos is creating/updating image galleries, customizing price lists for potential clients, organizing photos into thematic collections, adjusting image selection options for customers so that they could pick and download the required items.
When managing a web store with SmugMug, you can sell gift certificates and prints, adjust security settings and image sharing/storage options, customize shopping cart and checkout parameters etc. The platform will let you create a brand name for your photo business, creating a unique logo, adding a watermark sign along with digital branding to your projects, integrating shopping carts to start selling online etc. Mind that no matter what image price you set, you will get 85% of the final profit. The website builder also comes with multi currency and multi channel support.
Wix has a powerful integrated eCommerce engine, which allows starting a small or medium web store to sell digital photos (see examples). Web store activation is realized via Wix Stores widget integration, which lets you connect and customize a shopping cart. Along with quality mobile-ready designs, the website builder allows uploading and editing photos, creating attractive show windows, setting up display parameters, adjusting payment settings etc. Additionally, you can get access to the App Market with its rich selection of eCommerce widgets. All these features make wix a great pick for web store website development and its further management.
Speaking about eCommerce, it is possible to run a web store and to sell digital photos with both website builders. Wix unveils more flexible and advanced web store-related features that let you get the most out of your project sales perspectives.
Key Differences Between SmugMug and Wix
|Ease of Use:||SmugMug is quite a simple website builder, which lets you set up a quality photography website. It comes with intuitive interface and professional toolset to let you start and promote a quality portfolio project.||Wix is a good choice for beginners and web design pros. However, the system may require some time/effort investment to explore and master it well. The system has distinguished itself due to its advanced Wix ADI tool, which allows starting a new website from scratch in the automated mode, using the info provided by a user. Standard Editor is also accessible here, letting users get deeper design customization features.|
|Functionality:||The website builder comes with a powerful set of photo-specific features used to start portfolio projects. SmugMug works well for photography websites, making it possible to create and sell digital photo galleries. The website builder boasts Lightroom and Flickr integration, multiple customer engagement features, image editing tools and other must-have features.||The system ensures powerful integrated functionality. Along with advanced design customization features and tools, Wix includes blogging/eCommerce engines and grants access to the impressive App Market, Wix Turbo, Wix Corvid and Ascend platforms.|
|Design:||SmugMug has a pretty limited template collection, but the quality of designs is pretty high. There are 8 ready-made themes available for free access here, while Premium plan users can choose from 26 templates.||Wix design collection currently includes more than 550 free industry-specific themes, which are mobile-ready and fully-customizable by default.|
|eCommerce:||SmugMug has a powerful eCommerce engine, which lets you sell digital photos on the web.||Wix Store widget allows launching and managing small and medium web stores, using multiple eCommerce tools to reach the goal.|
|Blogging:||The website builder doesn’t include a blogging platform.||Wix comes with the built-in blogging platform. It lets you start, manage and update blogs for personal and commercial use.|
|Small Business:||SmugMug targets entrepreneurs, whose business is connected with the photography niche and who plan to establish quality web presence.||The website builder allows running professional business projects. There is access to numerous business designs, industry-specific widgets, high end Ascend platform and other features that contribute to stunning result.|
|Pricing:||The website builder has a free 14-day trial and four paid subscriptions. Their cost starts from $7 per month.||Wix has a free never-expiring plan and two groups of paid subscriptions for Standard and Business/eCommerce websites. Their cost starts from $13/mo.|
|SEO:||SmugMug is a SEO-friendly website builder. It means that portfolios created with it are well-optimized for the search engines.||The website builder grants access to the advanced SEO Wiz tool. It simplifies the procedure of website SEO optimization and grants useful guidelines on how to make the process a success.|
|Customer Support:||Powerful customer support, YouTube channel, email support, live chat, extensive user community.||Impressive Knowledge Base, ticketing system, VIP priority support.|
Comparison Conclusion: Which One Is Better?
The choice between SmugMug and Wix is quite challenging for most users willing to start a quality photography website. It’s no wonder as both platforms work well for portfolio development and both of them come with an extensive feature set you can use to reach the goal. The question is: which of these systems has more to offer and which of them prevails over the competitor?
SmugMug is a specialized photography website builder, the integrated functionality of which is focused on portfolio development and management only. The website builder delivers niche-specific designs, extensive customer engagement, integration and image editing features, high end promotion and eCommerce solutions. Wix is the all-in-one platform, which offers a universal approach to the entire website creation/management process. It also allows for photography website creation, offering distinctive functionality for portfolio website creation.
To sum it all up, Wix proves to be a better solution for photography website creation. The website builder is simpler and more functional as compared to SmugMug, while the result it ensures is definitely worth the effort invested.