How to share a Wix website without publishing
Whether you're seeking feedback, collaborating with a team, or just not prepared for the grand unveiling, you need a solution to share your site without being in public view (or in search results). Fortunately, Wix provides the flexibility you need to discreetly share your site at various development stages. Here are a few options, ranked from most difficult to easiest:
The In-Editor Preview
The “Get Feedback” tool
In this guide, I’ll explain how to maintain control over who sees your website before it goes live, ensuring that when you do decide to connect your domain, your site is polished, optimized, and ready for the spotlight.
This feature is perfect for those who want to share their site with a select group of people, like team members or clients, for feedback.
When you're in the Wix editor, simply click the 'preview' button, and you can see how your site will look once it's live.
The In-Editor Preview on Wix makes it hard to share your website unless you're in the same room, limiting your ability to work from anywhere. Even though some people might like this method, I find it doesn't fit well with the freedom that online work usually offers.
Collaborator Access is a feature on Wix that allows you to invite others to view and access your site, with permissions ranging from editing site content to writing blog posts. However, it requires careful management to ensure that each collaborator has the appropriate level of access, preventing inadvertent changes that could disrupt the site's integrity. (You can also password-protect certain pages. (Learn more here).
This feature is available on both the free plan and all premium plans. You’ll need the email addresses of the invited people. For a step-by-step walkthrough on how to share access to a collaborator, please visit Wix’s support article here.
While 'Admin' access will grant the person full control over the website (something you'd want to avoid under most circumstances), 'Website Editor' and 'Blog Writer' access will limit their capabilities to editing site content or writing blog posts, respectively. Always ensure to review the permissions associated with each role before deciding on the right level of access for your collaborator.
While Collaborator Access can indeed be a helpful tool for sharing a Wix site preview, it is vital to tread carefully and be mindful of the potential challenges it presents. As always, choose the method that best aligns with your project needs, team capacity, and comfort level with the platform.
The “Get Feedback” tool
Believe me when I say this: The “Get Feedback” feature is the unsung hero of the Wix platform, a tool that provides an intuitive, streamlined, and efficient way to collect constructive critiques on your website. It allows you to get real-time feedback from your team members, clients, or any other stakeholders without them needing to log into your Wix account or be physically present. And the best part? The feedback is anchored to specific elements on your website, making it incredibly easy to understand, review, and action.
The "Get Feedback" tool on Wix is an effective way to get specific feedback on your website without making it live. Though it's not versatile, it gets the job done by allowing you to refine your site based on input before publishing.
You can access the feedback tool through your site’s dashboard, next to the “Edit Site” button. For more information, check out Wix’s step-by-step guide here.
Another way you can view your site without publishing will be to preview the changes you’ve made to your website using what Wix calls a “Test Site” (Note: your site will need to already be published for this option to work. If you have not yet published, please use another method).
To access this feature, you’ll need to make sure you have dev mode turned on, which you will be able to access from the button at the top of the editor’s menu. Once Dev Mode is turned on, you’ll see a little arrow appear next to the “Publish” button; click that and you’ll see a new option to create a test site.
This will put all of your changes into a version of the website that is attached to a suffix of your URL (looks something like “?siteRevision=XXX” where “XXX” represents the number of times you’ve hit publish).
Among all the features Wix offers for sharing and previewing your website, the "Test Sites" feature undoubtedly stands out as the most versatile - and also, it's my favorite, too. The beauty of this feature lies in its ability to provide a fully functional mirror image of your website, put within a unique link that you can easily share with others, whether they're across the table or across the globe.
This isn't just a half-baked preview – it's a fully working site, complete with all the bells and whistles you've carefully integrated. Clickable links, functional forms, interactive elements, and everything in between - they're all alive and kicking in this test version and they won’t be in search engines.
Another key strength of the "Test Sites" feature is how compatible it is with mobile optimization tests. In the mobile-first era we're living in, ensuring that your website is optimized for mobile devices is no longer an option, but a necessity. With the "Test Sites" feature, you can easily view your website through the lens of a mobile device, checking how each element translates to a smaller screen and making necessary adjustments.
The result? You get a comprehensive preview that perfectly mirrors your live website, allowing for rigorous testing and fine-tuning before you hit the 'publish' button.
If for any reason you need to unpublish your Wix site, you can always hit the unpublish button under the site actions option on the editor’s top menu.
To share a Wix website privately, you have options, all varying in ease and functionality. From the In-Editor Preview, which is limited by in-person sharing, to Collaborator Access, which requires careful permission management, each tool has its own pros and cons.
The “Get Feedback” tool is straightforward, allowing you to collect targeted feedback without launching your site. Yet, it lacks versatility. The standout feature is the "Test Sites" tool. It generates a fully operational version of your site, accessible through a unique link, perfect for comprehensive feedback and mobile optimization tests.
By using these features, you ensure your site remains undisclosed until you're ready for the final reveal.