Weebly is one of the easiest, most affordable, and sophisticated website builders available. Voted as Make a Website Hub's “Best Website Builder” for two straight years and continually noted as a favorite of entrepreneurs and small business owners, it is easy to see why the San Fransico-based drag-and-drop web-hosting service has seen so much growth in recent years.
Whether you are working on a website for your small business, searching for the perfect e-commerce platform, or simply looking to develop a personal website, selecting the right website host is imperative. Weebly, an all-inclusive website developer, offers major convenience while limiting some of your creative freedom. By comparing Weebly's features to other major web developers and breaking down the pros and cons, we'll help you to determine whether or not this website developer is right for you.
Weebly is one of several web-hosting services that allows users to build, launch, and curate webpages. According to Weebly, they currently serve a whopping 40 million entrepreneurs, many of which have utilized Weebly's services to launch successful business campaigns that have garnered the interest of a worldwide audience. With a free “Basic Use” package to a generous $25 a month business domain package, Weebly is competitively priced and comes with copious features, including handy onboarding, custom CSS and HTML possibilities, a large array of site extensions, and e-commerce options.
Building a website from scratch takes advanced developer skills and ample time, but the drag-and-drop feature of Weebly allows you to select content and place it directly into your web page. For novice internet users, the learning curve is virtually non-existent and the satisfaction of instant turnaround is hard to resist. Of course, Weebly doesn't want to pigeonhole their more skilled operators. For that reason, the option of custom HTML and CSS provide liberation from an established set of boundaries. That being said, Weebly also offers a designer set of themed templates for those who want to briskly publish their content without forgoing a professional facade.
User dedication has allowed Weebly to flourish in recent years, including expansion to their e-commerce options and a mobile app for building and editing on the go. They also have stepped it up in regard to SEO, website analytics, and ease of access to popular site extensions, such as YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. Plus, they've got an unmatched support service and thriving online community to assure their users have the ability to quickly and accurately resolve issues.
The Pros and Cons of Weebly
Pro #1: Easy to Use
Weebly offers one of the easiest site building interfaces we've come across. The fact of the matter is, not all entrepreneurs are familiar with website editing and, quite frankly, many don't have the time or resources to dedicate to mastering CSS. Weebly allows users to add all the necessary website content without spending hours entering any code or having to flip between your site builder and preview page, much like renowned sites such WordPress require you to. They also do their best to stay up-to-date with industry trends and advancements, so you'll get the benefit of more complicated site features without having to do all the legwork on your own.
The drag-and-drop feature allows you to organize content instantaneously. This can drastically decrease the time it takes to launch your web page or update material. Features such as title, text, images, maps, and contacts are offered in an uncluttered menu on the side. Sort of like a glorified Kid Pix for website design. The elements of design are rather grand considering the simplicity of the palate. In fact, even harder to come by features, such as video backgrounds, custom headers, and full-width image and color backgrounds, can be generated in a matter of seconds.
You don't need to be an aesthetic genius either. Weebly's custom templates include trendy, sophisticated interfaces that can help you roll out content without having to nitpick over design layout. Familiarize yourself with some CSS code basics, and you can go back and customize the template with adjustments to fonts, colors, spacing, etc.
Even more complicated marketing features, such as a full suite of SEO elements, are easily accessed through the website and app. While SEO and website analytics tend to require specialized expertise, Weebly's tools allow users to quickly analyze and understand their reach in terms of search engine compatibility and audience engagement. These tools, paired with Weebly's accessible onboarding and education tools, make it easy to make adjustments and optimize website traffic and engagement.
Pro #2: Price
Compared to site builders like WordPress and Wix, Weebly offers a competitive pricing package. The $25 monthly fee for a business site includes premium features, including unlimited membership, membership registration, a 0% Weebly commerce fee, SLL security, autometic checkout, and inventory management.
A free, basic use membership isn't a bad start either. For $0 down you get up to 500MB of storage, SEO and lead capture, as well as access to online chat and forum help. If you don't mind a subdomain, meaning such-and-such at .weebly.com, this is a great way to launch a hobby site or blog without making an investment. At $12 a month, you get a premium package, capable of harnessing a budding business. Things like phone support, your own domain name, access to Google Ads, site search, and password protection make this the “Pro” package, suitable for groups and organizations. The first tier pay package, at $8, is a steal too. At a fractional cost, you can rid the sight of ad banners, get your own domain name, and unlimited storage. By monetizing your website you can easily break even on such a low investment.
If you're new to website building, the technical terminology can feel a bit burdensome. However, Weebly's price packages break down the feature upgrades into categories: support, marketing, eCommerce, Site Features. SEO, or search engine optimization, allows you to be found through keyword searches on major search engines and can be a mainstay and worthwhile investment to build website traffic. Moreover, a personal domain name, as opposed to a subdomain, can lend a sense of professionalism and permanence to a website. Weebly's prices are on par or lower than their competitors when it comes to these sort of upgrades.
Lastly, when you use a website developer you gain access to security and add-ons that would be costly and burdensome to add on your own. Weebly's packages are generous in terms of storage, SEO features, and eCommerce. Moreover, they are transparent about what you get. Keep in mind that the longer you commit to a plan the cheaper it will be. For example, if you commit to a plan for a two-year period, it may cost a significant percentage less than if you commit monthly.
Pro #3: Support
One of our favorite added benefits of Weebly is their generous support system. Between the community forum, chat & email support, and phone support, you ‘ll likely get a quick response to any questions and concerns you have as you develop your web page. Their support page isn't as crude as their competitors. In fact, its clean, Pinterest-like grid design breaks help sections into categories such as “Getting Started,” “Building your Website,” “Email Marketing,” and “Videos and Webinars.” Each of these help sections is broken down into several subcategories and relevant articles, such as “How to's” and “Beginner's Guides,” which are clear and concise.
The website's onboarding is a bit like a new hire training program. Informative speech reminders and info links provide trail markers and insight as you move along in the website development process. They are sort of like speed bumps along the road to website development. While this sort of system is commonplace with web developers these days, the perfect system provides just the right guidance without proving to be a nuisance. We're confident that Weebly has developed a well-blended system to initiate you into their program.
Once you're a member, you'll also receive some helpful email blasts. These tidbits can help to steer you in the right direction and solve commonplace problems. They can also help you educate yourself on web development, eCommerce, and marketing. If you're just getting started with your website or are trying to launch an online store, these info blasts may be truly illuminating.
Pro #4: Quality
Weebly websites are designed to make an impact. With nearly 50 signature templates and a generous helping of drag-and-drop features, you can easily develop an authentic web page. Adding multiple pages, contact forms, and multimedia is a breeze and if you aren't content with the templates, you can always overhaul the look of your site with a little CSS. Never the less, the final product is a clean looking, easy to navigate website, with many options to tailor it to your own niche or business type.
Moreover, entering into the first pay bracket will allow you to drop the Weebly logo from the bottom of the page. While we're all about giving credit where credit is due, this allows you to spread your brand without any confusion. You'll also find it easy to add multiple pages and develop a trouble-free navigation system. For those in the first pay bracket and beyond, you've unlimited data storage and bandwidth. Together, these factors provide unlimited possibilities for your website.
For business owners, Weebly's G Suite and Promote are two additional services that you may want to consider. With G Suite, you get a Google business account, including email, for a discounted rate of $45/year. This also includes business perks like video meetings, shared calendars, and online storage. This is sort of like purchasing all the business basics for a virtual office. Promote is an email marketing campaign that is developed in conjunction with your web page. It helps you to build email lists, use drag-and-drop features to design catchy emails, track your email stats, and schedule email blasts.
Another distinct feature is the ability to integrate third-party apps flawlessly into your web page. Members can explore options in Weebly's App Center. Choices include form builders, FAQ pages, social media grids, chatroom extensions, and so much more. There are nearly 300 apps and extensions and the inventory is growing. The list includes all the basics needed to get you connected to social media and even some interesting site metrics.
Pro #5: Safe and Secure
Security is one of those built-in measures we often take for granted on the internet. For $25/month, you get the SLL security. This type of encrypted certificate keeps information private. It is the type of system that is deemed appropriate for social media sites, eCommerce transactions, and data transfers. Moreover, it guarantees that site visitors aren't putting their personal information at risk for visiting your web page.
For those who aren't looking to upgrade to the business tier, the first pay bracket will give you the option of a secure password. This allows users to develop their own unique entrance code before entering your site. Even if your visitors aren't particularly concerned with security, password protection has a way of officiating the entrance to a site.
Pro #6: Digital Storefront
Weebly's eCommerce options are nearly as dynamic as the website developer itself. Therefore, we've dedicated sections to both its pros and its cons. Weebly's storefront offers the option to sell both digital files, such as e-books and music files, and nondigital goods. Users can easily input product descriptions and metrics into the site builder and Weebly will manage the inventory directly. At a top pay tier, they will also calculate shipping costs and taxes for you. Overall, investing in an eCommerce platform such as this will help you reduce your personal business duties and make it easier to track and manage larger inventory.
Another added perk is the coupon generator. Since everybody loves a good deal, using this extension to help you come up with discounts and bargain programs will help you attract savvy buyers and quickly clear out inventory when needed. Weebly's Promote program will help you develop, schedule, and track promotional emails that contain sale flyers and coupon codes.
Overall, Weebly doesn't overshadow pure eCommerce platforms such as Shopify. However, if you are looking to pair your digital storefront with a blog, Weebly fits the bill. If you have a fruitful social media presence and don't want to come off as overly commercial, this can help.
Con #1: Difficulty Relocating
There is a lot of competition and staggered growth in the world of website development. Between the potential expansion of your own website and the limitations of website hosts, it always wise to have the option to relocate. While Weebly makes it fairly simple to export content, it is far more difficult to export the entire RSS feed, including blog posts. The best way to do with is to use an HTML importer. If you're moving to say, WordPress, then you're in luck, because they've their own. There are also plenty of How to Guides to help you on your way, such as this one at The Website Redesign Company and you can even outsource your migration if you like. Generally speaking, moving from Weebly is doable, but there is a significant learning curve for those who aren't technically inclined. For this reason, we give it two thumbs down in accordance with our migration standards.
Con #2: Dumbed Down
While we stand by our claim that Weebly offers hip templates and innovative add-ons, but we're just not sure it is as sophisticated as its competitors. Weebly's close competitor, Wix, offers far more flexibility in design. While this may be a minor concern for someone who's just looking to get content out there, for a more seasoned website, a lack of signature design features could be a noticeable deficiency.
We also noticed that Weebly had far fewer add-ons than many of the competitors. For example, there is no way to automatically organize blog content. While hosts such as WordPress offer the option to make blog posts more accessible to readers by organizing them by popularity or frequency, Weebly offers no alternative. While sorting won't improve your search engine compatibility, it does make your blog more accessible to readers.
Con #3: eCommerce Flaws
While this category may not pertain to all website developers, Weebly does offer a specific eCommerce program. The program allows users to post images and descriptions of products, apply variations, such as color, size, quantity, etc., offer secure checkout and payment options, while providing the option for seller tools, such as a shipping calculator, inventory tracker, and coupon builder. While these features are compatible with running a thriving online business, we'd like to see a more developed system. For example, while Weebly offers four different payment gateways, Shopify offers six, including the popular Amazon payments. While there is no way to compute the loss of a customer because of subtle differences such as this, we can't see why you'd choose the lesser of two options if you were looking to build an online store.
Con #4: Limited Free Option
Let's face it, some of us are just looking to take advantage of a free site builder to get our blogs or small personal businesses out into the ether. In this case, it is important to choose a web host that offers the most for the least. Important factors include data limits, subdomain requirements, and template options.
Weebly's free plan gives you 500 MB of data. You may be asking yourself, how does this break down? Well, that could easily be a couple thousand pictures or a few hundred audio files. A small web page with a limited audience will work within the confines of this plan. However, you loose the option to monetize your blog or web page with Google Ads, lack the ability to track site statistics, miss out on password protection, and loose perks like HD video.
Probably the most substantial loss of the free site planner, you won't be able to sell anything. While competitors like Shopify don't even offer a free option, if you're just getting started it may be more logical to skip the storefront and sell through Amazon, Etsy, Ebay, or another major eCommerce site.
After a thorough overview of Weebly, we can see why this web hosting service has such a profound reputation. From the ease of use to stellar templates and low priced packages, Weebly is a great resource for those looking to expand their personal blogs or boost a small business. While it may be difficult to migrate to another web host, we see no reason to do so if Weebly can keep up with demand as they have in the past.
This is the perfect website builder for individuals with little to no technical training or for someone who is looking to quickly launch a personal website or online storefront without spending too much time nitpicking code or design. While every website host has its flaws, Weebly has an impressive track record and quite of few successful campaigns under its belt.
I hope that this guide helps you to determine whether Weebly is the right fit for your website!
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