Background Best Free Website Builder 2014
With More than 40M websites under its belt, Weebly is one of the world’s most popular web builders on the market. Unlike certain competitors, they appear less interested in flashy advertising campaigns than enhancing their platform’s technologies. Best Free Website Builder 2014
This all sounds fairly good on paper, right? Well let’s figure out how it looks in practice. Within this review, we will look at their drag and drop editor and see if it is any good for creating a website, blog or online shop.
On The broad range of website building solutions, Weebly lives on the finish that is all-inclusive and provides all you need to get started and grow your site. It is in contrast to solutions where you buy, install, and handle all the”bits” of your site individually.
It is Like trading off some control for more convenience.
Using Weebly is sort of like leasing and customizing an apartment in a nice development rather than buying and owning your own residence. You are still in control of decoration, cleaning, and what living-wise — but you leave the construction, plumbing, security, and infrastructure to the house owner. That point is critical because there’s usually a direct tradeoff between control and convenience.
All The design and functionality that are contained with Weebly work seamlessly together as a stage. That is what allows them to own drag and drop layout, design, and articles.
As Much as competition, Weebly competes directly with comprehensive website builders such as Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress.com.
Site Builders as a team compete with choices like WordPress.org (which offers the free software to build a website which you have & control — visit my own WordPress setup guide here) all the way to choices like typing real HTML code into a text file. Make sense? Awesome, let’s dive to the Weebly review.
One Other fast aside — a revelation — I receive referral fees from all the companies mentioned in this informative article. My remarks & study are based on my experiences as either a paying client or consultant to a paying customer.
Weebly’s Company Pitch.
What Makes Weebly So Easy to Use?
Good question. The first thing you’ll notice Is how well the drag and drop interface is designed. Just choose the element you want on the left, and set it upon your layout on the rightside.
You might find that components snap into position And arrange themselves flawlessly on the page. Other options, such as Wix, forego the grid , so it’s quite possible to end up with overlapping components. With Weebly, no risk of that occurring.
Working with text is also a breeze in Weebly. You just click what you would like to edit and type your words in the box. Some other solutions use”entry masks” that are a bit more subjective and not always easy to utilize.
The navigation system also works wonders. It’s possible to dig deep into menus and submenus. Weebly handles them just like a charm.
Finally, should you get stuck anywhere, the Weebly knowledge base may answer a lot of questions through clear tutorials and step-by-step guides. Failing that, the support is exceptional, whether via email, chat, or telephone. Best Free Website Builder 2014
So are there Any downsides? That depends. If you would like to have more freedom with your designs, then you may feel frustrated with the rigid grid system. You ought to go for Wix. This competitor also has an automatic solution (Wix ADI) that can build the web site for you pretty much by itself. You may possibly shave off a couple of minutes of your site building time.
Additionally, there are two things we’d like to see. First is a global undo button. You can undo everything you type in text boxes, but it would be wonderful to erase mistakes when you add or move elements. Secondly, Weebly does not have an overall media database that keeps all your pictures. You’re going to need to re-upload images for every element that needs them.
Which Weebly Pricing Plan is Ideal for Me?
We’d say the main question to ask is. Do I want to sell online? Quite simply, if you really do, we advise that you go for Weebly Business.
For other Sorts of websites, Weebly Starter Is usually sufficient. It will offer everything you will need for displaying info about your services, portfolio or business details. However, the Starter plan misses out on a few Pro features.
· Fancy header with slideshow or video background.
· Integrated video / audio player
· Password-protected webpages
· Membership module to allow users register and get private sections of the website
If some of those Above are must-haves for your website, you’ll need to upgrade to Weebly Pro. And for a more comprehensive breakdown, please refer to our complete Weebly pricing comparison page.
SEO. How Can My Weebly Site Rank On Google?
Let us get one thing out of the way first. if You are an advanced search engine optimization specialist who absolutely must rank #1 on search engines to get a very competitive key word, you might have a tough time using Weebly. It is not impossible, but there are limits.
· Your headings are limited to H2. There is a free program that lets you insert key words from h1 to h6, however, it messes a bit with your formatting. We wonder Weebly doesn’t incorporate it into their system.
· Particular pages (categories and product pages) include a mandatory string for your URL. You get things like www.yoursite.com/store/p1/my-product/yellow. Not a huge issue unless your site is not in English. Same with the blog posts, they will have’/blog/’ in the URL structure, which can not be changed.
· Adding structured info ( Rich Snippets) is done via source code. However, you’re on your own as Weebly doesn’t help.
On the plus side, Weebly does things really Well when it comes to.
· URL, Title tags & meta-descriptions. It’s possible to customize them, along as Alt texts for images. This is especially important to rank your own images. Best Free Website Builder 2014
· 301 redirects. You can control them to prevent broken links when a page URL was changed. Google deeply admires 404 pages.
· Picture optimization. Weebly does a fantastic job at controlling the images you upload. This enhances speed, always a blessing for SEO.
Still a bit Confused about SEO? Don’t forget that we have a complete guide on the subject here.
Security & Backups. How Safe and Secure is a Weebly Website?
As far as we Understand, very safe. The business takes security very seriously. They market strong passwords, and offer SSL encryption on all programs. Even the free tier will run on https which delivers an excess layer of security. Especially crucial for on-site personal data exchange (e.g. credit card or email address).
Unfortunately, we wish Weebly provided more in the method of backup and restore systems. You have to look after it manually by conserving your website for a .zip file regularly. And there is no restore function if disaster strikes. Wix, for instance, monitors new adjustments and allows you to jump back in time to a previous version of your site.
Weebly Design Options and Templates. Making it Look Great
We have a Detailed article about Weebly’s templates where you are able to read the key pros and cons. However, we want to provide you here a quick summary of the key features here.
The First thing to notice is that Weebly doesn’t have a ton of template designs (around 50), but you should easily have the ability to find one you like. There are various classes out there. Online Store, Business, Portfolio, Personal, Event and Blog.
They automatically look great on each Apparatus (by being responsive), and they may be adapted to match your personal requirements, using the templates as a base. No need for you to get a web design diploma!
Of course, if You are all about layout, and absolutely need to be able to personalize it down to the last pixel, you need to check out Wix in addition. Their template choice is unmatched and they have a much more elastic editor…
… unless you are confident with coding. This Is because Weebly, contrary to other builders, provides you access to the template source code.
Want to dig under the hood and modify the CSS and HTML? You will have free reign here, as you can see in the picture above.
Ecommerce. Is a Weebly Online Store Worth it?
We would say yes, with a caveat. It’s great to Sell digital and physical products for small and medium-sized stores, but maybe not for big ones. Although you may use the export and import function to handle many items, you might find Weebly lacking in features for enormous stores.
For Example, we do not like that there Aren’t any offline payment choices (only credit card, PayPal, etc). At $30 CAD a month it’s also rather expensive. Wix’s Online Store is just $20 US for example (but also has less features). Best Free Website Builder 2014
Finally, it’s worth noting that although You’re able to create a shop using the Starter and Guru program, upgrading to Business and higher makes more sense. You are going to get the automatic delivery and sales tax calculator, which is extremely helpful for serious shop owners. Furthermore, you won’t need to pay an additional transaction fee of 3%.
Still confused About the many online store plans? You can discover detailed information in our Weebly Online Shop review.
Program Store. Can I Enhance My Site with Add-Ons?
You bet! There are no less than 300 programs in A number of categories like eCommerce, Communication, Marketing, Social, or Site Tools. Some are free, some are compensated. Some are constructed by Weebly, some by third-party developers. For the latter, there’s always an (unlikely) possibility that it may shut down a single day. Additionally a shame the programs produced by Weebly are quite restricted.
However, one thing all of the programs have in Common is a super easy installation feature. Click and bam! All programs are analyzed and will work immediately on your own website. We attempted some cool ones such as a way to include tables, event calendars, and info bars to display specific info. Our only qualm is that the quality and quantity of programs is a slightly inferior those in the Wix App Store.
Advantages of Using Weebly
Here is What I discovered to be the pros of Weebly — not just compared with Squarespace and Wix or WordPress, but also as an overall online website solution.
Speed & Security
Weebly provides Hosting for all of the websites that are constructed in their own platform. That may be good or awful, but in Weebly’s case, it’s an expert. They have fast load speeds. Their sites are optimized to their own hosting. They take care of security against hackers and spam. With business plans, they install and maintain SSL across your entire website. Here is my speed test.
There Are still pace and security dangers, but overall, it’s an advantage for many website owners to have someone else take care of speed, security, backups, etc.. The price tag is bundled with expert and free accounts, so it is a solid value-add.
Onboarding & Education
Whenever You begin any piece of software — regardless of how instinctive — there is that moment where you think”okay, what can I do now?” That approach is known as onboarding, and it is also incredibly hard to implement well.
The Software manufacturer doesn’t wish to be bothersome, but they also wish to provide help. I love how Weebly assembles in strong onboarding and instruction not just via email trickle sequence but also via small info buttons built with their own platform.
After You join, it’s simple to dive right in. Best Free Website Builder 2014
Site Building Procedure
One Advertised advantage of utilizing an all-inclusive site builder is that you won’t need to write HTML or CSS code. You can just drag and drop components. What you see in the builder is what you get on the site.
It is Not necessarily that simple. There is a lot of nuances to”drag and drop.” Most of us actually mean”I want to drag and click this component and transfer it into a general area where it will look good — you know, mechanically focused, etc.” In other words, it’s like playing tee-ball instead of baseball…or bowling with gutter guards up. You wish to do the thing, but also have a bit of assistance.
For The most part, Weebly pulls this off. Their drag and drop actually works. As well as for the control freaks among us, they supply access to a custom CSS module, so which you may edit the template to exactly your own choosing.
For Free of charge accounts, Weebly provides an email service alternative and also a well-done Knowledge Base. For paid accounts (even newcomer ), they offer email, chat, AND phone. Response times for me were solid.
With An all-inclusive platform, client support is able to troubleshoot and fix any issue. This is a massive advantage of website builder platforms in general, but especially with Weebly because they have telephone support.
If You run your site, you have to work out just who can correct a problem prior to getting in contact with them. Together with Weebly, you merely get in touch with them.
Built-in Feature Set + Extensions
The Big advantage of building your own site on your host is you don’t need to count on a platform’s attribute set. If you go the platform route, it’s key to be certain they have all the qualities you want and need.
Weebly’s Feature set is strong. They’ve got all of the basics — such as blog performance, contact forms, etc, but also the necessary innovative features like URL redirects and page-level custom code positioning.
Even Past the advanced requirements, Weebly also includes features including forums, subscription choices, integrated advertising options, file uploads, etc.. In addition they have eCommerce options, which I will cover individually below.
If You proceed the comprehensive website builder route, Weebly’s feature set must provide whatever you need for typical personal/business websites (though as we will see in the Cons section, you do need to be especially aware of innovative options).
Also — Weebly has plenty of built-in attributes, but it does not have everything. Platforms overcome this by allowing 3rd Party programs (believe the App Store or Shopify’s App Store).
With your Own WordPress site, adding performance is as easy as installing a plugin. Together with Weebly — you can navigate their climbing (though still somewhat limited) app center.
Anyone who retails online
Why? Square is a payments processor. They’re enormous offline and want to be larger in the on/offline arena. That’s why they bought Weebly — and why the future is really bright for Weebly’s ecommerce features.
If You are starting a site and plan on selling a few things here and there or if you have an offline presence (ie, pop-up shops) and you want to sell online, the Weebly provides a ready-made alternative with tightly integrated ecommerce characteristics which should only get better.
Product Investment & Company Structure
I’ve Been using website builders for 20 years since the Homestead.com days and have been paying attention to the sector for the past 5 years. One overarching trend is that a firm’s structure drives product investment over the marketing team or the product team.
Even In a fast paced marketplace, a organization’s construction and end targets will dictate how it acts and what investments it gets. As I outlined in my Wix vs. Weebly vs. Squarespacestructure can vary tremendously among direct competitors.
For Years, Weebly was an independently owned and operated company going for organic growth. But in 2018, they sold to Square — the big player in payments processing. Weebly now functions as an independent subsidiary of Square.
On One hand, that might be a big downside. Acquisitions are renowned for destroying companies and value. However, this acquisition has a Massive upside for a single market segment —
If You don’t mind your website on a subdomain (ie, http. //yourwebsite.weebly.com) afterward Weeblyis free with no expiration. A pretty good deal — especially for temporary sites.
Total Pricing is very competitive not only compared to other all-inclusive website buildersbut also with buying your own hosting. Their Starter plan begins approximately $8/mo when paid up front. And they don’t have the typical caps of other website builders. The Guru program adds solid features and stays under $12/mo.
And Again — you’ll see that everything is bundled and unlimited. There are no caps on pages or storage area. And unlike competitions such as Wix, they remove all ads with the first paid tier.
Even Their small business pricing, while more costly than doing the same thing on your hosting, is considerably cheaper than similar plans with direct rivals.
In comparison To constructing your own website on your server and notably with other website builders, Weebly’s pricing is very competitive. Cost is not everything, but I really like how they structure it.
Disadvantages + Complaints About Using Weebly
But Of course, no Weebly review would be complete without studying the drawbacks. Each bit of software will have complaints. Let us look at 3 specific cons I found.
Content Management System
A Content management process is precisely what it sounds like. It’s an interface that allows you to sort, filter, edit, and publish different types of articles on your website. Best Free Website Builder 2014
Weebly Kind of features that. It’s a Pages section that lists out all of the pages on your site. It permits you to drag and drop the hierarchy and then click to edit each. Nevertheless, it’s far from a efficient system.
There’s No way to add custom content types (except within an individual page). If you are arranging a massive site (like hundreds of webpages ), the articles within Weebly would need a personal system to maintain it sorted and readily accessible.
This Disadvantage can be overcome, however I wish content could be more easily handled within Weebly.
The Last big drawback of Weebly is that moving to a different platform is not difficult. If you would like to move somewhere else, including your own WordPress powered site, migrating your articles and redirecting your URLs are going to be a difficult procedure.
Weebly allows You to export your Page content through zip file but blog content will have to be manually duplicated or migrated through RSS.
Again — migrating platforms will always be hard, but it is something to think about if you are considering rapidly growing traffic and/or content.
Advanced Marketing Tools
Since Weebly enables for HTML editing, most advertising tools and features can be added to your website. However, since you still do not have 100% control on your website & host — it can be challenging or not impossible to include advanced marketing tools such as an EV SSL, custom email collection tools, custom analytics packages, habit social stocks, special Schemas and A/B testing computer software.
In The jargon — the principal issue is not having”origin” or”FTP” access to your server files. This is not an unsolvable problem, however it’s something to be aware of if you are arranging a long-term project.
For Most all website owners with average traffic you’ll want to be aware of the constraints, especially if you are planning for rapid growth.
Weebly eCommerce Addendum
Here’s Weebly’s ad showing their new eCommerce installation.
A bonus for Weebly is their eCommerce performance. It’s possible to sell products from the Weebly site without switching platforms or performing any distinctive developments. It fits in seamlessly and contains strong functionality.
The Pricing is cheap. On lesser tiers, Weebly charges transaction fees but packages the complete eCommerce package for company plans.
Ecommerce Is a wonderful bit of performance, but remember that it’s not a full-fledged eCommerce that online shop platforms such as Shopify or even Bigcommerce have. Weebly includes a shopping cart, basic inventory management, and payment acceptance. Here’s how Weebly matches on the eCommerce”spectrum” —
It is Great for sites that are mostly lead-generation, informational, etc but also want to sell a few products. Additionally, it is a fantastic match for anyone testing out products prior to going into a long-term platform. It’s not a long-term match for sites that are eCommerce-first. For all those, an internet shop you have with WordPress + WooCommerce or even a specialty eCommerce platform such as Shopify (review) or Bigcommerce (review) are a much better fit.
Product Investment & Company Construction
Now — the purchase from Square does come with a downside. That’s regular site builder features. Weebly’s incentive is to invest in features that make it more precious as a complete for Square. Best Free Website Builder 2014
Features Like appointment scheduling, blogging, etc are only valuable in so far that they gain the parent business.
If You are looking to construct a long-term content or direct generation website, then I would look at WordPress.com (for articles ) or Wix (for general drag & drop) instead of Weebly. Even if Weebly matches your needs today, they may not in the medium future.
When we first started testing Weebly many Years past, it was just another site builder. That’s completely changed. Weebly has now evolved into an outstanding site building tool that is better than most competitors. It is easy, uncluttered and easy to use — which is precisely what individuals with limited technical abilities need in regards to creating their own internet presence.
Obviously, it is not 100% perfect. We’d like To see a bit more templates, for instance. Getting an email address attached to your domain is also a bit pricey, as they urge G Suite, which costs $5 per month, per user. (Though there are workarounds, as you can see in the FAQ under ).
But all in all, Weebly reaches the top of our list of site builders. Their ease of use combined with cool tools like the iOS or Android app for editing your site on the move, or the number of add-ons available from the program centre makes it robust, and fun to use.
Enough with the concept. Try it out for Yourself and see how you enjoy it!