Introduction Free Website Building And Hosting Sites
With More than 40M websites under its belt, Weebly is among the world’s hottest web builders out there. Unlike particular competitors, they seem less interested in flashy marketing campaigns than enhancing their platform’s technologies. Free Website Building And Hosting Sites
This all sounds fairly good on paper, right? Well let’s figure out how it appears in practice. Within this review, we’ll look at their drag and drop editor and see if it’s any good for creating a website, site or online store.
What Is Weebly?
On The broad range of website building solutions, Weebly resides at the finish that’s comprehensive and provides all you want to get started and develop your site. It is in contrast to solutions where you purchase, install, and manage all of the”pieces” of your site individually.
It’s Like trading off a few control for more convenience.
Using Weebly is kind of like leasing and customizing an apartment in a wonderful development rather than getting and owning your own residence. You’re still in control of decor, cleaning, and what living-wise — however you leave the building, plumbing, safety, and infrastructure to the property owner. That point is critical because there’s typically a direct tradeoff between convenience and control.
All The functionality and design that are contained with Weebly work together collectively as a platform. That is what allows them to own drag and drop layout, layout, and articles.
As Far as rivalry, Weebly competes directly with all-inclusive website builders such as Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress.com.
Website Builders as a team compete with options like WordPress.org (that provides the totally free software to build a site that you own & control — see my WordPress setup guide here) all the way to options like typing actual HTML code into a text document. Make sense? Awesome, let’s dive to the Weebly review.
One Other fast aside — a revelation — I get referral fees from all of the companies mentioned in this post. My remarks & study are based on my experiences like a paying client or consultant to a paying client.
Weebly’s Company Pitch.
What Makes Weebly So Easy to Use?
Good question. First thing you’ll notice Is how nicely the drag and drop interface was created. Just choose the element you need on the left, and set it upon your layout on the rightside.
You’ll Discover That components snap into position And arrange themselves perfectly on the webpage. Other options, such as Wix, forego the grid , so it is very possible to end up with overlapping elements. Together with Weebly, no risk of that occurring.
Working with text can also be a breeze in Weebly. You simply click what you want to edit and type your words from the box. A few other solutions use”entrance masks” that are somewhat more abstract and not necessarily easy to work with.
The navigation system also works wonders. You can dig deep into menus and submenus. Weebly handles them just like a charm.
Ultimately, should you get stuck everywhere, the Weebly knowledge base may answer a great deal of questions through clear tutorials and step-by-step guides. Failing that, the service is exceptional, whether by email, chat, or phone. Free Website Building And Hosting Sites
So are there Any drawbacks? That depends. If you want more freedom with your layouts, then you may feel frustrated with the rigid grid system. You ought to go to get Wix. This competitor also has an automated solution (Wix ADI) that may build the website for you by itself. You may possibly shave off a couple of minutes of your website building time.
There are also two things we’d like to see. First is a global undo button. You can undo what you type in text boxes, but it will be nice to erase mistakes when you add or move elements. Second, Weebly does not have an overall media database that keeps all of your pictures. You’re going to need to re-upload images for every element that needs them.
That Weebly Pricing Program is Best for Me?
We would say the primary question to ask is. Do I want to market online? Quite simply, if you do, we advise that you go for Weebly Business.
For other kinds of websites, Weebly Starter Is usually enough. It provides all you will need for displaying info about your services, portfolio or business details. However, the Starter plan overlooks a few Pro features.
· Fancy header with slideshow or movie background.
· Integrated video / audio player
· Password-protected webpages
· Membership module to allow users register and access private sections of the Site
If any of the Above are must-haves for your website, you will have to update to Weebly Pro. And for a more complete breakdown, please consult with our complete Weebly pricing comparison page.
SEO. How Can My Weebly Website Rank On Google?
Let us get one thing out of the way first. if You are an advanced search engine optimization expert who certainly must rank #1 on search engines for a really competitive key word, you may have a difficult time using Weebly. It is not impossible, but there are limitations.
· Your headings are confined to H2. There’s a free program which allows you insert headings from h1 to h6, but it messes somewhat with your formatting. We wonder Weebly doesn’t integrate it in their system.
· Particular pages (groups and product pages) include a mandatory string to 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 website articles, they will have’/blog/’ in the URL structure and this can not be changed.
· Adding structured info ( Rich Snippets) is done via source code. But you’re in your as Weebly does not help.
On the plus side, Weebly does things really Well when it comes to.
· URL, Title tags & meta-descriptions. You can customize them, along as Alt texts for pictures. This is especially important to rank your own images. Free Website Building And Hosting Sites
· 301 redirects. You can command them to prevent broken links as soon as a page URL was changed. Google deeply admires 404 pages.
· Picture optimization. Weebly does a fantastic job at controlling the pictures you upload. This improves speed, always a blessing for SEO.
Still a bit Curious about SEO? Do not forget that we have a complete guide on the topic here.
Security & Backups. How Safe and Secure is a Weebly Website?
As far as we Understand, very secure. The business takes security very seriously. They market strong passwords, and supply SSL encryption on all programs. The free tier will operate on https which offers an excess layer of safety. Especially important for onsite personal data exchange (e.g. credit card or email address).
Regrettably, we wish Weebly provided more in the method of backup and restore systems. You’ve got to take care of it manually by saving your site as a .zip file regularly. And there’s no restore function in case disaster strikes. Wix, for instance, monitors new adjustments and lets you jump back in time to a previous version of your site.
Weebly Design Options and Templates. Making it Look Good
We’ve Got a Detailed post about Weebly’s templates where you are able to read the main pros and cons. However, we want to provide you here a quick summary of the key features here.
The First thing to note is that Weebly doesn’t have a ton of template layouts (around 50), but you should easily be able to find one that you like. There are various categories out there. Online Store, Business, Portfolio, Personal, Event and Blog.
They automatically look great on each Device (by being responsive), and they may be adapted to match your personal requirements, together with the templates as a base. No need for you to receive a web design degree!
Obviously, if You’re all about layout, and absolutely need to be able to customize it down to the last pixel, you need to check out Wix also. Their template selection is unmatched and they have a much more elastic editor…
… unless you’re confident using coding. This Is because Weebly, unlike other builders, gives you access to the template source code.
Want to dig beneath the hood and modify the CSS and HTML? You’ll 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 huge ones. Even though you can use the export and import function to manage many items, you might discover Weebly lacking in features such as massive stores.
For instance, we do not like that there Aren’t any offline payment choices (only credit card, PayPal, etc). At $30 CAD a month it is also rather expensive. Wix’s Online Store is only $20 US for instance (but also has less features). Free Website Building And Hosting Sites
Finally, it’s worth noting that although You’re able to create a shop with the Starter and Guru program, updating to Business and higher makes more sense. You are going to get the automatic shipping and sales tax calculator, which is extremely useful for serious shop owners. What’s more, you won’t have to pay an additional transaction charge of 3%.
Still confused About the various online store strategies? You can find detailed information in our Weebly Online Shop review.
App Store. Can I Boost My Website with Add-Ons?
You bet! There are no less than 300 programs in Quite a few classes like eCommerce, Communication, Marketing, Social, or Site Tools. Many are free, some are compensated. Some are built by Weebly, some by third-party developers. For the latter, there’s always an (unlikely) possibility that it may shut down a single day. Also a shame the apps produced by Weebly are quite restricted.
However, 1 thing all the programs have in Common is a super simple installation attribute. One click and bam! All programs are analyzed and will work instantly on your website. We tried some cool ones like a way to include tables, event calendars, and data bars to display special info. Our only qualm is that the quality and amount of apps is a marginally inferior those in the Wix App Store.
Advantages of Using Weebly
Here is What I found to be the experts of Weebly — not just in comparison to Squarespace and Wix or WordPress, but also as a general online site solution.
Speed & Security
Weebly supplies Hosting for all of the sites which are built in their own platform. That can be good or bad, but in Weebly’s case, it’s a pro. They have rapid load speeds. Their sites are optimized to their own hosting. They take care of safety against hackers and spam. With company plans, they even install and keep SSL across your whole site. Here’s my speed test.
There Are still speed and safety dangers, but it’s an edge for many site owners to have somebody else take care of speed, security, backups, etc.. The cost is bundled with expert and completely free accounts, so it is a solid value-add.
Onboarding & Education
Whenever You begin any piece of software — no matter how intuitive — there is that moment where you think”okay, what do I do now?” This approach is known as onboarding, and it is also incredibly tough to execute well.
The Software manufacturer doesn’t want to be annoying, but they also want to provide help. I love how Weebly builds in solid onboarding and education not just via email trickle sequence but also via little info buttons constructed with their platform.
Once You join, it is simple to dive right in. Free Website Building And Hosting Sites
Website Building Procedure
One Advertised advantage of utilizing a comprehensive site builder is that you won’t have to write HTML or CSS code. You only have to drag and drop components. Everything you find in the builder is what you get on the website.
It’s Not necessarily that simple. There’s a lot of nuances to”drag and drop.” The majority of us really mean”I want to drag and click this element and transfer it into a general area where it will look good — you know, automatically centered, etc.” In other words, it’s like playing tee-ball rather than baseball…or bowling with gutter guards up. You wish to do something, but also have a bit of assistance.
For The most part, Weebly pulls off this. Their drag and drop really works. And, for the control freaks among us, they supply access to some custom CSS module, so that you can edit the template to precisely your choosing.
For Free accounts, Weebly offers an email support alternative and a well-done Knowledge Base. For paid accounts (even newcomer ), they provide email, chat, AND telephone number. Response times for me were strong.
With An all-inclusive system, customer support can troubleshoot and correct any issue. This is a huge benefit of website builder platforms generally, but especially using Weebly because they have telephone support.
If You conduct your site, you’ve got to figure out just who will fix a problem prior to getting in contact with them. Together with Weebly, you just get in touch with them.
Built-in Feature Set + Extensions
The Big advantage of creating your own website on your own host is you don’t have to count on a platform’s feature set. If you proceed the platform route, it is key to be certain they have all the features you want and need.
Weebly’s Feature set is powerful. They have got all of the basics — such as blog performance, contact forms, etc, but also the necessary innovative features like URL redirects and page-level customized code positioning.
Even Beyond the complex necessities, Weebly also includes features including forums, subscription choices, integrated advertising options, file uploads, etc.. They also have eCommerce options, which I will cover individually below.
If You proceed the all-inclusive website builder route, Weebly’s feature set should provide whatever you will need for typical personal/business websites (though as we’ll see in the Cons section, you do need to be especially aware of innovative options).
Additionally — Weebly has plenty of built-in attributes, but it doesn’t have everything. Platforms overcome it by allowing 3rd Party apps (think the App Store or Shopify’s App Store).
Together with your Own WordPress site, adding performance is as simple as installing a plugin. Together with Weebly — you can browse their growing (though still somewhat limited) app centre.
Anyone who retails online
Why? Square is a payments processor. They are enormous offline and want to be bigger in the on/offline arena. That is why they bought Weebly — and why the future is really bright for Weebly’s e commerce 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 market on the internet, the Weebly provides a readymade solution with closely integrated ecommerce features that should only get better.
Product Investment & Company Construction
I have Been using site builders for 20 years because the Homestead.com times and have been paying attention to this sector for the past 5 decades. 1 overarching trend is a company’s structure drives product investment over the marketing team or the product team.
Even In a fast paced marketplace, a organization’s structure and finish goals will dictate how it acts and what investments it makes. As I summarized in my Wix vs. Weebly vs. Squarespacestructure can differ wildly among direct competitors.
For Years, Weebly was an independently owned and operated firm going for organic growth. However, 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 ruining companies and value. However, this purchase has a Massive upside for one market segment —
If You do not mind your site on a subdomain (ie, http. //yourwebsite.weebly.com) then Weeblyis free with no expiry. A pretty good deal — particularly for temporary websites.
Overall Pricing is very aggressive not only in contrast to other comprehensive site buildersbut also with buying your hosting. Their Starter plan begins approximately $8/mo when paid up front. And they don’t possess the common caps of other website builders. The Pro program adds solid features and stays under $12/mo.
And Again — you’ll see that everything is accessible and unlimited. There are no limits on pages or storage space. And unlike competitors like Wix, they remove all ads with the initial paid grade.
Even Their business pricing, while more costly than doing the same thing on your hosting, is considerably cheaper than similar plans with direct competitors.
Compared To building your own website in your host and notably with other website builders, Weebly’s pricing is very aggressive. Price isn’t everything, but I love how they structure it.
Disadvantages + Complaints About Using Weebly
But Obviously, no Weebly review would be complete without looking at the drawbacks. Every bit of software will have complaints. Let’s look at 3 unique cons I found.
Content Management System
A Content management system is exactly what it resembles. It is an interface that allows you to sort, filter, edit, and print different types of content on your website. Free Website Building And Hosting Sites
Weebly Kind of has that. It’s a Pages section that lists out all the pages on your site. It allows you to drag and drop the hierarchy and click on to edit each. But it’s far from an efficient system.
There’s No method to add custom content types (except within an individual page). If you’re planning a large site (such as hundreds of webpages ), the articles contained in Weebly would require a private system to maintain it all sorted and readily reachable.
This Disadvantage could be overcome, however that I wish content could be more easily managed within Weebly.
The Last huge disadvantage of Weebly is that moving to a new platform is not difficult. If you would like to move someplace else, including your WordPress powered website, Assessing your content and redirecting your URLs will be a challenging process.
Weebly allows You to export your Page content through zip file but blog articles will need to be manually copied or migrated through RSS.
Again — migrating platforms will remain hard, but it is something to consider if you are considering quickly growing traffic and/or content.
Advanced Marketing Tools
Since Weebly enables for HTML editing, most marketing tools and features can be added to your site. But since you still don’t have 100% control on your website & host — it can be challenging and/or impossible to include advanced marketing tools such as an EV SSL, customized email collection tools, custom analytics packages, custom social stocks, special Schemas and A/B testing software.
In The jargon — the main issue isn’t having”origin” or”FTP” access to your server files. This isn’t an unsolvable problem, however it’s something to be careful of if you’re arranging a long-term job.
For Most all site owners with typical traffic you’ll want to be aware of the constraints, particularly if you are planning for rapid growth.
Weebly eCommerce Addendum
Here is Weebly’s ad showing their new eCommerce installation.
A bonus for Weebly is that their eCommerce functionality. It’s possible to sell products from the Weebly site without changing platforms or doing some distinctive developments. It fits in seamlessly and contains strong functionality.
The Pricing is affordable. On lower tiers, Weebly charges transaction fees but packages the complete eCommerce package for business plans.
Ecommerce Is a wonderful piece of functionality, but remember that it is not a full-fledged eCommerce that online store platforms like Shopify or even Bigcommerce have. Weebly has a shopping cart, basic stock management, and payment approval. Here is how Weebly matches about the eCommerce”spectrum” —
It is Ideal for websites that are primarily lead-generation, informational, etc but also wish to sell a few goods. Additionally, it is a fantastic match for anybody testing out products before moving into a long-term platform. It is not a long-term match for websites which are eCommerce-first. For all those, an online store you own with WordPress + WooCommerce or a specialization eCommerce platform such as Shopify (review) or even Bigcommerce (review) are a better match.
Product Investment & Company Structure
Now — the acquisition from Square does come with a downside. That is regular website builder features. Weebly’s incentive is to invest in features that make it more valuable as a complete for Square. Free Website Building And Hosting Sites
Features Like appointment scheduling, blogging, etc are only valuable in so far that they benefit the parent company.
If You’re looking to build a long-term content or direct generation site, then I would look at WordPress.com (for articles ) or Wix (for overall drag & drop) instead of Weebly. Even if Weebly matches your needs today, they might not in the medium future.
When we started testing Weebly many Years ago, it was only another website builder. That has completely changed. Weebly has evolved into an outstanding site building tool that is far better than most competitors. It is easy, uncluttered and simple to use — that is exactly what individuals with limited technical abilities need in regards to creating their own online presence.
Obviously, it is not 100% perfect. We’d like To see a bit more templates, for instance. Getting an email address attached to a own domain is also a bit pricey, as they urge G Suite, that costs $5 a month, per user. (Although there are workarounds, since you can see in the FAQ under ).
But all in all, Weebly reaches the very top of our list of website builders. Their ease of use combined with cool tools such as the iOS or Android app for editing your website on the go, or the number of add-ons available in the program centre makes it powerful, and enjoyable to use.
Enough with the theory. Try it out for Yourself and see how you enjoy it!