Introduction Free Website Building Sites
With More than 40M sites under its belt, Weebly is one of the world’s hottest web builders on the market. Unlike particular competitors, they appear less interested in flashy marketing campaigns than improving their platform’s technologies. Free Website Building Sites
This all sounds pretty good on paper, right? Well let’s find out how it looks in practice. In this review, we’ll have a look at their drag and drop editor and see if it’s any good for producing a web site, blog or online store.
What Is Weebly?
On The broad spectrum of site building solutions, Weebly resides on the finish that’s comprehensive and provides all you need to begin and develop your site. It’s in contrast to solutions where you buy, set up, and handle all of the”pieces” of your site individually.
It is Like trading off some control for more convenience.
Utilizing Weebly is kind of like leasing and customizing an apartment in a wonderful development instead of getting and owning your own residence. You are still in charge of decor, cleaning, and what living-wise — but you leave the building, plumbing, security, and infrastructure into the property owner. That point is critical since there’s typically a direct tradeoff between convenience and control.
All The functionality and design which are contained with Weebly work seamlessly together as a platform. That’s what lets them own drag and drop design, layout, and articles.
As Far as rivalry, Weebly competes directly with comprehensive website builders like Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress.com.
Site Builders as a team compete with choices like WordPress.org (which provides the free software to construct a website that you have & control — visit my own WordPress setup guide here) all the way to options like typing actual HTML code into a text file. Make sense? Awesome, let’s dive into the Weebly review.
One Other fast aside — a disclosure — I receive referral fees from all of the companies discussed in this informative article. My remarks & study are based on my experiences as either a paying customer or consultant to a paying client.
Weebly’s Company Pitch.
What Makes Weebly So Easy to Use?
Fantastic question. The first thing you’ll notice Is how well the drag and drop interface is designed. Just choose the element you need on the left, and place it on your layout on the rightside.
You’ll Discover That components snap into position And organize themselves perfectly on the page. Other solutions, such as Wix, forego the grid , so it’s very possible to end up with overlapping components. With Weebly, no probability of that occurring.
Working with text is also a breeze in Weebly. You simply click what you would like to edit and sort your words in the box. A few other solutions use”entrance masks” which are a bit more abstract and not necessarily easy to work with.
The navigation system also works wonders. It’s possible to dig deep into menus and submenus. Weebly handles them just like a charm.
Ultimately, if you get stuck everywhere, the Weebly knowledge base may answer a lot of questions through clear tutorials and step by step guides. Failing this, the service is excellent, whether by email, chat, or telephone. Free Website Building Sites
So are there Any downsides? This depends. If you would like more freedom with your layouts, then you may feel frustrated with the rigid grid system. You ought to go for Wix. This competitor also has an automated solution (Wix ADI) that can build the website for you by itself. You may possibly shave a few minutes of your website building time.
Additionally, there are two things we’d like to see. First is a worldwide undo button. You can undo everything you type in text boxes, but it would be wonderful to erase mistakes once you add or move elements. Secondly, Weebly doesn’t have an overall media database that keeps all of your pictures. You’ll need to re-upload images for each and every element that requires them.
That Weebly Pricing Plan is Ideal for Me?
We would say the main question to ask is. Do I wish to sell online? Quite simply, if you really do, we advise that you go for Weebly Business.
For other kinds of websites, Weebly Starter Is usually sufficient. It provides everything you need for displaying info about your services, portfolio or business details. However, the Starter plan overlooks a few Pro attributes.
· Fancy header using slideshow or movie background.
· Integrated video / audio player
· Password-protected pages
· Membership module — to let users register and access private sections of the Site
If any of the 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’s get 1 thing out of the way first. if You are an advanced SEO expert who certainly must rank #1 on search engines for a really competitive keyword, you might have a tough time with Weebly. It’s not impossible, but there are limitations.
· Your headings are confined to H2. There is a free program which lets you add key words from h1 to h6, but it messes a bit with your formatting. We wonder why Weebly doesn’t integrate it in their system.
· Certain pages (categories and product pages) add a mandatory string to your URL. You get things like www.yoursite.com/store/p1/my-product/yellow. Not a huge issue unless your website isn’t in English. Same with the blog articles, they’ll have’/site /’ in the URL structure and this can’t be changed.
· Adding structured info ( Rich Snippets) is done via source code. However, you are on your own as Weebly doesn’t help.
On the plus side, Weebly does things actually Well in regards 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 Sites
· 301 redirects. You can control them to avoid broken links as soon as a page URL has been changed. Google deeply admires 404 pages.
· Picture optimization. Weebly does a great job at compressing the images you upload. This enhances speed, always a boon for SEO.
Still a bit Curious about SEO? Do not forget that we have a complete guide on the subject here.
Security & Backups. How Safe and Secure is a Weebly Website?
Just as we Understand, very safe. The company takes security very seriously. They promote strong passwords, and supply SSL encryption on all plans. Even the free tier will run on https that offers an extra layer of security. Especially important for onsite personal data exchange (e.g. charge card or email address).
Regrettably, we wish Weebly offered more in the way of backup and restore systems. You have to look after it manually by conserving your site for a .zip file frequently. And there is no restore function if disaster strikes. Wix, for instance, tracks new adjustments and lets you jump back in time to a previous version of your website.
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 wish to provide you here a quick overview of the main features here.
The First thing to notice is that Weebly does not have a whole lot of template designs (approximately 50), but you should easily be able to find one that you like. There are various classes out there. Online Store, Business, Portfolio, Personal, Event and Blog.
They automatically look great on each Device (by being reactive ), and they can be adapted to match your personal requirements, together with the templates as a foundation. No need for you to get a web design diploma!
Obviously, if You’re all about layout, and absolutely need to be able to personalize it down to the last pixel, you should have a look at Wix in addition. Their template choice is unmatched and they have an even more flexible editor…
… unless you’re confident using coding. This Is since Weebly, unlike other builders, provides you access to the template source code.
Want to dig beneath the hood and change the CSS and HTML? You’ll have free reign here, as you can see in the image above.
Ecommerce. Is a Weebly Online Store Worth it?
We’d say yes, with a caveat. It is great to Sell digital and physical products for small and medium-sized stores, but not for big ones. Although you can use the import and export function to manage many items, you might find Weebly lacking in features such as enormous stores.
For instance, we do not like that there Are not any offline payment choices (just credit card, PayPal, etc). At $30 CAD per month it’s also rather pricey. Wix’s Online Store is just $20 US for instance (but also has less features). Free Website Building Sites
Ultimately, it’s worth noting that although You can create a shop with the Starter and Guru program, updating to Business and higher makes more sense. You are going to get the automatic delivery and sales tax calculator, which is very helpful for serious shop owners. What’s more, you won’t need to pay an additional transaction charge of 3%.
Still confused About the various online store plans? You can discover detailed information in our Weebly Online Shop review.
Program Store. Can I Enhance 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. Some are free, some are paid. Some are constructed by Weebly, some by third party programmers. For the latter, there is always an (unlikely) chance that it might shut down a single day. Also a shame the programs made by Weebly are rather limited.
However, 1 thing all the apps have in Common is that a super simple installation feature. One click and bam! All programs are tested and will work immediately on your website. We tried some cool ones like a way to add tables, event calendars, and info bars to display specific information. Our only qualm is the quality and amount of apps is a marginally inferior those in the Wix App Store.
Benefits 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 on their platform. That can be good or bad, however in Weebly’s situation, it’s a pro. They have fast load speeds. Their sites are optimized for their own hosting. They treat security against spam and hackers. With business plans, they even install and keep SSL across your whole site. Here is my speed test.
There Are still speed and safety risks, but overall, it’s an advantage for many website owners to have somebody else take care of speed, security, backups, etc.. The price tag is bundled with expert and completely free accounts, so it is a good value-add.
Onboarding & Education
Whenever You begin some piece of software — no matter how instinctive — there is that moment where you think”ok, what can I do today?” That process is called onboarding, and it’s also incredibly tough to execute well.
The Software maker doesn’t wish to be annoying, but they also wish to provide help. I really like how Weebly builds in strong onboarding and instruction not just via email drip arrangement but also via little info buttons constructed with their platform.
After You sign up, it is straightforward to dive in. Free Website Building Sites
Website Building Process
One Advertised benefit of utilizing a comprehensive site builder is you won’t need to write HTML or CSS code. You can just drag and drop elements. Everything you see in the builder is exactly what you receive on the website.
It is Not necessarily that simple. There’s a whole lot of nuances to”drag and drop.” Most of us really mean”I wish to drag and click this component and transfer it to a general area where it’ll seem good — you know, mechanically centered, etc.” In other words, it is like playing tee-ball rather than baseball…or bowling with gutter guards up. You want to do the thing, but also have a bit of assistance.
For The most part, Weebly pulls this off. Their drag and drop really functions. And, for the control freaks among us, they supply access to some custom CSS module, so that you may edit the template into exactly your choosing.
For Free accounts, Weebly offers an email support alternative along with also a well-done Knowledge Base. For paid accounts (even starter), they offer email, chat, AND telephone number. Response times for me were solid.
With An all-inclusive system, client service can troubleshoot and correct any issue. This is a massive advantage of site builder platforms in general, but especially using Weebly because they have phone support.
If You conduct your own site, you have to figure out exactly who will fix a problem before getting in touch with them. With Weebly, you just get in contact with them.
Constructed Feature Set + Extensions
The Significant advantage of creating your own site on your host is that you don’t have to depend on a platform’s feature set. If you go the stage route, it is key to be certain they have all the features you desire and need.
Weebly’s Feature set is strong. They have got all of the fundamentals — such as website functionality, contact forms, etc, but also the necessary advanced features like URL redirects and page-level custom code placement.
Even Past the complex necessities, Weebly even includes features including discussion, membership options, integrated marketing options, file uploads, etc.. They also have eCommerce options, which I’ll cover individually below.
If You proceed the comprehensive website builder route, Weebly’s attribute set must offer everything you will need for typical personal/business websites (though as we will see in the Cons section, you really do want to be especially aware of innovative options).
Additionally — Weebly has plenty of built-in attributes, but it does not have everything. Platforms overcome this by allowing 3rd Party apps (believe the App Store or Shopify’s App Store).
With your Own WordPress site, adding functionality is as easy as installing a plugin. Together with Weebly — you can navigate their climbing (though still somewhat restricted ) app center.
Anyone who retails online
Why? Square is a payments processor. They are enormous offline and wish to be larger in the on/offline arena. That is why they bought Weebly — and why the future is pretty 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 market online, the Weebly offers a ready-made solution with closely integrated ecommerce features which should just get better.
Product Investment & Company Structure
I’ve Been using site builders for 20 years because the Homestead.com times and have been paying attention to this sector for the previous 5 decades. 1 overarching trend is that a company’s structure pushes product investment more than the marketing team or the product team.
Even In a fast paced market, a company’s structure and finish goals will dictate how it behaves and what investments it makes. 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 firm going for natural growth. However, in 2018, they sold to Square — the big player in payments processing. Weebly now functions as an independent subsidiary of Square.
On 1 hand, that could be a big drawback. Acquisitions are renowned for ruining companies and value. However, this purchase has a Massive upside for one market segment —
If You really don’t mind your site on a subdomain (ie, http. //yourwebsite.weebly.com) then Weeblyis free with no expiration. A fairly good deal — especially for temporary sites.
Overall Pricing is quite competitive not only compared to other comprehensive site buildersbut also with purchasing your hosting. Their Starter plan starts approximately $8/mo when paid up front. And they do not have the common caps of other site builders. The Pro plan adds sound 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 competitions such as Wix, they remove all advertisements with the initial paid tier.
Even Their small business pricing, while more costly than doing the same thing on your hosting, is much more affordable than similar plans with direct competitors.
In comparison To building your own site on your server and especially with other website builders, Weebly’s pricing is very aggressive. Price is not everything, however I really like how they structure it.
Cons + Complaints About Using Weebly
But Obviously, no Weebly review would be complete without looking at the downsides. Each piece of software will have complaints. Let us look at 3 unique cons I found.
Content Management System
A Content management process is precisely what it resembles. It’s an interface which permits you to type, filter, edit, and print different types of articles on your site. Free Website Building Sites
Weebly Kind of has that. It’s a Pages section that lists out all of the pages on your site. It allows you to drag and drop the hierarchy and then click on to edit each. Nevertheless, it’s far from a efficient system.
There is No method to add custom content types (except inside a single page). If you are arranging a massive site (like hundreds of webpages ), the articles within Weebly would need a personal system to maintain it all sorted and readily accessible.
This Disadvantage could be overcome, but I wish content could be easily managed within Weebly.
The Last big disadvantage of Weebly is that moving to a new platform is not difficult. If you want to move somewhere else, such as your own WordPress powered site, Assessing your articles and redirecting your URLs are going to be a challenging process.
Weebly lets You to export your Page content via zip file but blog articles is going to have to be manually copied and/or migrated via RSS.
Again — migrating platforms will remain difficult, but it’s something to consider if you are considering rapidly expanding content or traffic.
Advanced Advertising Tools
Since Weebly allows for HTML editing, most advertising tools and features can be added to your site. However, since you still do not have 100% control on your site & server — it can be difficult and/or impossible to include advanced marketing tools such as an EV SSL, custom email collection applications, custom analytics packages, custom social shares, special Schemas and A/B testing computer software.
In The jargon — the main issue isn’t having”root” or”FTP” access to your own server files. This isn’t an unsolvable problem, however it is something to be aware of if you are planning a long-term project.
For Most all site owners with typical traffic — you’ll want to be aware of the constraints, especially if you are planning for rapid expansion.
Weebly eCommerce Addendum
Here’s Weebly’s advertisement showing their new eCommerce setup.
A bonus for Weebly is their eCommerce performance. It’s possible to sell products from your Weebly website without switching platforms or doing any distinctive developments. It fits in effortlessly and contains strong functionality.
The Pricing is cheap. On lower tiers, Weebly charges transaction fees but bundles the full eCommerce bundle for company plans.
Ecommerce Is a wonderful bit of performance, but keep in mind that it’s not a full-fledged eCommerce that online shop platforms such as Shopify or even Bigcommerce have. Weebly includes a shopping cart, fundamental inventory management, and payment acceptance. Here is how Weebly matches on the eCommerce”spectrum” —
It’s Great for sites that are primarily lead-generation, informational, etc also wish to sell a few goods. Additionally, it is a good match for anyone testing out products before moving into a long-term stage. It’s not a long-term match for sites that are eCommerce-first. For those, an internet store you have with WordPress + WooCommerce or even a specialty eCommerce platform such as Shopify (inspection ) or Bigcommerce (review) are a better match.
Product Investment & Company Construction
Now — the purchase from Square does include a downside. That is regular site builder features. Weebly’s incentive is to invest in features that make it even more valuable as a complete for Square. Free Website Building Sites
Features Like appointment scheduling, blogging, etc are only valuable in so far that they gain the parent company.
If You are looking to construct a long-term content or direct generation site, then I would look at WordPress.com (for articles ) or Wix (for overall drag & drop) rather than Weebly. Even if Weebly meets your needs today, they may not in the medium future.
When we first started testing Weebly many Years ago, it was only another website builder. That’s completely changed. Weebly has now evolved into an outstanding site building tool that is better than many competitors. It is easy, uncluttered and easy to use — which is precisely what people with limited technical skills need in regards to making their own online presence.
Of course, it’s not 100% perfect. We’d like To see somewhat more templates, for instance. Finding an email address attached to your own domain name is also a bit pricey, as they recommend G Suite, which costs $5 per month, per user. (Although there are workarounds, since you can see in the FAQ below).
But all in all, Weebly reaches the top of our list of site builders. Their ease of use together with cool tools such as the iOS or Android program for editing your website on the go, or the number of add-ons out there from the app centre makes it powerful, and enjoyable to use.
Enough with the concept. Try it out for Yourself and see how you enjoy it!