Introduction Free Website Creation And Hosting Sites
With More than 40M websites under its belt, Weebly is one of the world’s hottest web builders on the market. Unlike particular opponents, they appear less interested in flashy marketing campaigns than enhancing their platform’s technologies. Free Website Creation And Hosting Sites
This all sounds pretty good on paper, right? Well let’s find out how it looks in practice. Within this review, we will have a look at their drag and drop editor and see if it’s any good for producing a website, blog or online shop.
On The wide spectrum of website building alternatives, Weebly lives at the finish that’s all-inclusive and provides all you want to get started and develop your site. It is in contrast to options where you buy, install, and manage all of the”pieces” of your site individually.
It is Like trading off a few control for more convenience.
Using Weebly is kind of like leasing and customizing a apartment in a nice development rather than getting and owning your own house. You are still in charge of decor, cleaning, and everything living-wise — but you leave the construction, plumbing, safety, and infrastructure into the house owner. That point is critical because there’s typically a direct tradeoff between convenience and control.
All The functionality and design which are included with Weebly work together collectively as a platform. That is what lets them have drag and drop design, layout, and content.
As Much as rivalry, Weebly competes directly with all-inclusive website builders such as Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress.com.
Site Builders as a group compete with choices like WordPress.org (that provides the free software to construct a website that you own & control — see my own WordPress setup guide here) all the way to choices like typing real HTML code into a text document. Make sense? Awesome, let us dive into the Weebly review.
One Other quick aside — a disclosure — I get referral fees from all the companies mentioned in this post. My remarks & research derive from my experiences as either a paying customer or adviser 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 was created. Just select the element you want on the left, and set it upon your design on the rightside.
You’ll Discover That components snap into place And organize themselves perfectly on the page. Other options, such as Wix, forego the grid system, so it is very 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 want to edit and type your own words from the box. A few other solutions use”entrance masks” which are somewhat more abstract and not necessarily 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.
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 that, the support is excellent, whether by email, chat, or telephone. Free Website Creation And Hosting Sites
So are there Any drawbacks? That is different. If you want to have more freedom with your layouts, then you may feel frustrated by the rigid grid system. You ought to go for Wix. This competition also has an automated solution (Wix ADI) that may build the website for you pretty much by itself. You may perhaps shave off a few minutes of your site building time.
Additionally, there are two things we’d love 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 a general media database which keeps all your pictures. You’ll need to re-upload images for every element that requires them.
Which Weebly Pricing Program is Best for Me?
We would say the main question to ask is. Do I want to sell online? Quite simply, if you really do, we recommend you go for Weebly Business.
For other kinds of websites, Weebly Starter Is usually sufficient. It will offer everything you will need for displaying information about your services, portfolio or company details. However, the Starter plan overlooks a few Pro attributes.
· Fancy header using slideshow or video background.
· Integrated video / audio player
· Password-protected pages
· Membership module — to let users sign in and access private sections of the Site
If some of those Above are must-haves for your site, you will have to upgrade to Weebly Pro. And for a more complete breakdown, please consult with our complete Weebly pricing comparison page.
SEO. How Will My Weebly Website Rank On Google?
Let’s get 1 thing out of the way first. if You are an advanced search engine optimization expert who certainly needs to rank #1 on search engines to get a really competitive keyword, you might have a difficult time with Weebly. It’s not impossible, but there are limitations.
· Your headings are limited to H2. There is a free program that lets you insert headings from h1 to h6, but it messes a bit with your formatting. We wonder Weebly does not incorporate it into their system.
· Particular pages (groups and product pages) include a compulsory string for your URL. You get things like www.yoursite.com/store/p1/my-product/yellow. Not a massive issue unless your site is not in English. Same with the website posts, they will have’/blog/’ in the URL structure, which can’t be changed.
· Adding structured data ( Rich Snippets) is done via source code. But you’re on your own as Weebly does not help.
On the plus side, Weebly does things actually Well when it comes to.
· URL, Title tags & meta-descriptions. It’s possible to customize them, along as Alt texts for pictures. This is particularly important to position your own images. Free Website Creation And Hosting Sites
· 301 redirects. You can command them to prevent broken links as soon as a page URL was changed. Google deeply dislikes 404 pages.
· Picture optimization. Weebly does a fantastic job at compressing the images you upload. This improves speed, always a boon 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 Site?
As far as we Know, very safe. The company takes security very seriously. They market strong passwords, and offer SSL encryption on all programs. The free tier will run on https which offers an excess layer of security. 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 look after it manually by saving your site for a .zip file regularly. And there is no restore function in case disaster strikes. Wix, for example, monitors new changes and allows you to 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 a quick summary of the main features here.
The First thing to notice is that Weebly does not have a whole lot of template layouts (around 50), but you should easily have the ability to find one that you like. There are various categories available. Online Store, Business, Portfolio, Personal, Event and Blog.
They automatically look great on every Device (by being reactive ), and they may be adapted to match your own personal needs, using the templates as a base. No need for you to get a web design degree!
Obviously, if You are all about layout, and absolutely have to have the ability to customize it down to the last pixel, so you need to check out Wix also. Their template selection is unmatched and they have an even more flexible editor…
… unless you are confident with coding. This Is because Weebly, contrary to other builders, gives you access to the template source code.
Want to dig under the hood and change the CSS and HTML? You will have free reign here, as you can see in the picture above.
Ecommerce. Can be a Weebly Online Store Worth it?
We’d say yes, with a caveat. It’s great to Sell physical and digital products for small and medium-sized shops, but not for big ones. Although you can use the export and import function to manage large number of things, you might find Weebly lacking in features for massive stores.
For Example, we do not like this there Aren’t any offline payment choices (only credit card, PayPal, etc). At $30 CAD a month it is also rather pricey. Wix’s Online Store is only $20 US for instance (but also has less features). Free Website Creation And Hosting Sites
Finally, it’s worth noting that although You’re able to create a shop using the Starter and Guru program, updating to Business and greater makes more sense. You’ll find the automatic shipping and sales tax calculator, which is very helpful for serious store owners. Furthermore, you won’t have to pay an additional transaction charge of 3%.
Still confused About the many online store plans? You can discover 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 A number of categories like eCommerce, Communication, Marketing, Social, or Site Tools. Many are free, some are compensated. Some are built by Weebly, some by third party programmers. For the latter, there’s always an (unlikely) chance that it may shut down a single day. Also a pity the programs made by Weebly are quite restricted.
However, one thing all the apps have in Common is that a super easy installation feature. One click and bam! All programs are tested and will work immediately on your own site. We tried some cool ones such as a way to add tables, event calendars, and data bars to display specific information. Our only qualm is the quality and amount of programs is a marginally inferior those from the Wix App Store.
Benefits of Utilizing Weebly
Here is What I discovered to be the experts of Weebly — not only compared with Squarespace and Wix or WordPress, but also as an general online site solution.
Speed & Security
Weebly supplies Hosting for all of the sites that are constructed on their platform. That may be good or bad, but in Weebly’s situation, it’s an expert. They have rapid load rates. Their websites are optimized for their own hosting. They treat safety against spam and hackers. With business plans, they install and keep SSL across your whole site. Here is my speed test.
There Are still speed and security risks, but overall, it’s an advantage for many website owners to have somebody else care for speed, security, backups, etc.. The cost is bundled with expert and free accounts, so it’s a good value-add.
Onboarding & Education
Whenever You start any piece of software — no matter how instinctive — there’s that moment where you think”ok, what can I do today?” This process is known as onboarding, and it’s also incredibly tough to implement well.
The Software maker does not wish to be annoying, but they also wish to provide help. I really like how Weebly builds in strong onboarding and instruction not only via email drip sequence but also via little info buttons constructed with their own platform.
Once You sign up, it is straightforward to dive in. Free Website Creation And Hosting Sites
Site Building Procedure
One Promoted advantage of using a comprehensive website 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 always that easy. There’s a whole lot of nuances to”drag and drop.” Most of us really mean”I want to click and drag this element and move it into a general place where it will seem good — you know, automatically focused, etc.” In other words, it is like playing tee-ball instead of baseball…or bowling with up gutter guards. You want to do something, but also have a little bit of help.
For The most part, Weebly pulls this off. Their drag and drop really works. And, for the control freaks among us, they supply access to some custom CSS module, so which you can edit the template into exactly your choosing.
For Free accounts, Weebly offers an email service alternative and also a well-done Knowledge Base. For paid accounts (even newcomer ), they provide email, chat, AND telephone number. Response times for me were solid.
With An all-inclusive system, customer support can troubleshoot and correct any matter. This is a huge advantage of site builder platforms in general, but especially with Weebly since they have phone support.
If You conduct your site, you’ve got to work out exactly who can fix a problem before getting in touch with them. With Weebly, you just get in touch with them.
Built-in Feature Set + Extensions
The Big advantage of creating your own site on your own host is that you don’t have to count on a platform’s feature set. If you proceed the platform route, it’s essential to be sure that they have all the qualities you desire and need.
Weebly’s Feature set is powerful. They’ve got all the fundamentals — like website functionality, contact forms, etc, but also the necessary innovative features like URL redirects and page-level customized code positioning.
Even Beyond the complex necessities, Weebly even includes features like forums, membership options, integrated marketing options, file uploads, etc.. They also have eCommerce alternatives, which I’ll cover individually below.
If You proceed the comprehensive site builder course, Weebly’s feature set should offer everything you need for typical personal/business websites (though as we’ll see in the Cons section, you really do want to be especially aware of advanced options).
Also — Weebly has a lot of built-in features, but it doesn’t have everything. Platforms overcome this by allowing 3rd Party apps (think the App Store or Shopify’s App Store).
Together with your Own WordPress site, including performance is as easy as installing a plugin. Together with Weebly — you can navigate their growing (though still somewhat limited) app center.
Anybody who retails online
Why? Square is a payments processor. They are enormous offline and want to be bigger in the on/offline arena. That’s the reason why they bought Weebly — and the future is really bright for Weebly’s ecommerce features.
If You are starting a website and plan on selling a few things here and there or if you have an offline presence (ie, pop-up stores ) and you would like to sell online, the Weebly offers a ready-made alternative with closely 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 times and have been closely paying attention to the industry for the past five decades. One overarching trend is that a firm’s structure pushes product investment more than the marketing group or the product team.
Even In a fast-growing market, a company’s construction and end goals will dictate how it behaves and what investments it gets. As I outlined in my Wix vs. Weebly vs. Squarespacestructure can vary wildly among direct competitors.
For Years, Weebly was an independently owned and operated firm going for organic growth. But in 2018, they sold to Square — the huge player in payments processing. Weebly now functions as an independent subsidiary of Square.
On 1 hand, that could be a big downside. Acquisitions are notorious for ruining value and companies. However, this acquisition has a Massive upside for a single market segment —
If You don’t mind your site on a subdomain (ie, http. //yourwebsite.weebly.com) then Weeblyis free with no expiry. A fairly good deal — particularly for temporary sites.
Total Pricing is quite competitive not only compared to other comprehensive website buildersbut also with buying your own hosting. Their Starter plan starts around $8/mo when paid up front. Plus they don’t have the typical caps of other site 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 limits on pages or storage area. And unlike competitions such as Wix, they eliminate all ads with the first paid grade.
Even Their small business pricing, while more costly than doing the same thing on your own hosting, is considerably more affordable than comparable plans with direct competitors.
In comparison To constructing your own site on your server and especially with other website builders, Weebly’s pricing is very competitive. Price is not everything, but I really like how they structure it.
Disadvantages + Truth About Using Weebly
But Of course, no Weebly review will be complete without looking at the drawbacks. Every piece of software will have complaints. Let us look at 3 unique cons I discovered.
Content Management System
A Content management system is precisely what it resembles. It is an interface that permits you to type, filter, edit, and publish different types of content on your site. Free Website Creation And Hosting Sites
Weebly Sort of features that. It’s a Pages section that lists out all of the pages on your website. It permits you to drag and drop the hierarchy and click to edit each. But it’s far from an efficient system.
There is No method to add custom content forms (except inside a single page). If you are arranging a large site (such as hundreds of webpages ), the content contained in Weebly would require a personal system to keep it all sorted and readily accessible.
This Disadvantage can be overcome, however I want content could be more easily handled within Weebly.
The Last big drawback of Weebly is that moving to a new platform is not difficult. If you would like to move somewhere else, including your own WordPress powered website, Assessing your content and redirecting your URLs are going to be a challenging process.
Weebly lets One to export your Page content via zip file but website articles is going to need to be manually duplicated and/or migrated via RSS.
Again — migrating platforms will always be difficult, but it’s something to consider if you are considering rapidly growing content or traffic.
Advanced Marketing Tools
Since Weebly allows for HTML editing, many advertising tools and attributes can be added to your site. However, as you still do not have 100% control on your website & server — it can be difficult or not impossible to add advanced marketing tools such as an EV SSL, customized email collection applications, custom analytics packages, custom social stocks, special Schemas and A/B testing software.
In The jargon — the principal issue isn’t having”origin” or”FTP” access to your own server files. This is not an unsolvable problem, but it is something to be careful of if you’re planning a long-term job.
For Most all website owners with typical traffic — you’ll want to know about the limitations, especially if you’re planning for rapid expansion.
Weebly eCommerce Addendum
Here is Weebly’s advertisement showing their new eCommerce installation.
A bonus for Weebly is their eCommerce performance. It’s possible to sell products from your Weebly site without switching platforms or performing some special developments. It fits in effortlessly and contains solid performance.
The Pricing is cheap. On lesser tiers, Weebly charges transaction fees but bundles the complete eCommerce package 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 like Shopify or even Bigcommerce have. Weebly includes a shopping cart, fundamental stock management, and payment acceptance. Here’s how Weebly fits about the eCommerce”spectrum” —
It is Ideal for sites that are mostly lead-generation, informational, etc also wish to sell a few products. It’s also a good match for anybody testing out products prior to moving to a long-term stage. It is not a long-term fit for sites that are eCommerce-first. For all those, an online store you own with WordPress + WooCommerce or even a specialization eCommerce platform such as Shopify (inspection ) or even Bigcommerce (review) are a much better fit.
Product Investment & Company Construction
Now — the acquisition from Square does come with a downside. That’s regular website builder features. Weebly’s incentive would be to invest in features that make it more valuable as a complete for Square. Free Website Creation And Hosting Sites
Characteristics Like appointment scheduling, blogging, etc are only valuable in so far that they benefit the parent company.
If You are wanting to build a long-term content or lead generation site, then I’d look at WordPress.com (for articles ) or Wix (for general drag & drop) rather than Weebly. Even if Weebly meets your needs now, they may not in the future.
When we started testing Weebly many Years past, it was just another website builder. That has completely changed. Weebly has now evolved into an outstanding site building tool which is better than many competitors. It is easy, uncluttered and simple to use — which is exactly 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 observe somewhat more templates, as an example. Getting an email address attached to your own domain is also a bit pricey, as they urge G Suite, that costs $5 a month, per user. (Although there are workarounds, as you can see in the FAQ under ).
But all in all, Weebly reaches the top of our list of website builders. Their ease of use together with cool tools like the iOS or Android app for editing your website on the move, or the number of add-ons available in the program center makes it robust, and fun to use.
Enough with the theory. Try it out for Yourself and see how you enjoy it!