Intro How Do I Build My Own Website For Free
With More than 40M sites under its belt, Weebly is among the world’s most popular web builders on the market. Unlike certain competitors, they seem less interested in flashy marketing campaigns than enhancing their platform’s technologies. How Do I Build My Own Website For Free
This all sounds pretty good on paper, right? Well let’s figure out how it looks in practice. Within this review, we will have a look at their drag and drop editor and see if it is any good for producing a website, blog or online store.
What Is Weebly?
On The wide spectrum of site building alternatives, Weebly lives on the finish that’s all-inclusive and provides all you want to begin and develop your website. It’s in contrast to options where you buy, install, and manage all the”bits” of your website separately.
It’s Like trading off a few control for greater convenience.
Using Weebly is kind of like renting and customizing a apartment in a nice development instead of buying and owning your own house. You are still in charge of decoration, cleaning, and what living-wise — but you leave the building, plumbing, safety, and infrastructure to the property owner. That point is key since there’s usually a direct tradeoff between convenience and control.
All The design and functionality which are included with Weebly work together collectively as a platform. That is what allows them to own drag and drop layout, design, and articles.
As Much as competition, Weebly competes directly with all-inclusive website builders like Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress.com.
Site Builders as a team compete with options like WordPress.org (that provides the free software to build a website which you own & control — visit my own WordPress setup guide here) all the way to choices like typing actual HTML code into a text document. Make sense? Awesome, let us dive to the Weebly review.
One Other quick aside — a disclosure — I get referral fees from all the companies mentioned in this informative article. My opinions & research are based on my experiences like a paying client or adviser to a paying customer.
Weebly’s Business Travels.
What Makes Weebly So Easy to Use?
Fantastic question. The first thing you’ll notice Is how nicely the drag and drop interface is designed. Just choose the element you want on the left, and set it on your design on the right.
You’ll find that elements snap into position And organize themselves perfectly on the webpage. Other solutions, such as Wix, forego the grid system, so it is very possible to end up with overlapping components. Together with Weebly, no risk of that happening.
Working with text can also be a breeze in Weebly. You just click what you want to edit and sort your own words from the box. A few other solutions use”entrance masks” which are a bit more subjective and not always easy to utilize.
The navigation system also works miracles. It’s possible to dig deep into menus and submenus. Weebly handles them like a charm.
Ultimately, should you get stuck everywhere, the Weebly knowledge base can 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. How Do I Build My Own Website For Free
So are there Any downsides? This is different. If you want more freedom with your designs, then you might feel frustrated with the rigid grid system. You should go to get Wix. This competition also has an automatic solution (Wix ADI) that can build the website for you by itself. You can perhaps shave a couple of minutes of your website building time.
There are also two things we’d love to see. First is a global undo button. You can undo everything you type in text boxes, but it will be wonderful to erase mistakes when you move or add elements. Second, Weebly doesn’t have a general media database that keeps all of your pictures. You’ll have to re-upload images for every element that requires them.
Which Weebly Pricing Plan is Best for Me?
We’d say the main question to ask yourself is. Do I wish to sell online? Quite simply, if you do, we recommend you go for Weebly Business.
For other Sorts 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 using slideshow or video background.
· Integrated video / audio player
· Password-protected webpages
· Membership module to let users sign in and get personal sections of the website
If any of the Above are must-haves for your website, you will need to update to Weebly Pro. And for a more complete breakdown, please refer to our full Weebly pricing comparison page.
SEO. How Will My Weebly Site Rank On Google?
Let us get 1 thing out of the way . if You’re an innovative SEO expert who absolutely must rank #1 on search engines to get a really competitive key word, you might have a difficult time using Weebly. It is not impossible, but there are limitations.
· Your headings are limited to H2. There is a free app which allows you insert headings from h1 to h6, but it messes a bit with your formatting. We wonder Weebly doesn’t integrate it in 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 massive issue unless your website isn’t in English. Same with the blog articles, they will have’/site /’ in the URL structure, which can not be changed.
· Adding structured info ( Rich Snippets) is done via source code. But you are on your own as Weebly does not help.
On the other hand, Weebly does things actually Well in regards to.
· URL, Title tags & meta-descriptions. You can customize them, along as Alt texts for images. This is particularly important to position your images. How Do I Build My Own Website For Free
· 301 redirects. You can command them to prevent broken links as soon as a page URL was changed. Google deeply dislikes 404 pages.
· Image optimization. Weebly does a fantastic job at compressing 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 full guide on the subject here.
Security & Backups. How Safe and Secure is a Weebly Site?
As far as we Know, very safe. The business takes security very seriously. They market strong passwords, and offer SSL encryption on all plans. The free tier will run on https that offers an extra layer of security. Especially crucial for on-site 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 if disaster strikes. Wix, for example, monitors new changes and allows you to jump back in time to a previous version of your website.
Weebly Design Options and Templates. Making it Look Great
We’ve Got a Detailed post about Weebly’s templates where you can read the main pros and cons. However, we wish to provide you here a quick overview of the main features here.
The First thing to note is that Weebly doesn’t have a ton of template designs (approximately 50), but you should easily be able to find one you like. There are various classes available. Online Store, Business, Portfolio, Personal, Event and Blog.
They mechanically look great on each Apparatus (by being reactive ), and they can be adapted to match your personal needs, together with the templates as a foundation. No need for you to receive a web design degree!
Of course, if You are all about design, and absolutely need to be able to customize it down to the last pixel, you should check out Wix also. Their template selection is unmatched and they have a much more flexible editor…
… unless you’re confident with coding. This Is because Weebly, unlike other builders, provides you access to the template source code.
Want to dig under the hood and modify the CSS and HTML? You’ll have free reign here, because you can see in the image above.
Ecommerce. Can be 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 not for huge ones. Even though you can use the export and import function to handle many things, you might discover Weebly lacking in features such as massive stores.
For instance, we don’t 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 instance (but also has less features). How Do I Build My Own Website For Free
Ultimately, it’s worth noting that although You can create a shop with the Starter and Guru plan, upgrading to Business and greater makes more sense. You’ll find the automated shipping and sales tax calculator, which is extremely helpful for serious store owners. Furthermore, you won’t need to cover an additional transaction charge of 3 percent.
Still confused About the many online store strategies? 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 apps in A number of classes such as 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 is always an (unlikely) chance that it might shut down a single day. Additionally a pity the programs produced by Weebly are rather restricted.
However, one thing all the apps have in Common is that a super simple installation feature. Click and bam! All apps are tested and will work instantly on your site. We attempted some cool ones such as a way to add tables, event calendars, and info bars to display specific information. Our only qualm is that the quality and quantity of apps is a marginally inferior those in the Wix App Store.
Advantages of Using Weebly
Here’s What I discovered to be the experts of Weebly — not only in comparison with Squarespace and Wix or WordPress, but also as an general online website solution.
Speed & Security
Weebly provides Hosting for all the sites that are built in their platform. That may be good or awful, but in Weebly’s situation, it’s an expert. They have rapid load rates. Their sites are optimized to their own hosting. They take care of security against hackers and spam. With company plans, they even install and keep SSL across your whole website. Here is my speed test.
There Are still pace and safety dangers, but it’s an advantage 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 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 do I do today?” That process is known as onboarding, and it is also incredibly hard to implement well.
The Software maker does not wish to be bothersome, but they also wish to help. I love how Weebly builds in solid onboarding and instruction not just via email trickle arrangement but also via little info buttons built with their own platform.
Once You sign up, it is straightforward to dive in. How Do I Build My Own Website For Free
Site Building Procedure
One Promoted advantage of utilizing a comprehensive site builder is that you won’t have to write HTML or CSS code. You can just drag and drop components. Everything you see in the builder is what you receive on the website.
It is Not always that easy. There’s a lot of nuances to”drop and drag.” Most of us actually mean”I want to drag and click this component and move it into a general area where it will seem great — you know, mechanically focused, 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 help.
For The most part, Weebly pulls this off. Their drag and drop really works. As well as for the control freaks among us, they provide access to some custom CSS module, so that you can edit the template to exactly your choosing.
For Free of charge accounts, Weebly provides an email service alternative along with 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, client service is able to troubleshoot and fix any matter. This is a huge advantage of site builder platforms generally, but especially with Weebly since they have telephone support.
If You conduct your site, you’ve got to figure out just who can fix a problem prior to getting in contact with them. With Weebly, you just get in touch with them.
Constructed Feature Set + Extensions
The Big advantage of building your own website on your host is that you don’t need to count on a platform’s attribute set. If you go the platform route, it’s essential to make sure they have all the features you want and need.
Weebly’s Feature set is powerful. They have got all the fundamentals — like blog performance, contact forms, etc, but also the necessary advanced features like URL redirects and page-level custom code placement.
Even Beyond the complex necessities, Weebly even includes features like discussion, subscription choices, integrated advertising options, file uploads, etc.. In addition they have eCommerce options, which I will cover separately below.
If You proceed the comprehensive website builder route, Weebly’s feature set should provide whatever you will need for typical personal/business sites (though as we’ll see in the Cons section, you really do want to be especially aware of innovative options).
Additionally — Weebly has plenty 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, adding performance is as simple as installing a plugin. Together with Weebly — you can browse their climbing (though still somewhat limited) app centre.
Anybody who retails online
Why? Square is a payments processor. They’re enormous offline and want to be bigger in the on/offline arena. That’s the reason why they bought Weebly — and the future is pretty bright for Weebly’s e commerce features.
If You’re starting a site and plan on selling a couple of things here and there or in case you have an offline presence (ie, pop-up stores ) and you want to sell on the internet, the Weebly offers a readymade solution with tightly integrated ecommerce characteristics that should only get better.
Product Investment & Company Construction
I have Been using site builders for 20 years since the Homestead.com days and have been closely paying attention to this industry for the previous 5 decades. 1 overarching trend is that a firm’s structure drives product investment over the marketing team or the product team.
Even In a fast-growing market, a company’s structure and end targets will dictate how it behaves and what investments it makes. As I outlined in my Wix vs. Weebly vs. Squarespacestructure can vary wildly among direct competitors.
For Decades, Weebly was an independently owned and operated company 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 might be a big downside. Acquisitions are notorious for destroying companies and value. However, this acquisition has a huge upside for one market segment —
If You really don’t mind your website on a subdomain (ie, http. //yourwebsite.weebly.com) then Weeblyis free with no expiry. A pretty good deal — particularly for temporary websites.
Total Pricing is very aggressive not only in contrast to other comprehensive site buildersbut also with buying your own hosting. Their Starter plan begins approximately $8/mo when paid up front. And they don’t possess the common caps of other site builders. The Pro program adds sound features and still stays under $12/mo.
And Again — you’ll notice that everything is bundled and unlimited. There are no caps on webpages or storage space. And unlike competitions such as Wix, they remove all ads with the initial paid grade.
Even Their business pricing, while more expensive than doing the same thing on your own hosting, is much cheaper than comparable plans with direct rivals.
Compared To constructing your own site on your host and notably with other website builders, Weebly’s pricing is quite competitive. Price isn’t everything, but I love how they structure it.
Cons + Complaints About Utilizing Weebly
However, Obviously, no Weebly review will be complete without looking at the downsides. Each bit of software will have complaints. Let us look at 3 specific cons I found.
Content Management System
A Content management system is precisely what it resembles. It is an interface that allows you to type, filter, edit, and print unique kinds of content on your website. How Do I Build My Own Website For Free
Weebly Kind of features that. It has a Pages section that lists out all the pages on your site. It permits you to drag and drop the hierarchy and click on to edit each. But it’s far from an efficient system.
There is No way to add custom content types (except inside an individual page). If you are planning a large site (such as hundreds of webpages ), the articles within Weebly would need a private system to keep it sorted and readily accessible.
This Disadvantage could be overcome, however that I wish content could be more easily handled within Weebly.
The Last huge disadvantage of Weebly is that moving to a different platform is difficult. If you would like to move somewhere else, including your own WordPress powered site, Assessing your content and redirecting your URLs will be a difficult process.
Weebly lets You to export your Page content via zip file but blog articles will have to be manually duplicated or migrated through RSS.
Again — migrating platforms will always be hard, but it is something to consider if you are planning on rapidly growing traffic and/or content.
Advanced Marketing Tools
Since Weebly allows for HTML editing, most advertising tools and attributes can be added to your site. But since you still don’t have 100% control on your site & host — it can be challenging or not impossible to add advanced marketing tools such as an EV SSL, custom email collection tools, custom analytics packages, habit social shares, special Schemas and A/B testing computer software.
In The jargon — the main issue is not having”root” or”FTP” access to your server files. This is not an unsolvable problem, however it’s something to be careful of if you’re arranging a long-term project.
For Most all site owners with average traffic — you’ll want to be aware of the limitations, especially if you are planning for rapid expansion.
Weebly eCommerce Addendum
Here is Weebly’s advertisement revealing their new eCommerce setup.
A bonus for Weebly is that their eCommerce performance. You can sell products from the Weebly site without changing platforms or performing any special developments. It fits in effortlessly and has strong performance.
The Pricing is affordable. On lesser tiers, Weebly charges transaction fees but bundles the complete eCommerce bundle for business plans.
Ecommerce Is a nice piece of functionality, but remember that it is not a full-fledged eCommerce that online store platforms such as Shopify or even Bigcommerce have. Weebly includes a shopping cart, basic inventory management, and payment approval. Here’s how Weebly fits about the eCommerce”spectrum” —
It’s Ideal for sites that are mostly lead-generation, informational, etc also wish to sell a few goods. It’s also a good match for anybody testing out products before moving into a long-term platform. It’s not a long-term fit for sites that are eCommerce-first. For those, an online store you have with WordPress + WooCommerce or a specialization eCommerce platform such as Shopify (review) or Bigcommerce (review) are a better match.
Product Investment & Company Construction
Now — the purchase from Square does come with a downside. That’s regular website builder features. Weebly’s incentive is to invest in features that make it even more valuable as a whole for Square. How Do I Build My Own Website For Free
Features Like appointment scheduling, blogging, etc are only valuable in so far that they gain the parent company.
If You are looking to build a long-term content or direct generation website, then I’d consider 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 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 which is far better than most competitors. It is simple, uncluttered and easy to use — which is exactly what individuals with limited technical abilities need when it comes to making 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 own domain name is also a bit pricey, as they urge G Suite, which costs $5 a month, per user. (Though there are workarounds, as you can see in the FAQ under ).
But all in all, Weebly reaches the very top of our list of site builders. Their ease of use combined with cool tools such as the iOS or Android program for editing your site on the go, or the number of add-ons out there from the program center makes it powerful, and enjoyable to use.
Enough with the theory. Try it out for Yourself and see how you enjoy it!