Looking to grow your business with a great-looking online store? Weebly is a powerful website building tool with a clean interface that makes it easy to get started. Weebly boasts a number of easy-to-use e-commerce apps and features designed to help you set up an online store. You can ship products with multiple carriers, track and manage your inventory, feature customer reviews, create appealing product galleries and more.
Similar to Squarespace, WordPress.com and Wix, Weebly is an “all-in-one” website building platform. You’re in charge of adding in your content, copy and the products you’d like to feature, but Weebly handles all of the back-end heavy lifting in terms of hosting and design. What you sacrifice in total freedom and ability to customize you gain in simplicity and convenience. When the goal is to get a professional-looking site (and store) set up for your small business, how can you go wrong?
In this guide, we’ll provide step-by-step instructions on how to use Weebly to build a website from scratch.
How to start building your Weebly website
Start by signing up
Get your Weebly website build underway by heading over to weebly.ca. From there, click “Sign Up” to create an account. Weebly lets you create and publish a basic website for free and remain on the free plan for as long as you like, however, you will be unable to use a custom domain. This will let you take your time exploring and tinkering to ensure Weebly’s the right website platform for you.
After clicking “Sign up,” you’ll be taken to a page with two options to choose from. Pick either “I just need a website” or “I need a website with an online store.” Don’t get too stressed about this decision, though – if you need to backtrack and add an online store to your website, you can do so at any point.
Pick your website theme
After you’ve created an account and picked the type of website you want to create, you’ll be prompted to pick your theme. Weebly has about 50 themes in total to choose from separated out into broad categories, like “business,” “personal,” “event,” “portfolio” and “blog.” Based on what you choose, Weebly will then recommend more specific themes.
If you’ve waded through the literally hundreds of theme options offered by website builders like Squarespace and Wix, 50 themes doesn’t seem as good in comparison. However, think of Weebly’s approach as quality over quantity. All themes are well-designed, sleek and mobile responsive – so they should look good no matter what screen size you use. Weebly also serves up some industry-specific options, like cleaning service designs, restaurant templates, photography portfolio themes and so on. Besides, just like when you’re choosing which donut to enjoy, sometimes too many options can be overwhelming.
Another advantage of Weebly over similar services like Wix is that you can change your theme at any time. If you’re having trouble deciding, you can preview each one. Once you’ve settled on a theme, click “start editing” in the top right corner of the screen.
Name your domain
Before wading into the whole website editing and creation process, Weebly will prompt you to pick a domain name. You can go one of three routes here:
- Pick a free Weebly subdomain. This means your website’s address look something like “yoursupercoolsite.weebly.com.” Why is this not a great idea? For starters, free subdomains don’t look professional or credible, they impact your site’s searchability and – well – a Weebly subdomain doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it?
- Register a custom .CA domain through Weebly. Simply type your domain name of choice and hit “Search” to check its availability. Be sure to add .CA to your search, otherwise Weebly won’t serve up Canadian domain options by default! Choose from the available options, pick an annual hosting plan and you’re off and running.
- Don’t want to go the Weebly route? No sweat, we can help you search for and register your perfect .CA domain from a range of great third-party suppliers. Also – check out our post on connecting your domain to a Weebly site for more detailed instructions.
Build your Weebly website – the basics
In this section, we’ll get into the meat n’ potatoes of how to use Weebly, and more specifically, the Weebly website builder tools. This is also the part of the process where you can flex your creative muscles a bit!
Keep in mind that Weebly is what’s known as a “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” (WYSIWYG) editor, which is both fun to say (pronounced whizzy wig) and easy to use. That means you can click to edit or drag and drop photos, videos and text boxes without knowing any code. Plus, any changes you make while editing will look the same when you publish.
To edit any text boxes, just click the box and fill in your text. You can also change the font, re-size and re-format your text. If you’d like to change the background, click on the background image, select “edit background” and select a new image.
Begin adding elements to your Weebly website
To start bringing in all of the various bits and pieces of your website, like images and buttons, have a look at the “Element Menu” on the left side of your screen. This menu allows you to select, drag and drop elements anywhere you like. Any element with an orange-ish lightning bolt next to it isn’t available on the free plan. Everything else is fair game!
Say you want to add an image. Drag the “image” element from the menu onto your web page. A pop-up window will then give you the option to upload an image from your computer or select a free Weebly stock image. If you’re looking to add a little Canada to your website, check out our free Canadian stock images as well.
Adding “sections” from the element menu lets you add more personalization to your site. Drag the “sections” box onto your page and you’ll see a list of layout options, including “gallery,” “contact,” and “menu.” Click your preferred layout and it’ll appear on your page for editing.
To delete bigger pieces – like a page background or an entire section – click the area you want to remove. This will trigger a few options to appear (edit, move, and delete). Just click the delete button and everything within the section you’ve selected will be gone.
Add new pages
Click the “pages” tab at the top of your screen and hit the “+” symbol. A drop-down menu will then appear with different page types. Pick the page you’d like to create – a standard page, for example – and name it. Once you do this, Weebly will pre-load the page with placeholder content for you to edit and tweak. Click the “build” tab at the top of your screen to return to editing.
Bring in apps to boost functionality
Wondering how to add plugins to your Weebly site? It’s pretty simple! These plugins are apps from the Weebly App Centre that can be bolted onto your website in one click. You can access the App Centre by clicking on the “Apps” tab at the top of your screen. Weebly’s apps are broken out into four categories around social integration, sales conversions/e-commerce tools, search ranking and web traffic and first-party apps made by Weebly.
You can do anything from featuring customer reviews and streaming social media posts to your site, to troubleshooting SEO issues and adding discussion forums. In total there are around 300 apps to choose from – some of which require paid plans to get full functionality.
To install an app, click the one you want and then “Add.” This will trigger a pop-up box. Click “Connect” to install the app and agree to any terms and conditions. Any apps that are installed will appear in your bottom-left sidebar within the “Installed Apps” section.
Get your store set up
To get an online store up and running, first back out of your Weebly website editor tools and head over to your account dashboard. Click the menu in the top-left corner and select “Store.” This will take you to a setup page. This setup page will outline all the steps needed to create your online store, covering everything from adding basic store information and products to setting up shipping services and taxes. Remember that you’ll need to pick at least the $15/month “Professional” monthly plan to sell products through your site.
Pick a monthly Weebly pricing plan
Finally, it’s time to look at your monthly plan options and upgrade as needed. Weebly’s plans come in four basic tiers: Free, Personal, Professional, and Performance. Here’s a basic breakdown of what you get with each:
- The “Free” plan offers bare-bones, basic use, and not much else. Like Wix’s free plan, you’re saddled with a Weebly.com subdomain, little storage for images and content (500MB), and Weebly brand ads on your site. Free subdomains are not the way to go if you’re trying to create a professional, credible site with the flexibility to establish your own brand. And like we mentioned up top, free subdomains aren’t super search engine friendly (or memorable!) That means less traffic, fewer transactions, and general sadness for you.
- Step up to the “Personal” plan at $7/month and you unlock the ability to connect your own custom domain. However, you’re still limited to just 500 MB of storage and have Weebly brand ads displayed on your site.
- The “Professional” plan at $15/month gets you a number of significant upgrades and creature comforts over the Free and Personal plans. These include a free domain, unlimited storage, HD video and audio and site search functionality. In terms of shopping/e-commerce functionality, the Professional plan gets you features such as inventory management (which shows how much of a product you have and when it’s time to re-stock), coupons, a tax calculator and the ability to offer digital goods.
- The top end “Performance” plan will set you back about $30/month comes with integrated eCommerce tools for small businesses and stores. You also get all of the features that come bundled with the Professional plan - but with a few key upgrades. Here, you’ll be able to offer customers real-time shipping rates, add item reviews and send abandoned cart emails that remind customers to come back and complete their transactions.
To sum up, if you’re planning to build your business and sell products online – and even take your business to the next level – you’ll likely want to go with the Professional or Performance plans.
Publish your creation
Once your Weebly website is ready to share with the world, simply click the blue “Publish” in the top right corner of the screen and bam – you’re live on the web! There – wasn’t too time-consuming, was it? We hope these first few steps set you up nicely in building your Weebly website!