Similar to web builders like Wix, Squarespace and WordPress.com, Weebly is an “all-in-one” web-building platform that provides users with all the tools needed to get professional-looking websites up and running quickly. One of Weebly’s biggest claims to fame is its ease-of-use, simple and clean interface and powerful web building tools.
Of course, in getting simplicity and convenience, you surrender much of the in-depth design and back-end control to Weebly. However, if you’re pressed for time and don’t have much web building experience, surrendering some control and creative freedom is likely a trade-off you’re willing to make. It’s also a great option if you’re looking to build a very simple website, which can be very effective.
If you’re seriously considering Weebly as your platform of choice, you’d be in good company; the platform is used by more than 40 million websites. So, who is the intended audience and what can you do with Weebly? For starters, the platform caters to small businesses and online stores rather than bloggers. In fact, 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.
Weebly’s monthly plans come in four basic tiers:
- The “Free” plan offers bare-bones basic use and not much else. Like Wix’s free plan, you’re limited to a Weebly.com subdomain (which is not ideal for your brand), little storage for images and content (500MB) and Weebly ads on your site.
- Step up to the “Personal” plan at $7 USD/month, and you unlock the ability to connect your own custom domain. However, you’re still limited to just 500 MB of storage and the Weebly ads.
- The “Professional” plan at $15 USD/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, advanced site states and site search functionality. In terms of shopping/e-commerce functionality, this 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 USD/month and it comes with integrated eCommerce tools for small businesses and online stores. You also get all of the features that come bundled with the Professional plan – along with a few more key upgrades. Offer real-time shipping rates, add item reviews and send abandoned cart emails that remind customers to come back and complete their transactions.
So if you’re planning to build your business and sell products online, you’ll likely want to go with the Professional or Performance plans.
Now we’ll take a closer look at the pros and cons of picking Weebly as your web building platform. Everyone likes to hear the good news first, right?
Advantages of Weebly
Quality customizable templates
Weebly’s templates/themes are modern, stylish and mobile-responsive. What’s even better? If you tire of your selected template over time, you can swap it out for something else.
Weebly doesn’t offer as many templates as Wix or Squarespace, but what they do have is well-designed. Think of it as a “quality over quantity” approach.
Easy platform to work with
Building your website with Weebly involves simply dragging and dropping various elements, such as pictures, video and text, onto a page. From there, you can move all these elements around, resize and tweak them to your liking without needing to know any advanced coding. Also, similar to Squarespace and Wix, Weebly is a “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” (WYSIWYG) website builder. That means any edits you make are reflected in real-time and is what visitors to your site will see once everything’s published and live.
Next to its competitors like Wix and Squarespace, Weebly offers quite a bit of bang for the buck at its lower-priced monthly plans. Once you get up to the $15/month plan, you’ll see that everything is unlimited and uncapped, with no limits on storage or the number of web pages. Domain hosting is also included as part of the deal.
Solid eCommerce tools
As we mentioned right off the bat, Weebly offers a number of simple, effective and easy-to-implement tools that can help you set up an attractive and functional online store. Sell physical or digital products, create coupons to entice more conversions, track inventory and more. In 2018, eCommerce platform Square bought Weebly, bringing together fintech expertise with an established website-building platform - so you get the best of both worlds.
Simple but powerful tools
Aside from its more basic editing tools, Weebly also offers a robust collection of its own (and third-party) tools through its App Center that can be bolted onto your website in one click. 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 adding customer reviews and streaming social media posts to your site, to troubleshooting your site’s SEO issues.
Comprehensive SEO guide
Weebly offers several extremely helpful and engaging SEO guides (AKA – how to get people to visit to your website) in their help and support centre. Even if you’re an SEO rookie, Weebly helps coach you through the basics, such as keyword research and optimization, analysis and performance and more.
A major advantage of Weebly is that you’re able to download your entire website as a .ZIP file. From there, you can import it to another web host or builder - or even hand it over to a web designer if you want a more professional touch.
Disadvantages of Weebly
The blogging experience is limited
Weebly posts don’t display the author’s name, there’s just one fixed, default blog layout. As well, you can’t copy and migrate your Weebly blog content to another platform.
No great image editing options
Weebly’s photo editing tools are simplistic. You can always edit and resize your images off-line with third-party software and then import them. This isn’t a big issue, but other platforms help you save time by having that built right in.
More comprehensive support comes at a price
The level of assistance you get from Weebly depends on your monthly plan. The basic video tutorials and knowledge base is available to everyone, but unless you’re on a paid plan, you don’t get phone support or priority support.
Navigation for large sites
Weebly offers a very basic “Pages” menu that lists out your site’s pages and then lets you re-order and click to edit each page. If you’re working with a small site this system works fine. But if you’re building a larger site that has dozens (or hundreds) of pages and more complex navigation, things can get cluttered and disorganized quickly. Not only is it hard to filter down and sort through your pages and content, you can’t add custom content types except within individual pages.
You’re responsible for your own backups
Weebly has a lack of an automatic backup of your site - even on higher-priced plans. Yes, you can easily export your site to a .ZIP file, but it’s up to you to initiate those backups manually. For bloggers, this is even more inconvenient as there’s no way to import blog posts back into Weebly after they’ve been exported.
Easy-to-use editor can feel limiting to advanced users
This disadvantage shouldn’t come as a major surprise if you’re using a web builder like Weebly. The easy-to-use drag and drop editing functionality and slick, pre-built templates provide a good level of customization for most. However, those of you wanting total control over your site’s look, feel and coding may want to look elsewhere. You also can’t bring in outside software beyond what’s already available on the Weebly App Center.
We hope this provides more clarity around whether Weebly is the right website building and content management platform for you.
Ready to dive in and get started? Check our detailed, step-by-step guide to building your first Weebly website.