TL;DR: Weebly is an all-in-one website builder that can be used by everyone to build and launch a website with ease
The longer story:
You’re trying to build a new website.
All of a sudden, people are telling you to buy hosting, get a SSL certificate, and so much more.
If all you want is an attractive site without needing to understand how to code (although some level of HTML is nice), you’re better off looking for a site builder.
An all-in-one site builder takes care of all the hosting for you, plus all the backend code and a lot of the design. You’re left with a simple way to edit and customize your website.
Weebly is one of the most well known and polished website builders there is.
It’s primarily built for small businesses, nonprofits, and any sort of solo hobbyist.
I wrote this review to break down the most important features of Weebly in simple terms so that you know if it can deliver everything that you’re looking for.
- 1 Pros and Cons
- 2 About Weebly
- 3 One of the Most Powerful Website Builders That Exists
- 4 Great for Small E-Commerce Sites
- 5 Marketing Help Built-In
- 6 Pricing
- 7 Customer Service and Technical Support
- 8 Weebly vs. Squarespace
- 9 Summary
- 10 Your Weebly Review
Pros and Cons
|Great for beginners||No uptime or performance guarantees|
|Offers a free plan so you can try out the product||Lower-budget plans are limited in features|
|Lots of templates to choose from|
|Offers support for ecommerce|
As we mentioned above, Weebly is a great option for those who aren't keen on coding their website by hand or find the prospect of setting a website daunting. There's a lot that can go wrong or steps that can be missed during this process, so some will find Weebly and it's all-inclusive packages very appealing.
The downside to Weebly is that the plans, both free and the paid but lower-budget options, are fairly limited. To get what we think is a good experience for most users, you'll need to upgrade to the mid-range plan at least. This isn't strictly a problem, but it's something to be aware of when you're comparing Weebly against its competitors.
Founded in 2007, San Francisco-based Weebly is a cloud-based website and e-commerce builder foudned on the premise that “anyone should have the tools to take their business from idea to launch to growth.”
Since then, Weebly has expanded and now has offices in New York, Scottsdale, and Toronto. The company powers over 50 million sites around the world, and in May 2018, the company was acquired by payment processing company Square.
One of the Most Powerful Website Builders That Exists
The website builder itself is the most important feature of Weebly, so let’s start there.
There are a few main components of the site builder that save you time and money.
All sites start with a theme. A theme is simply a design template that is applied to your website.
Weebly has several themes in all main categories (business, portfolio, personal, etc.) to choose from.
You can always switch themes with a few clicks at any time.
Aside from being professionally designed to look great, these themes are also all responsive. That means they show up looking great no matter which devices your visitors use.
If you're comfortable with HTML and/or CSS, you can fine-tune any of Weebly's themes.
Drag and Drop Editor
When you’re editing your website, everything is drag and drop.
You pick a page to edit, and it becomes clickable alongside a menu bar with page elements.
You can click on an element on the page and edit it right there.
You can rearrange elements by dragging them around or add elements by dragging them from the side menu bar onto the page.
Weebly has been around for so long that this is one of the smoothest editors to work with.
Finally, say you do want to learn to code a bit and would like to embed some custom code. You can add an “embed code” element onto the page and paste in your custom code.
So while a site builder does take away some flexibility, you still have quite a bit of room to customize your sites.
Most hosts and site builders offer a way to tie in tools made by other developers or businesses.
Some call them integrations or plugins, while Weebly calls them apps. They’re how you enable advanced functionality on your website.
You can preview all the apps available at Weebly’s app center.
There’s far too many to go through, but examples of what some useful apps allow you to do include:
- Add Facebook live chat.
- Add custom comments section to posts.
- Create a membership site.
- Create shipping labels for products.
Weebly’s store isn’t quite as big as WordPress’ plugin repository, but it’s got an app for all the most useful website functions you could ask for.
Finally, if you’re brand new to building websites, you might find some analytics tools to be a bit complicated.
Weebly has a simple built-in analytics panel that gives you only the most important information about your website’s traffic.
These are live statistics, so you can check in at any point in the day.
Some of the stats you can see are:
- How many people visited your website.
- What pages visitors viewed.
- What search terms visitors found your website with.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for more in-depth analytics tracking, Weebly has an area to paste in your Google Analytics code to easily connect it.
You can take advantage of Weebly's privacy settings and hide/show your site as desired.
Great for Small E-Commerce Sites
The Weebly site builder is great for building typical static sites, but it can also handle small to medium e-commerce sites.
Here are the most important e-commerce features that you can enable at no extra cost or difficulty:
- Fully integrated shopping cart and checkout. This lets visitors add products to their cart and pay you money.
- Full inventory management. Add your inventory to your website easily. It will automatically update as visitors buy your products.
- Product search. Lets visitors search your inventory by keyword.
- Automatic shipping rates and tax calculations. All the tricky calculations are done for you.
If you were building these features from scratch, it would cost you thousands and a lot of time.
Even if you use third-party solutions, it would still be much more expensive and take you extra time to configure.
Weebly vs. Shopify
If selling online is your end goal, you're probably wondering how Weebly compares to e-commerce giant Shopify.
Both options will get you the basic features you need for online sales, including inventory management, product display pages, shipping integrations, and a checkout process.
If you're a smaller business, both options should support your needs. However, with a larger business and increased sales, Shopify begins to take the lead. This becomes especially pronounced after a certain point. Make no mistake — we aren't saying the Weebly is a poor tool; it's just that Weebly's focus is on small businesses and websites, while Shopify's goal is to help you sell, no matter how small or big your business is. Shopify has the infrastructure you need to grow into an enterprise-size company.
Do note, however, that there's an integration that allows you to place a Shopify Buy Button onto your Weebly website so you can get benefits from both products.
Weebly vs. WordPress
Another product that is commonly compared to Weebly is WordPress. WordPress' origins is in blogging, but since then, the content management system has grown into a powerful tool that's capable of supporting the most complex of websites.
Getting started with WordPress (especially if you opt for the hosted version available at WordPress.com instead of the self-hosted version available at WordPress.org) is just as easy as getting started with Weebly. However, if you want to make significant customization to your website, you'll find it much easier to work with Weebly if you don't have programming knowledge. Weebly ships with a drag-and-drop site building tool that makes it easy for you to implement major changes, while WordPress offers more granular control that requires coding knowledge.
Marketing Help Built-In
When you first start building websites, you’ll probably run into a problem: It’s hard getting visitors.
Weebly has some features to help you.
SEO Help Built In
One of the best sources of free traffic is from search engines.
And while SEO can get complex, doing the basics is easy.
Weebly makes it easy to add page titles, meta descriptions, and keep an SEO friendly URL structure.
You just have to fill out standard form fields for each page.
Beyond this, Weebly's SEO is not very customizable — the trade-off for easy SEO tools is the lack of customization support, which may/may not affect your rankings.
Weebly Promote (for Email Marketing)
Weebly also has a separate product that ties in with the site builder called Weebly promote.
It’s focused around email marketing because it typically produces the best return on investment for businesses (around $43 of return for every $1 spent on email marketing).
Since it’s a separate product, it does have a separate cost. So you don’t necessarily need this.
It allows you to collect email addresses and create emails to send those subscribers and customers.
It features a similar drag and drop interface to the site builder to create emails.
It comes with basic analytics that shows you how many emails you sent and who opened them.
It’s not quite as advanced as some email marketing tools, but if you just want a basic, simple platform to use, it fits well for the price.
The crazy thing about Weebly is that the pricing is comparable to most shared hosting packages.
But not only do you get the hosting, you get the complete site builder and all the features that come with it.
There are multiple plans that you can sign up on, the difference is the number of features you get on each. For example, there is a free plan, but it has very limited features. It’s good to test out the platform, but at some point, you’ll want to upgrade.
Prices begin at just $5 per month.
The entry-level paid plan, called Connect, gets you a free domain name, SSL certificate, and 500 MB storage for your website.
The mid-range Pro plan gets you everything in the Connect plan, plus Google Ads credits, removal of all Weebly ads from your site, and site search functionality. You'll also get basic e-commerce functionality
The high-end Business plan builds on the Pro plan by including a wide variety of e-commerce features, such as inventory management, support for coupon codes and gift cards, tax and shipping calculators, and more.
Customer Service and Technical Support
Weebly maintains a robust searchable Help Center where you will find documentation on everything related to Weebly. You'll also find links to the Weebly Blog, where the the company provides you with expert tips and tricks, the Inspiration Center, where you can gather ideas, and Community, where you can collaborate and learn with other Weebly users.
All Weebly customers get access to email and chat support, which is available during:
- Monday – Friday 6 AM – 6 PM
- Saturday – Sunday 8 AM – 5 PM
All times Pacific.
Those with a Pro Plan or higher also get access to live telephone support.
Weebly vs. Squarespace
One of Weebly's biggest competitors is Squarespace; how do these two fair?
Squarespace presents a more polished, professional image, claiming that their product can help users get up and running with a professional website in no time. The company offers an award-winning design interface, and its templates are some of the best around.
Weebly, however, caters more to a conscious audience; while there are pricier plans, Weebly allows you to try their product for free, and in general, their plans are less expensive than Squarespace's.
For most people, Weebly will be sufficient, but for those who want to put the best foot forward with as little work as possible, we would recommend Squarespace (even with the additional cost associated).
Weebly is an extremely powerful and flexible site builder.
It’s intuitive user interface, along with very low prices make it a perfect option for anyone looking to build a simple, attractive website, without coding.
Weebly is extremely customizable through apps and built-in e-commerce features that allow you to build any simple hobby, business, or e-commerce site.
If you’re new to web development, give the free plan a try and see if it’s right for you.
Your Weebly Review
Are you a current or past customer of Weebly? Would you recommend them? Please leave your comments below and let our visitors know what you think of Weebly's speed, features and customer service.