Weebly: Review and Expert Opinion
“Easy to learn and a lot of fun to use; you’d be hard-pressed to find too much to grumble about when it comes to Weebly. Yes, there could be a better selection of themes, but I would say that Weebly is one of the best website builders for small businesses especially. Weebly is a platform that is continually moving forward, and that’s something to applaud.”
August 22, 2020
Weebly is an online site builder that uses a drag and drop editing tool in order to make it easy and hassle-free for you to create a website. You don’t need to know any code or have experience in web design in order to use Weebly. At the same time, though, if you do have some tech knowledge, you can use Weebly Code Editor!
Some quick Weebly facts and figures
- Weebly was founded in 2007
- It is based in San Francisco
- Three college students founded Weebly; Chris Fanini, Dan Veltri, and David Rusenko
- More than 45 million people have created a site on this platform
- Weebly websites have more than 325 million users per month
- Square purchased Weebly in 2018 for $365 million
Does Weebly sound right for you?
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Is Weebly Really Easy to Use?
Yes, I found Weebly easy to use! You’re first going to be asked whether or not you want a website or a website and a store.
If you just want to create a website only, you will dive straight into choosing a theme, as you can see in the screenshot below, after which you can go right into editing it using the drag-and-drop editor. It doesn’t get much easier than that. I was really pleased with how quick and simple this was.
Again, this is straightforward and simple. Weebly simply asks you a few questions so that they can cater the online store builder to suit you.
I’ll take you through the questions you will be asked should you want to add your own store.
Weebly then wants to know if you’re selling any items at the moment and the sort of products you are going to be selling through your Weebly store. You can see the final four steps in the screenshots below.
Everything is managed easily via your Weebly dashboard. I really love the ‘Setup Guides’ area, ensuring you can get started with ease and that you don’t forget anything along the way. I think this is exactly what you need if you’re creating a site for the first time!
Simple drag-and-drop builder
I am definitely a fan of drag-and-drop site builders, and so I had a lot of fun building a website by simply dragging all the elements I wanted onto the pages on my screen. From the menus to the icons; all I had to do was click on them, drag them, and resize them. Easy, right? You don’t have to touch any code at all, unless you want to.
What I love most about editors like the one Weebly provides is that what you see is what the visitor will see when you publish your site. You’re not going to go back and forth between editing and preview mode.
Another clever little feature that I like about the Weebly editor is the spotlighting it uses. When you are editing something, the rest of the website is dimmed so that you can focus your attention where it needs to be. It is little touches like this that make the editor a joy to use.
Quick Tip!The Element Menu on the left-hand side is where all the fun is at. You can add buttons, videos, and text from here.
Weebly Built-In Code Editor
If you’re a bit more tech-savvy, you will be just as delighted as I was to see that there is a built-in code editor with Weebly. This is available on all plans. You can put your coding knowledge to good use and customise your site extensively with this.
Of course, I would only recommend that you use this if you are confident in your coding ability. After all, the changes that you make here could result in changes to the CSS of your site, which can cause unwanted changes to the rest of your website.
The Weebly Code Editor enables you to tweak your theme with CSS and HTML. You can also embed your content and media, as well as adding third-party widgets.
There are more than 50 templates for you to choose from. One thing that I have noticed through using Weebly over the years is that their templates have improved. However, they’re still lacking compared to the likes of Wix.
They do look professional and there are some really great templates, yet I would prefer more choice.
If you are not happy with the templates that are on offer at Weebly but you love the site builder, there is another option. You can purchase a template that has been created by an independent designer.
Are Weebly’s themes mobile responsive?
Do note that not all of the templates are going to be automatically mobile-responsive, yet the newer themes are. There are only a few that aren’t, so it’s not really a big deal.
If you do go for one of the older themes that is not automatically mobile-responsive, this does not mean you can’t use the site on a smaller device. It simply means there is going to be a bit more work involved for you. You will need to keep switching between the mobile and desktop views on your editor to make sure your website looks great and functions effectively across all platforms.
Weebly has a good selection of features, and I’m going to give you my take on the main ones…
If you want to create a website for members or that has certain areas for members only, I think you will be impressed with Weebly. You can easily create a membership area whereby you only share certain content with members.
I was more than happy with the Weebly SEO offering. I’ve seen a lot of Weebly websites ranked highly, and it’s not difficult to see why. You are able to do everything you need to in order to get the basic SEO of your site right, including adding alt text to images, customising URLs, and editing meta descriptions and titles.
Weebly has its own email marketing system called Weebly Promote. It’s free for your first two campaigns.
Weebly provides its own website statistics dashboard, where you can track unique visitors from the past 30 days and page views. You also get a lot of rich information in terms of marketing and sales data too. This is an area of Weebly that they have definitely worked on over the years. I’m a big fan of how you can segment data so it can be compared to give you the best possible insights into the performance of your site.
You can enable Google Analytics for your website on Weebly, and I definitely recommend that you do this. Google Analytics is the number one SEO tool that I recommend people to use. After all, Google is the top search engine tool, so it makes sense to track data via Google, doesn’t it?
I would definitely recommend making the most of one of the SEO apps that are available in the Weebly App Center. Positionly is a great option if you’re willing to spend. If you’re not, try MarketGoo.
Well, there’s not much I can say in the hosting department because Weebly will host your site for you, even if you are just on the free plan. This means you don’t have to pay for a hosting service or even worry about finding a host.
One of the things that impressed me the most about Weebly is the fact that you can download your full site as a ZIP archive file. You are then able to import it to a different website builder or host.
You can set-up an e-store with ease. There are a number of great things about the online store options. As you can imagine from Weebly, it is very easy to use. It also accommodates a wide range of products. It does not matter whether you sell services, digital goods, or physical products, you can do so via Weebly. One of my favourite features is the shipping and tax calculator, which is semi-automatic and is going to save you plenty of time.
Personally, I think that the Weebly e-commerce element is something the company has worked on considerably over the past few years, and it shows. A lot of great features are supported, including setting in-store pick-up as a shipping option, dealing with shopping cart abandonments, adding customer accounts, and selling gift cards.
On the flip side, there are a few drawbacks that are worth bearing in mind here. You cannot integrate your online store with other platforms, which you can do with the likes of Squarespace. Plus, there are a few payment improvements I’d like to see, for example, PayPal is only a payment option with the highest plan available and there is no option to add offline payments.
Weebly App Market
You are going to be able to enjoy a great collection of apps, which can be installed with just one click via the Weebly App Center. This was a real highlight for me. Yes, the theme editor does give you basic tools, but you’re really going to want to make the most of the App Center in order to take your website to the next level. There are so many great options as well! I am going to talk you through a few of my personal favourites…
Security of Weebly Websites
I was more than happy with the security options from Weebly, with SSL encryption on all plans and HTTPS. There are also password-protected areas, which you can get with the paid plans. You can password-protect selected pages or your full site.
Back-ups and restores
While it is possible to download backups of your website, this is a manual process and you cannot restore them. I do wish that Weebly would look into making some changes here. If disaster strikes, there is no restore function. With other website builders, like Wix, new changes are tracked and you can go back to a prior version of your site. This is something that Weebly needs to look into offering in my opinion.
Quick Tip!To back-up your site, head to Settings, and the General. From here, enter your email ID under ‘Archive’ and click on ‘Email Archive.’ Your back-up will be sent as a .zip file to your email address.
The Weebly editor is really easy to use, and so I don’t think you will need tons of support along the way. However, it is good to know that help is available should you need it. Let me tell you a little bit more about the different options on offer…
One thing that I have definitely noticed about Weebly since I began using their service is that their customer support has gotten better, and they continue to make improvements in this regard. There are three different ways you can contact the support team – either via phone, live chat, or a support ticket. Support tickets are answered 24/7. Live chat is available seven days per week, from 6 am until 6 pm PST Monday to Friday, and 8 am until 5 pm PST Saturday to Sunday. You can also contact Weebly by phone from 6 am until 6 pm PST on 1-844-493-3259. The support team is pretty much fully based in the United States.
There is also a great online Weebly Knowledge Base, which provides you with all of the guides that you need in order to use Weebly effectively. I really enjoyed the Knowledge Base. It is comprehensive, with some advanced tips and tricks. The video tutorials are a great touch too.
Weebly community forum
I was also delighted to see that Weebly had implemented a forum. This is something they didn’t have for quite some time, but it looks like they listen to what their users want. The community forum is a great place for chatting with like-minded souls who are having the same issues as you and are looking for some ideas and advice. You can find an abundance of questions and answers, as well as users’ stories and insider tips.
Is Weebly Right for You?
In my personal opinion, Weebly is perfectly suited to small business owners. If you are looking to get a start-up going online, build your business’ presence, or sell items from a small e-store, Weebly is an excellent choice. It comes with a great set of features and the site builder is easy-to-use. If you’re looking to take on a more complex project, you’ll probably want to look at something like Wix, unless you’re confident with coding. In which case, I’d advise you to try out the Weebly Code Editor.
In terms of blogging, Weebly isn’t really the site builder I’d recommend. It’s completely catered to websites and e-stores, rather than being a blogging platform.
You have the option of a paid plan or a free plan with Weebly. As I will reveal below, there are a number of limitations with the free plan. In terms of a paid plan, you have three choices: Pro, Business, or Business Plus.
As you can see, you will save a considerable amount of money if you pay for a year upfront, rather than paying month-to-month, so do keep this in mind if you can afford it.
What is included in all three plans?
I’m going to start by telling you about what’s included in the most basic plan – Pro Plan – and, therefore, all three paid plans. With this plan, you will get a free domain (after this, renewals start from £13 per year). All three plans also include free SSL security, the ability to add third-party embed code, site search, advanced site stats, the option to add a custom domain, unlimited storage, and the ability to remove Square ads. You will also get password protection too.
In terms of e-commerce, with the Pro Plan, you are going to get a seamless shopping cart experience, items, item badges, quick shop, and in-store pick-up. All major online payment methods and credit cards are accepted as well.
With regard to marketing, you will get a number of powerful SEO tools, customised forms for capturing leads, and the ability to add your Instagram feed to your website.
With the Pro Plan and all of the other paid plans, you will get access to the community forum, as well as chat, email, and phone support.
What’s in the Business Plan that you don’t get in the Pro Plan?
One of the main differences between the Pro Plan and the two Business Plans is that you will get age confirmation with the latter. This means that if you sell age-restricted items on your site, such as alcohol, you will be able to show an age-confirmation pop-up when someone enters your website, prompting them to confirm that they are older than the required age.
You are going to get many more features with the Business Plan in terms of e-commerce. This includes the ability to accept payments through PayPal, item modifiers, item reviews, inventory management, automatic tax calculator, coupons, Square gift cards, shipping calculators, and shipping labels. You will also get powerful e-commerce insights, which prove to be incredibly effective in terms of enhancing your marketing campaign.
In terms of support, the key difference between both of the Business Plans and the Pro Plan is that you are going to get priority support with the Business options. This means that you will basically go to the front of the queue when it comes to getting responses to your queries.
What’s in the Business Plus Plan that’s not in the Business Plan?
In the Business Plus Plan, you are, of course, going to get everything that has been discussed in the former plans. However, there are a few extras thrown in as well. This includes being able to automatically send emails to anyone who has abandoned their shopping cart and not completed the checkout process. In my personal opinion, though, there’s not too much difference between this and the Business Plan, so I personally think the Business Plan offers the best value.
With all plans, there is a no-hassle, 30-day money-back guarantee, so if you’re not happy with your experience with Weebly, you can get your money back, which is always a relief!
Can I stick with the free plan?
Of course, you do have the option of simply going with the free version of Weebly. If you do this, you will be able to create, edit, and publish a site. However, there are some key limitations, and you need to be aware of these. Two of the main limitations that I’d be concerned about are as follows…
- You cannot use your own domain name. You have to use the one that is assigned to you from Weebly.
- You will have Square adverts on your website.
- You are only going to have 500MB of storage.
Square, Inc is the parent company of Weebly. This is an American mobile payment, merchant services aggregator, and financial services company. It was established in 2009 in St. Lous, Missouri.
You are able to create a maximum of ten websites per Weebly account. You are simply able to create more accounts on Weebly until you have the number of sites you need. However, do keep in mind that you are going to have to pay for premium business sites on an individual basis. Therefore, if you want to create three premium websites, you’re going to need to make three payments; one payment will not cover all of them, even though they are on the same account.
Yes, you can create, edit, and publish your site, free of charge, on the free version of Weebly. However, there are quite a few features that are locked unless you upgrade. For example, you cannot accept payments if you don’t upgrade to one of the paid plans, so do keep this in mind when you are making your decision.
Yes; your plan will renew automatically at the end of your subscription with Weebly.
I often get asked which website builder is the best, and that’s why I decided to create these reviews. There is no right or wrong answer. It’s all about what works for you. You can check out my review on Wix for more information. Wix has more designs and features to choose from, yet Weebly is popular for small companies seeking an easy and simple solution while not missing out in terms of functionality either.
Through my experience, I can definitely say that Weebly is one of the best website builders on the market for small companies today. It is easy to navigate, simplistic, and uncluttered. You also have a wide range of different features and apps too. I’d recommend choosing the Business Plan if you’re looking for the best value out of the premium packages.
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