Weebly Review: Is The Weebly Website Builder Right For You?
Weebly is super easy, and one of the best website bulders around. Forget the fact that Weebly is free and monthly plans start at only $8 per month. The drag and drop features are so intuitive that you can have a website, blog or store launched within the hour. After opening an account, you can choose your package and begin building a website today. In this Weebly review, we’re going to show you HOW.
For those who have looked at Weebly before, it’s time to look at it again. The platform has undergone some major revisions, and the newer offerings from the site add on robust business offerings such as storefronts, additional storage and much more. The new templates and interface are much more streamlined than past versions and very easy to use.
- Pros & Cons
- Weebly is Ideal for…
- Templates & Design
- Mobile Optimization
- Ease of Use
- In Conclusion
Because many of the features are new to this update of Weebly, it’s worthwhile to review the highlights even if you’re sure you know all about the tool.
The free version of Weebly includes the bare bones-basics you need to build a website. It includes free hosting, unlimited pages, templates, and online support.
Paid versions of Weebly include:
- A free domain name for one year
- Free hosting for one year
- Unlimited pages on your website
- Unlimited storage of all of your site files
- Drag and drop editor to build your website
- Search engine indexing
- Removable Weebly branding in the footer
- Customizable templates
- 24 themes with responsive design
Both paid versions of Weebly allow for an online store. The lower priced model allows up to 10 products, while the version available at a higher monthly fee allows up to 25 products, and the biggest package, unlimited products.
Online store owners should expect to be charged a 3 percent transaction fee from Weebly. The site does provide you with a shipping and tax calculator and plenty of useful internet retail tools at the highest Business level.
The Pros and Cons of the Weebly Website Builder
Now that we’ve gone over the Highlights of Weebly, let’s break it down into the pros and cons of the Weebly website builder.
- Free basic site lets you “try before you buy”
- Generous hosting and page allowance for all tiers
- Mobile responsive design and templates available
- Easy design tool; most people will get the hang of it quickly
- Lower tier sites let you add up to 10 products
- Good internet retail features at Pro and Business Plans
- Free one year domain name hosting for all paid plans
- Photo editing tool isn’t very good
- Can’t drag and drop elements in the design feature on responsive designs
- Must pay for some apps (some are free)
- Phone support only available at higher paid platforms
- Pricing is higher for ecommerce packages than many other sites
Weebly offers many good features, but some drawbacks, too. The site’s easy set up, free platform, and many free add-ons makes it appealing for many first time website designers. The ecommerce system offers a lot of good features baked into it, but is more expensive than other comparable products on the market. With only 24 responsive templates available, your choices for your site design are limited, but you can customize almost every design, so you can make one of the 24 designs look right for your business.
Weebly’s free service is known as a site host by many hobbyists and families who want a simple website without paying a lot for it. It’s given the rest of Weebly’s offerings something of a lackluster name, but that’s unfair. The Weebly Starter, Pro and Business Plans offer a lot for the money, and the Business Plan would be great for a new ecommerce site.
Weebly’s websites are ideal for:
- Service-based businesses
- Simple ecommerce startups
- Retail stores and small business startups
If you are thinking of starting an internet retail business, you may wish to compare Weebly to other website building platforms. Although it does offer great tools, it can be slightly more expensive per month than ecommerce specific tools.
Template and Designs
Weebly’s new relaunch includes 24 brand new templates. All are responsive to mobile site access and great for a business website. You can still access the older templates, but they aren’t responsive, so you may want to avoid them. They will be difficult for your customers to access on a mobile device or won’t display accurately.
The design interface on Weebly is very similar to other tools you’ll see on Wix and similar websites. It does have a drag and drop feature, but it doesn’t work on the new templates. That’s because the templates are responsive, and if you put an element where it doesn’t belong it will mess up the mobile site design. You can upload and change pictures, change font sizes and more in the design tool.
Once you make a change to your website, it can be difficult to undo it, so you might want to save backup copies on your computer just in case you change something you’d like to put back.
Adding new pages is a simple task, and the site lets you keep open the preview feature while you add new pages. This is helpful because you can see what changes look like as you are making them.
Weebly now offers apps, too. Like WordPress widgets, Apps let you customize your Weebly site easily with maps, social media interfaces and more. Some apps are free while others can be added at a modest additional cost.
Weebly offers 24 templates already optimized for mobile sites. You can use their older templates and convert them to mobile use, or even select a different site template for mobile versus traditional access. When you do this, it turns off headers and other items that won’t look good on a mobile device. It’s an interesting tool but ends up making your mobile site look different from your main website, which may not be what you want.
Ease of Use
Weebly is really built for the amateur site designer or newcomer. The company does indeed make it very easy to setup your account, build a site, and add apps if you’d like to do so. The Weebly App Center, in particular, offers many apps across multiple categories that will help you grow and manage your businesses. Weebly also offers many free tools, free options, and generous hosting for your website.
One of the unique features of Weebly is the ability to export an entire website to move it elsewhere. If you start your site on Weebly but find that the platform isn’t right for you, you can actually export your entire site as a zip file and upload it into the hosting platform of your choice. Weebly is one of the few web hosting companies that allows you to do this. You may lose some of the unique features or apps, but you can save your site or move it with this option.
Weebly offers four pricing tiers:
- Free: Yes, it’s free. It’s a generous platform that while limited in scope does allow you to build a website. It doesn’t give you your own domain name, and will run Weebly ads, but for a simple site it may be enough to get you started.
- Starter: The Starter Package is currently $8 per month. It includes a generous amount of hosting space, unlimited pages, 1 year of free domain name registration, and a $100 Google AdWords credit. You can even sell up to 10 products with starter account, although the checkout features are limited.
- Pro: The Pro feature is $12 a month and offers everything in the starter package, with the addition of up to 25 products in your store, site search, and the ability to integrate a membership feature.
- Business: The Business plan is top of the line for $25 a month. It includes a very robust ecommerce solution with checkout, shopping cart and more, search engine optimization assistance, and the ability to offer coupons and other special offers.
Chat and email support are offered at all tiers, but phone support is only available for Business and Pro users. Most people find that chat and email support is fine for a simple website. For those running ecommerce sites, the more complicated setup may require additional help. Phone service is available at those levels.
Is the Weebly site builder right for you? There are many good products on the market, especially Wix, but Weebly offers a lot for the money. If you’re building your own ecommerce business, you may wish to use an internet-retail specific package from Shopify or similar companies. For a service based business or a simple ecommerce site, Weebly may be just what you need.