Weebly Website Builder
Weebly has just announced a brand new version of its product called Carbon. Carbon is the third generation of Weebly (the second launched back in 2013), so the founders decided to choose a name that started with the letter ‘C’.
Naturally, the interface of the service looks refreshed, but it’s the new features that really differentiate between Carbon and Weebly version 2.0. The new platform delivers a whole new set of tools to make website creation even more effective, fast and easy.
Weebly is a simple, widget-based website builder that powers over 30 million websites worldwide. Launched in 2007, when the competition wasn’t fierce, Weebly quickly became one of the most popular DIY web publishing solutions.
Today, it’s a powerful drag-and-drop website builder that has a great choice of in-house widgets, yet still lets you concentrate on content, rather than technical details of the website creation process.
Ease of Use: Weebly is intuitive. It has a well-structured dashboard to manage your site’s settings and a drag-and-drop editor where you can actually build your website through dragging various widgets to the page, uploading your own content and making changes to the site’s design.
To help beginners build their first sites Weebly provides the Site Planner and a handy to-do list that will help users identify their goals and get a better understanding of the builder itself.
Flexibility: Behind the simple drag-and-drop interface, Weebly is a feature-rich platform that is suitable for creating different websites, from simple 5-page business sites to blogs, portfolios, and webstores. Here’s a brief overview of Weebly’s feature set:
- Blogging. Weebly has its own blogging engine that lets you easily add a blog to your website. The system supports such complex features as scheduled posting (including pre-selected social media sharing options for scheduled posts), multiple commenting systems, advanced SEO options for blog posts, the ability to toggle social sharing options for all posts, the ability to add custom header and footer code for individual posts and more.
- eCommerce. Weebly arms you with advanced eCommerce features that are easy to set up and configure. These include: the ability to sell digital goods and physical products, flexible shipping options, filtered product search, inventory management, mobile store and checkout.
- Membership. You can create closed areas that are only visible to the members and groups you specify.
- Mobile apps. Weebly users can create new and modify existing websites using mobile devices – Weebly provides free applications for iOS and Android.
- App Center. Just like Wix, Weebly now has its own market of applications offering a large selection of communication, eCommerce, social widgets and much more.
All in all, Weebly is pretty flexible. Naturally, it is less feature-rich than professional content management systems and specialized commerce platforms, yet it offers enough tools and room for customization to build a beautiful, interactive website.
Custom domain: There are three options: you can use a free subdomain (sitename.weebly.com), attach an existing domain, or purchase a domain through the platform. Unlike Wix that generates long web addresses using your email nickname, Weebly allows users to choose their site address on their own.
SEO: As you build your website, the code generator produces well-formatted, semantic code. Weebly SEO settings include alt tags for images and page-specific meta tags. For beginners, Weebly offers an easy-to-follow SEO guide to help you get your site optimized for search engines.
Designs: Weebly designers regularly add new responsive themes that feature hottest web design trends. Their newest themes feature ghost buttons, lots of whitespace, fullscreen backgrounds, refined fonts and minimalist layouts.
Because Weebly uses the so-called ‘box’ editing approach where all the elements you drag to the page fall into specific containers or ‘boxes’, users can easily change themes at anytime without losing any of their content.
Beginner users can change all major web design elements from the front end, in WYSIWYG mode, and advanced customers can take advantage of an Advanced Theme Editor that offers full HTML and CSS control for deeper customization.
There are designers who specialize in creating themes for this particular website builder. So if you have a concept of a unique design for your website, you can hire a professional to draw it for you.
All recent themes are mobile-friendly from the start. The mobile look of your site can’t be edited. Those who use old Weebly themes are provided with the ability to create a mobile version for their site – the old themes come with a built-in mobile editor.
Technical support: Weebly has an impressive infrastructure. First, there’s a well-organized help center that contains easy-to-follow guides and answers to the most frequently asked questions. Additionally, there’s email, livechat and phone support.
To stay updated on new Weebly features you can sign up for the official Weebly blog and Inspiration Center – a place, where experts and Weebly users share advice to help you bring your ideas to life.
Pricing: Weebly is generous. Being a freemium web service, it lets you create and publish a website for free. The free plan implies using a subdomain and showing a Weebly link on your website (it’s almost invisible compared to that of Wix). Using your free account, you can even set up a store and sell up to 5 products.
Paid subscriptions differentiate based on the number of products you’re looking to sell, member registration options and some other aspects. Weebly plans range from $8 to $25 a month. If you’re looking to build a blog, a simple business site or a portfolio, then the $8 plan will certainly handle it. To start a shop, you definitely need their full-featured plan, so be ready to pay $25/mo.
Each plan, including the free one, comes with a $100 Google Advertising credit (after spending $25). It’s only available to new Google Adwords customers.
Possible Drawbacks: If you’re a beginner, changing your website’s look in any meaningful way can be difficult. You need to have at least a basic HTML knowledge to make global changes to the theme.
The strongest side: The ease of use. Though Weebly is very powerful, it remains very easy-to-use, and the advanced editing can be toggled at any time.
Weebly review: Conclusion
Weebly is a great pick if you’re expecting to get an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. It’s fairly priced and has a great infrastructure. It may lack such complex features as advanced user management, forum creation and some others that we found in uCoz site builder, but if you don’t need this functionality, then Weebly would be a great place to start your site.
What I like most about this builder is the way it balances the power with user-friendliness. See what other niche experts have to say about this site builder – read the updated Weebly review published on SuperbWebsiteBuilders.