Weebly is one of the first options worth considering when it comes to creating a website the easy way. And although the website-building company is not marketed as well as its contenders, it is definitely a worthwhile choice, especially if you aim at setting up a small store or a personal website. Weebly is great for beginners who need step-by-step guidance. Other than this, customization is limited, and the tools required for long-term growth are few.
If you own a small business or need a robust website with amazing SEO and blogging tools, there is no need to look further – Weebly will serve you well.
Weebly Quick Summary
Weebly was founded in San Francisco in 2007 and later, in May 2018, was acquired by Square. After the purchase, it became an all-in-one solution covering marketing and eCommerce tools. Today it powers millions of businesses worldwide and has offices in Toronto, Scottsdale, and New York. Thanks to the great business tools and the helpful drag-and-drop editor, building a simple website and selling online becomes simple.
Weebly was established with the purpose of delivering premium website-building capability to any user regardless of their proficiency as a website developer and their business niche. And it has definitely succeeded. Weebly customers can use such perks as custom fonts to show off their style and brand, premium animation effects like Parallax & Reveal, an advanced Image Editor, video backgrounds with dynamic design elements, video and audio content with stunning clarity, etc.
On the other hand, the mobile optimization of Weebly doesn’t impress, just like the functionality of the drag-and-drop editor. Meanwhile, Weebly templates are rather basic and don’t stand out.
With all this in mind, let me introduce a detailed, unbiased, expert review of Weebly.
Weebly comes with a lifetime free plan that’s not bad for basic use. It includes free SSL security and the ability to add third-party embed code. From the eCommerce point of view, the Free plan provides such functionality as a shopping cart, the ability to sell unlimited items, item options, quick shop, inventory management, automatic tax calculation, coupons, in-store pickup, Square gift cards, item badges, as well as proper SEO tools.
The free plan allows you to build, publish, and even sell without paying the company a penny. As you can see, the Free plan is quite well packed, as long as your requirements are low, your business is small, and you feel OK with Weebly ads constantly displayed on your site.
Besides this, Weebly has three paid plans – Personal, Professional, and Performance, priced at $10, $12, and $26 per month, respectively. These prices make Weebly one of the most affordable options in the market, as you get great value for the price.
Note that the company displays the prices for its monthly plans, yet billed annually. An annual plan does provide a great benefit worth 10% to 33%, yet don’t be shocked to find out you have to pay for a whole year upfront.
Building a Website on Weebly
To build a website with Weebly, create an account by providing your full name and email. The registration is free, just like the introductory plan. Before you start the actual process, decide on the focus of your website. Weebly offers you to build just a website or one with an online store. Note that regardless of your choice at this point, you will be provided with all Weebly features.
The first step in website creation is choosing a theme. Make sure it best complies with your website niche and pick up a subdomain. The domain will end with “weebly.com” if you’re using the free plan.
Your next step will be designing and editing the website with the drag-and-drop editor. And once you feel your website looks just the way you pictured, click Publish, and the website will go live. Weebly hosts the site automatically, so you don’t have to pay for hosting separately, like you’d have to do when dealing with WordPress, for instance.
Weebly features a clear, user-friendly interface. Catered to complete beginners with absolutely no coding knowledge or prior expertise in website building, the Weebly dashboard looks minimalistic and is easy to navigate. The main page holds some crucial statistics about your website performance which can be used to enhance it. If you are just starting, launch the brief start-up guide from this homepage.
The left-hand menu allows managing such points of the website as Orders and Items that concentrate on eCommerce things, like adding coupon codes, adding or removing items, incorporating gift cards, etc. The Fulfillment section focuses on delivery, pickup, and shipping options.
If you need such crucial information about your website performance as the site traffic, sources, sales, etc., head to Reports. Other important data on ads, automated emails, collected leads, etc., can be found in the section Marketing.
The Communications section handles abandoned carts, pop-ups, and visitor communication. And the last Settings section allows access to tracking tools, sales taxes, etc.
If I were to rank the functionality and usability of the Weebly interface, I would give it a ten out of ten.
Weebly can’t boast of a huge diversity of templates to choose from. Overall, there are only 63 options categorized into such sections as Online Store, Business, Personal, Portfolio, Event, Blog, and Other. Weebly also offers an option to Import a Theme. If you have your custom theme and want to incorporate it into Weebly, make certain it compiles with the required theme format.
Although Weebly themes come in various styles with full image background dominating, they don’t deliver the high style a premium-class business will need. Instead, the templates simply look neat, clear, and pleasing.
Their formatting goes completely wrong. Additionally, despite Weebly’s claims that all their templates are fully mobile-responsive, they do not translate well to smaller screens. Given the fact that mobile accounts make up roughly half of the web traffic around the world, this is sadly disappointing.
Weebly Website Design
Weebly features an authentic drag-and-drop editor, meaning you just need to drag an object and drop it in the required area. Working on a new site at Weebly is much like making a Powerpoint presentation. After Square purchased Weebly, its editor has not been advanced in any way. And in today’s market, where most website-building companies offer drag-and-drop technology, what helps them stand out is how intuitive the builder is.
Weebly’s editor is straightforward and user-friendly. However, it’s not that you can drop a widget anywhere you wish since the system gives precise areas predisposed for that particular element or widget. Suppose this may help an inexperienced user to avoid making a badly-designed website, which is the primary purpose of Weebly.
In that case, more tech-savvy web developers will find the editor strictly limiting. Instead, they can use the HTML/CSS editor to get the freedom of customizing the chosen template as they see fit.
It’s a WYSIWYG builder, i.e., you don’t have to skip between the backend and front end of your website or apply coding to make changes. Instead, you simply drag and then drop forms, boxes, images, and buttons.
All the key sections, including Pages, Theme, Apps, Settings, etc., are on the upper top banner, while the available tools for working on the site are incorporated into the left-hand panel. All tools are categorized, covering Basic, Structure, Media, eCommerce, etc.
Once you have chosen the theme for your site, use the left-hand menu to drag a title, add an image (either from your computer or using an image URL), a map, contact form, buttons, text, any media file (audio, HD video, file, YouTube, etc.), an eCommerce tool, etc.
Having a good theme is not enough to build a professional-looking website: it must also be properly customizable. Unfortunately, Weebly limits the level of customization within the theme options. For example, the page layouts to choose from are not many, the menu or the button colors can’t be changed, etc. Where Weebly doesn’t provide full creative control over the chosen theme, it allows customization through coding.
Whether you are setting up a blog, an online store, a portfolio, etc., you will spend much time on SEO. As long as you are on Weebly, you will get both basic and some advanced tools, including the following:
- Customized URLs;
- Meta tags;
- Image alt texts;
- Redirect 301;
- SEO-friendly HTML formatting;
- Page title and description;
- SERP, etc.
Weebly’s availability of 301 redirects is positively surprising. It allows redirecting one page to another, thus controlling how your site must behave in different situations. Control the keywords displayed in the URLs as those are editable, write ALT descriptions for every image posted, etc. Weebly provides global SEO settings and a certain range of tools for every page individually.
If you want to create breadcrumbs or edit the heading for your site, there are respective Weebly apps to enhance your SEO practices. Similarly, if the in-built website statistics tracker Insights, which provides real-time statistics on the site’s data and traffic patterns, doesn’t suffice, you can incorporate Google Analytics to see how your website performs on Google in more detail.
What I liked about Weebly’s SEO functionality is that it provides a detailed basic SEO guide to new users so that non-tech-savvy individuals can make the most out of the platform.
Publishing a Website on Weebly
Publishing a Weebly website is not a difficult thing to do. But before you make this final step, ensure your website performs well on desktop computers and mobile devices. To get assured your site will look great on mobile screens, click the icon on the navigation bar and toggle desktop or mobile.
Sadly, Weebly doesn’t allow building a website specifically for mobile screens. Instead, you must have chosen a mobile-responsive theme.
So, you have finished polishing your website, and the site is ready to be published. Click the Publish button on the top right corner, and the website will go live if you have already selected the domain name. Otherwise, you must do it on the last step, just before publishing the website.
However, launching a site is much more than simply slapping everything together. You must also think about building leads and reaching people. This can be done without enforcing third-party apps. The marketing feature of Weebly will completely suffice the requirements of a small business.
For instance, you can create personalized newsletters, schedule them upfront for automated sending, etc. Find more powerful tools in the App Center of Weebly.
Weebly Technical Support
Weebly is catered to beginners; hence, it has appropriate support to help its users throughout their website-building journey. First and foremost, the company has an extended Knowledge Base with helpful detailed articles regarding building the website, account settings, domains and email, mobile apps, etc.
Overall, there are more than 200 articles separated into categories. There’s also a search bar to help you spot the required article quicker and easier.
On the other hand, Weebly features a large community where users share their expertise and offer solutions to less experienced users’ questions or problems.
Generally, email support and the Weebly community are available for all plan users. However, if you still can’t find the necessary answer or prefer to contact a Weebly specialist tet-a-tet, the company is available round the clock. It answers back the emails within a couple of hours.
Meanwhile, owners of more advanced plans get access to quicker and more convenient options. For instance, use the live chat right on the site and expect an immediate answer most of the time (live chat works from Monday to Friday, 6 AM-6 PM PST, and Saturday to Sunday, 8 AM-5 PM PST).
Phone support is also available, yet only for the Professional and Performance plan owners. The support number is 1-844-493-3259, every day, 6 AM-6 PM PST. Surely, it’s sad that Weebly’s cheaper plans don’t have access to all support channels.
Weebly Review: Verdict
Weebly is definitely not the best website builder in the market. However, for beginners in need of a tool to create a good-looking and well-performing website quickly and easily, Weebly can be the perfect option.
Thanks to its simplicity of usage, rather good selection of features, neat templates, and fair pricing, Weebly acquired the right to be one of the best website builders nowadays.
Weebly has much to offer to users with a limited budget. You can even start with a free plan, which will let you get to know the editing interface and judge for yourself how convenient and functional the platform is for your specific business requirements.
And once you feel your business has advanced and needs more robust features, upgrade to the Professional or Performance plans. I would recommend skipping the Personal plan since the Professional plan offers much more value for the set price.