Weebly is a simple, widget-based website builder that powers over 50 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.
Weebly aims at providing users with advanced and up-to-date website building tools. The website builder makes it possible to launch and manage decent websites without the need to write a line of coding. However, if you possess programming knowledge, you can use it to edit website codes to get unique project design. The website builder uses the so-called “box” model that lets you effectively modify website layout, design and structure based on your current web design requirements. Weebly boasts intuitive nature, flexible approach to the web design process and utmost convenience for all user categories, ranging from newbies and up to web design experts. By using the service, you can launch websites from scratch, getting the most out of their performance.
Additional, Weebly features professional eCommerce and blogging engines. When launching a web store, you can mark all products that are not on stock. All you need is to add the “unavailable” marker right to the product description box. Moreover, you can hide some goods as well as make them visible.
Weebly seems to be an easy-to-use and convenient website builder, but is it really that intuitive and simple for everyone? Are there any nuances that might affect the quality and speed of website development? To answer the questions and to find out more about the website builder, it’s high time to review its merits and demerits as well as major parameters. Let’s get started now.
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. If this is the first time you deal with the new editor of the website builder, the startup guide of the system will help you explore the major web design steps.
The sign up process is easy, quick and understandable. Just provide your login details and proceed to website creation. To launch a project with Weebly, you’ll have to pick a template and start customizing it by adding the content of your own. That’s quite simple and even fun. What you have to do is to edit and rearrange the content by using the drag-and-drop feature. There is no need to use a separate editor – all the edits you make are immediately displayed at website pages that are under development.
Due to the “box model” feature, the content you submit will fall into separate containers (boxes) after you drag and add it to the page. This is very convenient and hassle-free, especially for those users, who work with the system for the first time.
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:
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. The system provides a collection of free customizable blog templates you can use either independently or as a part of web stores and large websites.
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. Weebly makes it easy to manage all your product reviews right from the mobile device. The tool is currently available for Android devices only. However, it lets website owners reply to reviews, approve or disapprove them with just a click. All they need is to have a Weebly Android app installed on their devices.
To start a web store with the system, you should sign up for the website builder, pick a suitable template and show window that will work best for your web store, add products, adjust tax and shipping parameters and specify the available payment options. That’s it – the system will automatically complete the task for you. As soon as your web store is created you may proceed customizing it, selecting the required color and style combinations, product display options, integration tools etc. Do not forget to set up SEO characteristics to make sure your web store will rank high in th search engines after the publication.
It should also be mentioned that Weebly will automatically provide your with an integrated shopping cart right after you launch a web store. This will let you make sales right from the start without the need to handle technical nuances. Being concerned about users’ convenience, the website builder provides advanced search filter options to simplify and speed up the shopping procedure. That’s another advantage of the system.
Just like Wix, Weebly now has its own market of applications offering a large selection of communication, eCommerce, social widgets and much more. What’s more, Weebly users can create new and modify existing websites using mobile devices – Weebly provides free applications for iOS and Android. It is also possible to grant membership access rights to the website control panel to those users you plan to cooperate with, creating closed areas that are only visible to the members and groups you specify.
Apart from integrating ready-made applications and widgets, Weebly makes it possible to make use of the “Embed Code” feature. It will be of great help to users, whose coding skills are on a decent level. The feature allows adding the required number of elements to web pages, giving them the required look and functionality.
Weebly Promote Tool
The advanced feature helps generate messages in the automated mode based on the activity of registered system users. This is how it lets you manage and promote a ready-made website with maximum efficacy. Weebly Promote comes with a set of ready made templates used for different types of emails, including promo newsletters, bulletins, event and product presentations etc. Users can view such emails from different mobile devices. To start your email marketing campaign with Weebly Promote tool, you may either import the email from CSV file or synchronize the available contacts with web state orders, community groups and users. Additionally, you can use the tool for other marketing needs, such as creating promo campaigns and integrating them into your project, constructing emails via the use of drag-and-drop option etc.
Weebly Video Hosting
The website builder makes it possible to integrate videos into your website and update them when necessary. You can either integrate YouTube videos by using corresponding links or upload video files from your computer. After the upload, you can adjust the required video settings. The service automatically converts video files to proper formats so that they could be ideally displayed at your Weebly-based website. All the uploaded files are securely stored at Weebly hosting absolutely for free.
The platform allows tracking and managing your website statistics to find out its strong and weak points. You can view this info directly in the dashboard of the system or by means of integrating Google Analytics into your project to define its extended statistics. This is the best way to find out the traffic amount and its sources, number of page views during a particular time interval, percentage of abandoned website visits, most popular content, conversion rates and other parameters that affect your website performance.
Weebly has partnership relations with IFTTT. This is a smart online device, which makes it possible to connect diverse products and applications to further be able to create events and tasks in the automated mode.
Updated Image Editor
Weebly users can now work with the updated HTML5-based Image Editor that comes with such features as image cropping, adjusting, rotating etc. The feature also allows adding text to the photos of your choice as well as using around 29 filters to boost the visual presentation of images.
Weebly for Education
This is the project, which lets teachers create and customize their own websites with educational purposes. The feature comes with specific add-ons, widgets, tools and features needed to create full-fledged teachers’ websites. The tool also allows launching and managing multiple password-protected students accounts, creating virtual classrooms and personal projects.
Weebly Campus Edition
This project is available for schools and districts and lets you create a network to digitize a campus. Website administrators will be responsible for managing student and teacher accounts from a single dashboard.
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.
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.
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. You can assign unique URLs to website pages, fill out page descriptions, keywords and titles to boost your website search engine rate. Weebly also lets you set up and modify permalinks of certain web pages. If you need to prohibit web page indexation, just click the checkmark field to make it invisible for the search engines. In case you intend to transfer a website to Weebly from any other host, the system lets you set up the 301 redirects to prevent the lost of its previous SEO results and history. This is a must-have feature for those users, who face the need to redirect the traffic from the old website pages to the new ones. For beginners, Weebly offers an easy-to-follow SEO guide to help you get your site optimized for search engines.
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. An important aspect is that all the edits you make in the desktop version automatically synchronize with the mobile version of the website at no cost at all.
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. If you need to urgently contact the system support team, go ahead to use Facebook or Twitter.
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). But using your free account, you cannot set up a store and products.
Paid subscriptions differ with regard to the type of a website you are going to launch. Thus, the website builder has separate plans for standard websites and for web stores. All in all, there are five paid subscriptions to choose from for each website type. The system has Connect, Starter, Pro and Business Plans for ordinary websites. Their cost constitutes $4, $8, $12 and $25 per month correspondingly granted that you make a one-time annual payment. When it comes to building eCommerce websites, the system offers Starter, Pro, Business and Performance Plans. The cost of subscriptions remains the same, but the price of the Performance Plan constitutes $38/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.
Weebly for Education is free for all users, who are going to build websites with up to 5 pages included. If you need a more complex project, you can upgrade to the Pro Plan, the cost of which constitutes $12/mo. The plan makes it possible to publish 10 websites with the unlimited number of pages and advanced features. Speaking about Weebly Campus Edition, the project currently costs $499 per year, but there is a free 30-day trial to test the major features of the project.
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 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.
Weebly follows the latest eCommerce trends to offer advanced instruments that will let you grow your business online. The platform offers several new plans including Marketing and Performance Plan. They come with a bunch of advanced tools including an updated dashboard, a refreshed contact page, redesigned automated emails and more.
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.