Weebly is a web hosting service and that includes a professional website building tool. It has a simple editor and simple pricing to match. Even though it is a smaller company than its competitors, Weebly can handle bigger projects.
- Nice-looking web design templates
- All themes are responsive
- Plans include site stats
- Change themes without rebuilding site
- Awesome uptime
- Customization is limited
- Reusable photo storage lacking
- No undo feature on the interface
What is Weebly?
Weebly offers a lot of functionality for those wanting a website and can be used for business, blogging, or an e-commerce store.
This platform has worked well for 50 million websites, making it one of the best website builders available. It has been around for a while, so it has a solid reputation and a headstart on new technology development.
One of the reasons it isn’t as well known as some of its competitors, like Wix or Squarespace, is it doesn’t run marketing campaigns. Weebly reinvests in its tech first.
Weebly is one of the few website-building tools that offers a free plan. It is truly free as you can build your site, publish and sell on Weebly. There are no hidden costs.
This web hosting service is headquartered in San Francisco. Weebly was created in 2006 but was acquired by Square, a merchant services and e-commerce platform, in 2018. That has led to some confusion regarding the website building editor and has amounted to a slower rollout of any new features.
Linking to the Square platform also has advantages, but this review regards Weebly only.
What are the pros and cons of Weebly?
There are pros and cons of using Weebly to build a website, just as any other company. Below is a list of both the advantages and disadvantages.
- It has nice-looking web design templates. Weebly has about 70 themes to choose from when building a website. Other website builders have more but that is still a good amount. The quality of Weebly’s themes is more middle-of-the-road in comparison with its competitors but is still professional-looking. Additional themes are available by digging into Weebly’s old themes, but that won’t serve you well because they weren’t built on a responsive platform. You can buy additional themes from a third-party provider if you are unhappy with those on Weebly, but those will cost you around $49 each.
- All themes are responsive. The word “responsive” is the new keyword when it comes to website building. Any website created must be responsive. Being responsive means the website automatically adapts to show well on any device, whether your potential customer is using a desktop computer, a smartphone, a laptop, or a tablet. The idea is you will lose customers if your website is hard to read and even harder to navigate. Creating a responsive site makes both easy wherever your site pops up and whatever device your potential customer is using.
- Plans include site stats. Many website builders have site stats available in the upper-tier paid plans but Weebly has them for all plans. This makes it easy for you to figure out what is working, where your visitors are coming from, and how to attract more.
- You can change themes without rebuilding your site. This can be an important feature if you change your themes with the seasons or if you are testing out themes to see which works best for you. Some businesses find it important to change themes often to keep customers interested and keep their site fresh. With Weebly, you can do this easily without having to rebuild your small business site. That isn’t always possible using other website-building tools.
- Free tier. Weebly’s free plan is one of the best of any out on the market. Its free website plan has many e-commerce features and includes customer service phone support. They are the only ones in the industry to offer phone support on its free tier.
- Awesome uptime. Weebly’s uptime is stable and doesn’t go down hardly at all. It makes a great host for your website if reliability is important to you.
- Customization is limited. You can add a lot to your websites, like video, audio, forum, and polls, depending on the plan you buy. However, you can’t do as much customization as you could on one of the competitor’s sites. You can’t put content or items anywhere you want. There are times when you may try to move something on your page and a message to upgrade appears. The section element is more flexible because you can drop more objects there. It can be one of five layouts and you can resize it easily, unlike some of the other sections.
- Reusable photo storage is lacking. The storage for photos is not skimpy but is less than some of Weebly’s competitors. (You won’t find unlimited storage).
- It doesn’t have an undo feature on the interface. This is one thing that should be changed because most other similar website building tools have a way to send your website under construction to a previous state if you change your mind or mess up. Weebly has it so you can’t undo anything you’ve set out in creating it so you will need to rebuild your site to fix any problems. However, you can easily edit your site.
- Customer service is slow. You can contact the customer service team if you don’t want to use the knowledge base or the online chat. However, the team is only there from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. so you can’t get a direct answer after hours. Plus, it takes about a half-hour to get a response.
What are the best features of Weebly?
Weebly stands out above others in some areas and has some good features. Here is a look at the best aspects of this website builder.
Everyone gets site-activity stats
Site activity numbers are important for you to figure out what you are doing right and what isn’t going well. With Weebly, even those on the free plan have access to these helpful statistics.
Your Weebly site is portable
This one aspect sets it apart from every other website-building platform. You can build your website on Weebly, download it in a ZIP file and take it to another web hosting service. You won’t get the interactive stuff like comments or a storefront, but no other web hosting service even allows this so this is a big plus for Weebly.
E-commerce tools are rich
You need a premium account to get the best features but you can import products from other places, like Shopify, which accepts three types of payments including Square, PayPal, and Stripe.
There is inventory management and the top-level performance account has abandoned cart notifications.
The entire store creation mode can be accessed from the navigation bar on the site building tool That includes all the elements of the store from a shopping cart, invoices, and coupons.
You can sell digital downloads on Weeble if you have a personal account. Users can also make a small amount of money by pasting AdSense on their Weebly websites.
What are the benefits of Weebly?
It is easy to use
Weebly can be used straight up without having to endure a learning curve. The drag-and-drop elements make it super easy to configure your business website in a short period and you can also edit their settings and features with just a click or two.
It has lots of apps
Weebly.com is app-rich. It has all kinds of apps you can use to enhance and manage your site in the app store. It even has an app for your Apple Watch that signals you about transactions, transaction fees, and traffic. You can edit from other devices. You can download the Weebly app too.
You can create it from a mobile device or tablet
Weebly is setting the pace with the ability for users to create and with a drag-and-drop editor from almost anywhere. It even has an iPad app available and multiple plugins you can use for building a site. It’s not that you want to use this feature all the time because it’s not the perfect situation but it’s nice to know you can create a website on the fly.
However, you can’t edit elements on your site this way.
It has rich blog features
Bloggers will like Weebly because it has everything you need to support your blog. Weebly pages are easily picked up by search engines and you can schedule your posts.
You can also integrate commenting from other pages like Facebook. You can also put a halt to comments. One negative is it doesn’t support a blog with different authors.
It can integrate well with merchant services
Weebly is owned by Square so it fits perfectly within the Square merchant system and that is a plus.
What are the disadvantages of Weebly?
Limited themes and lack of customization
Even though Weebly has some great themes, it doesn’t have as many as other sites and you can’t do much to customize them. That means your site could lack the extra sparkle it needs to stand out.
While the themes on Weebly are nice and stylish, they aren’t as rich as themes on some of the other website building sites.
It’s uncertain whether you are on the Weebly editor or the Square editor. The Square editor is more cookie-cutter and the Weebly editor allows more customization. The two are confusing since Square bought Weebly.
E-commerce is good but not that scalable
It can handle a larger store but isn’t upwardly scalable to superstores. The Weeble e-commerce plan is best suited for low-volume stores.
What is the security at Weebly?
You can add an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate automatically to a Weebly site you create. An SSL certificate is important because it tells your customers that your sire has a 128-bit encrypted connection that is secured. It also allows customers to checkout directly on your e-commerce site.
All of Weebly’s sites enjoy a DDoS mitigation service that offers advanced cyber attack protection.
Weebly also promotes strong passwords and is serious about keeping security updates.
How much does it cost to use Weebly?
There are four tiers of payments for Weebly. The prices given are based on paying for a one-year contract upfront. Month-by-month rates are higher. All plans include a free domain the first year with it renewing at $19.95 afterward.
- Free Plan: This plan has a built-in ad for Weebly in the footer. You can’t have your custom domain name either as Weebly is the primary part of the name with your site name after that.
- Personal Plan: The price of this rounds out to $6 a month. You get your domain name with this plan, but there will still be a Weebly ad in the page’s footer.
- Professional Plan: This plan amounts to $12 monthly and includes more feature-rich website-building tools like video and audio players. It is ad-free, so your site is all yours.
- Performance Plan: This plan amounts to $26 a month. It comes with all the e-commerce features you need for web pages and can be used for both smaller and larger online stores.
What kind of customer support can users expect?
The best part of Weebly’s customer service is that anyone can get phone support. The rest of it is average. It has a knowledge base with articles that total in the hundreds to offer you help and advice. There is an online chat that is available 24/7 but it is a bot so it can’t offer specific help. It will highlight an article that seems to fit your issue.
The customer service team is available every day on the email or by phone from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Email support runs a little slower as it typically takes about 30 minutes to respond, which can put a crimp in your website building.
Are there limitations to Weebly’s live chat?
The live chat feature is on the lower right side of the Help Center page. It is offered Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. PST. That would be 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. EST.
What if I wanted a different theme than what Weebly offers?
You can buy additional themes from a third-party vendor but that can cost around $49 through the Weebly store.
Do I have to only use Square when I get a Weebly plan?
No. Although Weebly is perfectly situated to be integrated with Square, you can also use PayPal or Stripe for merchant services if you choose to get an e-commerce store.
How functional is Weebly?
Weebly sites are highly functional from any device as they are built to be responsive. However, you can’t edit a Weebly site from your cell phone or tablet. You can create one though.
Is Weebly a good choice for an online store?
The Weebly website builder has some solid e-commerce features and is the right choice for low-volume stores. You can add or replace products easily enough, and it has a good checkout system.
Some of the higher-tiered options include cart abandonment notifications. That is well worth the extra money because notifications tend to result in customer purchases.
Shipping is integrated easily too.
Those who have large-scale e-commerce stores may find Weebly cumbersome to change products or add a lot of products to the page regularly. It isn’t meant for global use or heavy e-commerce use, although it will be fine for many online stores.
Does Weebly have SEO?
Marketing tools and search engine optimization (SEO) tools aren’t a part of Weebly’s platform, so you will need to incorporate that yourself as you create content. It does offer meta tags and other options for good searching on some of its hirer-tiered plans.
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