Weebly is one of the most popular website builders around. Millions of users have built a website with Weebly. It is an easy to use website builder which lets you quickly build a good looking website. But is it ideal for you?
In this post I will discuss various aspects of Weebly to help you in making an informed decision. Read on.
How Easy is Weebly Visual Editor?
The Weebly editor is very easy to use. It is arranged in 3 logical sections. The left sidebar, the top bar, and the site canvas. The left sidebar lists all the elements which can be added to the site canvas. The top bar provides quick access to the site-wide settings. The sidebar has the most common elements used for website building.
If you want to add extra elements, then you can do so via the app marketplace. For example, the tab element is available as an addon which can be accessed from the app marketplace. Weebly has recently released a section feature which allows you to add prebuilt layouts like team, blog posts etc with a single click.
Weebly Editor is VERY easy to use. It provides limited but important functionality.
Weebly editor has a block-based approach. The elements are contained within blocks. The blocks can be rearranged horizontally or vertically via drag and drop. However, Weebly does not support freehand drag and drop features. It is not possible to select a particular element and drag it anywhere on the page. I think this can be a blessing in disguise for non-technical, novice users. By placing restrictions on freehand drag and drop, it prevents user errors.
One big advantage of Weebly over a website builder like Wix is that it allows you to switch themes even after your website is published. It can be easily changed from the settings panel. Not only this, it is also possible to create your own Weebly theme and import it in your website.
Weebly lets you edit the code quite easily. You can add custom js files and custom css rules via its editor. This feature can can make up for the limited customization that the editor offers. So if you are an advanced / technical user, you can create your own css rules and js snippets to customize your Weebly website.
Even though Weebly editor is very easy to use, there are a few shortcomings. One big drawback of Weebly editor is lack of a Media Manager. It is not possible to upload images to a media manager for later use. So if you want to insert a single image at multiple pages, then you must upload it every time. This can be a bottleneck if you plan on creating image-heavy websites.
There have been quite a few feature requests for a native image manager, however the feature is still under development and there is no ETA for its release. If you are not building an image heavy website, you can easily overlook this shortcoming. Another minor con is that there are no site revision feature. So if you want to revert to a previous state, there is no easy way to do so. If you want to revert to a previous state, your only option is to email Weebly support team and wait for them to restore a previous version of your website.
Is Weebly Seo Friendly?
Weebly boasts of decently rich set of SEO features. It boasts of features like:
- Editable Page Titles and Descriptions.You can easily customize page title and meta description on page by page basis.
- Weebly support creating of Page Permalinks. Having search engine friendly url structure is essential for SEO and Weebly offers this feature
- It is also possible to manage 301 redirects from the Weebly Dashboard.
- Weebly also supports adding alt text for images.
- Weebly automatically creates and updates the website sitemap. However the sitemap is not editable by the user.
- You can also inject custom code to the header and footer section of your website. This feature is essential if you want to setup analytics of facebook pixel integration.
As you can see , most of the standard SEO feature are supported by Weebly. There are a few SEO apps which lets you add different headings on your website. Overall, Weebly is decently rich SEO platform.
How are Weebly Themes?
Choice of Design Collection
Weebly comes with a decent collection of themes. On the official website, themes are divided into 7 categories. As of writing of this articles, there are around 50 Weebly templates available.
Even though the themes are decent looking, it would be hard to categorize them are stunning. Yes, there are a few designs which are gorgeous, but overall the design choice comes across as average. Most of the Weebly theme are responsive out of the box. It means that your website will adapt according to the screen size and will display perfectly on devices like mobile phones and tablets.
Customizing and Editing the Weebly Themes.
Weebly offers a block based editor which lets you customize most aspects of your website. However if you are comfortable with coding you can switch to the theme editing panel and edit the theme html and css code.
Weebly theme editor also lets you create own custom templates and add it to the theme. Once you customize the theme, you can also export it and save it for later use. For example, you might want to use a customized theme on a different website, then you can easily export the customized theme and then import it into a different website. This is a very handy feature for an advanced user.
It is also possible to switch a Weebly theme at any stage of the website building process.
Overall even though the design choices in Weebly are a bit limiting, the editor and the ability to create custom themes more than makes up for it.
How about Weebly App Store?
No Website Builder is perfect and there is a high chance that the feature you are looking for is missing. This is where Weebly App Store . Weebly has a growing app store and as of now it hosts over 300 apps.
Apps are the extensions which you can install to get additional functionality for your website. A lot of these apps are free while others are paid. The apps are tightly integrated into the Weebly workflow and you can easily install and integrate them on your Weebly website.
The app store is neatly organized into categories like Ecommerce, Marketing, Design , Social etc. You can also search for app by names and functionality.
Is Weebly good for Blogging?
Weebly started its life as a website builder and introduced the blogging capabilities later on. So it would be unfair to compare weebly blogging feature to that of a platform like WordPress.
Weebly has a bare minimum collection of basic blogging features.
- Weebly lets you easily create posts and assign categories to it.
- Weebly lets you select a commenting system for your blog. As of now, Weebly supports Native commenting system, Disqus and Facebook Comments. You can also switch on / off comments on per post basis.
- Weebly lets you add various widgets to blog side bar. Some of the supported widgets are, author, category list, social icons , archives etc.
Weebly does not offer advanced blogging tools and professionals bloggers will find the platform quite limiting. However, If you want to add a basic blog to your business website, then Weebly will suffice. But if you plan to take up blogging professionally, then you must select WordPress.
How good are Weebly Ecommerce Fetaures?
Recently Weebly was acquired by Square. For those who dont know, Square is a Payment Gateway. So it is expected that a major focus for Weebly going forward would be creation of Ecommerce features.
Weebly has a nice collection of Ecommerce features suitable for running a small to mid sized store. It lest you easily sell physical as well as digital goods. Here is a list of features supported.
- Coupon Code
- Gift Cards
- Automatic Tax Calculation
- Receipt Email Editor
- Product Reviews
- Inventory management
- Abandoned Cart Emails
As you can see, Weebly covers all the basic features for running an Ecommerce store.
Although Weebly has basic features, it is missing advanced features like Drop shipping integration, Multi Channel Integration, Google Shopping Integration etc. Also there are no obvious way to handle cross sells, up-sells, quantity discounts etc. In my opinion, Weebly is not suitable for running a large eCommerce store.
So if you are primarily an Ecommerce Business, you should select a platform like Shopify. However if you are a small business and want a beautiful website with an integrated Shopping cart, Weebly is a perfect choice.
Weebly offers a total of 5 premium plans. Here are they:
- Limited Free Plan ($0 / month)
- Connect ($4/Month)
- Starter ($8 / Month)
- Pro ($12 / Month)
- Business ($25 / Month)
- Business ($38 / Month)
The above mention pricing is of annual plans. If you plan to pay month on month, you can expect the monthly price to increase by 40%.
Weebly offers a free plan which lets you test drive the editor , theme and other basic features before committing to a paid plan. There are certain restrictions placed on the free plans. For example, it is not possible to connect your own domain in the free plan. Also the free plan has Weebly branding on your website.
The 5 premium plans offered by Weebly can be broken down into 2 categories.
- Website Plans
- Ecommerce Plans
Starter and Pro are for building website and Business, Business Plus are for building ECommerce Stores.
Overall I find Weebly competitively priced. Platforms like Weebly have made a beautiful online presence within reach of every small business. Here is an in-depth analysis of Weebly Pricing Plans
Conclusion and Summary
Weebly is an easy to use website builder. It’s editor is very easy to use and lets you customize the website with ease. It has a decent collection of themes and third party apps. It is reasonably priced and the cost of ownership is much less than hiring a full time website designer for your business website.
The blogging and E commerce feature are sufficient for a small business owner. are and it boasts of a good collection of themes.
Nothing in this world is perfect and there are certain shortcomings with Weebly. For example there is no in built media manager, the blogging functionality is not as feature rich as wordpress, the ecommerce feature set is not as robust as Shopify. However, none of these shortcomings are a deal breaker if you are a small business owner looking for a way to create your business website quickly and on a budget.
I would happily recommend Weebly to anyone looking to build either a small business or personal website. If you want to add a blog or a simple e-commerce store on your website, Weebly has you covered.
I would recommend starting with a free plan and test out the features. After all, that’s the best way to find out if it’s really the right website builder for you.