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Chances are, you've heard of Weebly before. It's one of the older drag-and-drop website builders, having been in existence since 2006. In the span of ten years, they've built a large base of customers—more than 40 million. The service has been lauded for its ease-of-use, features, and speed (when it comes to getting a site up and running).
They have an acclaimed platform, one that many recommend, but does it still hold up now that newer options are on the scene? Does the convenience justify the lack of control over your site? We plan to cover those questions and more today in our comprehensive Weebly review.
The Big Picture Review of Weebly
Weebly is worth it if you're a newbie. Weebly gets a 4/5 for the intended audience. There's a large swath of people who just want to get a site up quick and don't mind having their hand held through the process. Weebly has aimed their site builder and other features with these basic web builders in mind.
You won't find extensive behind-the-scenes controls or advanced functionality. What you will get, though, is an intuitive website creation tool and a measure of reassurance that whatever you build will work. A fair tradeoff for most.
Weebly Reviews: Pros & Cons
We're going to be covering a few of the features that make Weebly great, and a few more that mar the experience. For the most part, the good outweighs the bad, but our Weebly website review wouldn't be complete if we didn't warn you about some of the pitfalls.
It's Is Easy To Use
This is the main selling point for many drag-and-drop builders. This holds true for Weebly in a big way. All you need to get started is your email address and password. That grants you access to the most basic of options: the free site. It's not much in the way of resources, only about ten pages worth of content and 500MB storage. Weebly will hound you with ads on your free site as well, but it's enough for you to test out some features and see if you enjoy the platform.
You'll probably want to go with a paid plan to get rid of the ads, though. All higher level options provide unlimited storage and the ability to connect your domain. Here's what Weebly has on offer:
- Starter—For personal use. Plans are $8/month.
- Pro—For Groups & Organizations. Plans are $12/month.
- Business—For Small Businesses & Stores. Plans are $25/month.
- Performance—For Power sellers. Plans are $49/month.
After sign-up, you can jump right into using the site builder. As with many others, you start by choosing a template. From there, you can choose a domain for your site. You'll want to avoid using Weebly.com subdomain, so you should be prepared to fork over some cash to get a custom one.
The interface is pretty simple. There's a side-panel on the left that lets you drag elements onto the page and access tools that you'll use to edit the template. Your options for adding things are about what you'd expect: text boxes, images, video, audio, spacers, etc.
You can't drag the items anywhere you want on the page, but newbies could interpret this as a good thing. It's like designing with the training wheels on—less chance you'll make an error and end up with an ugly looking layout. You can designate “sections,” which are areas of the page where you can drag additional objects.
You won't have to figure all of this out on your own either. Weebly has great tutorials that bring you up to speed on the basics. They'll give you tooltips via pop-up buttons on the platform. They will also send you emails with additional information you're going to want to access.
You can add forms, newsletters, third-party apps, and a whole lot more to get your site the way you want it to be (within reason, of course). As we covered earlier, they do treat you with the kid gloves, but this is in the interest of keeping things streamlined for beginners.
Should you get stuck at any point along the way, Weebly offers ample support options to get you back on track. Like most, they have a central Support Center that you can go to to get answers to all of your burning questions.
The Support Center is searchable, and they also provide a card layout of general topics you might want to explore. This includes stuff like getting started, building your site, implementing e-commerce options, and email marketing, among others.
If you need even more assistance, you can take a peek at the Developer Docs or take a trip over to the Community page. The Community is especially helpful, as it shows you the current buzz among other users and lets you probe them for answers to questions you might have. There's an option for giving feedback, and sub-categories dividing up specific user questions.
If you need some inspiration for your layout, the aptly named Inspiration Center and the Weebly Blog have posts on techniques you can implement to jazz up your site. These come from expert users and contain insights that will spark your creative juices in profound ways.
If you still feel intimidated about creating your site on your own, you can just get a professional to do it for you. There's a fee involved, naturally, but the process is straightforward. Head over to the Web Design Services page, get a quote, then get hooked up with a designer. You explain what you want, supply them with some content, and they'll handle the rest.
Weebly even builds mobile site design right into the platform. Just create your site, then you'll have a functional mobile version generated automatically. You can fine-tune the mobile template if you wish, adding custom headers, or a different mobile theme entirely. There are some limits on customization, but it takes out the guesswork out of the equation (which is what beginners want).
They Don't Skimp On The Themes
“How can that be?” you might ask. “I read some Weebly.com reviews that said they only have 48 themes!” This is true. Weebly doesn't offer the same number of themes that some other website builders do. They do, however, offer some of the most drop-dead gorgeous designs right-out-the-box. There's often very little tweaking you'll need to do to get the site looking the way you want it to. The best part is that the appearance will remain professional in spite of any rookie errors you might make along the way.
Example time: check out the Highpeak theme. A beautiful scrolling design with powerful imagery. It takes the visitor on a journey through your featured content and has a persistent navigation bar that makes it easy for them to get to another area of the site quickly. The layout is clean and just requires that you plug in your own details (and perhaps a few extras you'd like).
As you can see, quality beats out quantity. Weebly's professional options and customization abilities negate the perceived lack of choice. No matter what theme you go with, you'll get a finished product that will dazzle your customers.
The App Is Quite Functional
Weebly has one of the best mobile apps on the market. Using your tablet, you can manage the elements of your site on the go. It too is drag-and-drop, making editing a breeze. It's not perfect, but it's more than enough for quick updates. Weebly has also added Apple Watch functionality that updates you on site traffic and transactions from your online store. Speaking of which…
The E-Commerce Options Are Solid
Weebly reviews and more harp on the need for e-commerce solutions. It's a must have for anyone looking to build a site business reasons. Weebly delivers in this regard, with options that, while not the pinnacle of e-commerce, provide more than enough for a beginner setting up their first store.
You can create your store page much like you'd create any other page on your site. You'll get an integrated shopping cart and checkout options for your customers. You can establish an inventory, and your customers can search or filter options to find exactly what they want.
Weebly provides varied payment options, along with extras to make managing your store simple. They include real-time shipping rates, an automatic tax calculator, fine-tuned tax controls, and the ability to implement sales and coupons to attract customers.
Among Weebly's multitude of offerings are extra perks that further enhance your experience. You can work in AdSense ads onto your page at your discretion. You can set up a blog with on-site and threaded social comments. It saves your blog updates automatically, making changes easier than with Wix or other site builders.
They also provide free access to analytics for your site. You can track how many people are coming to your site, when your busy periods are, and what content is engaging them the most. This is powerful information that will let you strategize for future updates and changes.
On top of all that, Weebly ranks among the top-tier of site builders in terms of uptime and reliability. Website Tool Tester shows that their percentage at 99.96% for a four month period. This is superior to the other web builders they tested and totaled around an hour-and-a-half when all was said and done.
They've Pulled A Bit Of Billing Trickery
Here's something most Weebly reviews seem to overlook. They advertise a monthly rate for their prices but omit the fact that you're locked in for a 6-month term until you're ready to complete your sign-up order. Not the most upfront move on their part. Even if it isn't a deliberate attempt at a swindle, it could be interpreted as underhanded by some and isn't the best way to go about doing business.
They Mess With Your SEO Efforts
They have some SEO aid built into their site, a good sitemap, along with HTML formatting, meta descriptions and more to help you get ranked. That's why it's painful when you learn that you can't properly name your image files to improve your SEO. It might be a minor quibble for some, but anyone trying to gain a competitive advantage in getting their site discovered will have reason to be wary.
Their Content Management Could Use Some Improvement
Keeping things orderly while you are designing your Weebly site could pose something of a challenge. For small sites, it's no big deal. If you're creating a large site, however, you'll start to lose track of your pages. There's no way to add any custom content types, and it's difficult to filter and sort what you do have. Weebly isn't the only offender when it comes to this, but it's something that tarnishes the overall experience.
Advanced Users Will Feel Locked-In
We've mentioned it throughout our Weebly websites review, they've made the platform very beginner friendly. This, unfortunately, comes at the cost of advanced features that pro users like to use. If you want to make in-depth stylistic customizations and tweaks, you're not going to find that ability when you sign up with Weebly.
There are other small details about Weebly that may grind your gears, irrespective of your level of web experience. For one, there's no undo option while you're building your page.
If you mess something up, you've got to change it back manually. If you want to edit photos on-the-fly, you're going to find the options for doing so lacking. There is some photo customization, but it consists of cropping, rotating, limited filters, and not much else. On top of that, they don't provide online storage for your site images. You'll have to upload from your computer again and again if you want to reuse a particular image.
These drawbacks don't kill the service, but they are annoying. They keep Weebly website reviews from rising to the top of the pack. If Weebly were to get on fixing them, they could score much higher with a broader range of users.
Overall, Weebly is a solid website builder with plenty of functionality aimed at beginner users. If you want to create a site easily, you need to get an online store ready quick, or if you just want to see what having a site is all about, Weebly is a good option that provides a great value.