Weebly Website Builder Review - Drag And Drop Website Builder
- Basic £5 Per Month
- Business £17 Per Month
- Pro £8 Per Month
Weebly Website Builder Review
Weebly is a cloud based website development tool similar to Wix that lets you create beautiful, professional and functional websites without needing to know a line of code.
Founded in 2007 and based in San Francisco, Weebly is a global platform with a website count of over 30 million active websites.
I put Weebly through its paces to see how it compares with Wix and how easy it was to use.
Why Is Weebly So Popular?
Weebly has developed an industry leading and intuitive drag and drop interface that you use to build your website. You don't need to know any code (although if you do it does help) and all of the hosting and site support is taken care of for you.
You simply choose the content elements that you want to place on the page and put them in “placeholders” which contain the element. So for example you drag and drop an image or text into a placeholder and the site is built in real time in front of your eyes. No need to go coding and then check that it all works properly.
This is where the comparison with Wix comes down to the nuts and bolts.
Wix is a pure “drag and drop” interface. Elements can be placed anywhere on the page and so you get more freedom in how the final design is going to look.
Weebly asks you to drag and drop elements into placeholders so your design style is slightly cramped but there is a big trade-off for this limitation.
Once you set out on your Wix journey there is no going back. You can't change template midstream but with Weebly you can and that might be an important consideration for you.
Weebly don't provide 24/7 customer support but they do provide a huge amount of help and support on the website. There is a support centre with articles ranging from complete beginner first steps all the way through to more advanced topics.
The main support route is through a support ticket and they do offer seven day a week support but be aware that it is on Pacific Time and there is no European support number. Phone support is only available for people who subscribe to the advanced plans.
Themes And Templates
Weebly offer responsive themes but I'm not overwhelmed by their good looks. I think they can best be described as “functional”. However what you lose in initial design can be compensated with a smattering of HTML knowledge because Weebly gives you a CSS editor and a WYSIWYG editor to enable you to make changes to your template.
It's a trade off between providing something that is close to the finished article or providing a platform from which you can grow your website and really that comes down to personal choice and how much effort you want to put into your site.
The other consideration to take into account is the type of user that is going to use a website building tool. By definition they are going to have few or no coding skills and so making everything as easy as possible makes for less possible mistakes. You can't expect to have an advanced website builder with a beginner at the controls.
A bit like giving a new driver who has just passed their test a super-car to drive around in. Sooner rather than later they will crash and burn.
If a simple web presence is all that you need then Weebly will do just fine but I wouldn't recommend it for people that want to grow a business because there are too many limitations.
You can expand on the basic template but once you start doing that you might as well have gone with Wordpress.
Apps And Tools
Weebly has an App store where you can add additional functionality to your site and most of the Apps are in a low price point. Some are free and some have a free trial.
Weebly offer free hosting with their plans and they use technology that serves your website across the entire server architecture. What this means is that if you suddenly get a large spike in traffic the load will be shared with every other Weebly website on the network. This eliminates any bandwidth or load issues.
On a typical shared server if you have a sudden increase in traffic (perhaps your press release got good coverage) then your site can be taken offline until you upgrade to a higher plan. This won't happen with Weebly.
Weebly have an “all in one” eCommerce site builder that is set up automatically when you build your store. There is also a mobile version for small screen users.
You can create single pages for each product and there are custom fields that you can adjust to help fit in with your pricing model. You'll get category pages and a main store-front page which you can customise in the same drag and drop fashion.
Once again the choice of payment processors is very limited and it again boils down to whether you want to use PayPal as your main payment method. Some users are fine with that but many stores are not because of the comparatively high transaction charges.
If you want a quick and easy way to sell a few products then Weebly may be worth you looking at but if you have any intention at all of making eCommerce a main staple of your business then you should be looking at Shopify for its dedicated eCommerce features.
Weebly's strength lies in it's drag and drop interface and the ability to be able to edit the code if you want to. Simple CSS changes to a site can make a big difference to the look and feel of a site but of course you need to know what you are doing to accomplish that.
The theming and templates are not as high quality as Wix Templates but once you begin your site journey you can always change your mind and swap to another template if you want to. Once you start with Wix there is no changing template.
Support is more limited than Wix but then again the product is not as complicated and so you are less likely to need hand holding when you build your site.
The eCommerce features are adequate and suitable for low volume processing using PayPal as your payment processor so if you want to build a site based around a hobby or passion then Weebly would be ideal for you.
A very easy to use website builder with ability to be able to modify code if you want to do so.
02/04/2016 - Weebly adds Jotform support to make adding responsive forms to your Weebly website a breeze.
20/08/2016: Weebly now available in Spanish.
26/09/2016: Weebly announces Weebly 4
Weebly Website Builder
Weebly continues to go from strength to strength and for the non technical user it is a great platform to build a quick simple site. I'd question why you want to build a website in the first place before you make the decision to plow full steam ahead with Weebly because although there are plenty of export options available it's going to take a few days to rebuild the site in Wordpress if you ever need to.The new "Promote" tool is going to make it even easier to send automated emails from your Weebly site - essentially it's mailing software with a drag and drop interface so you don't need any technical skills for that either.For people who want to build a website and update it occasionally then Weebly may be an option for you but with most hosting companies including one click installs of the most popular CMS's then Wordpress is not difficult to set up at all. The question is whether or not you see your website expanding and for those don't want to or just can't be bothered to do even the most basic of technical administration tasks then Weebly is a viable alternative.In my opinion open source software is the way to develop but that's just my biased opinion and pleny of other people will tell you otherwise. Over 30 million registered users mean that they must be doing something right.