What Is The Weebly Website Builder?

Product: WeeblyWeebly review logo what is Weebly
Overall Ranking: 80 out of 100 4/5stars
Price: plans ranging from free to $25.00 per month
Ease of use: easy – intermediate
Website: http://www.weebly.com

 

Weebly is one of the most popular drag and drop editors online, but will it build the website you require? In this review, I will see what type of sites Weebly is suited for and what makes it so popular.

 

Background

David Rusenko, Chris Fanini, and Dan Veltri co-founded Weebly in 2006, after seeing how difficult it was for their friends to publish their work on the internet. The three young men were all 22 years old and students at the time. Today Weebly users have created over 20 million websites and receive over 175,000,000 unique visitors to their sites each month.

 

Overview

Weebly enables people to create websites easily, quickly and affordably. It can be used to create blogs, e-commerce websites, portfolios, business, nonprofits and even educational websites. Some reviews describe Weebly as being the easiest website builder to use with everything you need to create a decent looking site.

 

 Who is it for?

Weebly is really for anyone who wants to create any sort of website for free or on a small budget. If you are native of a non-English speaking country, no problem, Weebly comes in 15 different languages, English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, Dutch, Japanese, Chinese, Turkish, Polish, Russian, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish.

An easy to use drag and drop editor makes it possible to build your site easily and quickly without the need to know anything about coding. I think these drag and drop editors are ideal for beginners.

The end result maybe a site that is relatively simple or basic, although this doesn’t mean it won’t look professional.

 

Ease of use

The Weebly drag and drop editor is one of the easiest website builder’s I’ve used, but even though some reviews say it is easier to use than Wix, I didn’t really see much difference.

Using the editor – content boxes such as text, photos, maps, forms or videos are added to your page or blog simply by dragging and dropping them into place. It’s possible to arrange the boxes in a different order by dragging them to where ever you want on the page.

Editing text is the same as with any word processor. As the site builder is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor, this means that when you are editing what you see should be exactly the same as your published page.

There is also a mobile editor, where you can see how your site would look on a mobile device. You are able to customize the mobile version of your site as you like. It is possible to change colors, header image and even select a different theme just for mobiles. Personally, I like my own site to look the same over the different devices so regular users won’t feel lost.

Is Weebly the best choice for building your own website?

the Weebly drag and drop editor

 

Templates 

Weebly has a 140 free templates to choose from. If you want more choice or a theme with more functionality, it is also possible to buy premium templates from several different independent theme creators.

Quite a few of the free templates are quite straightforward. When searching for your theme on Weebly, there are even categories for simple or minimalist templates.

You have control over more or less everything in the theme. You can change the fonts, header, background, colors and you can move or change all of the major design elements.

If you enjoy and understand coding, it’s possible to give your site a really unique look by editing the CSS and HTML codes.

Another good feature with Weebly is that it is possible to change template without losing all your content

 

Hosting

Your websites are hosted on Weebly even if you use the free plan. They look after everything so you don’t have to worry about any security updates or anything else technical. Weebly makes sure your site is always online.

 

Exporting your site from Weebly

One of the things I particularly appreciated about Weebly is the fact that you can export your site to a different host if you need to. This is something that is not possible with many other site builders, notably Wix.

Very simply, to do this you create a zip file with the content of your website and then upload the content of the zip file to the public_html file on your new hosting. Quite easy, however, there are some items that won’t work for instance the slide show, forms and the blog. You will have to find another solution for these items. If you have blog posts make sure you copy them and paste in a text editor for future use, otherwise, they will be lost.

 

Do you need the paid version?

With the free version of Weebly, you will have an ad for Weebly in the footer as you can see below.

footer with free website

Although obviously, I would rather have no advertisement, the Weebly ad is not too intrusive. To remove the ad you need to subscribe to a paid plan starting at $4 per month.

To me having a free website is really great value, especially if it’s just a personal blog or perhaps the first website you have built. However, if you are serious about your site or it’s a site for your business, or you want to start an e-commerce store then you will need to upgrade.

Upgrading allows you to connect to your own domain, add more features to your site such as – a header slideshow, customize your footer, incorporate a site search or protect pages with a password to stop visitors seeing certain pages of your site.

 

Weebly e-commerce

Weebly offers a solid e-commerce tool for building a functional store. Although several of the features below are only available to the Business Plan users ($25/month) it is possible to try the e-commerce tools even in the free version.

The checkout in the Free, Starter and Pro plans is on the Weebly site using a Weebly sub-domain (+ there is a charge of 3% on top of the normal transaction fees) although this will be styled to resemble your site.

If you decide to upgrade to the Business Plan the checkout will be on your domain. With this plan, they give you a free SSL certificate which is normally $69 per year. This means that any transaction is secured and your customers will see HTTPS or a lock in their navigator.

Here are some the main features:

  • select a storefront page and choose which products you display on it
  • a product page for each product
  • options for products like size and color
  • add additional text, videos, image galleries, etc below the main product image
  • include nice looking image galleries with a zoom feature
  • social share buttons allow customers to share products with their friends on social media
  • categorize your products
  • featured search – allows customers to find products more rapidly via price, color
  • sell digital products, physical goods or services
  • possible to import products from an existing Shopify or Etsy store or import product details from other online store builders into a CSV (comma-separated values) file. This makes it easier to import products from any store you may have and gives a fast and smooth setup.
  • shipping options – offer different shipping choices and rates based on weight, size, price or geographical location
  • create tax rules – Weebly provides you with tax rates for the different states in USA and Canada, you can define tax rates for other counties
  • keep track of your inventory – also shows customers the number of a certain product left in stock, this can create urgency “only 3 in stock” or also shows when a product is out of stock
  • automatically set up a shopping cart and secure checkout
  • different payment options – at the moment there are four choices Stripe, PayPal, Authorize.net, and Square
  • email order confirmation, shipping tracking, real-time reporting for orders and sales
  • create coupons to offer discounts and promotions

To get full access to all the features in Weebly e-commerce you will need to sign up for the Business Plan. There is a 30 day, no questions asked money back guarantee which takes away any risk.

Although the e-commerce platform is good, as with other site builders you don’t get any help with marketing and getting traffic. Yes, it’s nice to have an online store, but without traffic no sales. To me, having some good training in internet marketing and SEO is part and parcel of creating an e-commerce site. That is why I always recommend what I think is the best training program.

 

Help and support

There are four ways of getting help on Weebly:help center

  • the first place to go is the help center – available to all members
  • email help via support ticket – available to all members
  • live chat – available for all paid plans
  • telephone – available for Pro and Business Plans

Live chat and telephone help are only available Monday to Friday 5 am – 5 pm Pacific time and Sunday/Saturday 7 am – 4 pm Pacific time. If you have a problem outside of these hours you will have to wait, which is a shame.

The help center is quite comprehensive and you will find the answers to most of your questions.

 

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • easy to use drag and drop editor
  • good selection of templates
  • possible to edit the mobile version of your site
  • unlimited number of pages, even in the free plan
  • competitive prices with a good free option
  • even with the free plan you receive a $100 coupon for Google AdWords
  • built-in image search where there is a selection of free or paid photos
  • possible to edit HTML and CSS codes
  • possible to create a backup and export your site to another host

 

 Cons

  • logo in the footer with the free option
  • you have to use Google Apps to provide an email account with your domain name – another cost $3.75/month
  • 3% Weebly transaction fee on e-commerce transactions for Free, Starter and Pros Plans
  • domain names brought through Weebly quite expensive and only the choice of .com, .net or .org

 

How much does Weebly cost?

As you can see below Weebly has four different plans with competitive prices.

Pricing plans

The free option comes with a Weebly ad in the footer, nonetheless, this is a great way to discover and learn the ins and outs of this site builder. After checking out the free version you can make an informed decision on upgrading to a paid plan. It’s worth remembering there is a 30-day money back guarantee.

One thing to remember if you have more than one domain this could get quite expensive.

 

What their customers are sayingWeebly overall customer review score

As you can see the great majority of customers are very happy with the service provided by Weebly.

Most of the customer reviews on Trustpilot were five-star reviews, I had to search to find some negative reviews. However, one of the negative reviews made a valid point about the price for domain names purchased from Weebly. If you are going to need a custom domain try buying it elsewhere. You will have a greater selection of TLDs and it will be cheaper.

 

weebly good comments 1

My final opinion

After looking at several drag and drop editors, it’s difficult to say which is the best, as they all seem to have some good and bad points. Weebly may just get my vote at the moment, the templates are nice looking, as with other site builders like Wix or Squarespace. However, at Weebly, they are perhaps a little more minimalist.

One of the main differences that I appreciate with Weebly is that you are able to back up your site and export it to another host. If I spend time and effort on building a site I want to be able to take my site with me if I decide to change host or website builder platform.

Although Weebly seems to have kept things simpler than some other web editors, they do allow you to import templates from third party editors, also being able to edit the HTML and CSS codes allows greater flexibility to create a site exactly how you want it.

One thing that is common to all the editors, which I find a shame, is that they don’t provide any internet marketing training. This is necessary when you create an online store or an affiliate marketing site. Newbies risk ending up disappointed, it’s not enough just to put your site up and hope to receive traffic.

As the online site editors offer free accounts, it’s always good to try a couple to see what suits you best and supposing that you want to upgrade, remember there is a 30-day money back guarantee with Weebly.

If you are thinking of using Weebly it could be good for a personal website using the free version. Likewise, if you’re making your first website, it could also be ok for showcasing your business. However, if you’re going to be selling goods or doing affiliate marketing I believe a platform that gives you thorough training would be better.

As I am a WordPress user, I recommend a platform where it is free and easy to create a website. This platform is SiteRubix. This is not an ordinary site builder, you are given two free WordPress sites and you can also obtain complete internet marketing training. As I said it’s free to join, just choose a domain name in the form below and try it out. Compare to Weebly and enjoy building your sites.

I hope my review has answered the question “what is the Weebly website editor” and if you have any experience with Weebly or any other site builders let me know what you thought. Or if you have any questions or need any help, please leave a comment below.

 

12 Comments

  1. Bart July 20, 2015
    • Peter July 21, 2015
  2. Todd June 17, 2015
    • Peter June 22, 2015
  3. Wendy June 15, 2015
    • Peter June 16, 2015
  4. Cathy May 20, 2015
    • Peter May 22, 2015
  5. Rob May 20, 2015
    • Peter May 20, 2015
  6. Robert May 19, 2015
    • Peter May 20, 2015

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