Weebly Review: free & easy website builder

With more than 50 million websites created, Weebly is one of the most popular site builders. Weebly, in contrast to many of its rivals, has historically prioritized platform technology advancement over spending money on costly marketing initiatives.

However, we noticed a significantly slower rollout of new features after Weebly was acquired by e-commerce company Square in 2018 (especially when Square and Weebly’s new store builder, Square Online, was launched). In fact, Weebly’s Product Development blog doesn’t seem to get more than one update per year! Some of their features are also beginning to appear a little dated; for example, some of the templates aren’t as contemporary as they could be, and some components of the classic editor (which is still used to create non-ecommerce sites) have a retro feel to them.

As a review site, we can still see situations where it makes sense to use Weebly over other website builders, though the smaller this list gets the more Weebly lags behind its faster-evolving competitors. Let’s now examine Weebly’s benefits and drawbacks in greater detail.

What to expect from Weebly?

Weebly provides a website builder with a drag-and-drop interface and more than 40 themes that are optimized for mobile devices. It features an online store in addition to a blog and image galleries (powered by parent company Square). Next to the free plan is the Weebly Professional plan, which costs $12 per month and is the most affordable plan that does not include advertisements and allows you to use your own domain name.

When we started using Weebly, the first thing that stood out to us was how simple it was to operate. It’s as if you walked into someone else’s kitchen and discovered all of the ingredients and equipment you needed right away. The tools, such as their drag-and-drop editor, are user-friendly and simple to understand, making them ideal for novices.

They also maintain a straightforward pricing structure. Following the free plan (which includes an advertisement for Weebly in the footer), there are three paid plans to choose from: Personal, Professional, and Performance. In just a moment, we will go over each of these plans in greater detail.

Noteworthy is the fact that we’ve built a couple of our own projects using Weebly, so keep that in mind. One of them is called Barcelona-Museum.com, and it has more than one hundred pages. We were very impressed with how well Weebly handles websites that are larger than 100 pages. Using a platform such as Wix or Squarespace, for example, would make it more difficult to manage a large number of articles.

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This is the landing page for our website that was created using Weebly. It works wonderfully with more than 100 pages.

In addition to that, Weebly makes it simple to modify or add a little bit of code; therefore, the sky’s the limit if you or someone on your team is knowledgeable in programming.

However, there are a few restrictions, as well as many features that appear to have been somewhat neglected since it appears that Weebly’s primary focus is exclusively on e-commerce. So, without further ado, let’s get down to the meat and potatoes of the Weebly website builder:

Pricing for Weebly

$0 — Free

There is an advertisement for Weebly displayed in the footer, and a proper domain name is not included.

$6 — Personal

Connect your website to a domain name, but the Weebly advertisement will still appear in the footer of your website.

$12 — Professional

Contains additional features, such as video and audio players, as well as support for phones. Ad-free.

$26 — Performance

Included with supplemental ecommerce features tailored to larger online stores.

The monthly prices are based on a commitment of one year. The first year of the domain is free. It costs $19.95 per year to renew your subscription.

Using Weebly: pros and cons

Pros

Ease of use

Every single website builder out there will tell you that they have the simplest interface possible. Regarding Weebly, this is in fact the case.

Adaptivethemes

Not only do Weebly’s themes have a wonderful appearance, but they also adjust themselves beautifully when viewed on mobile devices. If there were only a few more of them, it would be perfect!

The App Store

It only takes a few clicks to add new features to your website, and you can do it at any time. There is a sizable collection of both Weebly’s own and third party applications to choose from.

Team Management

You have the ability to assign other editors to your website and provide them with access to it if you are not the only person who works on it.

Areas for Membership

You can restrict access to certain sections of your website to paying customers or members using Weebly. It is up to you to decide whether or not the registration will be made available to the public.

Cons

Discretion in Design

When compared to website builders such as Wix, you do not have as much freedom to rearrange the elements of the site. While some users enjoy the structure that Weebly provides, others would rather have complete creative control. You will need to determine which option is most appealing to you.

International Websites

Even though they offer a few applications from third parties, we haven’t discovered a great way to create a website that is both search engine optimized and available in more than one language. In this particular scenario, Webnode is the superior option. In addition to this, Weebly for some unknown reason blocks traffic coming from the countries of Russia, Ukraine, and China. Not great for websites that target international audiences.

Ratings Details

Ease Of Use

Weebly’s user-friendliness is unparalleled, and for that reason, we recommend using it. Because there is no learning curve, setting up and running your website will take very little time for you at all. To add new elements to your page, simply drag and drop them, and then click on each element to access the settings and features it offers.

However, it would be helpful if there was an undo button, as well as the ability to save changes without publishing them. The traditional editor may also exhibit some sluggishness on occasion.

Templates

Best alternative: Wix

There are some slick themes available, each with a unique page layout that caters to a specific use (e.g. portfolio, a section to present your team etc.). They all react in the same way (meaning: optimized for smartphones and tablets). It is possible to add video backgrounds as well as animate pictures that serve as backgrounds. Alterations can also be made to the templates by modifying the source code.

Disappointingly, there is not a very large variety of templates available, and it does not appear that they have added any new templates in quite some time. Some of the designs are beginning to exhibit signs of their age, and they aren’t nearly as sleek as the ones that can be found on Wix or Squarespace.

Advertisement-Free

It does not make any sense to us either that an advertisement would be displayed on a paid plan; however, the Free and Personal plans both display a bar at the bottom of the screen that contains the Weebly logo. There are no advertisements on any of the other paid plans.

Languages

Best alternative: Zyro

At this time, it is obtainable in the English language as well as close to 20 other languages. There is no dedicated feature for the creation of multilingual websites, but there are ways around this limitation. Do not use Weebly for character sets that are not English, such as Russian, Chinese, or Arabic, because Weebly does not support them completely.

Your Own Domain Name

You will not be charged anything for registering a domain name during the first year, but after that, annual renewals will set you back $19.95. Some of the available domain endings are .com, and .ca. You also have the option to bring your own domain from another service provider and redirect it to your Weebly website. Here you can find out more information about Weebly domains and email accounts.

Depth Of Navigation

There is no limit to the number of levels in the navigation hierarchy. The navigation area receives an accompanying drop-down menu as a default setting. Weebly allows for the creation of large site structures.

Widgets

The editor includes a variety of different gadgets, including image galleries, video and music players, and others. In addition, the Weebly App Center offers a variety of other helpful applications, such as tables, calendars, social media widgets, and more. All of these and more can be located there.

Mobile App: iOS & Android

Weebly has one of the most adaptable mobile apps that we’ve tried, and its drag-and-drop editor allows you to make changes to every part of your website (pages, content, styling, layouts).

Additionally, new blog posts can be added, existing store products and orders can be managed, and users can gain direct access to support from within the app itself. In addition, you can make changes to your website by using the browser on your mobile device; however, using the app provides a significantly more pleasant experience.

E-Commerce

Weebly’s shopping cart is both powerful and user-friendly, and it supports all of the major payment methods along with SSL encryption. You have the ability to upload product videos, and there are some respectable optimization options for the products themselves. There is an option for in-store or curbside pickup, as well as the availability of automated tax rate and shipping calculators. 

Search Engine Optimization (Seo)

At the page level, you have the ability to change the title, meta, and description tags, in addition to the alternative text for your images. Even URLs can be changed as much as you like. There will not be extensive use of headlines (H1, H2, etc.). Discover more about it by reading on.

Blog

Best alternative: Squarespace

Weebly’s blog is still one of the company’s most valuable features. In addition to including all of the essential fundamental features, it is also very search engine friendly. Blog entries can be pre-scheduled, and alternative commenting systems, such as Disqus or Facebook, can be integrated into the blog. Additionally, the addition of multiple editors and authors is only available on paid plans.

Visitor Statistics

Reports on traffic, sources, and behavior are available on paid plans; however, it appears that the free plan does not provide access to any reports (which you could in the past). You also have the option of integrating Google Analytics into the site.

The Contact Page

Simply clicking a button will allow you to generate comprehensive contact pages complete with a contact form and integrated Google Maps. In addition, it is very easy to modify it so that it corresponds to your specific requirements.

Password Protection & Member Areas

You can get this feature with the Professional plan. You have the option of protecting the entirety of the website or only certain pages. You can also sign up for the site’s membership program, which gives you access to a private section of the website where you can share exclusive content with other users. You are only able to have either this feature or the Customer Accounts feature, which allows customers to create an account on your website after making a purchase there. You cannot have both of these features at the same time.

Newsletter Tool

Promote is the name of Weebly’s in-house newsletter service, which enables users to easily send out marketing emails. Although it is nicely integrated into Weebly, it is not the most cost-effective option that is currently available. Additionally, you can connect to third-party providers through their App Center.

HTML Code Editor

It enables you to add widgets and other tools from the internet.

Unlimited Storage Space

Both the Free and Connect plans have a cap of 500 megabytes for data transfer. Under the free plan, each of your files has a limit of 10 MB, while under the paid Professional plan, each file has a limit of 250 MB. But other than that, the possibilities are truly endless! Weebly’s web hosting service also does not impose any bandwidth restrictions.

Backups & Restore

It is possible to download backups of your website; however, doing so is a laborious manual process, and once downloaded, the backups cannot be restored.

Support: FAQ, Chat, Email, Telephone

E-mail, an online help desk, and real-time chat (however, we found they are not that easy to reach on chat). Email support responded to our inquiries in a knowledgeable and timely manner in most cases. Both the Professional and the Performance plans include access to a phone support line. You’ll need Performance if you want to cut the line (priority support).

Fun Factor

Although Weebly’s editor is simple to use and makes it simple to experiment with different layouts and designs, it is not as flexible as some of the others that we have tried. However, we do like their non-aggressive sales style.

Weebly is an excellent website builder that provides an exceptional level of user friendliness in addition to a respectable number of features by means of an exceptionally user-friendly user interface. Weebly’s development pace is much slower than that of other web builders, which means there is a significant gap between the two in terms of the number of new features that are being introduced.

Weebly is an excellent website builder that provides an exceptional level of user friendliness in addition to a respectable number of features by means of an exceptionally user-friendly user interface. Weebly’s development pace is much slower than that of other web builders, which means there is a significant gap between the two in terms of the number of new features that are being introduced.

Why is Weebly so simple to use?

Good question. The drag-and-drop interface of their classic editor is beautifully designed, and this will be the first thing that you will notice about it. Simply choose the component you need on the left, and then move it into position on the right side of your layout.

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Drag and drop page builder on Weebly is excellent.

You’ll notice that things fall into place and organize themselves beautifully on the page as soon as you do so. Because other solutions, such as Wix, do not utilize a grid structure, it is entirely feasible for there to be elements that overlap one another. There is no possibility of something like that occurring with Weebly.

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Weebly websites are simple to navigate thanks to their neat, grid-based layouts.

Weebly also makes it very easy to work with the text on your website. Simply click the part that needs to be changed, and then enter your own words into the box that appears. There are additional solutions that make use of “entry masks,” which are somewhat more abstract and are not always simple to work with.

The navigation system is also very helpful and accurate. You can delve as deeply as you like into menus and submenus because Weebly handles them so deftly.

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Weebly can handle any level of navigation complexity.

Finally, if you run into any problems along the way, the knowledge base on Weebly can provide you with detailed tutorials and step-by-step instructions to help you get unstuck. If that doesn’t work, the customer service is fantastic, whether you contact them through email, chat, or the phone.

So, are there any drawbacks to this situation? That depends. If you’d like more creative leeway with your page layouts, you might find the rigid grid system to be a source of frustration. This competitor also offers an automated solution known that is capable of building your website for you almost entirely on its own. You might be able to shave off a few minutes from the total time it takes to build your website.

In addition to that, there are two other things that would be helpful for us. The first option is a worldwide undo button. You have the ability to undo what you type in text boxes; however, it would be helpful to have the ability to delete mistakes made when moving or adding elements. Second, there isn’t a central media database on Weebly that stores all of your pictures like there is on other platforms. You will need to re-upload images for each component that requires them to be done so.

Even though the editor performs its functions satisfactorily most of the time, certain aspects of it could benefit from being modernized. For example, the image upload editor seems to have been left over from the web design of the late 1990s. Weebly is not like other website builders in that it does not offer direct integrations with stock image libraries such as Getty Images or Unsplash. Instead, it only offers Flickr (with user-contributed images of questionable quality). It may feel as though you have to put in a little more effort when using Weebly to achieve the clean and polished appearance of a professional website, which is typically achieved with other website builders right out of the box.

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Image uploading on Weebly is dated (and Flickr image library)

On the other hand, it appears that the experience is different (and possibly improved) for those who are constructing an online store as opposed to a regular site. In this case, you have the option of utilizing the new Square Online editor as opposed to the traditional Weebly editor.

Which Weebly pricing option is ideal for me?

According to us, the most important question for you to ask yourself is, “Do I require a website that is completely free of advertisements?” If that is the case, you will require the Professional plan at the very least.

It will provide you with everything you need to display information about your company details, portfolio, or services to potential customers. In addition to these features, the Professional plan also includes:

  • A slideshow or video can be used as the background for this fancy header.
  • Player for both video and audio that is integrated.
  • Pages that require a password.
  • Membership module, which enables users to sign in and access restricted areas of the website.
  • Authors of blogs in multiples.
  • Analytics for the site.

What Google Position Will My Weebly Site Achieve?

Let’s get one thing out of the way first: if you are an advanced SEO expert who absolutely needs to rank #1 on search engines for a really competitive keyword, you might have a difficult time with Weebly. The reason for this is that Weebly is not optimized to handle such a requirement. It’s not completely impossible, but there are some restrictions to consider:

  • Your headings can only go up to an H2 level. There is a free app that gives you the ability to add headings ranging from h1 to h6, but it messes up the formatting of your work a little bit. We are perplexed as to why Weebly has chosen not to incorporate it into their system.
  • There are some pages, such as the category and product pages, that add a required string to your URL. You’ll see things like www.yoursite.com/store/p1/my-product/yellow when you do this. It’s not a huge deal unless your site is written in a language other than English. The same is true for the blog posts; the URL structure will always include “/blog/,” and this setting cannot be altered.
  • The addition of structured data, also known as Rich Snippets, is accomplished through the source code. However, Weebly does not provide any assistance, and you are on your own.

On the bright side, Weebly excels in a variety of areas, including but not limited to the following:

  • URL, title tags & meta-descriptions. You have the ability to personalize them, in addition to the alt texts for images. This is of utmost importance when it comes to ranking your images.
  • The use of 301 redirects. You can exercise control over them to prevent broken links in the event that the URL of a page is modified. Google deeply dislikes 404 pages.
  • Optimization of the image. The images that you upload to Weebly are compressed very effectively by the platform. This increases speed, which is always a boon for search engine optimization.

How safe and secure is a website built on Weebly?

To the best of our knowledge, extremely risk-free. The company places a high priority on maintaining its secure systems. They encourage the use of robust passwords and provide SSL encryption for all customers’ data. Particularly important for the actual exchange of personal data on-site (e.g. credit card or email address).

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All plans, including the free ones, from Weebly come with de facto SSL encryption.

We regret to say that we wish Weebly offered a more robust selection of backup and restoration options. You will need to take care of it manually by regularly saving your website as a.zip file in order to maintain it. In addition, there is no function to restore the data in the event that a catastrophe occurs. Wix, for example, keeps track of any changes that have been made and allows you to revert to an earlier version of your website at any time.

Design Options and Templates for Weebly: Making it Look Nice

You are able to read about the primary benefits and drawbacks of Weebly’s templates in a comprehensive article that we have on our site. Nevertheless, we would like to provide you with a concise summary of the most important aspects of this location.

The first thing that should be brought to your attention is the fact that Weebly does not have a very large selection of template designs (only around 50). Using website builders such as Wix and Squarespace, you will have access to a significantly greater number of options. It appears as though they haven’t added any new templates in quite some time, which means that even though the templates in general have a pleasant appearance, they aren’t quite as contemporary or captivating as those offered by competing website builders. There is a selection of categories for you to choose from, including Online Store, Business, Portfolio, Personal, Event, and Blog.

The fact that they are responsive, however, ensures that they appear to be of high quality on any device, and they can be modified to accommodate your specific requirements while retaining the general structure of the original template. There is no requirement for you to earn a degree in web design!

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Weebly’s template selection is sharp and tidy.

You should definitely look into Wix as an additional option if you are extremely particular about design and have an absolute requirement to be able to personalize it right down to the very last pixel. Their template selection is unrivaled, and they offer an editor with an even greater degree of customization.

However, if you are proficient in coding, there is one feature of Weebly that you may value more than any other aspect of the platform. Weebly, in contrast to a good number of other builders, provides you with access to the template source code.

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A source code template for coders.

Do you want to take a look behind the scenes and make changes to the CSS and HTML? As the picture to the right shows, you won’t have any restrictions to worry about in this area. Because of this, the visual editor that comes with Weebly may be less flexible than the editors that come with other tools; however, the fact that the code can be customized ultimately gives you more control over the design.

Is a Weebly Online Store Worth It?

With one important proviso, we’d have to say yes. Selling both physical and digital products can be very successful for smaller and medium-sized businesses, but it is not recommended for larger establishments. Although you can manage a large number of items by using the import and export function, you might find that Weebly lacks other features that are necessary for massive stores.

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A Weebly store can easily add products.

However, the best part is that you can open an online store using the free plan, which is something that does not appear to be available very frequently. Because there is an advertisement for Weebly in the footer of the Free or Personal plan websites, starting an online retail business on those plans will obviously not give off a very professional appearance. Be aware, however, that if you are located in a country other than the United States, the ecommerce features available to you on the free plan will be extremely restricted. If you think you might need Abandoned Cart Emails or priority support in the future, the Professional plan is a good place to start because you can always upgrade to the Performance plan at any time.

App Store: Can I Add-Ons to My Website to Enhance It?

You bet! There are approximately 360 apps available in a variety of categories including eCommerce, Communication, Marketing, Social, and Site Tools. These apps can be downloaded from the app store. There are both free and paid options. Some were developed by Weebly, while others were created by independent developers. Regarding the latter, there is always the possibility, albeit a remote one, that it will cease operations one day. It’s also too bad that Weebly’s app offerings aren’t much more robust.

However, one thing that all of the applications share in common is a feature that makes installation ridiculously simple; all it takes to get most of them operational on your website is a single click. Every app has been tested, and it should be easy to integrate them into your website. We experimented with a few cool ones, such as a way to add tables, event calendars, and info bars to present particular information. Our one and only complaint is that the selection of apps, both in terms of quality and quantity, is not quite up to the standard set by the Wix App Store.

Are membership websites effective?

The Weebly Pro and Weebly Performance plans are the only ones that include the membership feature. It gives you the ability to restrict certain pages to only be accessible by registered members. You can also limit access to specific members, such as individuals or groups of members, if you so choose.

It functions satisfactorily on a fundamental level, but it is not as comprehensive as the membership solutions provided by Wix and Squarespace, which include the capacity to provide members with access to premium content for a fee (although you do have to pay extra for this).

Be aware, too, that if you run an online store, you won’t be able to activate both your members area and your customer accounts at the same time. This is something you should plan for. Before you can start using customer accounts, you will first need to remove all of your members and member groups from your organization. Although it appears that Weebly is aware of the issue and is working on a solution, this is a fairly significant drawback to the platform.

Review of Weebly: Conclusion

The Weebly Pro and Weebly Performance plans are the only ones that include the membership feature. It gives you the ability to restrict certain pages to only be accessible by registered members. You can also limit access to specific members, such as individuals or groups of members, if you so choose.

It functions satisfactorily on a fundamental level, but it is not as comprehensive as the membership solutions provided by Wix and Squarespace, which include the capacity to provide members with access to premium content for a fee (although you do have to pay extra for this).

Be aware, too, that if you run an online store, you won’t be able to activate both your members area and your customer accounts at the same time. This is something you should plan for. Before you can start using customer accounts, you will first need to remove all of your members and member groups from your organization. Although it appears that Weebly is aware of the issue and is working on a solution, this is a fairly significant drawback to the platform.

Since they are now a part of Square, it is abundantly clear that the majority of their efforts are being directed toward their ecommerce offering. Weebly is an option that you should look into if the primary function of your website is to sell things, especially considering the recent release of the new Square Online editor for online stores and the fact that recent updates have focused almost entirely on this product.

However, when everything is considered, Weebly is still one of the best website builders that we have used. It is robust and enjoyable to use due to its user-friendliness as well as its many useful features, such as the iOS or Android app that allows you to edit your site while you are on the move and the large number of add-ons that are available through the app center.

Does Weebly make the best website builder for me?

Advisable, if

  • You are looking for an easy way to create a website.
  • You absolutely must take command of your SEO.
  • In addition to that, you require a reputable online store and blog.

Not Advisable, If

  • You would prefer to avoid paying additional fees for the email and domain.
  • You need complete command over the placement of the elements (photos, etc.). Wix is the superior option in this regard.
Techexplains Team

Techexplains Team

We are a team of digital marketing experts with years of experience in website builders. CRM tools, project management software helping businesses of all sizes achieve their marketing goals. We are writing about benefits of using SaaS for businesses, and sharing our top picks for the best tools currently available on the market. Whether you are a small business owner looking to streamline your marketing efforts or a larger enterprise seeking to improve your marketing efficiency, we hope that you will find this useful and informative.