What is Weebly?
Weebly was founded in 2006 by college friends David Rusenko, Dan Veltri and Chris Fanini, and they are based in San Francisco. It was conceived due to Penn State University’s requirement of an internet portfolio for attending students.
As a lot of the students didn’t know how to code and couldn’t afford a professional designer, the three friends saw a gap in the market. Over the years, it has expanded and developed into a global platform allowing people to create a blog, website or online store.
As well as building your site, you can track and measure its success to see how it is helping your business grow.
In 2007 it received financial backing from several investors. Initially, they were critiqued for not allowing CCS/HTML editing, and so they added these features in 2009. In 2014 they received more funding, expanded San Francisco’s operation, and opened an office in Berlin to improve their European support and marketing.
Weebly is available in around 15 different languages, including Russian, Norwegian, Chinese and Turkish. Weebly aims themselves at small businesses, but bloggers, online sellers and artists also use them. It is a subsidiary of Square (not to be confused with Squarespace) and was acquired by them in 2018. At that time, it had more than 625,000 subscribers and millions of users.
Its acquisition by Square has allowed it to offer more in the way of eCommerce features. Square is a commerce company that provides small businesses with devices to accept card payments using mobile phones and tablets. As Weebly’s focus was also small businesses, and Square is also based in San Francisco, it seems like they are an excellent pairing.
Weebly sites get around 325 million unique visitors every month, and to date, they have built more than 50 million websites worldwide. So let’s take a look at their interface, tools, pricing and customer service to find out if you should add to this growing number.
Ease of Use
How Easy is Weebly to Use?
Once you’ve signed up, you’ll be asked if you want to create a personal or professional website. You’ll then be taken through a series of questions asking you what your site is intended for and what function you want it to provide, then you’ll start designing. There is a Weebly app available so that you can create and track your site from your phone.
There is no AI builder option, but if you don’t want to build your own site, they can match you up with a suitable design expert (for an additional fee).
Weebly only has about 50 templates, but as they are just a base for you to customise, it’s not too much of an issue. They come in different categories and are appealing enough that you’re bound to find one you like and are fully optimised for mobile devices. Hence, they look great if your customers are browsing on their phones.
Weebly has a drag-and-drop editor that is really easy to use. It is well laid out and designed to be user-friendly and a breeze for beginners. With that being said, it also caters to those who have a bit more knowledge in the field by allowing users to add code for extra personalisation.
As you build your site, it is displayed exactly how it will look when it goes live. This is a great aspect, as you can make adjustments and arrangements easily without having to switch views.
Weebly’s editor is set up so you can select elements from the left of the screen and then drag them into a grid system that makes up your page.
This is great for adding a personal touch to the layout. As you can’t just drag and drop anywhere, there’s no danger of elements overlapping or looking messy.
However, because of this system, some users might feel that the editor is a bit restrictive compared to other drag-and-drop editors out there.
Tools and Features
What Are The Features Of Weebly?
Weebly has a great range of features, from built-in tools to add-on apps. They cover blogging, eCommerce and SEO. While some have reported that the SEO can seem limiting, it satisfies most users well enough.
They offer some stylish and responsive website themes and templates. You can add custom headers and different backgrounds such as video, full-width image and colour, all without any design experience.
Like most good website builders, their sites will look great on all devices, including mobile phones. If you’re more technologically minded, Weebly gives you access to the template source code, so you’re free to modify the CSS and HTML if you’ve got the know-how.
This is a great feature and a bonus if you’re a freelancer looking to create unique sites for clients or add more personalisation to your own site.
Weebly has a good selection of Apps available
There is an excellent selection of apps, both by Weebly and 3rd parties. There are over 300 apps for you to choose from, some are free, and some are at an extra cost. They cover categories like site tools, marketing, communication and eCommerce.
The app center gives you four different categories to search for apps; Boost Traffic, Spike Sales, Get Social or Made by Weebly. They have a Logo Maker, one of the free-to-use apps, although you will have to pay to download a design if you find one you like.
As Weebly is now a subsidiary of Square, they have included more eCommerce features, including the Square online checkout and the Square point of sale.
The point of sale allows you to take payments in person, which means you can integrate your online store with your retail premises if you have one.
Other business features that have been added since the acquisition are: an option to allow customers to request curbside pickups, announcement banners, Square photo studio, and an embedded ‘buy’ button.
On the downside, they don’t have automatic backups, so you must remember to regularly save it as a zip file.
Plans and Pricing
How Much Does Weebly Cost?
Like many web builders, they display the monthly cost, but you are still charged annually.
They do offer a free plan, which comes with SSL security, 500MB of storage, a domain with a Weebly sub-domain, and you will have Weebly ads on your site.
You do also get some marketing features like SEO and lead capture, and contact forms.
The cheapest paid plan is Connect, charged at £4 per month (£48 for the year) and offers the same as the free package, but allows you to connect to a custom domain and gives you free access for a year. However, you will still have to put up with Weebly ads on your site.
Next up is the Pro package at £9 per month ( £108 annually). For the extra £60 a year, you get to go ad-free, have unlimited storage, a ‘site search’ box and a $100 credit for Google Ads. You also get to access some eCommerce features such as a buying cart and the ability to accept payments through Square and other 3rd party providers. In addition, you get access to advanced site statistics and telephone support and the live chat and email options available with the free and Connect plans.
The Business plan is £18 per month (so an initial bill of £216) and adds to the eCommerce features that include: item badges and options, inventory management, automatic tax calculations, coupon codes, square gift cards, item reviews, shipping calculations, integrated shipping labels and shipping discounts. On the marketing side, you get pop-up notifications and advanced eCommerce stats.
If you want to purchase a domain from Weebly, it costs around £13 per year. However, you can’t use a custom domain name with the free package, even if you have one elsewhere.
Weebly Premium Website Plans
|Custom Domain||weebly branded||✔︎||✔︎||✔︎|
|Free Domain for 1 Year||✖︎||✖︎||✔︎||✔︎|
|Remove Weebly Ads||✖︎||✖︎||✔︎||✔︎|
|Free SSL Certificate||✔︎||✔︎||✔︎||✔︎|
|Search Engine Optimisation||✔︎||✔︎||✔︎||✔︎|
|Advanced Site Stats||✖︎||✖︎||✔︎||✔︎|
|Customer Care||Chat & Email Support||Chat & Email Support||Chat, Email & Phone Support||Chat, Email & Phone Support|
Weebly Business & eCommerce Plans
|Main Features||Pro||Business||Business Plus|
|Free Domain for 1 Year||✔︎||✔︎||✔︎|
|Remove Weebly Ads||✔︎||✔︎||✔︎|
|Free SSL Certificate||✔︎||✔︎||✔︎|
|Search Engine Optimisation||✔︎||✔︎||✔︎|
|Customer Care||Chat, Email & Phone Support||Chat, Email & Phone Support||Chat, Email & Phone Support|
Help & Support
How Good is Weebly Support?
Weebly’s support desk is now through Square. They have an all-encompassing support section that covers everything from website setup to Square hardware issues. There is a search function, though, so you don’t have to wade through a lot of irrelevant information to find what you’re looking for.
They also offer a library of resources, including start-up guides and video tutorials. The Seller Community area allows you to connect with other business owners to give and receive tips.
This is all pretty standard for website builders, as they like to give you all the help you might want to set up without the need for contacting the company. But how about actual one-to-one support?
The good news is that Weebly does have a phone number you can call. It’s an 0800 number, so free to contact from the UK, and the Square Support Team is available from Monday to Friday 9 am-5 pm.
As Square Support covers everything from billing to the hardware, they may only help with specific issues. Still, by all accounts, their team is knowledgeable and friendly. Plus, as most of the website setup and FAQs are dealt with by their online tutorials, you may not need to contact them at all.
You also have the option to email or contact them via social media, as well as a live chat option that is available from Monday to Friday 11 am-9 pm ET (3 pm-1 am GMT)
Pros & Cons
What We Like & Dislike About Weebly
Templates can be limiting – if you don’t know how to code but want complete creative control over your site, you might find the templates a little restrictive.
It doesn’t have reusable photo storage – this means you will have to upload the same picture each time you want to use it.
No undo feature – so if you make a change you don’t like, you’ll have to change it back manually.
What Are The Alternatives To Weebly?
Do We Recommend Weebly?
Weebly has quite a wide-ranging appeal. It is suitable for beginners and users with coding knowledge and will cater nicely to personal and business websites. However, as it is aimed at small businesses, this is where it truly excels.
Their amalgamation with Square allows for a good blending of online stores and retail premises. While Weebly has some excellent features for small businesses, it’s perhaps not enough to cater to larger enterprises or big online stores.
The free plan is excellent, although you have to put up with some rather significant video ads. For this reason, I doubt the free or Connect plan would be suitable for any professional website. Having said that, if you wanted a personal site as a place to share information or images, then it’s probably worth putting up with the ads to get the free site.
If you’re looking for something a bit more professional, then you’ll want to go straight for the Pro plan. If you’re unsure if this is the website builder for you, you can try out the free plan before upgrading. However, they don’t offer a free trial, so you won’t see if the extra features are worth the extra money.
If you try the free plan and like the interface and how your site looks, I think the features Weebly offers make it a viable option for your online business.
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