Weebly Website Builder Review, A Value Review?

Product Name: Weebly
Web Address: weebly.com
Year Founded: 2007
Owner(s): Square, Inc.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Weebly is one of the many website builders out there on the web. Like many others, it is based on the “What You See Is What You Get” philosophy. This basically means you use a visual editor to customize an existing template. There are several templates to choose from depending on your kind of business.

But is Weebly really a value for your money? Find out more in this Weebly website builder review.

First and foremost let’s take a peek at the process of creating a website on Weebly. I’ve included screenshots of the process I used in setting up a free sample website.

Find your domain and create your site at Weebly.com!

Steps to Building a Website

  1. The first page you are presented with is a usual sign up. Provide your name and a valid email address. Lastly declare you are not a robot (insert laugh emoji).
  2. Next select whether you need a website with an online store or not.
choose website
  1. I selected the first option since I had a blog in mind. Next I’m presented with a page where I get to choose the theme from a number of templates presented to me.
select a theme

If you sell from your website, the online store option is the right option for you. It’s worth noting though it is a long process to set up to facilitate the creation of the e-commerce component.

  1. After checking the various theme options presented, I settle on one and click on it. The template load on a new page. I can scroll the whole page to see other details not viewable in the thumbnail.

There’s a button at the top to start editing once I’m satisfied with the theme.

Steps 5 to 7

  1. In the editor window, the first order of business is selecting a domain name. Enter a name for your website and click on search. Thereafter a list will be populated with domain name suggestions from which you can choose from.
editor

Alternatively, you can proceed with a free domain. However, this will be a subdomain of weebly.com which comes with Weebly branding on your website. Not recommended if you are building a professional site or blog.

You can as well transfer an existing domain you own by clicking the link provided.

  1. Next step is now editing the different site elements to your liking – menus, images, text boxes etc. There’s so much you can change like the layout of elements, navigation, font types, replace images, links etc.

It might take a considerable amount of time to get it right. There’s an option to preview your changes.

editor elements

Note from the top menu, under themes, you can still change to a different template before you publish.

Furthermore, from the settings menu item, set your SEO site description and meta keywords which are important for ranking in search engines.

  1. Once you are satisfied with how every thing looks, preview then click on the publish button on your top left to make your website available online. That’s it, you are done!

Target Group

Weebly, from their marketing material, does not have any particular leaning when it comes to a target group. Anyone both as an individual or an organization, whether business or otherwise, can plug into their platform and build a website.

target group

Product Features

Website builder

The website builder is the central feature since you are out to create an actual website. Just as I’d highlighted above in the steps to create a website, the builder is all about a graphical drag and drop. This ensures even if you do not possess any HTML, CSS, and JavaScript skills you are not hindered in designing a website from scratch.

And the good part is all these happens from right within your browser window without you having to install an extra piece of software.

Additionally, you benefit from features even average coding skills would have taken you a long time to put together. These are like dynamic content in headers and video backgrounds.

Ecommerce builder

The world has shifted to more and more online-centric shopping. Think of the growth of Amazon over the years. You too should not be left behind with your offering to the world. An online shop from within your website is needed to facilitate this.

However, e-commerce comes with its baggage of issues like security. You would not want your site to be responsible for the loss of your client’s private details like credit cards! It is, therefore, wiser to invest in a tried and tested solution as opposed to building your own.

The service will cost you some money but the benefits outweigh the risks associated with online transactions. Furthermore, you benefit from an inventory and order management system.

Domain

It is not only reasonable but practical to provide a way to search and register domain names right from within the website setup process. Weebly allows you to purchase a domain name without leaving the platform to a third-party registrar. Moreover, if you already have a domain in your name you can import it for use within Weebly.

Hosting

Just as with domain names, hosting is a must-have to publish your site to the web. The good news is that you do not have to stop your website building process to shop around for a hosting package. Weebly provides this for free unlike its competitors like Wix who put a cap on bandwidth depending on the plan you purchase.

Statistics

To be able to improve service to your customers you need to track performance. This can be done through website statistics on how users interact with your website. There’s a dashboard where these can be accessed. This is invaluable to improving the overall user experience from experimenting with different strategies and using feedback from the stats to fine-tune.

Mobile apps

Weebly also provides an app to access, build and manage your website from right within your smartphone. Available for both iPhone and Android devices. The smartphone seems too small a device to design a website. In my opinion, it’s a feature I can stay without but maybe someone else will find useful.

Pricing

Costs to use the service has been split into two – for websites only and for websites having an e-commerce component. Further to this, each is formed into distinct plans to meet varying needs and budgets. The graphic below depicts the different prices and associated features.

Pricing for websites only

weebly website pricing

Pricing for websites with online store

weebly website with ecommerce pricing

Email marketing is not included in these packages as it’s provided and billed separately.

Training and Support

Weebly has a section with an extensive knowledge base under the help center. This will cover resolving common issues you will come across while setting up your website. It’s arranged in a structured manner making it easy to pinpoint a topic or sub-topic.

Additionally, there’s a forum for the Weebly community you can raise questions on site-related issues and receive feedback from other members.

When logged in to your account there’s a chat function, I believe manned by a chatbot. And they said no robots on sign up! Talk about preaching water and drinking wine. That’s on a light note though.

The Bad

Limited templates

Unlike Wix which I’d reviewed earlier, Weebly has a limited number of themes to choose from. This might have the downside of many users ending up with more of the same look and feel in a finished website. I’m assuming most people, more so those without design skills, edit just the text and some bit of graphics. You lose out on the element of standing out from the crowd.

Wanting customer service

So that this review is not based on my experience only, I went further and checked third-party review sites. While it is impossible to verify the feedback and complaints from users, it is safe to assume all cannot have been manufactured. I checked Trustpilot and Sitejabber review sites for this purpose.

I found the biggest thorn in the flesh surrounded Weebly’s handling of customer service issues. This is of course a big consideration if you are thinking of taking up the service. See below a sample of negative user feedback.

trustpilot negative user reviews

Awful end product

While not entirely blamable on Weebly, it is possible to end up with an awful-looking website. Not everyone is trained in design or has an eye for it. Therefore taking the onus to build a site since you can move things around on an editor might not be recommended for everyone.

The Good

Fast to create a website

With a little tech savviness on your side, it is possible to create a free-standing, elegant website in a manner of minutes. The themes provided have the basic website elements and it is just a matter of editing, unlike building a website from scratch.

In fact, you do not need any coding skills so rest easy.

All in one solution

A website builder, domain, and hosting management solutions are provided in one platform. This eases your workflow while building a website. Additionally, you can access insights on your site’s traffic and user statistics right from within Weebly.

Interchangeability of themes

Once you customize a theme and publish your website, it is possible to later change these templates for another without much hustle. This closely resembles the case in WordPress but unlike Wix where you will have to rebuild everything from scratch.

Positive user feedback

The issue of user feedback is a bit tricky. Humans are known to rant and rave when they get frustrated even if it is something very minor. I’d given the disclaimer that it is hard to verify these reviews. However, from the same reviews on Trustpilot and Sitejabber, there is positive user feedback.

trustpilot user reviews

Weebly Website Builder Review Verdict

In my opinion, Weebly is a very able tool for website creation. The steps to follow are simplified making it hard to arrive at what was not intended. It is easy to use the editor from right within the browser window. At least this was my experience when I did a test run. The good thing though is you have the freedom to first set up a free website as a way to test if it is the right tool for you.

However, from the sampled user reviews it is evident that there’s a problem with Weebly’s handling of users’ requests. One person believes this could have been brought about by the acquisition of Weebly by Square. It seems whatever changed in the background was not in the best interests of the clients. We can only speculate why this is so since no official statement is forthcoming.

Despite this, if we look past the customer service issues, which is not easy, in my opinion, the website builder ranks up there in the charts when it comes to meeting its purpose.

Find your domain and create your site at Weebly.com!

2 thoughts on “Weebly Website Builder Review, A Value Review?”

  1. Good review of Weebly! Impartial and effective so you have done a good job there. Thank you for your work, now I know!

    As I was looking for your own opinion, I scrolled through the website building instructions to the end of it, just to see what you said. If I want to familiarize myself more to the topic, I will definitely go through the steps too.

    Best

    Eija

    Reply

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