In this Weebly review, I go through its main features and my experiences on using the platform.
Although I have already reviewed this platform and Wix together, I came to the conclusion that I should write a dedicated Weebly review of its own. After all, Weebly is one of the biggest sitebuilders out there is as it “powers millions of businesses and more than 50 million sites around the world.”
Weebly Review at Glance
- Building Your First Site: *****
- Main Features and User Interface: ****
- Integrations: ****
- Customer Support: ***
- Plans & Pricing: Website plan 8€/$9 / month (if chosen the annual plan) ****
- Overall: 4 stars
- Verdict: Recommended! Sign-up here.
- Editor's user interface is easy to use.
- Platform can be extended with Weebly App Center apps.
- Chat support.
- The same templates can be found across different categories.
- Monthly subscription prices are not directly available through the Weebly pricing page.
- Customer support is not available 24/7.
My Initial Expectations
I had used Weebly earlier, so I knew what to expect.
The last time I took a look at the platform, I noticed how simple it was to use when compared to Wix.
Also, since I knew the company was a big player amongst the sitebuilders, it had all the resources to improve the platform and keep rolling out new features to its users.
Thanks to those positive expectations, I was eager to learn more about the builder and see how it had developed since the last time took a looked at it.
Who Shouldn't Use This Sitebuilder?
There is no single sitebuilder online that could attract all the potential customers in the world. This is the case with Weebly as well.
Here are some reasons that may leave you cold with Weebly:
- You would like to see more templates provided by Weebly.
- You would like to have a true drag and drop user interface.
- You would like to see more app categories on the App Center.
- You would like to have 24/7 customer support (especially the chat).
But if none of the reasons above are showstoppers to you, then Weebly is a strong candidate for your next Web project.
Building Your First Website
Weebly offers two ways to build a site: You can either create a website or an online store (I cover both of these options in this section):
Creating a Website
If you choose the website option, you should pick the “Not now” option.
At first, I thought that the selection was a bit odd, until I took a closer look at the page. It was titled: “Do you want to sell online?” I almost felt like Weebly was pushing me towards building an online store, instead of a website.
If you are building a website, the next step is to choose a template.
You’ll notice that Weebly doesn’t provide that many templates to choose from, and some of the templates can exist in multiple categories. However, there are ways to get templates through other marketplaces as well, and I’ll talk about these later in the post.
Once you have picked your template, it opens in a preview mode. This helps you to see whether template is a good fit for your or not. Just click Close if you think that it’s not. However, if you’d like to keep the template, choose the Start Editing option.
Once you have chosen the template, it opens in an editor. You can then start doing the necessary changes to adjust the content and the user interface according to your brand.
Finally, Weebly also asks you to pick a domain for your website. If you are not sure about the domain name for now, no worries; you can do that later.
What’s nice about Weebly templates is that you can change them in the middle of the website project. After all, this is not possible with all the sitebuilders.
Creating an Online Store
If creating a website was simple, creating an online store is even more straightforward - at least to a certain point.
You start with the same step as with creating a website:
But instead, you choose the store option by clicking Yes. Once you have done that, you’ll be taken directly to the editor view of your online store:
Now here is what I meant by saying creating an online store is more straightforward to a certain point than when creating a website.
When you get to the online store editor, that’s when the real work begins: You’ll have to go through these different settings before you can publish your online store.
Yet, the setup shouldn’t be too complicated and if you need more assistance, you can always consult the various customer support channels for more information (or, you can also ask me, by leaving a comment!)
Building Your First Site:
I love Weebly’s user experience when building a website (or an online store for that matter). It’s simple and fast and works as expected. Especially the initial stages of building a website happen very fast.
Main Features and User Interface
Weebly is famous for its easy-to-use editor. And when you open it for the first time, it looks surprisingly simple.
The editor is divided into three main areas:
- The left side-bar.
- The main settings at the top.
- The main content area in the middle.
The Build tab is activated by default. It basically contains all the elements you can drag to the content area.
These elements are divided into different categories. The ones with the flash icon are premium elements. In other words, you have to upgrade your current plan in order to use them.
At the top navigation bar, in addition to the Build tab, you also have these options:
- Pages: List all the pages in your website.
- Theme: Change theme-related settings (for instance, the actual theme or even the fonts).
- Store: Access online store-related options.
- App: Add new apps to your website.
- Settings: Manage the site-wide settings like SEO or apps.
- Help: Access the different help options like knowledge base or phone support.
You can also switch between a desktop view (on by default) or a mobile view. However, in the mobile view, the website is not editable like with Wix.
Although the horizontal menu is very straightforward, I had two observations regarding it.
First, I noticed that I was a bit confused with Store and Apps options, although they now seem easy to understand.
Perhaps my attention was caught by the term App Store, which is a commonly-used one and refers to a marketplace where you can download and install applications.
Still, I think that Weebly has named these menu options correctly, and the confusion was just inside my mind.
However, I would like Weebly to improve the Help menu a bit. Since it had separately listed Phone support as one of the Help options, why not list all the channels (chat, community …) there as well?
The basic workflow is when you pick an element from the left sidebar and drag it to the content area:
The elements are added into the dedicated areas on the page and marked with blue lines (see the animation). But unlike Wix, you can’t freely drag and drop elements wherever you wish. Hopefully, Weebly fixes this missing feature at some point.
Even though Weebly’s editor is something other sitebuilders should model, the dashboard is not as clear as it could be. To be precise, it looks distracted:
The information is too scattered, and there are too many moving parts. In fact, the dashboard is like one big advertisement, with its banners and links to features you have to pay for.
Fortunately, you’ll get used to this layout, but it would have been better if the same clear layout was also used here as in the editor.
But no matter what you think about the dashboard, it still contains many settings that you might find interesting.
At the top bar, you can register a domain, integrate your service with Google G Suite or create an email marketing plan (this is a free trial). You can also access all your personal information here.
The dashboard also gives you the access to edit any of your sites or look at the stats (Insights) of your current website. This latter option, like some of the options on the dashboard, are premium features.
You can also copy and delete your site, if you want to. For instance, the copying feature is nice, especially if you want to build a new site from scratch (like when translating your current site):
Finally, if there is one great thing about the dashboard, it’s the ability to change the dashboard text into your preferred language:
At the time of writing, Weebly supported 17 different languages to choose from.
Building a website and then expecting that you’ll get loads of targeted visitors to your site is unrealistic. In order to make people find you on the Internet, you should do something about it. One way is by optimizing your website for search engines.
Where Weebly is concerned, you can access their SEO features by clicking the Setting menu link at the top and then choose SEO option on the left sidebar:
This page gives you some basic on-page SEO settings you can use. However, my first impression about this view was: “Wow … is this all?”
Fortunately, there is.
Weebly has created an in-depth SEO guide on how to improve your search engine rankings. It’s not written on a generic level; you can also implement the advice on your own Weebly site as well.
Finally, there is a handy SEO checklist in this guide, helping you to focus on the right things regarding the SEO.
Unfortunately, Weebly doesn’t offer that many themes out of the box. And even some of the themes it provides can be found in multiple categories:
You can preview a template before choosing it. You can also get more information regarding a theme if you want. This information reveals, for instance, what type of site the theme is perfect for or what kinds of features it has:
If you are unable to find a theme through Weebly, there are some other marketplaces that also offer premium-level templates:
1. Theme Forest
3. Bamboo Studios
Please note that I haven’t tested these services.
And of course, if you are competent enough, you can create themes by yourself. However, creating a theme falls outside the scope of this blog post.
There is a mobile app for both iOS and Android.
You can view the statistics of your site, manage your website or store, for instance.
The website editor was simple to use although I still preferred using a desktop browser for editing the site. If I had to do any edits through a mobile app, those would most likely be small ones.
You can translate your website to multiple languages with Weebly. This is relatively straightforward, although it requires some work from your part.
You basically make a copy of your existing site, translate the content in your new site, create a sub-domain for the new site, and then link your old site to the new one. With the last step, you help your visitors to move seamlessly from one language version to another.
Features and User Interface:
The editor’s user interface and its usability is one of the best I have used amongst the sitebuilders. However, the dashboard needs some work, since it’s too cluttered.
Integrations and Extendibility
Weebly has an App Center which gives you the option to expand the functionality of your website. There are currently over 300 apps available:
Apps are divided into three price plans:
Free apps are free to use:
You also have free/premium apps, which are both free and paid. In other words, you get certain functionalities for free, but if you want to use the premium-level features, you have to pay for them:
You also have premium apps which you have to purchase if you want to use them:
There are many app categories to choose from:
Inside the app categories, there are sub-categories like Popular, Highest Rated, New or Free:
Clicking on an app thumbnail gives you a more detailed view of the app with detailed information about it:
However, there is one thing that left me guessing. For instance, when you look at the pricing information, you might see a price mentioned like this:
It turns out that certain apps have various pricing-level plans, depending on what features you want to use.
This is the case with the LiveChat app. In order to see the full pricing details, you should visit the developer’s website for more information.
Integrations & Extendibility:
Weebly is one of those sitebuilders which has a marketplace for apps. You can install either free, free/premium, or premium-levels apps to your website.
Using the Weebly App Center is easy and straightforward. Sometimes, though, you’ll have to check the full pricing details by visiting the app developer’s website.
In total, there are plenty of apps to choose from and the activation/installation is easy-to-use (at least in those cases when I installed apps). And if you are a developer, you can create apps yourself.
Weebly offers customer support in five ways:
- By using the knowledge base
- By phone (I didn’t test this channel, for Pro plans and up)
- By email (ticket system)
- By using a chat channel
- By using a community
The knowledge base option is your first stop when seeking help:
If you are unable to find an answer through the knowledge base, then it’s time to contact customer support. You do this by clicking the Contact Us button under the search box on the front page of the help center:
You can then enter the support request to the opening form:
Once you have sent the request, Weebly suggests some articles from its knowledge base as a solution. You have two choices: You can either accept them or decline them. The latter sends the request to the customer support.
But where was the chat support?
It turned out that although they have it, it is not available 24/7. The same applies to other support channels as well:
Not offering support 24/7 left a gap, since I was able to send a request to the ticket system. However, I really wanted to talk to customer support through chat. This wasn’t always possible.
When I finally reached customer support, my experiences were positive. They answered my questions, and I was able to get the help I needed. The response rates were also acceptable.
Weebly also offers community and phone support, but I didn’t test these options.
Weebly provides plenty of support channels that help you to get answers to your questions. However, something that I would like to see with Weebly is true 24/7 support.
I’m a big fan of getting help through chat, but unfortunately at certain times when I was on the computer, customer support just wasn’t available.
Considering that Weebly has millions (tens of millions?) of customers, they should definitely have 24/7 support through chat.
Plans and Pricing
I have written a comprehensive post about Weebly pricing and plans elsewhere on my blog. So, check that post out if you want to learn more about Weebly pricing.
Also, please note that the prices mentioned here were effective at the time of writing. Make sure to check the latest Weebly pricing through their website.
There are currently two main categories for plans, and they are for Websites and for Online Stores. Let’s get started with the former first.
This plan helps you to get started with the Weebly platform. Just keep in mind these things:
- You’ll have to display Weebly’s ads on your site.
- You can’t use your own domain.
However, you get chat and email support. This is great, considering that this is a free plan.
Sometimes, you might also see a plan called Connect, although it is not visible on the Weebly pricing table. You might see this plan when you log into your account and click the upgrade button on any of your free websites.
Even though this plan is a premium one, I don’t recommend using it. The main reason is because you’ll have to display ads on your site, even if you can connect your own domain to your website.
This plan is the first Weebly pricing plan that you should actually consider purchasing. Currently, it costs 7 Euros/month (approximately 8 USD/month), if you choose annual billing.
The feature set is better than with the Connect plan. For instance, you can run an online store, and you don’t have to display ads on your site. Also, you don’t have any disk space limitations.
The next plan is Pro, and it is geared towards groups and organizations (but individuals can use this plan, too).
The exclusive features in this plan are the ability to run an online store with up to 25 products or to create a membership site with 100 members maximum.
You also get access to phone support.
Currently, this plan costs 11 Euros/month (little over 12 USD/month), if you have chosen annual billing.
The most expensive plan for websites, Business, costs 23 Euros/month (almost 26 USD/month) with annual billing.
The Business plan takes things to another level, with unlimited members and with membership registration.
For Online Stores
Although website plans include some eCommerce features, Weebly has also its dedicated plans for running eCommerce websites.
The Starter plan is the least expensive eCommerce plan, and it costs 7 Euros/month (close to 8 USD/month).
You can have up to 10 products and a free domain with the 3% transaction fee.
This plan is packed with more features than the Starter plan.
On top of the Starter plan features, you can also create a membership site with up to 100 members and have up to 25 products in your store.
The Pro plan costs 11 Euros/month (little over 12 USD/month) at the time of writing.
The Business plan adds some more features to the mix:
- 0% Weebly transaction fee.
- Unlimited products.
- Digital goods on your store.
- Shipping and tax calculator (available in US only).
The annual price for this plan is 23 Euros/month (close to 26 USD/month).
The most expensive store plan costs 33 Euros/month (a little over 37 USD/month) at the time of writing.
This plan adds features like real-time shipping rates (available in US, CA and MX only) and five email campaigns per month.
Plans and Pricing:
Weebly’s plans are great for running a website or an online store. There are plans for everyone, although I would avoid choosing the Free or Connect plan for your production website.
Also, the pricing is clear enough to understand. As always, you save money if you choose annual billing. The month-to-month billing is obviously more flexible, but it is also more costly.
Is This the Right Tool for You?
Weebly is a good choice for your Web platform.
What I really love about it is its ease-of-use web editor. Since this is a DIY website editor/builder, you’ll mostly spend a lot of time on the editor part of the website. That’s why I put so much emphasis on it.
Weebly has also a room for improvement.
For instance, I’d like to see a less-cluttered dashboard and. I think that 24/7 chat support is especially something that Weebly should implement right away to better serve its millions of customers.
You might think that the grass is greener elsewhere, and you’d like to give other sitebuilders a try. Here are some alternatives you can check out:
- Free vs. Premium WordPress Themes: Which One Should You Pick for Your Writer Website? - April 2, 2020
- Self-Hosted WordPress vs. WordPress.com – 9 Key Differences (+ My Pick!) - February 15, 2020
- 11 Must-Have Plugins for Your Freelance Writer Website - January 20, 2020