Although we have talked in detail about WordPress here and here, we understand that it is not the only platform that people are using to build sites. Although it is the most used platforms or CMS that people are using these days, there is also a growing number of people and businesses using website builders like Weebly, Wix, Squarespace and more. For business owners who do not have the capital to spend on a web developer, or simply like doing things themselves this is a great option. We don’t have a ton of experience with web builders, but we know they are important to cover, because like we said, they are growing in popularity. We brought a friend who is a web developer in to help us cover this topic because he has some experience with using Weebly, and can cross reference it against his experience with WordPress and other platforms. He recently worked on a site for a client that you can check out here, to see how it compares to other sites that are built on WordPress. He has worked on a few website builders over the years and says his preference is Weebly for a few reasons that we will cover down below.
- Web Builder – The biggest difference between Weebly and WordPress is that the hosting provider, Weebly in this example, has a website builder built right into it. You simply pay the monthly hosting and get to access their website building software. It’s all very seamless and easy, simply choose your plan, purchase your domain name, and you are all ready to go. The web building software for Weebly is very intuitive and allows you to drag and drop desired elements anywhere on the page. You can incorporate some of the most complex elements, and if you know HTML and CSS you can make all the same modifications you would with WordPress. The web builders allows even the most novice web builders to design beautiful, mobile responsive websites.
- Search Engine Optimization – Speaking of mobile responsive websites, all the weebly themes are mobile friendly and made with SEO in mind. Simply input some on-page information and your site will be ready to go for the search engines. Weebly continues to out-perform their competitors like Wix when it comes to search engine optimization, which makes it a popular choice for web developers.
- Free – Another cool feature about Weebly and other website builders is that they allow you to use their platform for free. By simply using the .weebly extension after your domain name, you can have a website live on the web for free. Most people opt not to do this because the the .weebly extension is a bit of an eye sore, and most people don’t want that associated with their domain name. Plus if you establish rankings in the search engines, you will lose it whenever you decide to upgrade, and ditch the .weebly extension.
- Price – Keep in mind that when you decide to go with a website builder like Weebly you are paying for the convenience of having the website builder functionality. The Weebly hosting is typically more than what you would pay for a single hosting plan with any other hosting company, and there are no shared hosting options. That means that you have to pay individually to host each site, and cannot simply add-on a domain to a current hosting plan. Again, you are essentially paying for the page builder software each time you purchase hosting with Weebly.
- Glitches – Apparently Weebly has glitches from time-to-time with its software that temporarily denies access and can cause the website to go offline. These are normally resolved in minutes and far and few between. However our friend has said to suggest to users that choose Weebly to constantly back up their content on a separate file (word document). Little glitches have resulted in hundred of word getting erased at one time for no apparent reason. He suggests writing it in a document and then copy and pasting it to Weebly.
- Transfer – The biggest downside to Weebly and other page builders is that you cannot transfer the site to another hosting provider if need be. Once it is on Weebly it is there forever. There is no easy download functionality that allows you to upload it elsewhere in the future. This is because the whole site is woven into their page builder software which cannot be easily transferred.
- Support – Weebly offers great support and customer service, and is quick to answer questions or concerns. There is also a community of users that are constantly developing themes for the platform, and blog writers that offer tips and tricks for Weebly users.
All in all Weebly is great. The web building software is awesome and very easy to understand. They have pre-built layouts that look great and just require you to fill in some basic content and pictures. If you are new to designing websites this a great place to start, and the quickest way to get your site on the web. Weebly is essentially turn key and does not require some of the steps that normally hang people up when they start to use WordPress. Although, for users who are comfortable with WordPress, but like the ease of Weebly’s page builder, we will cover great page builder plugins like beaver builder and site origin in the future that simulate the functionality of Weebly. Overall we are happy that services like Weebly exist because we think it encourages more people to join the world wide web, and allows for more people to get comfortably designing websites.