In a Nutshell
- Easy to use, with a free option, and a robust set of features
- Impressive set of Ecommerce capabilities to sell online
- No built-in option to undo changes made to your websites
- Photo editing options pale in comparison to other top builders
Weebly is a great tool for individuals and small-business owners who’ve either never designed a website before, or who are just looking for an easier builder to use moving forward. It’s a suitable option for advanced users, too, as the platform provides a wealth of cutting-edge features that take advantage of the most modern aspects of the internet. This makes Weebly an ideal builder for amateurs and experts alike.
One of the first decisions I needed to make after opening an account with Weebly, was choosing what kind of template, also called a theme, I wanted my site to have. The theme establishes a consistent look and feel across all pages of your site, and serves as a starting point upon which to add your content.
Weebly themes are free and come in dozens of different styles categorized into sections such as Business, Portfolio, Personal, Event and Blog. New themes arrive all of the time, and are sortable by popularity or by how recently the Weebly team released them. See a theme that strikes your fancy? Click “Preview” to view one of Weebly’s examples of the template in action. Many of the free Weebly templates also let you choose a color scheme that matches your header image or site logo. And if you ever second-guess your choice, it’s easy to switch themes at any time.
All of Weebly’s themes can be used for free. Which means that you can choose, edit, and publish any template you would like; the catch is that Weebly ads will be displayed on the site, and your site itself will be under the weebly domain (for example, https://top10templatesandthemesreview.weebly.com/).
Anyone who wants to eliminate Weebly ads, hold their own domain name and use additional features has the option to upgrade to one of Weebly’s paid plans, which are quite competitively priced.
Weebly offers 4 paid plans: Starter, Pro, Business, and Performance. Each level up comes with additional features. Weebly’s Business and Performance plans are good options for small business owners who want to use their websites to sell merchandise.
No matter which option you choose, the templates don’t change. Whether you use Weebly for free or pay $38/month, you will still have access to the same templates.
Four popular templates on Weebly are Haberdasher, Birdseye 2, Cento, and CleanLines. The names of the templates don’t necessarily give you a clue as to what kind of templates they are, so you have to take a look and actually click on them in order to get an idea as to which template will work for you.
Haberdasher: A sleek, classy template that is suitable for anyone in the fashion business. Its style is clean and crisp, attractive but not gaudy. Features include responsiveness, CSS buttons, vector social icons, full-width header image, navigation top, color palettes.
Birdseye 2: A versatile template that’s all about the photos. Visitors to a Birdseye site will see your photos first, making it a good choice for sellers who want to grab consumers’ attention. Features include responsiveness, CSS buttons, vector social icons, animation, fixed navigation, full-width header image, and top navigation.
Cento: A minimalist theme that’s all about the content. Great for bloggers, artists, and photographers. Features include responsiveness, fixed navigation, boxed width, CSS buttons, vector social icons, top navigation, and boxed header.
CleanLines: A universal theme, appropriate for shops, consultants, nutritionists, and service businesses. Features include full-width headers, dark and light color schemes, responsiveness, CSS buttons, vector social icons, top navigation, and color palettes.
When it comes to the wireframe of a website, Weebly Parallax offers a simple, user-friendly blueprint. Everything a visitor needs to see on your website can be found on one page. Indeed, the Parallax scrolling design makes transitions between the team biographies, services descriptions, and contact information a breeze. The full-width video section gives your images more room to jump off the page. To further ease movement within sections of the site, internal page jump links along the top of the template provide access to a specific section immediately. The enhanced scrolling feature also makes for a more mobile-friendly design.
Mobile Friendly - Automatically
Thanks to the clean look, a user on a hand-held device can thumb down without missing any content. The Weebly Parallax template automatically adjusts itself to any tablet or smartphone screen.
This Weebly theme also has jQuery image slider capabilities, making it not only possible, but also easy, to share multiple portfolio images at the top of your new site. Of course, you can always opt out if you want to have one consistent image at the top of the home page. Parallax offers two image styles for the home page:
- Index.html. This option lets you upload a static image with typewriter-inspired text.
- Tall-Header. html. This home page style has a responsive background slider, and you can edit the image captions in just seconds.
Ease of Use
The Weebly editor is arguably the easiest-to-use tool of its kind. Before I knew it, I was creating professional-looking pages for my website. It only took a few moments for me to get the hang of the awesome Weebly drag-and-drop builder, which is what makes this platform really shine.
After I decided upon a theme for my site, the web page editor appeared with a selection of web elements in a dock along the left side of the screen. The elements in the dock fall into one of five sections: Basic, Structure, Media, Commerce, and More. Under each section heading are individual elements associated with those categories, including items such as images, audio clips, videos, surveys, and slideshows. Users can simply drag the elements they want on their site from the left side to the right side of the screen, and arrange the items in any way they’d like. The builder automatically resizes and adapts existing elements on your site to make room for whatever you just added.
The Weebly builder is so straightforward, that it’s almost impossible to mess anything up. And depending on how well you know what you want, you can create your web pages in under 10 minutes apiece. The Weebly software doesn’t require any coding knowledge or experience, and it gives you tons of great options in ways that are easy to understand. Even those with no previous graphic design skills can create gorgeous websites in under an hour. Don’t believe me? To try a Weebly demo yourself, head over to the site and sign up for a free account. All you need is an email address, and you’ll be on your way.
I was blown away in October 2015 when Weebly unveiled Carbon—a completely revamped version of their interface. This update brought a ton of new bells and whistles that make the Weebly experience even better. Here’s a quick look at some of the features that debuted with the launch of Carbon.
The brand new real-time dashboard offers a detailed look at your site’s stats, including everything you need to know about traffic and Ecommerce activity.
The release of 21 new responsive themes makes it easy to change the look of your site, while ensuring that it looks great on smaller screens.
The revamped editor includes 9 new elements that allow you to expand and improve the functionality of your site.
Weebly’s completely overhauled state-of-the-art mobile app gives you the power to edit your site on the go, or even create a brand new site from scratch.
The addition of an App Center introduces an entirely new ecosystem into the Weebly environment that allows for integration with many third-party services, which is perfect for business owners.
Carbon includes far more features that I think webmasters, developers, and your site’s visitors are sure to love.
Weebly Pricing and Plans
Weebly offers 5 different pricing plans, from free to complete online store manager. The type of plan you choose will depend on your needs and what you plan on accomplishing with your website. Excluding the Free Plan, all of Weebly’s offers come with $100 credit of Google ads, a nice little perk.
The free plan is basic, and comes with drag and drop features, 500MB of storage, unlimited pages for your site, and free hosting. Any site you create with the Free Plan will, however, be under the Weebly domain and display Weebly ads; for business owners who are serious about selling online, one of the paid options is better.
The Starter Plan costs $8 per month for an annual subscription ($96 total cost), and it allows users to connect their own domain and remove Weebly branding. It also offers drag-and-drop features, unlimited storage, advanced site stats, and does not feature Weebly ads. Membership dues for the Starter Plan cover ownership of the domain for 1 full year.
In terms of business, the Starter Plan allows users to post up to 10 products, and they are charged a 3% Weebly transaction fee. The plan also offers search engine optimization (SEO) tools, lead capture, a community forum, chat and email support, and checkout on Weebly.com.
Weebly’s Pro Plan costs $12 per month for an annual subscription ($144 total cost), and it offers all the features of the Starter Plan, with the addition of professional features like site search, video backgrounds, password protection, HD video and audio, and up to 100 members. Pro also allows up to 25 products to be sold, as opposed to 10, and includes phone support in addition to chat and email support.
The Business Plan costs $25 per month for an annual subscription ($300 total cost), and it is meant for small businesses and stores. The Business Plan includes a 0% Weebly transaction fee, unlimited products, membership registration, checkout on the site’s own domain, digital goods, inventory management, shipping and tax calculator, coupons, and SSL security.
The Performance Plan offers all of the above, plus RealTime shipping rates, abandoned cart emails, gift cards, and 5 email campaigns/month to 500 contacts. All of these features cost $38 per month, per yearly subscription ($456 total cost).
*Prices last updated September 2020
Monthly Fees Versus Yearly Fees
While there are no “hidden fees” when you sign up to Weebly, there is a significant difference between monthly fees per year and individual monthly fees. Monthly fees per year are the price you pay per month if you pay for the whole year in advance. So if you sign up for the Pro Package, you won’t be charged $12 each month; rather, you’ll be charged $144 in one shot, which comes out to $12 per month. If you want to pay each month and not one lump sum, the cost will be higher; in the case of Pro, it would then be $18 per month instead of $12.
Choosing the Best Pricing Plan For Your Needs
For some, it can be difficult to dole out a large one-time sum, even if it may come out cheaper in the long-run. They may prefer paying a higher monthly fee in order to have the option of not committing to a yearly charge, or because they don’t have the money to pay a yearly sum at one go.
Others, however, love the idea of paying a lower monthly fee for signing up for a yearly plan. For them, it means long-term savings and the knowledge that they will continue using Weebly for at least 1 year.
For business owners, it’s good to have both options, because everyone has their own needs, business stats, and financial considerations. To get an idea if you would want to make that long-term investment with Weebly, you can try out the Free Plan first to see if you like the way it works.
How Does Weebly Rate Against Top Competitors?
When looking for a website builder, you don’t necessarily want the cheapest—you want the one that’s best for you. That’s not to say, however, that price doesn’t play a part. If you’ve gotten equally good recommendations for a number of sites, price may be the final factor that influences your decision.
To help you out, we’ve compiled a table of 3 of Weebly’s top competitors, and how they compare to Weebly’s prices (for yearly subscriptions).
Please note that each website has its own name for various packages; below we simply put general labels on similar plans of each website.
*Prices last updated September 2020
These days, a big buzzword in the website-builder industry is “responsive design,” which refers to websites that automatically adjust themselves to look great on whatever size screen your visitors are using. And even though its websites have always been optimized for smaller screens, the platform took things to a new level in 2014 when they unveiled Weebly responsive themes.
With fun names like Squared, Superset, Saucy, and Redux, Weebly responsive themes are available in a variety of styles. But not only do Weebly mobile sites look great on smartphones and tablets, but also on the Weebly mobile app, so you can also edit your website right in the palm of your hand.
I found Weebly online stores to be amazingly easy to create and use. The builder offers its users a full slate of Ecommerce options that will suit the needs of nearly all small businesses. The Ecommerce tools are in the dock on the left side of the screen, making it easy to add products anywhere you’d like.
All plans on this platform--even the free one--include the ability to set up Weebly stores with shopping carts. The difference is that premium plans let you sell more products while also giving you additional tools to streamline your selling.
If you ever need help with your website, you can contact the friendly Weebly support representatives via telephone, email, or chat. Weebly help is based in North America and is available every day of the week, with office hours from 5am to 5pm PT Monday through Friday, and from 7am to 4pm on weekends. To reach them via phone, call 1-844-493-3259.
If you’d rather type with a support representative via Weebly chat, you can click the chat button along the bottom of the website builder. That was a great option for me. Other support alternatives include submitting a help ticket via a form on the site, or you can try to resolve any problems on your own by perusing through the tutorials and support forums.
Having a website that you love is great, but what good is it doing the world if no one can find it? Weebly helps users of its platform get found online by giving them the tools and tactics they need to increase their visibility. Weebly search engine optimization (SEO) is easy, thanks to information found in several of the builder’s articles. There articles that tell you all about the best practices of boosting your ranking in search engines.
If you’re serious about raising your rank in search engines, take time to read some of Weebly’s blog SEO articles on the topic. And after you’ve finished reading those, head over to the SEO section of the settings menu. On this page is where you can tweak the content that search engines are looking for, along with additional helpful tips on making the most out of SEO on Weebly.
One thing that distinguishes this platform from many other builders, is that web hosting on Weebly doesn’t cost a thing. Weebly web hosting is free for all plans and there are no separate hosting cost to worry about. If, however, you do want to link your domain to your site, that does cost extra, but it’s included as part of any of the paid plans.
One question you might be asking yourself at this point, is does Weebly offer email services? While many website builders do offer email, with Weebly, email addresses aren’t actually part of the plan. The good news, however, is that this builder has a partnership with Google, making it possible to link your domain name to email addresses.
While Weebly email subscriptions aren’t actually provided as part of any premium plans, you can still create email addresses that work with your domain name. Unfortunately, these Google-powered email address aren’t free, but they are relatively affordable and as reliable as any other email-service provider on the internet.
Weebly Inc. gets a lot of love from folks who use their tools, and after I spent some time playing around on the platform, it was easy for me to see why. I’ve tested out a lot of sites like Weebly in the past, but none of them are quite as easy to use.
Some of the best offerings are blogs and personal sites, but is this platform good for small businesses, too? Judging by the thousands of retail stores, restaurants, and Ecommerce shops who trust it for businesses, I’d certainly say so.
If you’re wondering if Weebly is really free, then, the answer is yes.. The company doesn’t ask you for any payment information unless you elect to upgrade your account or if you brush up against the limitations of the Weebly free website plan. This makes it one of the few builders that you can use indefinitely without ever paying the company a penny.
However there are limitations to the free plan: you can create an unlimited number of web pages, but all of them will have Weebly branding on them somewhere. If you want to get rid of that branding and take advantage of this builder’s best features, you should consider upgrading to a premium plan.
With Weebly, editing my website wasn’t just easy—it was fun. The drag-and-drop editor is easy yo use, their are a good variety of attractive, mobile-responsive templates, and the prices for their tiered plans are comparable to the competition.
Weebly is by far one of the best builders I’ve ever used, and I have no problem recommending it to individuals, organizations, or small businesses looking for a great tool to build and maintain a free or premium website.