2019 November 29th
Weebly is a simple to use, eCommerce oriented website builder.
It offers a user-friendly "what you see is what you get" interface, extensive customization, and beautiful templates. This website builder has gained popularity with millions of users all around the world, but is it really that good?
In this Weebly review, I will look into the overall quality of this Weebly website builder: testing performance, pricing, ease of use and customer support. Is Weebly a great choice to make your own website?
Let's find out where Weebly's pros and cons stand.
A very comfortable interface for a reasonably small price? Also, great templates and strong eCommerce features - this is Weebly. Many features and specifications deserve praise, so let's dig into it.
1. Affordable pricing
First of all, Weebly doesn't cost too much. There are four paid plans starting from as little as $4/mo (when subscribing for 2yrs), and moreover, you can get a Weebly account with no charge at all.
Along with a Free plan, there are plenty of Weebly paid packages. Have a look:
- Free - offers 500 MB of disk space, unmetered bandwidth, and ~60 add-ons. There will be Weebly's own advertisements on your page and you can't connect your domain (you can only use Weebly subdomain). This is completely free and no credit card information is required, for as long as you want.
- Connect - starts at $5/mo for the annual subscription, but it gets even cheaper - $4 when subscribing for two years. This plan has unlimited bandwidth and disk space as well as ~250 add-ons. And you get a free domain for a year! However, the Weebly ads stay on your website.
- Pro - starts at $12/mo. Along with the same specifications of the Connect plan, here you can start an online store with 25 items to sell. No Weebly ads and you get a site search option.
- Business - starts at $25/mo. Here you get an unlimited amount of products allowed, with no transaction fee. Also, there are advanced eCommerce features like inventory management, shipping calculator, etc.
- Business Plus - starts at $38/mo. eCommerce gets a yet another bump in this store-oriented plan. Unlimited products, checkout can be done on your own domain, there are coupons, reviews, and other eCommerce features readily enabled.
So along with the website builder, you get fully managed web hosting. And every plan comes with SSL certificate included for your site security. What is also great, each account allows you to build up to 10 websites.
Looking at all the features, I must say, the Weebly's Free plan is not bad at all.
By default, the option gives Weebly website builder and the majority of its tools. This excludes video, audio and search bar placements on the website. You also can't attach your own domain and will have to put up with a Weebly subdomain (looking like yourwebsitename.weebly.com).
However, that is enough to start a website, that will look great and can be easily upgraded when you are ready.
Of course, there will be a Weebly advertisement ribbon at the bottom of your page. And by the way, this advertisement also stays with the Connect plan.
But the Connect plan allows you to look more professional with a custom domain. And $4/mo is a really inexpensive way to have your own branding all over the website. Sure - the Weebly advertisements still remain and there's a 500 MB disk space limit, but this Connect plan is that many users will ever need.
However, to start a real business you want to go with plans like Pro, Business, and Business Pro. These will give you eCommerce tools and allow you to control and expand your store.
There are three subscription terms to choose from: 1 month, 1 year, and 2 years. The deal is that the monthly price gets cheaper when you choose a longer period. And that monthly cost drops significantly with longer terms.
Here are the prices for each paid plan, on each period:
|12 month||$60 ($5/mo)||$144 ($12/mo)||$300 ($25/mo)||$456 ($38/mo)|
|24 months||$96 ($4/mo)||$216 ($9/mo)||$504 ($21/mo)||$840 ($35/mo)|
The pricing system remains the same for renewals. The automatic renewals go with the same subscription period and price, but you can also choose a different term for your renewal.
And if you change your mind, you have 30-days money back guarantee.
Overall, what is great about Weebly, that it's a genuinely free service with an option to upgrade. Here you have a free access to explore the options of this website builder for as long as you need.
And the long-term plans are also worth consideration. They are not too pricey (cheaper than shown in the promotional tables and posters) and well equipped for eCommerce.
Weebly definitely is a decent value for the money.
2. Powerful eCommerce features
No surprise, Weebly turns out to be eCommerce-oriented. Starting with Business plan, you get tools to manage your store inventory, accept payments through 3rd party providers, site and eCommerce statistics to control and improve your business.
A simple online shop can be built for only $8 a month ($5 a month if paying for 2 years in advance). Yes, in this case, Weebly will charge you a hefty 3% transaction fee. But with higher plans, there are no transaction fees. Starting with the Business plan for $21 a month you get 0% transaction fee, unlimited products and plenty of extra features - that's cheaper than Shopify!
To empower your website, you are getting SEO, pop-up notifications, and integrated Facebook ads. You can attract customers with coupon codes, gift cards, product reviews, or automated emails.
You will be able to offer your customers a better experience with the shipping calculator, and shipping discounts. And Business Plus gives you abandoned cart emails and real-time shipping that will allow you to charge most accurately based on weight, destination, and carrier.
All in all, there are plenty of features for a great eCommerce experience. Also, if you want to add even more, you can go for the extensive app center and handpick the needed advancements yourself.
3. Comfortable drag-and-drop
All successful website builder providers tend to have two distinct features - great accessibility and ease of use. Weebly is no exception. The Weebly builder's dashboard is really simple to understand and navigate.
Building the website itself is also fairly easy. You can go from the registration form to your very own Weebly page in a couple of minutes. After signing up, you will be given a few questions about the type of website you are creating. Based on the answers, Weebly will offer you a template ready for customization.
Or if you want, you can start by picking a Weebly template yourself. The designs are sorted by website types and have varying degrees of sophistication. Some look very stylish and are dominated by visuals, some are slightly more text-based.
Of course, you can do some customizations within the template. The website builder has the editing menu on the left, leaving the bigger part of the screen to the webpage itself. This way you can immediately see any changes you make. Every block is easily found in the content table and offers the possible customizations in size, color, etc.
Adding content is intuitive and falls into places nicely. You can simply drag and drop images from your computer or use the given free images from Unsplash. There you can find countless high-resolution images for the best visuals of your website.
And of course, the pages easily converts to a fully responsive mobile version. And you can check out how it looks right in the website builder.
Another great thing, especially for advanced users, is that Weebly website builder has a CSS/HTML editor included. Here you have the freedom to edit your website from scratch. In fact, anyone with decent website development knowledge could pull it off. So if you're really up to it - you can make the website look even more personal.
In general, Weebly templates with modern designs allow you to quickly set up a beautiful and fully functioning website. But if you want to dig deeper, feel free to get into the web code.
4. Great performance
Being a website builder, Weebly also covers your hosting services.
Due to primarily different focus service, you may not expect a website builder to be amazing however, speed is important. Not only a quick website benefits the overall user experience, but it also helps to get higher ranks in Google searches.
The overall server uptime is first and foremost a part of the user experience.
If your project kicks off and you have plenty of people visiting the website, downtime equals to losing clients. If a server is generally not reliable, not even the best response times can salvage it. Therefore, we are looking for the best combination of server uptime and response time.
The overall server uptime of Weebly servers isn't the best, but it definitely is above average. In pretty much half the year, Weebly was down for only 0.03% of the time - which is a very good result.
However, there's another thing of Weebly performance which drew my attention - the response times. It averages around 300 ms which is a very good number! And another thing that can't go unnoticed is the improvement Weebly has been doing through the months.
Notice the change in response times slowly dropping? Weebly turned from a sub-600 ms builder into one that is twice as fast. This shows that Weebly is not resting on its laurels.
The servers are constantly getting better, Weebly does a good job hosting your websites. Performance won't be a bottleneck in any way.
But of course, not all is perfect. Weebly has beautiful templates - that's true however, they are not very flexible to match your needs. Moreover, there are some lacking features and the customer support might not cheer you up either.
So for a proper Weebly review, let's see what might be missing.
1. Lack of template flexibility
Working with Weebly website builder you quickly will find that flexibility is not its best feature.
Every element has strong restrictions. There are several different suggestions of compositions to choose from. But you can't do much of change moving image or text fields around. For example, even picking the font size is very limited - you get options small / medium / large.
Basically, you can add your pictures and do variations in given suggestions of color palette and font. But you cannot go and pick specific shades or move around the content boxes.
And although Weebly template designs are very stylish, I would love to have more freedom to shape it specifically to my ideas. And other website builders provide that within the drag-and-drop interface. I mean, without you having to do the code.
Keeping in mind the lack of customization freedom, the offered variety of templates doesn't seem too big. Weebly has over 50 templates, and with such little editing possibilities, this website builder doesn't give you much originality.
2. No backups
Simple as that, Weebly does not offer you backups. Even with the best hosting, there's a chance to lose some or even all of your content in case of a site crash. So you will definitely want to invest some time and effort to do those backups yourself.
Another reason to back up your website attentively is Weebly's policy. They have quite a long list for content violations that would allow Weebly to delete your site. That being said, you really want to back up your website!
3. Poor customer support
Weebly offers two main types of customer support - ticket/email and phone. However, they aren't too good.
Firstly, ticket support could be quicker. It regularly took me around 24 hours to get a response. But at least when working, ticket support is helpful. You get a genuine response from a genuine service agent. You can then reply to an email and have a proper conversation. It feels real because it is.
Phone support is not 24/7. The working hours are 6 AM to 6 PM PST on weekdays and 8 AM to 5 PM PST on weekends. That is quite a short time frame, especially considering the users around the globe. But what is more disappointing, they aren't too useful for technical questions.
Phone support is helpful for the basic things, or for helping you pick a plan. Naturally, they request that the more advanced requests would be sent in as tickets. Of course, then you will have to wait for quite a while to get a ticket response.
Also, there is a large knowledge base and user forum. You will probably find most of the answers here, especially for basic things. So having customer support would make more sense to help you out in emergency situations.
Overall, Weebly offers support, but in case of an urgent situation, stay patient, because it may take some time.
Weebly Review - Conclusion
Weebly is a really decent website builder. The plans are relatively inexpensive and have a good lineup of features enabled. This builder is a great option for beginner users or to start an eCommerce. And the performance has to be highlighted as one of the standout advantages.
However, a slight lack of templates along with limited drag-and-drop customizations is disappointing. And other, more significant disadvantages like no backups or slow customer support can lead to bigger problems.
But overall, at the end of this Weebly review, I must say that this builder has impressed me. While with its pros and cons, this platform is a great option for many different users and strongly stands in the same line with other business leaders, such as Wix or Squarespace.
- Cheap upgrade options
- Great eCommerce features
- Superb performance
- Easy to use builder, code editor included
- Templates lack flexibility
- Slow customer support system
- No backups available