Weebly, our second highest rated website builder, has been bought out by Square (NO, not Squarespace!). This news comes as a surprise, but the logic behind it for both Weebly and Square is sound. In this post, I will attempt to explain the reasoning behind this move, and hopefully let you know what will happen to your Weebly site in the future as a result of this acquisition!
First Things First - Why?
If considering why this happened has popped into your mind, you're not alone. The news certainly seemed to come out of nowhere, with both Weebly and Square issuing press releases on April 26th.
This move reinforces our original mission: to help the world’s entrepreneurs succeed. As Square + Weebly, we’ll be able to help you in more powerful ways than ever before.Weebly Press Release
Weebly sums it up pretty well here. '..We'll be able to help you in more powerful ways than ever before'. If you're unsure why that is, let me elaborate.
Square is an all-in-one payment processing system, in its essence. In recent years, they have divulged into the hardware and POS (Point Of Sale) game, too.
So why would a payment processing system want to buy out a website builder? Simple:
eCommerce is growing and growing every single day, with companies like Shopify taking the lions share of all online shopping. This is why this move is so beneficial for both Square and Weebly. If Weebly wants to be up there with the best eCommerce providers, it's going to have to up its game!
Take a look at the chart above, it shows the market share for eCommerce globally, taken from Shopify's statistics. This really shows that eCommerce is a global market, and Square is absolutely going to profit from Weebly's worldwide audience! If you thought that the USA is the biggest eCommerce market, like I did, then we were both wrong! The USA makes up just 25% of the global audience, and with Weebly's huge European presence, adding that UK 7% and Germany 5% to Square's already huge market just makes complete sense!
Weebly gets a huge companies financial backing to invest in more advertising, development and support, and Square gets a hugely popular website builder with the capabilities to really get into the eCommerce game.
Here's a video proving that eCommerce is absolutely the driving force underlying this move:
Weebly does mention in their press release that:
...we have no plans to limit what payments processors you can use — the choice should be yours.Weebly Press Release
So you won't have to worry about only being able to pay through Square, at least in the short term, as we all know that sometimes these things can change. You'll still have access to payments through Paypal, credit/debit card and more.
Another plus point for Square is Weebly's global presence. Square is currently primarily a USA based and focused company, but with this acquisition, they will have access to Weebly's millions of customers and over 625,000 paid subscribers. It's becoming really clear how this move is mutually beneficial!
Nearly 40% of Weebly’s paid subscribers are outside the U.S., which will help accelerate Square’s global expansion.Square Press release
What Will Change For My Weebly Site?
According to Weebly at least, nothing will be changing aside from extra payment processing options!
Will my Weebly service be affected? No. We will continue to run the same service you know and love. And we’ll continue creating an even more integrated and powerful experience for you — with the combined effort of Square, we plan to bring you new products and services to help make running your business easier and better.Weebly Press Release
We have heard these kinds of promises before, however, so we will have to wait and see what changes, if any, occur in the long run. I am optimistic though, as Weebly does not seem like the kind of company that would put it's users needs as an afterthought.
Your Weebly site should function and continue on as before, as this acquisition is mainly driven by eCommerce, as I mentioned.
However, with any acquisition, there is going to be a clash of ideas somewhere along the line. Maybe at some point, Square will want Weebly's developers to focus more on the eCommerce side of things, and perhaps that will mean that their website builder development will stagnate.
Alternatively, things could simply get better. With a huge financial boost, Weebly will have more resources at their disposal. This could mean that their servers are upgraded and your website loads faster, meaning a better Google search ranking!
Speaking of Google searches, let's take a look at the interest in Weebly over time:
As you can see, interest is dipping ever so slightly. When comparing with Wix, our highest rated builder, you can see a trend appear!
Wix has certainly been the better performer, at least in terms of search interest, for the past couple of years. Weebly knows this, and the acquisition (and financial backing!) from Square will, Weebly hopes, help buck that trend!
So what happened in 2016 that meant Wix leapfrogging Weebly? Well, Wix made some big moves that year. To begin with, they became the official website design and hosting partner for City Football Group, which consists of Manchester City FC, New York City FC, and Melbourne City FC. Three football clubs that are huge in their respective countries.
Then, the advertisements came. Firstly, a video of some Manchester City FC star players creating their own sites using Wix. Next up came a huge ad campaign involving the filmKung Fu Panda. This ad ran in all English speaking locales, and it clearly had a big effect! Both of these marketing strategies started in early February 2016, which is exactly when Wix started its overtaking of Weebly.
At the end of the day, nobody can predict the future. Who knows what tomorrow holds? Weebly and Square are both hoping to benefit from this acquisition, otherwise, it wouldn't have happened in the first place!
Weebly is gaining huge financial backing as well as more payment processing options. Weebly users are going to have more freedom in creating online stores, too.
And for Square, well, like I mentioned, their global reach can only improve now.
I'm excited to see what the future holds for Weebly. Can this move help them improve and possibly reach number 1 on our list of the best website builders? We will have to wait and see!
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