- Ease of use. Is the platform suitable for beginners, and how easy is it to learn the more advanced features?
- Support. If you encounter technical problems, how easy is it to get help?
- Price and ongoing costs. How much will it really cost to get your website up and running, and are there additional costs to consider?
- Features. What editing tools can you use to customize your website, and what other features can you add to make it even more impressive?
- E-commerce: How easy is it to create an online store? Are the e-commerce capabilities powerful enough?
Weebly vs. WordPress: A Quick OverviewWeebly is great if you want to build a small- or medium-sized website. The editor has a drag-and-drop interface that’s 100% beginner-friendly. You can get started with the free plan, but you’ll need to upgrade to get the most out of the platform. WordPress, on the other hand, isn’t as beginner-friendly. There’s a pretty steep learning curve, whether you choose the hosted WordPress.com version, or the self-hosted WordPress.org platform. In this comparison, I’ll focus on WordPress.com.
Round 1: Drag and Drop or Do Everything Yourself?Many Weebly reviewers consider Weebly’s drag-and-drop interface to be one of the easiest — if not the easiest — website editors around. You can easily move content around on your pages, and instantly see how they look. When you sign up with Weebly, a handy wizard will show you what each of the tools does, too. In WordPress, you can’t just drag and drop. (We’ll talk about this more in Round 4.) You can, however, install plugins (e.g., Elementor or WPBakery) that will add a kind of drag-and-drop interface, called a “frontend editor.” Learning to use WordPress can take a while, because its dashboard is fairly complex. Finding settings isn’t always easy, and you may have to search around a bit to access your pages and blog posts. Additionally, WordPress’ dashboard isn’t very intuitive, and compared with Weebly’s dashboard, it’s quite cluttered. It’s not always obvious where to find the function you want to use — especially when you use plugins. Some plugins, for example, have their own section on the left-hand side of the dashboard, but others are grouped under the settings section. Weebly’s editing dashboard, by contrast, is much easier to use and navigate through: The fact that Weebly is simple doesn’t mean it doesn’t offer more advanced features. With paid plans, you can add custom code and scripts to boost the functionality of your website. For example, you could use the code block to add the necessary code to embed a video from Vimeo, or to add a Twitter feed widget, or to add a Google Calendar feature. If you need help implementing any of these codes, Weebly’s knowledge base is a great resource. With WordPress.com, you’re limited in that you don’t really have access to more advanced features like adding code and scripts; but with WordPress.org, you have the option to directly edit CSS files and use HTML code in your content. There are online guides for these features as well.
And the Winner Is:Weebly. When it comes to ease of use, WordPress doesn’t even come close. If you’re a beginner, you’ll love how simple Weebly’s interface is. Even if you’ve designed websites in the past, you’ll enjoy the straightforward simplicity that Weebly offers. And when you’re ready to go beyond the basics by adding code and scripts to your website, Weebly’s step-by-step guides are very helpful. That’s not to say that WordPress isn’t for you, though. WordPress.com has a lot of limitations, and it’s more suited for blogging. But self-hosted WordPress has unlimited possibilities, if you have the time to learn how to use the platform effectively.
Round 2: What Happens When You Run into Trouble?Weebly support is amazing. If you encounter issues with your website, not only can you access an excellent knowledge base with step-by-step solutions for common problems, but you can also contact Weebly’s customer support team. There’s 24/7 email support, and if you’re a paid plan subscriber, your emails will be prioritized. During U.S. business hours, you can also use live chat or phone support. Ultimately, what you need to know is that WordPress doesn’t actually provide support per se for the self-hosted platform. You can always post your questions on the platform’s community forum. Keep in mind that this isn’t the same as dedicated customer support. Any WordPress user can answer your question, and there’s no guarantee that the response will be accurate, or even that your question will be answered at all. If you use WordPress.com and sign up for the Personal plan or higher, you can access email and live chat support.
And the Winner Is:Weebly. The range of support options that Weebly offers is far superior to WordPress’ community support forum. This is particularly important if you’re a beginner or if you’re not confident about your technical skills. If you’re more experienced in website building, then the lack of support with WordPress is less of a problem. But keep in mind that with WordPress in general, particularly self-hosted WordPress, there are more things that can potentially go wrong (such as conflicts between plugins).
Round 3: How Much Is Your Website Really Going to Cost?Yes, you can build your website for free. But if you want a website that looks professional, and if you want to use your own custom domain name, there will be costs involved. How much you pay will depend on what you need your website to do. Weebly pricing is really clear. You can choose from Starter, Pro, Business, and Business Plus plans. All these plans include a free domain name when you sign up for a minimum of one year. There’s also the Connect Domain plan, but this doesn’t remove the ads on your website, so its value is limited. Your total Weebly cost depends on the length of your initial plan. It’s ultimately more expensive if you subscribe to a six-month plan than if you subscribe to a two-year plan. The longer of a period you commit to initially, the bigger the discount you get. WordPress.com’s paid plans cost similar to Weebly’s. But with WordPress.com, you need to be on the Business plan to access features like plugins — whereas with Weebly, you can install free (and paid) apps no matter what plan you’re on. This means that WordPress.com is relatively more expensive than Weebly.
And the Winner Is:It’s a tie! If you’re a beginner looking for a platform that’s easier to use, and if you value having customer support over the lowest prices, then Weebly is the best hosted solution for you. You don’t need to upgrade to the priciest plan to take advantage of great features such as Weebly apps and e-commerce features.
Round 4: Fully Featured or Feature-Lacking?Weebly has a great range of features you can access directly in the editor:
- Images and galleries
- HD video
- Social icons
- Product boxes (if you have a store)
- Search box
- Block quotes
- Newsletter signup forms
- Contact forms
- YouTube videos
- Audio (MP3 files only)
- Cookie banners
- Files and Scribd documents
- Google Adsense ad blocks
And if that’s not enough for you, you can add other features to your website by using Weebly apps. There are 350+ apps available, and over 50 of those are free!
To see the available apps without having to sign up, go to the Weebly homepage, scroll all the way down to the bottom, and click the App Center link.
You can filter them using several categories:
- Images and galleries
- Code/Custom HTML
- YouTube videos
- Contact Info
These are available whether you’re using hosted or self-hosted WordPress. Where WordPress races ahead of Weebly, however, is in its ability to add thousands of free plugins. Remember, though, that to add plugins to a hosted (WordPress.com) website, you’ll need to be on at least the Business plan.
There are over 56,000 free plugins available in the WordPress repository, with thousands more you can purchase from websites like TemplateMonster and ThemeForest.