Keeping It Simple… Or Just Too Simple?
Since the beginning, US-based Weebly has been all about making it as easy as possible for anyone to create a website and get online.
With its super-quick setup, flexible drag-and-drop editor, and multi-language support, Weebly makes it possible for you to build a stylish website or e-commerce store in under five minutes.
Pretty appealing, right? Well, I’m not the only one to think so – there are over 50 million sites around the world currently using Weebly to reach more customers. And with both free and paid plan options available, literally anyone can use the platform to create a professional website.
But such simplicity and ease of use often means fewer features and less functionality. Could Weebly be any different? Is there more to this site builder than just the basics?
I decided to find out for myself. I signed up for a premium plan and built my own website from scratch to see exactly what Weebly has to offer – and whether it’s worth getting excited about. Keep reading to find out if Weebly is what you need from a website builder and if it’s a worthwhile investment for your business.
Quality Over Quantity
The selection of templates (which Weebly calls “themes”) is small, especially compared to the hundreds of options you’ll get with most leading site builders. There are just over 40 in total, and you can browse them all in the Theme Gallery before you sign up for an account. Just go to Weebly’s theme page , hover over any theme, and click “Preview” in the bottom-right corner to see it live.
All the themes can be used out of the box, or can be easily customized with the drag-and-drop editor. It’s also good to note that they’re all automatically mobile-responsive, which ensures a smooth and consistent user experience across every type of device, and quite frankly, should be a standard feature in any website builder.
I have to take my hat off to Weebly’s design team – they’ve done a great job of maintaining a clean, professional look and feel with each theme. Think crisp lines, parallax scrolling, clever use of white space, and bold, full-width banner images.
In fact, the designs were all so nice that I found it difficult to settle on one! Luckily, unlike Wix, Weebly allows you to change your website theme whenever you want, even after you’ve hit Publish. For indecisive people like me, you’ll find this to be something of a relief. I especially appreciated the Recently Used section, which made it easy to see and switch between my favorites.
The themes are loosely organized into seven categories: Online Store, Business, Portfolio, Personal, Event, Blog, and Other. I say “loosely” because many of the themes appear in more than one category, so it can be hard to keep track of which ones you’ve already previewed.
The biggest drawback to Weebly’s themes is, like I mentioned earlier, the limited selection. You’ve got the biggest selection (at least 30 themes) if you’re building a business site or online store, but if you’re looking for something more personal like a blog or portfolio, then there’s less than 20 relevant themes to choose from.
With that said, there’s nothing stopping you from using a business or event theme for your personal blog, or vice versa. But the bottom line is, if you go with one of Weebly’s themes, there’s a good chance you’re going to stumble across websites using the same theme as you.
This won’t matter to everyone – I personally wasn’t bothered, because I could still customize my website enough for it to feel like my own. But if you do want a design that’s more exclusive, you’ll be happy to know that there are heaps of premium Weebly themes available from third-party theme markets like ThemeForest and others.
Weebly Can (Almost) Do It All
There’s lots to love about Weebly, particularly for business and e-commerce sites. You’ll find simple tools to help you do just about anything, from creating a membership program for your customers and scheduling appointments to adding an SSL certificate to your website.
You can transfer an existing domain to Weebly if you already have one, or create a custom domain, with any of the premium plans. On the free plan, you’re limited to a Weebly.com subdomain and there will be Weebly branding at the bottom of your site. Sure, that’s forgivable for a completely free website – but it’s worth upgrading so you can portray a more professional image.
Weebly doesn’t have as many tools and features as WordPress or Wix, so you might find yourself limited if you have a very specific idea in mind for your site. But the tools it does have are thoughtfully designed and easy to find – a nice change from the WordPress dashboard, which can be quite overwhelming.
Let’s take a closer look at some of my favorites.
1. Drag-and-Drop Page Builder
This is where Weebly gets its reputation for being so easy to use. The drag-and-drop editor lets you build your pages from scratch or customize your theme by simply clicking and dragging elements into the position you want.
There are over 25 individual elements for you to use on your site, including text boxes, images and galleries, maps, custom forms, audio and video, and social media icons.
It’s one of the best page editors to use if you’re not tech-savvy, or don’t want to spend hours fiddling around with code.
2. Built-In E-commerce
E-commerce is one of Weebly’s strongest areas, and that’s thanks in large part to payment processing company Square acquiring the platform in 2018. Since then, Weebly’s e-commerce features have drastically improved – to the point where it now ranks among the top website builders to use if your main focus is your online store.
You’ll need to be on a premium plan to integrate a shopping cart into your website and accept payments. Then, setting up is as easy as choosing from one of the ready-made e-commerce themes, or adding a Shop page and your products to one of the regular themes.
You can also manage everything about your store right from your Weebly dashboard – and I mean everything. Here you can add and organize your products, track orders and abandoned carts, enable gift cards and coupons, set payment options and shipping rates, manage reviews, send store emails, and heaps more.
3. Weebly App Center
The theme editor gives you all the basic tools and elements you’d want to add to your site, but the App Center is worth checking out if you want even more functionality. Here you’ll find 350+ free and paid apps from both Weebly and a selection of third-party providers, and they can be easily installed on your site with just one click.
There’s an app for pretty much everything. You can create pricing tables, add a dedicated FAQ page, display an events calendar, accept donations, send automatic thank-you emails, and add pop-ups. You can even integrate with Facebook Messenger or other live chat software to improve your customer service experience.
A surprisingly decent selection of these are free, and I installed a few on my own site to see how they worked. It’s as easy as promised – one click to install and the app shows up in your theme editor to drag into place on your site.
Weebly has a good range of apps to work with but if you’re used to WordPress plugins or Wix’s App Market, you’ll probably still find it lacking. For example, I couldn’t find an invoicing or billing app, which seems like a pretty basic need for e-commerce stores.
4. SEO Control
There’s no point investing in a website if it’s not going to rank on Google and get found by your customers. Luckily, that’s not a problem with Weebly. You get a decent amount of control over your site’s SEO, and anything you can’t tweak from the editor – can be changed using an app.
Weebly lets you optimize every page of your site from the SEO settings. You can modify your meta title and description, URL, header and footer code, meta keywords, and image alt text – all essential if you want to rank in search engines. Your sitemap is also automatically generated for you (just add /sitemap.xml to the end of your homepage URL to see it), which makes it easy for you to submit your site directly to search engines and speed up the ranking process.
It’d be nice if you could optimize image filenames from the theme editor. Weebly doesn’t store your images when you upload them, so you have to reupload a new image file every time you want to change something. Just a minor gripe, but it’d save so much time when you want to tweak your keyword strategy and you have dozens of images to edit.
Ease of use
It Doesn’t Get Easier Than Weebly
I’d heard all about how easy Weebly is to use, but I was still pleasantly surprised by its beginner-friendliness and intuitive site building process. The learning curve is practically non-existent, so even a complete newbie would be able to get a fully-functional website online in a matter of minutes, complete with online shop.
I’ve built a handful of websites in the past, but only very simple ones – just a couple of pages and certainly no e-commerce, which always seemed like more trouble than it was worth. But with Weebly, all it takes is a few clicks and your store can be up and running.
Here’s what I loved the most about using Weebly.
1. Guided Setup
There’s only a handful of steps you need to take to get going, and Weebly guides you through the process clearly from when you first sign up. You’ll need to input your website name, product categories, store address, and choose a website theme, but I like that you’re not locked into any of the decisions you make at this stage. You can change any of these at any point down the line.
You’ll also be prompted to choose a domain name, or transfer an existing one if you want to use a domain you already own.
As you’re editing your website, Weebly has an interactive step-by-step guide at the bottom-right of your screen where you can follow along and tick things off as you go.
While this feature stays automatically minimized unless you click on it, I actually prefer it that way – I’m not a fan of pop-ups and full-screen tutorials that interrupt your workflow. This way, you can easily access the guide if you want it, and it stays out of the way if you don’t.
2. No-Frills, User-Friendly Platform
The builder itself is really well-designed, with a smooth drag-and-drop interface. You don’t need to be finicky about formatting and placement – when you move an element into position, it automatically snaps into place, perfectly aligned.
Unlike with WordPress, there’s no clicking back and forth between Edit and Preview mode to see how your site will look when you hit Publish. With Weebly, whatever you see in the page editor is what your visitors will see when your site is live.
The dashboard is clear and easy to understand, and I had no trouble figuring out where everything was. From the top navigation bar, you can add and rearrange pages, change your theme, visit the App Center, tweak SEO settings, and toggle between desktop and mobile view to see how your website will look across different devices.
3. Detailed Knowledge Base
If you do happen to get stumped, Weebly’s support articles should cover everything you’d want to know. There are well over 200 articles to guide you through building your website, managing your e-commerce store, choosing and transferring a domain, and marketing your site.
I checked out a few articles to make sure I set up my online store correctly, and they’re written clearly, with screenshots to help you follow along. I was able to make sense of some of the more complicated e-commerce features, like the material cost calculator and sales tax configuration.
At the end of the day, it’s a really good thing Weebly’s support documentation is so comprehensive because as you’ll see in the next section, its in-person support leaves a lot to be desired.
Help Is Hard to Find
Oh boy. Customer support is not one of Weebly’s strong suits, let me tell you. Getting hold of a live agent is like Mission Impossible.
For starters, the support team is only available during US business hours, which is a huge hassle for anyone not based there (myself included). The website is a bit sneaky with the way they use “24/7,” because while you technically can contact them anytime, the team is only there from 6am to 6pm PST on weekdays, and 8am to 5pm PST on weekends.
But in my experience, even when you do reach out during standard business hours, you’ll be lucky to get a response.
Live Chat (Supposedly)
Here’s the thing: Weebly used to offer 24/7 live chat a few years ago. But it hasn’t been available for a while now, and much of the website and marketing still doesn’t clearly reflect that.
If you click Contact us at the very bottom of the Support Center page, you can type your message, which will allegedly be passed along to a “live” agent.
But hit Continue and you’ll be prompted to send an email instead. Note that I got this message even when I tried to contact them during their business hours.
So, I sent Weebly an email to ask the same question about whether themes were mobile-responsive or just mobile-friendly.
Four days later, I got a very generic, automated reply that briefly answered my question and directed me to a support article for more information. But the article wasn’t relevant to the topic I’d asked about, and didn’t even address themes at all.
If you’re in need of urgent help, you’re going to have some trouble getting it here.
Weebly also offers phone support to premium users. But even after I managed to line up time zones to call in the first half of the US business day, I still had no luck.
I sat on hold for almost 20 minutes and then got disconnected. If you’re not based in the US, the international call costs alone make Weebly’s phone support a pretty unviable option.
Social media isn’t listed as an official Weebly support channel, but surprisingly enough, this is where I had the best response.
A support person got back to me on the same day, and they were very polite and helpful. It was nice that they prompted me for more information (even if it was partly to gauge if I was paying customer), and that they gave me a personal answer to my question instead of just dropping a link to a support article.
Free and Paid Plans for Businesses of Every Size
Weebly has four plans to choose from, as well as a free option.
The free plan is a great option for a basic website, and it’s also the best way to get a feel for the platform before committing to a paid plan. It comes with free hosting, 500MB storage, and access to all of Weebly’s themes, but your site will have the Weebly logo at the bottom of every page.
That’s fine for a blog or personal portfolio, but probably won’t cut it for a professional business. And if you want to set up an online store, you’ll need to upgrade in order to get the e-commerce features.
The premium plans are affordable, especially when you pay yearly or two-yearly rather than monthly. You’ll get unlimited storage and a custom domain, as well as phone support (but as I found out, that’s nothing to get too excited about). For a full breakdown of what you get with each plan, check out our guide to Weebly pricing.
You can upgrade to a paid plan at any time from your Weebly account dashboard, as well as from the page builder itself. Payment options include Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and PayPal.
Cancellations & Refunds
Canceling your account isn’t as intuitive as it should be. From your account dashboard, you need to click Manage Account and then Deactivate My Weebly Account.
The inconsistent wording makes it a bit confusing – is deactivating the same as canceling? I had to check the support articles, but yes, it is. Deactivating your account will cancel all future payments.
Weebly also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on premium plans, but you’ll need to contact them to take them up on it. When I did that, I learned the hard way that this money-back guarantee doesn’t apply to monthly plans, so be sure to keep that in mind. You’ll need to be on a yearly or two-yearly plan to get a full refund.
It would’ve been nice if that was clearer when I first signed up.
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We love Weebly for simplicity, its so easy to use. There's still long way to go to be the major CMS on the net but the team is doing good job. Last few months editor get more features, community of users seems to grow also. Support and documentation is really bad. Market place with designs and plugins would be nice too :D If you like Weebly there's few places where you can get Premium Themes and Web Designs services like ours under http://modernwebthemes.com
I did lots of research before selecting Weebly, most reviews were good and I haven't been disappointed. Easy to Use and you can build a good looking site relatively quickly. Sites also look good on mobile devices. Support and live online chat very useful and responsive.
Yea Weebly have still long way to go but the quality of application and direction that its going... it cant be done better. This Year they get founding and start adding a lot of new options. Community of designers and developers need to grow to keep pushing designs. Overall everything else works great, best DD CMS on the internet
I have used weebly since 2010 and I have nothing but good things to say about them. Their website builder is really all you need to build yourself a fantastic site and it can cater to most requirements. They offer a fantastic selection of templates that you can choose from and while you have limited creative control over how the template can be modified, you can still do wonders with them.
Weebly is great for any site that does not require overly technical editing. If you are looking for a mid to high end e-commerce setup, then Weebly probably wont satisfy you. In my opinion, the builder is best used for information sites or even blogs. I have currently setup my freelance writer portfolio site on Weebly and I am satisfied with the end result.
Overall I have been really pleased w/ Weebly.
I love Weebly! I am an artist who was using Wordpress, but I found their system to be very confusing and difficult to use. I found I was emailing my web designer all the time with questions and help in changing the content. Now I do it all myself without the need of a designer! That means I am adding content far more often and shifting the design around. This, of course, also means lots more hits and better ranking by google. I don't write a lot of reviews, but I am happy to recommend weebly to any and all. You can check out my website to see what I have done with my limited computer knowledge?