Are you interested to build a business website, but have no experience? Then you have probably heard of Weebly before. How exactly good is Weebly? Can it do what it says? Let’s find out this review.
How Does It Work?
Founded in 2006 by three college students, Weebly is an example of a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) type of builder. That means, what you see on the editing layout is exactly what you would get on the front of your web page. This makes it easy for visualization, especially for beginners who don’t want anything technically challenging.
After signing up for an account with Weebly, you’ll immediately get access to the editing dashboard which looks something like this.
By default, a blog, an about page and a contact page are already set up for each theme. The little boxes on your left are the elements to build a page such as text, image, and video functions. When constructing a page, you’ll need to pick an element, drag and drop it on the space that you want and begin to edit.
Each element has its micro-editing panels through drop-down bars so you’ll get to see the options as you go along designing your site. Besides that, you can also add apps that cater to more complicated functions such as online scheduling and social media streaming onto your site.
When publishing a site, you can choose from any of these 3;
- Buy a custom domain from Weebly
- Use a domain that you already own
- Or use the free subdomain from Weebly
That’s in a nutshell, how you would create a website using Weebly.
How Good Is Weebly?
In all its simplicity, Weebly has some positive features that I like;
1) First, their themes are stunning. It almost feels like they came out of a photo book so they will make your site look very professional.
2) If you are a visual person, the building elements will make a lot of sense to you. The editing is meant to be intuitive and you should be able to understand what function leads to what type of actions in a matter of seconds.
3) They recently launched a new service called Promote which is a simple email marketing feature. Although it’s fairly basic, it’s a good start for beginners to learn about email marketing.
4) It is also built with 301 redirects and although I don’t encourage the use of this feature often, they can come handy for beginners whenever they mess up their permalinks (which is quite common).
5) Besides the building elements, there’s a handful of apps that you can install to help improve other areas of a website such as marketing, eCommerce, and social sharing.
Here are some positive reviews from other users.
However, after giving it a go, I can’t help noticing their limitations.
1) First, the site loading speed is a bit lagged; 8 seconds for my theme to load and 5 seconds to move from one page to another. It’s not that I am being impatient, but speed matters a lot in the online world because it affects the way you work.
2) At a glance, drag-and-drop builders may seem simple, but after a while, it gets very cluttered (and annoying) with the grids and drop-down bars overlapping one another. Regardless of how intuitive the design, you still got to make sure that the cursor points at the right space/box/tab to make it work.
3) Despite the number of apps, only 6 are free. Others offer only free trials or monthly subscriptions which can add to the cost of maintaining your site.
4) I’ve tried searching everywhere but can’t seem to find the SEO settings for images. So if your site has a lot of photos, it’s going to be quite tough getting rankings.
5) The domain registration fee for the first year is quite high (see cheaper option below).
6) With the free plan, you only get 10 free pages which will not get indexed unless you upgrade to paid plans (see better option below).
More negative reviews from other users below.
Seeing these limitations, I feel compelled to show you a website publisher that can do a better job which is called WordPress.
WordPress – The Way Websites Should Be Built
WordPress isn’t only good for beginners, it’s also a very powerful engine for building a functional website. Here are the reasons why I use it to start my online business.
1) WordPress is a content management system (CMS) software which means, it can handle a lot of posts/pages, keeping them organized all the time. The back end is more like a filing system so you don’t have to deal with cluttered looking interfaces.
2) It offers thousands of plugins (similar to apps in Weebly), most of which are free to use because WordPress is an open crowdsourcing platform where people are always contributing resources for the benefit of the online community.
3) All the image settings are optimized for SEO – there is no difference for beginners or advanced users.
4) At SiteRubix, you can create a free WordPress website and still get access to all the resources. If you like to use a custom domain, SiteRubix’s domain registration for the first year only costs $13.99. That’s almost $6 difference for the same name as the one we saw in Weebly.
5) WordPress is free to use by anyone. There’s no unlimited storage or pages. If you learn how to set up Google Webmaster and Analytics (which are both free), your site can be indexed immediately. You only need to pay for a good hosting service.
“But Weebly Offers Free Hosting”
Well, I hate to break the news, but there are a lot of ambiguities when it comes to the term ‘free hosting’. There’s no such thing as free – what you are getting are ‘limited’ features.
- Limited bandwidth restricts the number of visitors to your site.
- Limited amount of backup process for your files.
- No guarantee of a good uptime – meaning the duration when your site is visible online
- Limited space on the server – that’s why you only get 10 pages for the free plan!
- No guarantee for the security and privacy of your domain/website.
- No FTP access – meaning you can’t make specific changes to your web files.
So, read the lines carefully whenever you see the term ‘free hosting’ because you could be getting less than what you expect and all your effort in building a website could be wasted.
So, Is Weebly Worthy of Your Time?
If you are planning to build a small site for personal use, then Weebly is a good start. But if you are looking to start an online business with plans to expand in several years to come, do consider using WordPress instead. They are so much better in terms of customization and getting ranked on the search engines.
With the help of SiteRubix, you’ll not only get premium hosting that comes with WordPress but also access to the Wealthy Affiliate online entrepreneurship training that will help grow your business. Thousands of members participate in the training every day and here are just some of the tools and resources that you can benefit from the program.
I hope this article has helped you understand more about Weebly and other options available for starting your online business. Feel free to check out my review about SiteRubix here OR simply leave your comment below and I’ll get back to you the soonest.