Today is easier and cheaper to get started online than you think. With so many tools and software, everyone can create a professional website with no necessity for using any programming language. Often choose hobbyists as well small business owners to make their website using a website builder. In this article I will review on of the most popular website building tool, Weebly.
Weebly has been launched in 2006 by a group of college students. It has become quickly a success; the Time magazine has featured Weebly among 50 best websites in 2007, while in 2008 it was mentioned in The Wall Street Journal as an option for small businesses to create a website. In 2008 Weebly reached over one million users.
Weebly is an easy to use drag and drop website builder, which is constantly improved and supports CSS/HTML editing too. It is ideal for individuals and small-businesses to design their own website without the need of using code or having web design skills. In the next part of this Weebly review, I will show you the pros and cons of using this site builder. Will give you a few tips on how to start your site fast and which plan to choose.
What’s good about Weebly.com?
No Programing: you don’t need to write or copy paste code in order to integrate different functions or layouts to your website. The site builder makes it easy to insert web elements and media to your website without knowing web programming.
Get Started Fast: with Weebly you can start your site in minutes. Just choose a theme that fits your website the best, drag and drop element, create the necessary pages and populate them with content, publish your website directly to your domain.
Domain & Hosting Included: registering a domain and managing a hosting account might be difficult for a newbie. Web hosting is included with every hosting package, while a free domain for one year is available with every paid plan. You can also register new domains easily with Weebly.
Premium Designs: you can choose from a wide range of high quality premium themes and use them for free. The editing and customization of these designs is easy with the builder. You can also import your own theme and customize it with Weebly.
Easy to Use Builder: with a simple drag and drop builder you can easily insert a wide range of widgets and add features to your website. With just a click you can add text boxes, titles, image galleries, buttons, newsletter and contact forms, maps, media (video, audio, documents, files), products as well insert Google AdSense.
What’s bad about Weebly.com?
You are Stuck: Weebly offer free hosting service for the websites build with their tool. The problem is that you can’t move your site to another hosting provider. Certainly you can transfer the domain registered with Weebly to another registrar, but the website can’t be moved to another server. You should consider this when using this site builder.
Email Service: Weebly does not offer free email service. You can still add a business email address such as email@example.com but only trough Google App service, which costs extra.
Weebly Price & Pricing
At Weebly you can choose from four different plans. The free plan includes a the Weebly website builder, free sub-domain, free hosting with up to 500MB storage limit and chat and email support. This plan is great for testing and trying out the builder.
The premium plans starting from $8.00 monthly, and includes the Weebly drag and drop builder, a free domain for one year, no storage limit, free hosting, allow to create unlimited pages, remove Weebly branding and so on. The “Starter” plan is great for building a standard site with your own custom domain name and your own business email address. The “Pro” plan is ideal for membership websites, while the “Business” plan best fits the needs of eCommerce sites.
Weebly eCommerce – Create an Online Shop
So you might wondering how good and secure is to sell products with Weebly and how easy is to set it up. First of all, you should note that each premium plan allow to sell products online. With the Starter you can sell up to 10 products, with Pro up to 25 products, while with the Business plan there is no limit on how many products you can add.
With the Business plan you can sell digital products too. This plan also includes inventory managing, shipping and tax calculator and option for adding coupon codes to your store. The Business plan comes with an SSL certificate, which enables your customers to checkout directly on your domain, keeping their information safe and secure.
To set up the shop is easy. In the Weebly builder go to Store, and click on the Add a Store Page button. This will create a new menu as well a page where you can add your products (set title, prices, upload images, set product quantity, etc.). You can also import products from CSV file.
Weebly Online Support
Although the site builder is straight forward and easy to use, as a newbie, probably you will need some help at some stage. You can get help from Weebly’s staff by phone, email and chat. You can also browse their knowledgebase and community forum for quick help.
Weebly Email Service
Although with a standard hosting plan you can create a custom business email address with no additional cost, at Weebly this feature is not included for free.
Weebly integrates with Google Apps for Business, which costs $50 yearly per user. This adds the option of combining your domain email with Gmail as well having a complete set of apps such as calendar, storage and chat. The Google Apps suite enables you to access your email anywhere and manage your website and emails from one place, directly from Weebly.
Weebly Themes & Designs
The Weebly site builder comes with a wide range of high quality themes and designs, which you can use free of charges. However if none of these designs fits your needs, you can buy themes from other websites (just Google Weebly themes) and import them into the Weebly builder.
All themes available at Weebly.com are mobile ready (responsive) and SEO friendly, so you don’t have to worry about your users having problem viewing your content, or about search engines crawling your website.
Weebly Free Site Builder
You can try out the Weebly website builder at no cost. On top of that, you will receive a free sub-domain (such as http://yoursite.weebly.com) to publish your website. You don’t have to provide any financial information unless you want to upgrade your account to a paid plan. You should note that the free account has limited hosting capacity and features. For instance, on a free account you can’t use the eCommerce feature, can’t remove the Weebly branding form the footer and can’t connect your own domain either.
Conclusion – Is Weebly for You?
It is not a secret that Weebly is not for everyone, but for those who are looking for a cheap and easy to use solution to create and manage their website, Weebly is definitely a good option to consider. Both individuals as well small businesses can set up and maintain their website with minimal work and effort.
You can read more about how easy is to create a website with Weebly, in our Weebly guide.