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Weebly website builder review

Simple website design with plenty of eCommerce tools

Weebly website builder review
(Image: © Weebly)

Our Verdict

Weebly makes it easy to design a business website or eCommerce store. However, the site editor isn’t as powerful as we’d like and extensions for your website are expensive.

For

  • Easy, fast website design
  • Includes email marketing tools

Against

  • Extensions are expensive
  • Very limited design flexibility

With more than 30 million active websites, Weebly is one of the largest website builders in the world. This platform’s success stems largely from the fact that it offers an intuitive solution for setting up any type of website, from a basic blog to a full-fledged eCommerce store.

Compared to what other website builders offer, Weebly’s drag-and-drop interface is easier to use but more limited in its flexibility. However, any shortcomings are made up for by the platform’s excellent tools for online stores. There is also a collection of hundreds of extensions you can use to grow your business over time.

In our Weebly review, we’ll help you decide whether this platform is the best website builder for setting up a new site.

Weebly website builder review

Weebly is a website builder that makes it easy to create an online store (Image credit: Weebly)

Plans and pricing

Weebly has a relatively simple pricing structure, offering a free plan and three paid tiers. The free option is a great way to test out Weebly’s functionality, but you are limited to 500 MB of storage and you cannot connect your own domain name. The Personal plan costs $6 per month, but all you really get for that price is the ability to use your own domain.

Weebly website builder review

Subscription plans available at Weebly (Image credit: Weebly)

Most users will need either the Professional plan for $12 per month or the Performance plan for $26 per month. Both offer unlimited storage, visitor analytics, and support for products. The Professional plan comes with a 3% transaction fee, while there is no charge for transactions if you’re signed up for the Performance plan. The Performance plan also includes automated abandoned cart recovery emails and priority phone support.

Features

Weebly is packed with features both for designing your website and for running an online business. On the design side, Weebly offers a powerful drag-and-drop editor that makes it easy to get your site up and running quickly. None of the content elements are particularly unique, but they cover all the basics for creating a professional website.

Most of Weebly’s most exciting features are reserved for business users. Professional and Performance plan subscribers can sell both physical and digital products, and you can easily import products from a CSV rather than create your catalog from scratch. Weebly also includes inventory management and shipping features, and Performance users can set up abandoned cart recovery emails to nudge visitors to become customers.

We also appreciated that Weebly offers a built-in email marketing tool, called Promote. This competes nicely with purpose-built marketing tools like MailChimp. Promote comes with its own templates and uses the same drag-and-drop designer as Weebly pages. Plus, you can build segmented email lists and easily track the success of your campaigns using the Promote-specific analytics dashboard.

Weebly website builder review

Weebly promote is a capable email marketing tool included with your website (Image credit: Weebly)

You can also evaluate the success of your website using Weebly’s built-in visitor analytics tool. This is free for Professional and Performance subscribers. In addition to simply tracking site visits, this tool enables you to monitor custom sales funnels and create video recordings of real users interacting with your site. The visitor analytics tool is fully GDPR-compliant.

If Weebly doesn’t have the features you need already, you can expand your site’s capabilities using the Weebly App Center. This includes more than 200 extensions covering everything from marketing to shipping to the user experience on your site. Notably, most of these apps require an additional monthly subscription, and some of them include features that we would consider essential. For example, booking appointments on your site requires the Scheduler Pro app, which starts at $12 per month.

Interface and in use

Weebly starts you off with around 40 different templates, which is rather small compared to competitors like Wix that offer more than 500. However, all of the templates are modern and fully responsive, and they cover a wide range of potential site uses such as blogging and different business themes.

Once you choose a theme, you’re taken to Weebly’s drag-and-drop editor. This is straightforward to use and offers plenty of content elements for images, videos, text, and more. However, don’t expect a ton of customization. You can only arrange elements into a grid layout, and Weebly doesn’t offer the same flexibility in changing the look of your template as some other website builders do. We found that the result looks a little blocky, but this is a common aesthetic on the web today in any case.

One thing that we found particularly strange about the Weebly editor is that there isn’t an undo button. This generally isn’t an issue, but it can be extremely frustrating if you accidentally hit the delete button. Many of the keyboard shortcuts you might expect, like Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V for copy and paste, also don’t exist in Weebly. That makes using the editor a bit more awkward and increases the chances that you accidentally remove some content from your pages. 

We found that Weebly was much more appealing once we started to set up products in an online store. The product designer keeps all of your item details on a single page. You can create an unlimited number of different versions of your products, plus add as many images as you want to show off your wares. However, we were disappointed to find that Weebly doesn’t support product videos. You also cannot specify a meta title or description for your products to boost SEO.

Weebly website builder review

The Weebly product details editor (Image credit: Weebly)

We were less than enthusiastic about Weebly’s built-in blogging platform. There are no templates to help you jump-start your posts or keep a common style. The editing interface is also somewhat crowded since it features the same drag-and-drop toolbar as for standard Weebly pages. It felt like a big departure from word processors like Microsoft Word, which top blogging platforms like WordPress have sought to emulate. On the plus side, you can customize your posts with all of the same content elements that are available when building pages in Weebly.

Support

Weebly does an alright job with support, although we were far from impressed. Free and Personal subscribers only get access to technical support by email and live chat. The live chat appears to be run by a bot rather than a human team, so it’s not all that helpful. Email support was relatively speedy, with responses to basic questions delivered in under 24 hours.

Professional and Performance users also get access to phone support. This is available 6 am to 6 pm Pacific Time from Monday to Friday and 8 am to 5 pm on the weekend.

Most questions can be solved by turning to either Weebly’s massive online knowledgebase or its community forum. The knowledgebase contains over 250 articles, nearly all of them with detailed images to illustrate the steps they discuss. The community forum is also quite active and offers Weebly users a way to request new features from the development team.

Weebly website builder review

Weebly has a large online documentation center with hundreds of illustrated articles (Image credit: Weebly)

Security

Weebly takes security seriously, although we’d like to see a bit more from a company that hosts over 30 million websites. All websites come with SSL certificates and protection against distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, although Weebly doesn’t elaborate on the architecture of its server network. The company is also PCI compliant, so you can feel confident about running transactions through Weebly.

Weebly website builder review

Weebly offers SSL certificates for free with every website (Image credit: Weebly)

That said, Weebly doesn’t offer two-factor authentication when you log into your website. The platform also makes it hard to stay up to date on site backups. You have to remember to manually download your site files, and even then there’s no way to restore from a backup if anything were to happen.

The competition

Weebly’s closest competitor is Wix. Wix is slightly more expensive for basic websites, but offers competitive pricing for online stores.

The two website builders share a lot in common. In general, Wix’s page editor is much more flexible than Weebly’s, as it allows you to place content anywhere you want and offers hundreds of different content elements. While Weebly’s editor can feel constraining at times, we found that designing a site in Weebly takes much less time since there are fewer customization options to worry about.

When it comes to eCommerce, Wix and Weebly are pretty evenly matched. Both offer email marketing, visitor analytics, and inventory management. Note that if you need support for online bookings, this is standard in Wix but costs extra in Weebly.

Final verdict

Weebly is a good choice for website designers who want a simple experience yet powerful business tools. This website builder offers a less flexible editor than some of its competitors, which speeds up the design process. It would be nice to see a wider selection of templates, but the ones that Weebly offers are modern and aesthetically pleasing.

We liked that Weebly makes it easy for business owners to take control of their own marketing with built-in email marketing, blogging, and social media tools. However, bear in mind that you’ll probably end up paying for extensions from the Weebly App Center, which can quickly drive up the price of this website builder.