2016 Weebly review: Everything you need to know
Overview: Weebly specializes in helping webmasters build simple, mobile friendly sites.
Free: $0.00/mo for shared hosting.
Professional: $12.00/mo for shared hosting.
Business: $25.00/mo for shared hosting.
Ideal Customer: Weebly can help anyone without technical knowledge create a professional looking site and host it for free.
Membership Creation: Weebly currently has 3 plans – starter, pro, and business. While their starter plan doesn’t allow you to create membership sites, their pro and business plans do. Membership creation is useful if you’re looking to make a private club or restrict certain content from the public. The pro plan allows up to 100 people and the business plan has no limit on the number of people you can invite for membership creation. There are various ways you can take advantage of membership creation. For example, if you have a photography website, you can create a private members-only group for access to high-resolution images. It’s also useful for running classes or tutorials that are premium content.
Header Slideshows: This is a feature for Weebly Pro and Business. With this option, you can transform your entire header of your website into a slideshow. For a simple drag-and-drop hosting option, this is a rather powerful feature. If you’re running an e-commerce store and want to showcase certain products or images, this feature would be useful. You can customize the slideshows in many ways, including transition styles, navigation styles, delays, and image editing.
Mobile Apps: Weebly has iPhone, iPad, and Android apps that allow you to manage your website from anywhere. This is a surprisingly unique feature that is yet to be provided by their chief competitors that also specialize in drag-and-drop website builders. If you wanted to, you actually have the convenience of building your entire website, including an eCommerce store, from Weebly’s mobile apps because they’re optimized well for mobile devices and are very user-friendly. Best of all, the mobile apps are available for all plans, from starter, pro, and business.
We have looked at several review sites online to see how customers feel about Weebly. We found several positive reviews about their features and ease of use.
One customer states: “I have used weebly and it is amazing, it let’s me make good websites for free. My favorite hosting program.”
Another reviewer writes: “As someone who is not technologically savvy, I appreciated the easy to use drop and drag tools on Weebly. I built an awesome website in only a few days and I can edit it easily.”
While most customers had good things to say, we also found several negative reviews. Most users seem to have negative thoughts about features not included in their paid hosting and smaller technical issues.
One reviewer complains: “I think that for the high price of around $7 a month would be good if we got a free domain with it…I also think that they should give things like an email for free with your domain for what you are paying.”
Another user had an issue with specific file issues recalling a time when Weebly changed the image title to a: “permanently renamed to a nonsense string of characters. There is no way to add title information to an image unless you hand code your page’s image content.”
We also checked Twitter to see what people were saying about Weebly. This user was very pleased with one customer support tech:
Another customer here is expressing frustration at a down site:
— ♥Geordie-Kelly♥ (@WriterKMS) November 30, 2015
- Free Domain for a Year: Weebly allows you to use your existing domain or purchase one for free for a year. After that, it’s $19.95 for all three – starter, pro, and business – plans.
- Inclusive Starter Plan: Weebly’s most inexpensive starter plan is still fairly inclusive. You have access to all their templates. This plan even allows unlimited storage.
- Online Store: You can open an online store no matter which plan you have, although how much you can sell varies by the tier.
- Attractive Themes: Weebly is known for their attractive templates (themes) that are optimized for mobile devices, and with over 100 themes you can choose from, there is no shortage of options.
- Intuitive Site Building: Easy and user-friendly interface is the key to any drag-and-drop hosting, and Weebly succeeds in this area. Site elements are arranged in groups.
- Migration: One major concern about using services like Weebly is that you’d be locked into their site builder. Weebly allows you to download your site as a ZIP archive file so if you want to pack up and move, you can easily do so. This does come with a caveat – you won’t be able to move interactive features and comments, but that’s to be expected.
- No Email Accounts: That is, unless through Google Apps. While email accounts are standard features on most web hosting plans, this is not the case with Weebly. They’ve partnered with Google Apps for email accounts for $45 per year, which can be a bit steep.
- No Online Storage of Images: So if you wanted to reuse certain images, you’d have to keep them on your hard drive and re-upload each time, which can quickly become a hassle.
- Premium Accounts Are Not Cheap: At over $30 per month (Business Plan) and over $12 per month (Pro Plan), Weebly’s premium accounts aren’t exactly inexpensive, but if you’re planning to run an ecommerce store, premium plans are something worth springing for.
Weebly has gained a reputation for an eye-pleasing, user-friendly site builder. For something that sounds so simple, it’s surprisingly robust, with capabilities to run a full e-commerce store. Their multi-tier plans are suitable for both beginners and experienced users. All plans include access to templates and unlimited storage, but the true meat comes with pro and business plans. With those plans, you can have header slideshows and a host of other attractive features.
Takeaway: Weebly is most suitable for someone running an e-commerce store or private membership website. Their starter plan might be a bit steep for just running a personal blog or small website.