The Step-By-Step Guide To Building A Website With Weebly
With so many do-it-yourself website builders out there, it’s hard to know which one to choose. If you’re a small business owner looking to get a decent website up and running fast, Weebly could be a good option for you. One of the most popular website builders currently available, Weebly was founded in 2006 and now powers more than 30 million websites. Weebly is most known for delivering a simple, user-friendly service that almost anyone can use, even if you have zero experience working on websites.
If you’ve decided to go with Weebly and are now wondering how to build a Weebly website, you’re in luck! This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of creating a Weebly website, from signing up for the service to getting ready to make your first online sale. Even better, we’ll show you how to use your Weebly website to meet your eCommerce goals.
How To Build A Weebly Website
Building a website from scratch isn’t exactly child’s play, but website building apps like Weebly make it possible for even amateurs to create a professional site. Start with the first step and you’ll be surprised at how quickly your site comes together.
Step 1: Create Your Weebly Account
First, you’ll need to create a Weebly account. Head on over to the Weebly signup page and get busy!
When you click the blue Get Started button, you’ll go to the signup form. It’s a simple one. All you need to do is enter your first and last name, your email, and a password. The form also asks for your country of operation; it defaults to the United States. At the bottom of the form you’ll see a box you must check to show that you consent to Weebly’s terms and policies. (Look a little closer, and you’ll see that by clicking the box you also agree to Square’s terms, policies, and E-Sign consent. That’s because Square and Weebly merged in 2018, and Weebly websites are set up to allow payments through Square.)
If you want to add PayPal as a payment option, you’ll need to upgrade your plan — we’ll talk more about the plans later on.
Step 2: Enable eCommerce
It’s time to make your first real choice on Weebly: Do you want a basic website on which you can also sell, or do you want an online store? If eCommerce is your goal, you can choose that option to be guided through the steps. However, if you want to explore the basic website option, you can set up your site that way and add an eCommerce element to it.
First, you’ll need to enter your store name. (Don’t worry, you can change it later.)
Next, you can select the type of item you’ll be selling online. Weebly offers 15 categories to choose from, including the catch-all category Other. After you make that selection, you’ll need to enter an address for your store, so you can create shipping and tax settings. And, if you already have a Square account, you can integrate it now.
Step 3: Design Your Store
Once setup is complete, you’ll arrive at the Weebly admin page, where you’ll find seven setup guides that are well worth investigating. Although you can skip any of the steps, the guides are a great way to get started on your new website.
The first guide walks you through the basic steps involved in creating your site. You can choose one or all of the options listed on the left side of your screen:
- Sell items to ship
- Sell items for pickup
- Show top items on Home page
- Collect email addresses
- Show your Instagram feed
- Include a contact form
- Display locations and hours
- Display testimonials
- Highlight a favorite item
Weebly offers some good options right out of the gate, especially compared to some other website builders, so think carefully before skipping any of these. However, if you skip something for now, you can always come back to add it later. You’ll also have a chance to upload your logo and customize color and font choices for your site, choosing among palettes designed to support five broad themes: modern, classic, elegant, strong, and vintage.
The last step in the setup guide is choosing a domain, or web address, for your web store. You can use a domain you already own, use a Square domain that will appear as YourStoreName.square.site, or purchase a custom domain. Only the Square domain is available on Weebly’s free plan.
Step 4: Customize Your Store’s Pages
The choices you made up to this point have been used to create a basic store structure. Now it’s time to customize your store and get ready to start selling. On the left side of your screen, you’ll see the sections of your store. There’s a blue button at the bottom of the column that you can use to add pages, too.
Click on the buttons to enable editing. You can add images and text to showcase your products and highlight your style. You can even edit the “shop” button, changing the size and color or the location to which the button takes shoppers who click it. It’s easy to reconfigure the layout, too, if you don’t like the look of your page. Just click the Customize button to see your options.
Step 5: Add Products
Scroll a little further down the page, and you’ll see a box labeled Featured Products. On the left, there’s a green button labeled Create an item. Click that to add your first product. You’ll notice that Weebly allows you to sell more than physical products on your site. You can also sell memberships and entrances to events, solicit donations, and sell prepared food and drink.
You can add multiple photos and a description for each item, then set a price and select fulfillment methods (shipping, pickup, or local delivery) depending on how you set up your store. You can even upload a gif or embed a 360-degree photo. Speaking of photos, there are some simple tools you can play around with to crop your photos, or add effects like image fade and hover. Repeat the process until you have added as many items to your store as you’d like.
Step 6: Create A Path To Payment
At the top of your screen, you’ll see a grey box with the word Guide, just to the left of the blue Publish button. Click on Guide to return to the setup elements remaining before your store is ready to take live. One of the most important is labeled Complete your account set up. Click on that to enable payments. You’ll need to enter a new password to create and activate an account with Square.
Be prepared to enter some business information, including your business name, annual revenue, and tax ID if you have one. You’ll need to enter your full legal name, home address, date of birth, phone number, and the last four digits of your Social Security number. (Square promises the information is used only to verify your identity and not to perform a credit check.) The verification process takes less than a minute, and once it’s complete you’ll be returned to your web store admin, ready to start accepting payments for your merchandise.
One note: Once you link or activate a Square account, you’ll find that most of the work you’re doing on your website is via Square Online, and not Weebly any more. Because Weebly and Square operate as one, you may not even notice this.
Step 7: Enable Shipping
From your Weebly admin panel, click Shipping to prepare to put items in your customers’ mailboxes. First, put in the address you’ll be shipping from, then decide how you want to charge customers for shipping. You can set flat rates, offer free shipping on orders that meet the criteria you set, base shipping costs on an order’s total size or quantity, or set rates based on weight, carrier, and destination — though that last option is available only if you upgrade your account. If you choose free shipping, you can set parameters including minimum order size, delivery speed, and more. Weebly’s default carriers are DHL and USPS, and you can create a UPS account to activate shipping discounts with that carrier.
Step 8: Take Your Site Live
That big blue button is so tempting. But before you hit Publish, take advantage of the Preview option to make sure everything looks good. It’s easy to click on sections and make adjustments. Once you’re satisfied with the look of your site, publish it and get ready for sales to start coming in!
Promoting Your New Weebly Site
Of course, publishing your site isn’t the end of your eCommerce journey. In fact, now that your online store is ready for customers, it’s time to tackle the all-important task of drawing customers in. The place to start is in your admin panel. Click on Marketing to see some options for getting started. One place to start is the Setup tab. From there. you can create a Share and Subscribe element to add to your emails and enter links to your social media profiles on sites including:
- Google Plus
- Sound Cloud
From the main marketing tab, you can activate custom email campaigns, including new item announcements, or create your own messages to customers. Of course, to truly unlock your online store’s potential, you may want to consider upgrading from the free Weebly plan. Like the free plan, the paid plans give you a shopping cart, inventory management tools, coupon codes, payments through Square, a tax calculator, and gift cards.
Priced from $6 to $26 per month when you pay annually, or slightly higher if you pay monthly, a paid plan unlocks more advanced features, like a shipping calculator, item reviews, and abandoned cart recovery tools. Paid plans come with a 30-day refund policy, so you can test it out with relatively little risk.
All Weebly sites, even the free ones, offer tools you can use to increase traffic to your online store. Check out the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) options under the Website tab on the admin panel. If you need a crash course on SEO, hover over the question marks in each section to get definitions and tips. While you’re there, click the Social tab to learn how to improve the way your site links appear on social media.
Your Weebly web store offers quite a few tools you can use to draw in traffic and increase your sales. Take advantage of some of them by clicking on the Insights tab of the admin panel. There, you can find an overview of your sales and visitors, learn where your online visitors are coming from, find out what items are selling — and what items customers are abandoning in their carts.
The truth is, creating a web store today is easier than ever. But once your store is up and running, you need to keep working to increase those sales. Thankfully, web builders like Weebly do a lot of the work for you, meaning you’ll have time, too, to relax and enjoy the rewards of all your efforts.