Weebly Review

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Date Established
2006
Location
San Francisco

Overview

Weebly is one of the largest and most popular DIY drag-and-drop website builders on the market today. After the company’s founding in 2006, it experienced exponential growth, quickly hitting the one million user mark in 2008. This growth has continued to this day. Weebly now hosts over 40 million sites around the globe.

The company’s founders, David Rusenko, Chris Fanini, and Dan Veltri, began working together on Weebly while studying together at Penn State. In March of 2007, the first version of Weebly’s editing interface was released to the public. Over the last eight years, this company has been largely successful at its initial goal: delivering a simple, user-friendly service that is accessible to almost any person, regardless of skill or previous experience. It’s not meant to be a sophisticated design tool for pros with elite university-honed skills, but as a proletarian tool delivering website building to the eager masses, Weebly packs quite the punch.

Weebly is available in fifteen different languages (English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Turkish, Dutch, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian). The company’s flexible pricing options, simple editor, and optimized mobile sites have attracted a lot of positive attention, and each month Weebly-hosted websites receive roughly 325,000,000 unique visitors. What’s more, Weebly’s mobile app is the highest rated website building app in the App Store and in Google Play.

Let’s see if this popular website builder lives up to its billing.

Pricing

Weebly offers five distinct pricing plans, ranging in price from free to $49/month. The details of each plan are specified here.

Free Plan

  • Drag & Drop Website Builder
  • Display Weebly Ads
  • Free Hosting – Weebly.com Subdomain
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • 500MB Storage Limit
  • Chat and Email Support
  • Community Forum
  • Lead Capture

Starter

  • $8/month (for the 1-year plan)
  • $5/month (for the 2-year plan)
  • $14/month (for the monthly plan)
  • All of the above PLUS:
  • Personal Domain – FREE for the first year
  • Unlimited Storage
  • Connect Your Domain
  • Advanced Site Stats
  • Customizable Footer
  • Remove Weebly Ads
  • $100 Google Ad Credit
  • Up to 10 Products in Online Store
  • 3% Transaction Fee
  • Integrated Shopping Cart – Links to “checkout.weebly.com”

Pro 

  • $12/month (1-year plan)
  • $9/month (2-year plan)
  • $18/month (for the monthly plan)
  • All of the above PLUS:
  • Phone Support
  • HD Video & Audio
  • Video Backgrounds
  • Password Protection
  • Site Search
  • Site Membership – Up to 100 Members
  • Up to 25 Products in Online Store

Business 

  • $25/month (1 year plan)
  • $21/month (2 year plan)
  • $35/month (monthly plan)
  • All of the above PLUS:
  • SSL Security
  • Unlimited Site Membership
  • Member Registration
  • Unlimited Products in Online Store
  • 0% Transaction Fee
  • Checkout on Your Domain
  • Digital Goods
  • Inventory Management
  • Shipping & Tax Calculator
  • Coupons

Performance

  • $49/month (1 year plan)
  • $45/month (2 year plan)
  • $59/month (monthly plan)
  • All of the Above PLUS:
  • $96 Email Marketing Credit
  • Real Time Shipping Rates
  • Abandoned Cart Emails
  • Gift Cards
  • 5 Email Campaigns per Month to 500 Contacts per Email

Note that the paid plans offer a personal domain name which will be free for the first year. Afterward, domains renew at $19.95/year with discounts for extended terms. You can get the same domain plan with the free subscription, but without the initial free year. Also note that the features of the paid plans can be sampled for free for a period of 14 days.

Payment is accepted via credit card and PayPal. All paid plans are refundable in full within 30 days of purchase.

Web-hosted or Licensed

Weebly is entirely web-based.

Hardware/Software Requirements

There are no official system requirements listed for Weebly, though for optimal performance the latest version of any mainstream web browser (Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, or Chrome) should be used.

Business Types Supported

Weebly does not explicitly cater to any specific industry or type of person. Templates are approached from a stylistic angle, rather than sorted into discrete categories (like Restaurant or Hotel). For example, when creating new sites, users are given six basic template groups to choose from: Business, Portfolio, Personal, Event, Blog, and Other.

After choosing whichever option suits them best, each user is shown a collection of templates. This system makes a lot of sense from a web-design perspective, but some people — especially those with little-to-no previous web building experience — have expressed discomfort with the ambiguity of the template selection process and would prefer to have their hands held a bit more.

A closer examination of the available templates shows that restaurants, photographers, and musicians will find a lot to like with Weebly.

weebly templates

mobile sites

weebly templates

weebly template

Let me just say that I’ve been a fan of Unicorn Tears since before they were cool. I prefer their earlier stuff, myself.

Ease of Use

Editor: The Weebly editor is well-designed and straightforward, allowing users to take specific, pre-programmed features (image galleries, slideshows, contact forms, text boxes, video and audio players, product advertisements, integrated maps, custom HTML injections, etc.) and organize them in unique configurations. In some ways, Weebly websites are akin to intricate puzzles but without a ‘correct’ solution. The user can place the various pieces in any order they like.

Website builders are known for not straining the abilities of those of us without web design degrees, but even in this industry, Weebly’s ease of use stands out. It simply couldn’t be easier to find your desired element and place it where you wish.

weebly

Perhaps the only user-unfriendly aspect of the editor is the lack of undo/redo buttons — your edits can’t be reversed, unfortunately.

Design: In terms of style editing, Weebly falls a bit short. The editor itself allows for flexibility in the placement of different elements, but when it comes to the actual look and feel of a website, users don’t have a lot of control. The “Theme” tab really offers only two options: you can edit the fonts or change the template entirely. The basic structure of a Weebly site is very much set in stone, and doesn’t leave much room for users to impart a personal touch.

Mobile Editing: The mobile editor is a neat little tool that enables users to see/edit their sites as though they were being viewed from a mobile device. Any changes made on the mobile editor are automatically transferred to the desktop version of the site and vice-versa. Additionally, people have the option to change themes on their optimized sites and give the mobile versions a different look and feel.

Features

The feature set of this software is solid and practical. As far as in-house features go, there aren’t many surprises here (and not a whole lot of ingenuity), but what is on offer is imminently reliable. And what Weebly doesn’t cover themselves can likely be covered by the Weebly App Center — but more about that later.

Weebly has gone to great lengths to provide users with a comprehensive selection of features that combine utility with functionality, including:

Blog: The Weebly blogging tool has a simple setup that allows users to edit post titles, drag elements (such as text boxes and images) from the editor to incorporate into posts, list author information beside each post, host RSS feeds and visitor comments, integrate Facebook “Like” and Twitter “Tweet” buttons, and schedule post times, among other things. Weebly’s blog is considerably more robust than that of many recent mobile-focused website builders, whose “blogs” are little more than a way to arrange the images and text you input.

Pages: The page editor allows for the addition or removal of entire pages from a website. Users may add a limitless number of standard pages (including both shop and blog pages) and create subpages as well.

Contact Form: Weebly’s contact form is highly customizable, which makes it a useful, adaptable means of reaching out to your site visitors. You can add and arrange prefabricated fields however you wish, and you can also (somewhat) customize the look of these fields as well. You can also solicit file uploads from your visitors, though this is strictly a premium feature.

Store: In general, the Store is a nice addition to the overall Weebly package and functions satisfactorily. However, it falls a bit flat when compared to major industry competitors like Wix. The Store does have features like order tracking, a digital coupon system, and the ability to sort products into different categories and galleries, but these are all fairly standard and do not particularly stand out in the crowd. One thing that does distinguish the Weebly Store from the competition is the ability to accept payment in most of the world’s major currencies.

Image Editor: Weebly recently introduced its new image editor, a significant upgrade over the previous image editor. There are 29 filters you can apply, and some fancy focal features were added as well. And unlike the main editor, the image editor allow you to undo your changes. That said, some customers have complained at the lack of an image library (this means you have to upload the same image multiple times if you want it to appear more than once).

Stock Photos: Weebly offers access to numerous stock photos, a feature which can be extremely helpful. Admittedly, the selection feels a bit narrow and limited at times, but it’s nice to know it’s available in a pinch.

Forums: Weebly provides users with the opportunity to add community forums to their websites. This opens up a myriad of intriguing possibilities and is one of the company’s most inspired features.

Google AdSense: Users can drag and drop a Google AdSense section anywhere on their sites to help generate revenue. This feature comes fully integrated with the editor.

Video Streaming: Video streaming is one of the most original and appealing features available in this program; it is well-designed, fluid, and adaptable, and allows users to stream videos directly from YouTube and/or Weebly’s own custom HD video player.

Weebly App Center: Weebly provides an App Center with 208 different third-party apps to choose from, should you find your site needing some extra oomph. The apps on offer are categorized as follows:

  • Marketing
  • Tools
  • Communication
  • eCommerce
  • Social

weebly app center

Weebly keeps users up-to-date on feature improvements and updates via their blog. For example, Weebly recently introduced improved navigational menus and a platform update that added flexible headers and video backgrounds.

Web Design and Editing

Templates: Most of Weebly’s templates, while serving their purpose adequately, are a trifle boring and unimpressive. To be fair, some do catch the eye and leave a lasting impression, and the more recent templates are fresher than what came before.

Mobile: It’s possible for users to manage their sites via mobile devices, a relatively unusual feature that is both surprising and gratifying. The entire Weebly editing service is available on iPad, and there are also helpful dedicated apps designed specifically for iPhone and Android operating systems which allow users access to their blogs and comment response systems. These apps also let people check site statistics and manage their online stores. A mobile editing app seems like a no-brainer, yet too many website builders neglect to produce one. Kudos to Weebly for including one.

Desktop: Weebly’s editing software is simplistic and neatly organized, designed so that users can easily drag, drop, and arrange elements onto their websites. Although this inherent simplicity is appreciable, at times it can seem bland and even limiting. Weebly’s desktop editor is reliable and comfortable, but overall it lacks a certain wow-factor.

Integrations and AddOns

This software is integrated with Google Maps and the YouTube video player. You’ll also find an expansive selection of widgetry in the App Center.

Payment Processing

Weebly offers four payment processors to choose from when setting up your online store:

  • Stripe: 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction
  • Square: 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction
  • PayPal: 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction
  • Authorize: Fees depend on the merchant account

Square, PayPal, and Authorize are only available to those on the Business and Performance plans. In addition, for those on the Starter or Pro service plans, Weebly will charge an additional 3% fee per transaction. For those on the Business/Performance plan, the 3% Weebly transaction fee is waived and you will only pay the processor’s transaction fees.

Customer Service

In general, Weebly’s customer support network is quick and helpful, and their use of a live-chat system and a phone hotline is efficient, especially when bolstered by a help center which offers both training and instruction and serves to answer common questions. My own experience with Weebly’s support team was positive and my questions/concerns were promptly addressed.

Negative Reviews and Complaints

The primary complaint about Weebly from users is that it is simply not worth their money or their time. More specifically, people are disappointed with the following problems:

  • Frequently frozen screens
  • Failed uploads and updates
  • Unresponsive/unhelpful customer support
  • Clunky templates

Some users have also found Weebly’s SEO to be inadequate, with others describing Weebly’s customer support as rapid, but unhelpful. Weebly’s pricing has been criticized by users as inconsistent, with some reporting that people who signed up for the same paid plans within the same time frame were charged differing rates. Still others point to new problems introduced to the service by recent upgrades.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials

There are some significant negatives to Weebly, but it has received its fair share of 4 and 5-star ratings from leading software review sites and has many devotees among its user base. This software is most frequently acclaimed for the following positive characteristics:

Weebly has also been praised for its inclusion of an iPad app for mobile site building, as well as an Apple Watch app for site-related alerts, should you find that necessary!

Amongst users, Weebly receives particular plaudits from those new to website building, with many reporting ongoing happiness with both the product and the customer support received. Weebly’s average customer rating on Trustpilot is 5.3 out of 10, though you’ll certainly find a wide range of user opinion there, with criticism increasing as of late.

Final Verdict

As a whole, Weebly is a solid and practical piece of software. Though it is, perhaps, a trifle unremarkable, this program’s exponential growth and large customer base say a great deal about its overall track record and efficacy. After all, a company doesn’t attract over 40 million customers with mediocrity. Weebly has a strong foundation and provides essential, intuitive tools. The program is admittedly fairly basic, but there are some extras – like integrated video players and the option to add community forums – that are well-conceived additions to the feature set.

The worst thing that can be said about Weebly is that it does not distinguish itself or stand alone in any way. Almost every feature provided can also be found in any other do-it-yourself web-builder. The editor itself, while certainly functional, lacks an individual touch. When creating a new website, I want to feel creative and be given a variety of options for self-expression and customization. However, if you’re looking to get a functional website online for yourself or your small business with an absolute minimum of fuss, you’d do well to consider Weebly: the website builder for the rest of us. Four stars.

Jason Vissers

Jason Vissers

Jason Vissers is a writer, cereal chef and Netflix aficionado from San Diego. A native Californian who enjoys the beach, Jason nonetheless prefers to do his surfing on the World Wide Web, the raddest wave of them all. Jason can't eat raisins.
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13 Comments

    Rayan

    Hello to all, I can not belief that it is now 48 hours now since I upgraded my plan from free member to one year paid subscription. However since I paid for the domain I do not see the new domain name online still. I bought the dot com domain but up till date my site is not publish under the new domain. Only the free domain name continues to appear.

    Also when I check the paid version of the domain name I see that it is still available for sale when I have bought it alread. So strange !!!

    The bad part is that my money was deducted from my account. However i read in one blog spot that they have a 30 days refund policy. I have written to their customer service but no response yet.

    I will give them 1 week to solve my issue if not then i will likely go back to my bank and make a charge back of funds. The situation is quite embarrasing. I can not just get anybody on the line.

    Please if you have any idea of what to do then please email me using : rayan.dicks (AT) gmail dot com

    Best regards

    Lawrence Carroll

    When I originally signed up to weebly 5 years ago I felt it was a good investment I could afford. As they have grown their customer base they have reduced the number of functions I paid for. Now I have to upgrade to regain the functions. Recently they downgraded my website because an automatic payment had failed. No warning was sent. Customer service glibly says there are other websites out there if I want to shop around. That did not feel an appropriate response to a loyal customer.Not recommending them and thinking I may have to pull out and build me a new site.What a drag.

    1
    Danielle Wise

    Difficulties with navigation, simple process but issued began to escalate with changing site and expansion. Went with Wix for a business that needed shopping cart since Weebly did not support well. When left Weebly for my private business site, they did not refund my year I didn't use. Only work with them via email for evidence, do not make changes via phone. They denied the conversation ever happened.

    2
    Xanthe Wyse

    I’ve found Weebly a great low-cost option for small niche non-commerce type websites. Generally easy to learn to use.

    Whether the website ends up attractive or ugly though depends on what you make of the limited template option. Can edit page urls and have good SEO etc but info on how to do things like this are a bit sparse so can be a bit of figuring out beyond the basic design.

    The downsides are for me are the very limited options of templates to choose from, not being able to undo, not being able to copy a website (with a particular style) to another account and edit it.

    If use the logo/text header instead of a photo banner it reduces in size on iPads like it does on mobiles which is annoying.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Morton

    To be sure, the drag and drop features are appealing, but we what we have found is that 1) many changes are randomly not saved, so we lose blocks of text, images, code, etc.; 2) the interface is glitchy. The screen frequently freezes and you have log out and log back in; 3) customer support is available but no helpful in any way. They often do not understand (or pretend not to understand the problem) and the average chat session is 25-40 minutes going round and round with no resolution. 4) There is no undo button. If you make an interface change and you don't like it, you have to go back and start over to the get the old one. This is costing our company so much time and money.

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Michael A

    I switched to Wix, and I'm quite happy with it. I left Weebly mainly because of the undo problem, but I did encounter some of the other problems that were mentioned. Now I'm a real Wix fan.

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    peter d

    Ok for very small enterprise and basic websites. Try building a large e-commerce store and poor. The inventory can not be bulk edited, no SKU on sales reports leaving you to search your listings for the product SKU. Poor internal search function. No advanced search options. No possibility to search by price, by size, by color, time listed etc. All features you would expect of an e commerce store. Very limited choice of templates and of course - ask a question to support and get the repetitive standard answer "sorry we do not currently support that feature but will pass it on to our development team" Now looking to move to another company, having wasted 3 months of time. E commerce- dont even bother.

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Michael A

    There's one thing that most reviewers miss: Weebly has no undo feature. I accidentally deleted a text box with a photograph and couldn't get it back.I changed an item and then hated the way it looked - but no way to revert.I wrote to Weebly support about this, and they said, basically, "sorry, we don't do undo." Wow. I paid for 2 years of a service that I can't use. How can you design without being able to experiment?

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Jason Vissers

    It’s frustrating, isn’t it? Though you can undo/redo text edits within that individual text block, the lack of site-wide undo/redo buttons is hard to figure.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    therealhood

    i only gave this 5 stars to get at the top of the list..Weebly is a great site if you dont want any traffic, feel the need to spend hours working on each listing and dont want to be bothered with making sales.We sale wedding dresses and accessories.... got the business package for $299 for 1 year... total waste of money. There is no good way to upload product files properly with a csv... yeah, it offers one but you need to individually upload each image, categorize them, and every time you go in it wants you to "publish"... wtf i didn't change anything.

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Momoko

    So... (continued from my take written on Feb 15, 2016) now I have made a site with Weebly ( migrated the content from my old site). After that, I have been making another site of mine with Squarespace in the past few days. And I can now clearly see the difference between the two platforms. One big thing I noticed today was how the platforms treat embedded codes. I specifically embed from YouTube, Flickr slideshow, and Google calendar. Oh, and Mailchimp. Weebly isn't doing well with embeded material! Not all functions written in code performs on Weebly page, where as on Squarespace it not only look good but also does what they are supposed to do. Plus. there is a problem with code editing mode on Weebly. I have to click certain area of the box 100 to 200 times just to access the edit mode. Sometimes I get lucky and it takes me to edit mode after only several clicks. It is very inconvenient. It happens only when I need to edit code. Other text areas are not that bad. Also, since the result of the embedding is poor, I had to go back and try modifying the code to just to get by. And flickr slideshow is still not functioning fully. Autoplay code is not understood by Weebly platform. With Squarespace, on a bright side, I put the embed code in, and that's it. No need to modify or do trial and error thing because it worked in the first shot. It shows beautifully, responsive, and plays automatically with loop. Weebly doesn't do that even though I tried several different version of codes. For me, it's really a waste of time to use Weebly. Generally speaking, Squarespace templates are much better looking, and also I was able to alter layout and colors without going into editing codes in Squarespace. With Weebly, on the other hand, I had to dive into the muddy css files just to change anything simple like colors and fonts. CSS and html files didn't have much comments to guide me to anything, so it was a terrible experience. I managed to make a web site, but I realized that no matter how much work would I pot in, the site doesn't look as good as I want it be, because the templates are not so pretty. I guess I could have bought a $180 or $140 template to make it better, but then the embedding problem is serious enough for me to not to stay with Weebly. It's really better to go with a platform that can work with other things like YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, etc. If a website works with social network stuff poorly, it becomes static. A static website is a bad website in Internet universe.

    2

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Momoko

    I use a bit of customer service chat. That's nice, but often the issues are beyond their control. Templates look nice in a first glance, but once started adding content, there are a lot of glitches. I had to come up with so many work around to just get by. Generally, their templates are not thoroughly designed, especially in the mobile versions. I want visitors of my web site have very simple and clear navigation when they are visiting from mobile devices. But Weebly's templates, all of them, don't have well thought navigation design. So, I started looking at other people's websites, and I found that the templates I was impressed with often came from squarespace templates. When I visit a site from my phone, it looked very pretty, navigation was not only elegant but also I had a sense of where I am at in the site. This still does not mean squarespce is better for me. I do embed stuff from other sites (flickr, google calendar, youtube, etc), and I don't know how square space takes the heavy embed. Weebly's embed box can be hard to use. I experience a lot of instability. Often it's near impossible to open the edit mode. I finally discovered that if I click on a very certain spot, which I have to click 20 times or so just to get it right, then I can open the edit mode. I have no idea why they made it so difficult to use the embed box. Still, Weebly is easier to use than squarespace. A full customization is not available in Weebly. You can fix some things but not all things.Weebly templates I tried are responsive, but I believe that if mobile navigation sucks when people visit your website from mobile devices, they are likely to just move onto doing something else. A few clicks and if I don't know where I am, I would stop browsing in the site. Wouldn't you too?

    3

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Jason Vissers

    Most likely! Thank you for the input!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

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