Not everyone has endless amounts of time to invest in the finer points of website design, especially if you’re building a business, but it’s vital that you have an online presence.
So, what to do if you’ve got to get some pages together and have neither the time nor inclination to do so? Well, Weebly makes a fine entrance point into the world of website creativity and the best thing about it is the way it lets you effectively cheat a little to produce a website that looks as good as anything else out there.
What Weebly still has, even though it was acquired by e-commerce business Square during 2018, is wonderful a drag-and-drop interface that allows you to get a site up and running in no time. There are plenty of themes to choose from too, which is another great way of getting ahead of the game.
Another bonus at this point is that you don’t have to register a domain before you get building, which means Weebly is ideal if you’d prefer to have a go at putting some pages together first to see how you get on.
You can either pick from the template options – there’s something to suit most requirements in a ready-to-go format, which can be duly tweaked – or you can build from scratch.
Either way, once you’re into the main web building area you’ll find it gloriously straightforward. Construction tools are simple but effective, so you can edit content like text and images with no fuss or bother. Better still, elements in the page can be dragged around, so the layout soon takes on a unique look.
And, naturally, you can move it all around as much as you like if the current vibe isn’t taking your fancy. Considering many people view Weebly as being similar to online creator package Wix we think Weebly might actually have the overall edge.
It’s got a deceptively potent interface that, while it does allow you to produce dynamic pages with all of the modern-day website fixtures and fittings, putting everything together couldn’t be easier. There are lots of cool aids for making your site better too, with for example, the ability to press a toolbar button and review how your pages look in a mobile version of your creation.
We’re almost at the point where more people are looking at websites on phones and tablets than laptops and desktop computers, so this is a crucial aspect to bear in mind. The fact that you can do this, along with implement other interactive features such as video clips makes Weebly one of the best of its kind.
Weebly has recently added a new Sections feature too, which lets you build on bigger site chunks while still using the dead easy drag-and-drop workflow route. Menu options, galleries and all the rest of it can therefore be dropped in without breaking into a sweat.
Pricing & plans
One thing to note is that if you’ve opted for the free edition of this website builder then you will be committed to having Weebly branding in the footer, so the bottom of the page will be advertising them rather than you.
However, if you’d rather not have this feature then all you need to do is sign up for one of the other package options and it can be dispatched quick sharpish. Weebly’s plans are very similar to Wix, so the ‘Connect’ is the cheapest offering for £4 / $5 per month and mainly lets you get rid of the Weebly domain name and have your own totally custom site address. There are still lots of restrictions and limitations (but you do get a ‘free’ SSL certificate) and those who want to use their site for small business will want to opt for the Pro plan at £9 / $12 per month because even with the Connect plan, you’ll still end up with Weebly adverts on your site, just as you do with Wix. Not particularly professional looking…
Pro also lets you have an online store – payments can be taken via Square these days, as well as third parties – but the £18 / $25 per month business package offers lots of extra bells and whistles.
There’s also a neat behind the scenes-style page area that lets you coordinate all of the other bits and pieces of your site creation, including the ability to purchase or transfer a domain name.
This area can also be used to coordinate the launch of your website when it’s ready to go.
For alternatives to Weebly, especially if you have a site already built, check out our roundup of the best web hosting services.
All in all then there doesn’t seem to be too much that can go wrong within the Weebly environment and top marks should be given to the people who’ve designed it, as we didn’t find anything that induced a furrowed brow during our construction foray. Of course, this is an online web-based editing package so anyone wanting more flexibility might want to pursue more bespoke options, but considering how easy it is to use we’d say that Weebly is actually pretty useful as it is. And, with a new owner on board perhaps the power of this service might be set to get even more of a boost in the future too.
Of course, as we concluded in our Wix review, Weebly is only a great choice if you specifically want to use the service to create your site. There are better value choices if you have an existing site you need to host, or you need a provider that is more tailored to hosting WordPress-based websites.
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