The Weebly team has been hard at work for the better part of last year developing Carbon, the next generation of Weebly. The major update to the service revamped the interface, added a whole new set of tools, and more responsive templates.
Whilst developing each of these new features, they even managed to improve Weebly’s mobile apps, bringing full drag-and-drop website building to all your devices. With Carbon, the company’s prices have changed, with plans starting at $8 per month.
So let’s take a closer look at Weebly website builder:
#1 Ease of Use
The transition to the new editor is seamless, thanks to the Weebly’s quick startup guide and the overall ease-of-use. At the core, it’s the same good old Weebly you know, but with a facelift.
The new dashboard provides quick and easy access to the information that matters. Get helpful tips, see site stats, store order, blog comments, and more.
To build a website, just choose a theme and start adding your content. You can edit and rearrange content by dragging and dropping elements right on your webpage, without having to use a separate editor.
There are many ready widgets and apps you can integrate with just a few clicks, including image galleries, slideshows, maps, audio, search box and more. You can also go beyond the default list of widgets by taking advantage of the ‘Embed code’ option.
You can add as many elements to a page as you need. The page itself will get longer to accommodate however many widgets and content you drag on.
Weebly uses a ‘box model’ which means all your content will fall to specific containers or boxes when you drag it to the page. This approach makes it easy to transfer existing content from one template to another in the future.
When adding a new page, you can use one of the ready Page Layouts as an alternative to a blank page. There are over 30 different Layout designs to choose from, including homepages, contact, about, creative menu designs for catering companies and restaurants and service pages, among others.
When you choose a layout, it will automatically add new site elements to your new page. You can then edit, remove or add new elements to the chosen layout.
#2 Feature Set and Flexibility
Commerce. Weebly has its own ecommerce engine which is chock-full of various business-specific features including inventory management, filtered product search, flexible shipping options, digital/physical goods, coupon codes, and also mobile store and checkout.
Membership. Two years ago, in July 2014 Weebly launched Membership Beta, and at the beginning of November its final version was officially released. This means Weebly is now one of the rare website builders that offer user management. Until recently, this functionality was only supported by Webs, DoodleKit and uCoz.
Blogging. Weebly Blogging is easy to set up and configure. The system lets you schedule posts, pre-select social media sharing options for scheduled articles, choose between different commenting systems, including Facebook, Disqus and Weebly comments, specify meta tags for individual posts, add custom header and footer to each post and more.
Custom forms. The Weebly system makes it easy to gather and view information submitted by your site visitors. The data is stored on your site’s dashboard and can be easily exported to a spreadsheet for future analysis. You can accept docs, images, or other file uploads from your visitors.
IFTTT integration. Weebly partners with IFTTT, a smart web service that lets you connect various apps and products to easily create automated tasks and events. For example, you can connect your Weebly website and your Instagram account to add a new blog post when you publish a photo on Instagram. You can use existing if-then recipes available at IFTTT Weebly channel, or create your own recipes.
App Center. Weebly’s App Center is a dynamic collection of apps and services that you can now add to your site through simple one-click integrations (it’s very similar to Wix’s App Market).
The goal of the App Center is to help you create engaging content and thus provide both function and entertainment to your site visitors. Let’s take a look at some of the featured applications:
PinPoll: this free app allows you to integrate fun and engaging polls into your website giving your site visitors a way to interact with your website and spend more time on it. Each poll can be completely customized with brand colors and images. The app is responsive, so it will look and work great on any device.
LiveChat: this paid app lets you integrate live chat software into your website in a couple of minutes.
Call-Out-Box: the free app lets you easily emphasize an important piece of information on your site with a custom background and border color.
Basic SEO features. The ability to specify meta tags for each individual page; in-house stats; the ability to add Google Analytics to augment the built-in stats; 301 redirects.
With the release of Carbon, Weebly expanded their included domain name offerings to include 6 new domain zones, most of which are international. These include .com, .net, .org, .us, and .info, among others.
Weebly has an Android and iOS applications that allow Weebly users to create new and edit existing Weebly sites on the go. Their new Weebly for iOS application turns the iPad into a creative tool that works both offline and online, and is specifically developed for tactile site building.
Weebly also offers a special solution for teachers and schools. The platform helps teachers easily create classroom sites and even digitize the entire school or college.
In general, there are three options: you can use a ready theme; customize one (in addition to the standard WYSIWYG builder, there’s an advanced HTML/CSS editor); or use a third party template – there are many designers who create custom templates tailored specially for this website builder.
In case you’re using one of the new responsive themes, your website will be automatically optimized for mobile browsing, and you’ll have no control over its look (I mean the look of your mobile version).
For those using old templates, Weebly provides a built-in mobile editor that is accessible from the Weebly Site Creator. Editing the mobile view of your site is simple with a visual editor that allows you to drag and drop elements into a mobile mockup.
Important note: All changes automatically synchronize between desktop and mobile versions, as you remove, edit, or add elements to your mobile website. This feature is available at no extra cost.
#4 Customer Support
Weebly provides different types of support. First, the control panel itself contains explanatory pop-ups and prompts to help you easily learn the system. Second, there’s livechat, phone and email support.
Should you encounter any problems, first visit the Weebly Help Center. It contains answers to the most frequently asked questions and many helpful tuts. Weebly is also quite active on social media. In urgent cases, you can contact them via Twitter or Facebook.
#5 Pricing Policy
There’s a free version that never expires, and three paid plans ranging from $8 to $25/mo. Weebly doesn’t force any third-party advertising on your website. The free plan displays a tiny Weebly link in the footer. Here’s our Weebly features comparison to help you estimate the cost of your Weebly site:
Free plan: you can use it to see how the builder works, but you shouldn’t expect much from it. You can certainly create a nice site using your free account, but note that it will be placed on a subdomain (yoursitename.weebly.com) and also display a Weebly link in the footer. The free plan lets you add 5 tangible products. On top of the standard processing fees charged by your payment processing service, you’ll be charged the Weebly transaction fee (3%).
Starter plan ($8/mo): this is the cheapest ad-free plan. It lets you connect a custom domain, customize the footer and upload your own favicon. It lets you sell 10 tangible products under the same terms.
Pro ($12/mo): this plan unlocks such features as password-protected pages, site search and membership (you can register up to 100 members). The product limit is 25 tangible items, transaction fees stay the same.
Business ($25/mo): this is the full-featured plan. It removes the Weebly transaction fee, lets you add unlimited tangible and digital products, create coupon codes including $ and % discounts among other eCommerce options. This plan allows for unlimited member registration.
Each plan provides $100 of free advertising (after spending $25) to new Google AdWords customers.
The Pro and Starter plans have a 3% transaction fee on sales. Most features come with significant limitations for the Pro and Starter plans. That’s strange that Weebly lets you sell only 5-25 products, as they charge the transaction fee for each successful operation. They could earn more simply by increasing the number of products, what are your thoughts?
Comparison with Competitors
Weebly is undoubtedly a great place to start a website, but you should know that there are many favorable alternatives to it:
Weebly Review: Conclusion
Weebly is a great choice if you’re about to build a small or a medium-sized website that doesn’t require any sophisticated functionality. It works for simple blogs, portfolios, five-page corporate websites and lightweight web stores.
We think it’s fairly priced, and we’re delighted to see that the Weebly team is constantly releasing new features. Excited to see what comes next.