Today’s marketing reality requires fast and workable solutions for website-building so that companies and independent traders can launch their eCommerce sites urgently and – what is more important – hands down. This challenge has provoked the rapid growth of website builders that offer Drag-and-Drop options and other instruments designed to simplify the whole process of creating and maintaining websites.
This tendency is by all means great. But sometimes, surplus supply can play a low-down trick on a company. When you are not an expert programmer, you simply cannot pick the very site builder you need. So, many businesses have the only choice of relying on positive reviews.
It is easy to compare a good platform and a bad one. But what this article is aimed at is to compare two top-quality website builders namely Weebly and Shopify. The main purpose of both is to allow businesses to launch their eCommerce sites without coding ordeals. However, one of them might suit your site’s project or even the entire marketing concept more. So, let’s have a detailed view of each of them so that you can choose yourself.
Weebly vs Shopify: General Overview
The brief introductions of both platforms start the comparison. Let’s get a quick insight into each of them.
Weebly came to the market in 2007 by launching its office in San Francisco. The main purpose of the company’s products remains the same: allowing businesses to build websites fully equipped for eCommerce activities. An important nuance of the platform is that it provides the necessary tools for creating “beautiful” sites.
At present, the platform has gained huge popularity. It works across the globe, and its services are available in about 15 languages. Weebly claims that millions of clients have based the work of their sites on its services. When you read a couple of customers’ reviews, you’ll see that the main reason why they have chosen Weebly is its convenience and affordability. In addition, the platform can be used for free.
Shopify is one more strong player in the site-developing industry. Its history started in Ottawa in 2006. A team of skateboard sellers gathered in 2004 to create an effective website to sell their products. At that time, there were no fast solutions, but they succeeded in creating the exact cloud-based platform they needed for their business.
The group understood that they could share their successful experience and help other businesses run their online stores quickly and effectively. This is how we have gotten the Shopify platform. Now, this is a powerful resource with all means for building professional eCommerce websites and making them grow fast. Millions of customers use Shopify today. Among them are Forbes, Maxim Magazine, Tesla, Gatorade, and other big names. Shopify clients might praise such key options of the platform as ease of use as well as advanced design and marketing features.
Weebly vs Shopify: Which One Is Easier to Use?
For an IT dummy and a pro coder, a site builder’s usability is one of the key options. Let’s compare both platforms under review in this respect.
From the ease-of-use perspective, Weebly is a proper platform only when your expectations are moderate enough. Yes, it has Drag-and-Drop, but its abilities here are quite limited. In fact, when taking any aspect, you should factor in that Weebly is a free but outdated enough platform. This is true for its convenience, too.
Weebly has an intuitively-run dashboard with all instruments near at hand. It is simple to get into its Drag-and-Drop Editor. You will have enough hints and won’t spend much time learning how to utilize the tool. However, the option has many restrictions, so do not expect much freedom from the tool. Creating a very simple store is the limit of the platform. But for fairness’ sake, such a very simple online store can be built in no time and with little effort.
Shopify is richer in many respects, and its ease of use is one of them. Like with Weebly, you can build the simplest online store easily with the Shopify instruments. Its editor is supplied with an easy-to-manage dashboard and the Drag-and-Drop feature, too. But in this case, the editor will give you much more freedom.
It does not mean you can publish a complex eCommerce website with its help in ten minutes. Surely, you will have to spend some time getting things straight. Frankly speaking, Shopify could make its interface even more intuitive, but you may not doubt its usability. Its capacities are much wider, and practically everyone can build a simple or frills-packed website easily enough.
Weebly vs Shopify: Design and Flexibility
Any eCommerce website’s design is not about selecting colors and fonts that delight the eye of the owner. Things are a bit more complicated: online store designs should be able to embody the brand and foster its sales. How capable of that are the website builders under review? Let’s observe their design toolkits to know the answer.
#1 Online Store
Working with design and marketing tools for an online store on Weebly is simple. They all are easy to find and to understand how to manage them. However, the main problem of Weebly is perceptible here most of all. The more your project’s design requires, the more chances you feel the scantiness of Weebly.
Weebly will give about 50 themes for different domains at your disposal. This means that not all of them will suit an online store. In fact, these are 10-15 themes altogether. Needless to say that this is too limited a number for a modern site builder.
Weebly offers quite a decent set of eCommerce features. There’s nothing special, but the instruments include everything small commerce or a startup may need at its initial development stage:
- Weebly has Multi-Store and Multi-Channel Marketing to let you build several sites.
- It has CRM tools that simplify smooth interaction between employees and customers.
- Email Marketing, the Promotions & Returns Management tools, and similar are also on the list.
- There are certain SEO instruments.
That said, the resource can be seen as a bit outdated for eCommerce demands. Other website builders have the same instruments, but their capacities and customization options will be much better than on Weebly. This is the case with Shopify. The platform is a time-proven solution for online stores. Other business types can also avail themselves of its various instruments, updated according to the imperatives of the time.
If your goal is to build and quickly run an online store, you would hardly find a decent counterpart to Shopify. Its toolkit is really impressive in this respect. The most popular features include:
- Multi-Store to build a number of sites;
- Multi-Channel Marketing to organize a diverse payment system;
- Email Marketing to connect leads to the site;
- Order, Promotions, Discounts, Refund, and Gift Card Management tools to let your customers seamlessly use the site.
- The Shopping Cart tool is included.
- Integration tools allow plugging in multiple add-ons.
- Your site will be able to render support in 21 languages.
- There are enough SEO instruments on Shopify.
- There’s the Mobile Access menu as well as Mobile Commerce tools.
And this list can be updated with other useful tools. So, Shopify indisputably beats Weebly, at least in terms of the online store building.
On Weebly, we have found eight themes for blogging on the platform, which cannot be considered sufficient. A musician, a traveler, and a writer can pick a single solution for themselves here. Such a choice might be enough for a starter, but it is too small to be called professional.
Shopify is not ideal in this domain as well, and there might be more impressive solutions for bloggers in the market. However, Shopify can cope with a blogger’s project by all means. Thanks to such options as Drag-and-Drop, a simple blogging site can be easily created on Shopify.
What you can expect from Weebly is a moderate set of useful features for blog websites. They include RSS, social media integration tools, tags and sidebar editors, etc. The main pro factors here are ease of use and rapidness of launching a blog. However, you should know that your options will be restricted enough.
On the contrary, Shopify offers strong SEO and social network integration tools besides a built-in blogging engine. This means your blog is sure to find its way to your audience. As for monetizing your blog, Shopify – as an excellent tool for eCommerce activities in general – might be one of the best solutions in the market.
#3 Special eCommerce Features
As for specialties, we can mention that Weebly has a WYSIWYG Editor. Thanks to it, you can edit your future website’s interface and see it practically the way it will appear to every user. Together with this, the site has no proper mobile management tools, and it is a significant disadvantage. Shopify is sure to beat Weebly here.
All types of businesses may benefit from Shopify’s extra tools like Point of Sale, which include various instruments for connecting land-based stores with the online site and ruling the whole business from one point. The platform can boast an advanced level of Inventory and Catalog tools. You can find dedicated solutions for small businesses and many more pleasant extras.
#4 Template Editing
Again, templates are present on Weebly – they are available for free. But their number is quite small, and you won’t have many options to gain originality and a special outlook for your website. Surely, the best thing about the Weebly templates is that you can easily drag and drop images and different blocks (see Weebly store examples).
The Weebly platform has Image Editing instruments, but their versatility is rather poor. It requires updates, which is potentially possible. However, at the moment, you cannot expect to customize your website’s structure much. To run a more complex project, you definitely should search for a more powerful site builder.
Shopify, in its turn, offers both paid and free templates, although free options are limited enough on the platform. These are professional storefronts designed for marketing purposes. About 80 themes are available on Shopify, and some of them go with a number of modifications (see live Shopify examples). So, your theme choice will be much richer than on Weebly.
All templates automatically adapt to various devices. They can be easily switched. Shopify supports the preview option. A library of free images will be at your disposal. Finally, there’s a CSV option that works without any restrictions. It will allow you to transfer content in both directions, hands down.
Site Builder Features: Key Takeaways
The above-placed feature profiles of the two website builders have clearly shown that Weebly is a limited enough resource in comparison with Shopify. The latter is more advanced and modern. It grants more freedom and a better choice of options to its customers.
Weebly vs Shopify: General Pricing Comparison
Careful budgeting is a great thing, so you should, by all means, factor in your financial muscle when selecting an adequate website builder for your future project. In this respect, free services often become those magic solutions that help small businesses to grow. However, it usually means an even bigger investment at later stages for them. Let’s observe how it all works with the two site builders under review.
You will be able to build a site on Weebly completely for free, that’s true. But you should understand that you will get a domain with Weebly branding. It means your site will be full of Weebly ads. At your disposal will be 500Mb storage, not bad support, and even some of the SEO options.
The platform offers prepaid plans, too. When opting for one of them, you will get a custom domain and a more advanced list of available options. Prices are more than competitive: the cheapest plan Connect will cost you as much as 5 dollars per month, but its options are not much wider than those of the free plan. The other two, Pro and Business, are $12 and $25 p.m., respectively. These plans are only available when paying on a yearly basis. Free trials are supported.
The platform does not offer free plans. There are three main paid packages: Basic ($29 p.m.), Shopify ($79 p.m.), and Advanced ($299 p.m.) You can opt for the cheapest plan and get quite a workable solution for your eCommerce project. Moreover, the given prices work on a monthly basis, and Shopify offers a 50% discount when ready for yearly billing. Free trials are available for each plan.
There are also two special plans on Shopify. Startups may start with an ultra-cheap Starter package for $5 a month. Among other options, this will allow them to easily sell their goods through social networks and mobile apps. The other specialty is the Shopify Plus plan for large corporations. Its cost corresponds to the features offered – $2,000 per month.
Weebly vs Shopify: Which One Is the Best for SEO?
Both website builders offer powerful sets of SEO tools. They allow you to easily modify page URLs, meta titles, meta descriptions, 301 redirects, and text descriptions for images. However, Weebly has several limitations here, too. When it comes to page title SEO, for instance, be ready to have Weebly tags at the end of each title.
Moreover, Shopify can generate all the elements automatically. Its SEO tools are smart enough to read your page’s content. They are especially effective at identifying products on sale. In general, Shopify SEO is better because of its great automatic performance and wider options.
Comparison Conclusion: Which Website Builder Is Better?
The thorough analysis of both website builders above leads us to a conclusion that they both represent strong, easy-to-use resources for eCommerce site development. However, Shopify seems to always be a step ahead of Weebly. The platform is more updated and allows more freedom for clients.
So, when having an urgent project with a limited budget and moderate demands, be sure to get through with Weebly. Its free plan with the minimum of necessary options will suit low-budget startups and such likes. When ready to pay, you might consider more up-to-date platforms.
With a plan of further growth in mind, it is more logical to choose Shopify right at the initial stage of your site’s creation. Shopify will let you build a scalable online store with further growth potential, and you won’t need to search for a more powerful solution at the worst possible moment. This option won’t cost you much since Shopify offers quite affordable plans, too.