Weebly’s offer in a nutshell
Weebly offers all the basic functionality to create a site that can meet a wide variety of needs. With many templates available and one of the best site creation interface on the market, creating a showcase site can be done in around ten clicks. The establishment of an online store is also possible, although limited in the free version.
For the most demanding of you, Weebly offers interesting advanced features: integration tracking, (Google Analytics or the Weebly tool), possibility of fully editing the HTML / CSS code of the template used, the addition of ‘a forum, of pages protected by a password … Attention, complete tool.
Weebly offers four formulas:
- Weebly – Free : You can use this formula without time limit. If you have access to all the templates, and all the basic functionality, your domain name must end with .weebly.com and the footer of your site contains a Weebly ad.
- Weebly Pro – € 10 / month : 25 items in the online store, possibility of integrating an internal search engine
- Weebly Entreprise – 20 € / month : Unlimited quantity of items in the online store, plus transaction fees during sales. Accepts payments via Paypal. Setting up member accounts and a basket directly on your domain. SSL protocol available.
- Weebly Business Plus – € 30 / month : abandoned cart email, lower shipping costs thanks to a calculator of these costs in real time.
- The domain name is free the first year, which implies an increase in fees in the following years. If you already have a domain name it is advisable to redirect it to Weebly
- Having an email account also means buying it separately
Some negative points while its competitor Jimdo includes both.
Design and Template
If the templates offered by Weebly have, for a long time, been the main source of complaints from users, we can clearly say that the situation has greatly improved. The offer is rich and the choice of templates is facilitated by the existence of relevant categories, which can be supplemented with filters corresponding to the dominant colors of each of the templates. You can also import a theme and start customizing it. Our opinion on the templates is that Weebly has greatly improved on this point. It’s now a highlight of Weebly.
Flexibility of templates, one of the strong points of Weebly.
Even if the competition offered by Wix or Jimdo is tough, Weebly is doing very well. The official catalog offers more than a hundred templates, all available in 7 different colors. All of these templates are responsive design, that is to say that the display adapts depending on whether the site is viewed from a computer, tablet or mobile, and it is possible to set up a site e – trade with each of them.
there are more and more third-party publishers of Weebly templates who come to enrich this catalog with templates premium (count between 100 € and 300 €).
Once your template has been selected, the graphic charter is fully customizable. You can change the background, the header and the footer, all the fonts used, the colors, and even change the template at any time.
If all this is practical and allows any novice to quickly and easily personalize their site, these are fairly common features for site creation software that do not in themselves constitute real added value.
Each of the modifications made to the CSS code is visible directly on the pages of the site, with an editor WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) of a stunning quality. If, of course, all the modifications made are lost when we change the template, this tool and the ease with which modifications of the very structure of the site can be carried out are one of the real strengths of Weebly. the flexibility of the templates really allows Weebly to differentiate itself from the competition. The CSS code is accessible and modifiable at any time.
Page Editor – Impressive Simplicity
Here again, Weebly demonstrates high quality. Page creation is done with disconcerting ease. Everyone agrees that Weebly is one of the best software on the market on this point.
Create content on Weebly
Content creation on Weebly is really fun and accessible. Anyone can build a web page in less than two minutes.
To the left of the web page preview, there are all the types of “blocks” that can be added to the page. It includes:
- the most basic: a title, text, image, contact form or direct integration of HTML code
- Structure blocks: divider, button or space.
- Media blocks: allows you to display a video or a file.
- Ecommerce blocks: lets you highlight a Google Adsense product or ad
- “Plus” blocks: an interesting set, which allows you to display the questions of a survey, links to the forum or to social networks.
Depending on the type of content you want to add to your page, an interface appears offering many editing options, ranging from classic to more complete. The interface on the left also changes to complete the number of options available.
It’s usually a real strength of Weebly : If at first glance everything seems very simple, even basic, there are in fact very easily additional options and features that make the tool extremely rich.
Change the structure of a page on Weebly
If the possibilities offered by editing CSS code are very wide, it is not necessary to know how to code to modify the structure of a page of your site as desired. Unlike Jimdo, templates are flexible enough that you can modify the structure of a page.
When creating a page, we first define its place in the site tree.
The content can then be organized as we see fit, the blocks can be organized in row and in column, all with an instinctive system of drag and drop.
Website creation – Personalized price estimation
Websites Are Us has developed a recommendation engine which allows you to obtain a free detailed price estimate as well as a selection of software and providers adapted to your website creation needs.
Weebly suitable for an E-commerce site?
If Weebly is not the first CMS that comes to mind when thinking of an e-commerce site, this aspect is increasingly emphasized on the site.
Note that not all Weebly formulas give access to the same level of ambition for an e-commerce site. The product catalog is limited to 5 articles in the free version, and you have to wait for the Business plan (and therefore € 23 per month) to be able to put an unlimited number of products online.
The e-commerce solution was completely revised in 2013 and is one of the best solutions among generalist CMS hosted. The establishment of an online store on Weebly is therefore largely possible.
- Presentation of an article: It is possible to add a product on all the pages of its site, and to set up a real product catalog. When adding a product, we find all the classic parameters of an e-commerce back office.
We can regret that too many of the options necessary for setting up a real e-commerce site are not accessible before the Business plan, namely: Variation of articles : The declination system allows you to add and configure any option for an item (ex: size and color of a t-shirt)
- Basket management : A basket is provided under the domain checkout.weebly.com or under your domain with the Business version.
- Import Export : A large number of products can be put online by importing a .csv workbook or even a catalog from a shopify site. Possibility to export both products and orders.
- payment methods : Stripe is the default payment method. The Business formula gives access to Active.net and Paypal.
- Shipping costs management : Ability to define fees based on price and weight, choose a carrier from UPS, Fedex and others, and define a delivery time
- Reduction codes : Possibility of defining limited quantities, eligibility date, percentage or amount
- Sale of digital product : Possibility of selling dematerialized goods (ebooks, music)
- Tax control : Automatic addition of VAT
- Inventory management : be informed of the stock level and inform visitors in case of stock shortage.
The Weebly e-commerce offer is therefore complete if you subscribe to the Business offer. € 23 per month seems like a high sum, but if you compare that to a hosted CMS specialized in e-commerce, like Shopify, this price corresponds to the most basic offer.
Do Weebly Sites Pass the SEO Test?
One of the recurring criticisms of sites created with a hosted CMS is that their SEO performance is quite poor. According to several experts, Weebly and SEO, this is not a great love story.
Aware of this apparent limitation of their service, it seems that Weebly has put the package into making templates available with quality HTML / CSS code, even if all the good practices do not appear.
Unlike Jimdo, for whom the level of configuration depends on the formula subscribed, Weebly offers access to all of the SEO configuration options from the free formula, which is really pleasant. Despite these efforts, we can regret some glaring shortcomings: We can thus configure for each page a title, a meta description and the main keywords, and define the “no index” parameter.
- To my knowledge, it is not possible to modify the sitemap.xml
- It is possible to define tags
for each page, which makes internal markup drinkable, but it is not possible to set up tags
in the templates proposed by Weebly
- It is not possible to define the language in this form: .
- There is also no provision for a canonical url to be defined.
Performance test on a sample Weebly site
For this performance test, I chose the last Weebly site of the week, April Borrelli’s blog. As with Jimdo’s test, two tools were used: the Google PageSpeed Insights tool, and Pingdom Speed Test:
These results are impressive. Admittedly, this site was selected by Weebly, but this is a good signal which may suggest that Weebly sites generally have entirely correct performance.
If you crawl the site with Screaming Frog, you can see fairly classic problems with sites created with this kind of CMS:
- Out of the 117 pages of the blog, only 6 have meta descriptions.
- Quite a few pages have h2, which can be a good thing. Except that in our case, we see that the duplicate rate among these h2 is extremely high (96%!).
- The crawl confirms that no page has h1.
There should be no wrong conclusion. It is indeed possible to follow with Weebly a set of good SEO practices, and the use of all the tools provided by Weebly allows to build a well referenced site. However, the default construction of a Weebly site does not naturally ensure this quality.
This test dates from January 2016, changes in terms of performance could be made. These remarks are therefore to be taken as an indication.
What about the other Weebly features?
Rather well felt, even if limited. Adding a blog page is the same as adding a regular page. But once a blog page is created, you have access to a set of parameters that allow you to set up the blog structure and the format of comments (classic, or through Disqus or Facebook). When editing the article, the editing menu sees new “blocks” specific to the blog appear, with in particular the possibility of: creating categories, setting up suggestions of archived articles, the possibility of linking the blog to its LinkedIn or Flickr profile. Our opinion on Weebly is that you can totally create a professional blog.
Weebly provides an email delivery service, Promote. It allows simple sending of email marketing, but if you need more it is possible to connect an external emailing software to the Application Center.
Weebly allows you to link your account with third-party tools. It’s very easy to link your site with Google Analytics, which complements the native analysis tool offered by Weebly. Linking your LinkedIn account with your blog is possible, but not very interesting.
Several native widgets enrich the possibilities offered by Weebly:
- The placement of a button is really well thought out
- Creating a forum (called Muut) is also very easy, and can bring a real plus to your site.
And … that’s about all that is worth highlighting. One of the main weaknesses of Weebly is the lack of dynamism when it comes to creating plugins / add-ons / widgets. If we can find it here and there, we are far from the functional richness offered by the numerous plugins existing with certain competitors, like Wix.
Not really a feature, but it is clear that this is a parameter considered by potential users of a generalist CMS like Weebly.
If, in all honesty, I did not have the opportunity to speak directly with the support service, there is assistance in London and English by email or by phone, but they have the reputation of being reactive and efficient , and the catalog of tutorials is complete and precise. Weebly could benefit from having an official forum (if it exists, it’s hard to find!) But honestly, using the site creator is so instinctive that you won’t often need help.
Our opinion on Weebly is that it’s a great tool for creating a visually appealing showcase site. The handling is close to being perfect and all the functionality necessary for a site of this kind are present. The offer for an e-commerce site is surprisingly competitive, but the lack of plugins can reduce the functional field necessary for setting up an ambitious online store.
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