We all like a bargain and ‘free’ is about as good as it gets! And if ‘free’ comes with ‘easy’ what’s not to like? In round three of our epic web-build options, we put Weebly, the platform where “entrepreneurs can build websites that customers love to visit and shop”, against the perennial powerhouse that is WordPress. Apples vs pears? Let’s find out.
Weebly or WordPress
Two of the most well-known website building platforms, both promising to deliver ease of use, flexibility to grow and stunningly beautiful sites. As with our previous articles looking at Wix and Shopify, we will look at all aspects of the two, from ease of use, value for money through to flexibility and features. Remember, the battle is about which platform can best help you deliver your online business objectives. Brains AND beauty. Let’s get on with it!
Weebly: A quick overview
According to Weebly, they are “a website and eCommerce service founded on the belief that anyone should have the tools to take their business from idea to launch to growth.” Launched in 2007, they were acquired by Square in May 2018. The focus is on easy to build, professional looking websites, based around pre-existing themes.
WordPress: You know the drill
As we have said before, WordPress is a powerful Content Management System (CMS) with a host of features, and is available in both a free and paid version. It aims to meet the needs of both first-time and expert website creators, allowing users to create a website without the need for coding or design expertise.
The comprehensive WordPress dashboard allows you to manage the website, adding new content, installing plug-ins and monitoring traffic. The open-source heritage of WordPress means that 3rd party content creators have made available a wide variety of plug-ins, allowing advanced functionality from a variety of companies, to be easily added to a site. Free (and paid for) themes allow a user to easily choose a design matching the style and content of their site. The very active support community means that new functionality is always being added and support is always available.
For those companies that are looking for a bespoke website, the ability to drill down and control the finer level of site detail, as well as utilising plug-in functionality, make WordPress the default choice.
We love WordPress, but has it met its match with Weebly? Let’s get on with the comparison.
Which platform is best for your business?
1. Ease of use
Weebly: If you are only looking for ease of use, stop reading now. Weebly wins. Actually, don’t stop reading or you will miss some important detail! Weebly has a simple-to-understand drag-and-drop interface, which makes it ideal for first-time users. If you want to create a basic, good-looking website very quickly, using one of the provided templates, Weebly is the answer.
WordPress: WordPress is not hard to use, but the additional design flexibility and power of the open-source Content Management System, means that it takes more time to create a great website. It’s not hard, but it is harder.
Winner: For ease of use alone, Weebly is the winner, especially for first time web creators.
Weebly: That ease of use win? Turns out the price you pay is flexibility. If you want to change the look of your website, by changing one of the templates, then be prepared for the result to be a mess. Equally, things that should be simple, like changing the position of titles, or the width of display, is far more challenging. It’s the price you pay for simple.
WordPress: The open-source nature of WordPress means that if you want to do it, you almost certainly can. Many WordPress users employ web designers to ensure the vision of their website becomes the reality. Those designers will be using WordPress, simply because of the flexibility and control it offers.
Winner: A straight win for WordPress!
3. Value for money
Weebly: Weebly offers five packages at different price levels, starting at “free” (including limited hosting) and rising to £28 a month. For business users, who want a professional looking website that can conduct online sales, the price is £18 a month. At this level, you get no Weebly ads, the ability to sell via the website and useful things like coupon codes, item reviews and shipping cost calculation.
WordPress: WordPress also starts at “free”, however you will need to pay for hosting and there is no free domain name option. These are included in the £3 per month option, however. The WordPress Business package, which allows you to access the wonderful world of plug-ins, starts at £20 a month. The e-commerce option tops the range at £36 a month, including integrated payment and shipping options.
Winner: Although WordPress has the higher headline package prices (just), the fact it is more flexible, means that if cost is of prime importance, you can do more with a lower cost WordPress package. It’s close, so to be fair we will call it a draw.
4. Features and Function
Weebly: Weebly comes with a reasonable selection of tools built-in to the platform, especially at the higher price levels. There are also some free and paid applications developed by third parties. However, if the functionality you need is not available, or you want to adapt it to meet business needs, then unfortunately, ‘the computer says no’.
WordPress: Open-source benefit time again…. There are over 59,000 WordPress plug-ins to choose from. If you want to do it, there will be a plug-in that either does what you need, or can be adapted to deliver the functionality. Even the basic site dashboard and editor is more flexible and feature-rich too.
Winner: Sorry, another easy win for WordPress.
5. Help and support
Weebly: All packages come with access to a community forum, on-line chat, and e-mail support. The higher value packages get phone support too. There is also some online help available, which may be of use for simple ‘how to?’ queries. In our experience, often the help provided is ‘no, that’s not supported’, which is not particularly helpful.
WordPress: The big advantage of support when it comes to WordPress is the very large, vibrant, and helpful community of experts that come with open-source software (did we mention that?) Added to this, if you are using a professional web designer, they should avoid most of the common issues and solve the rest for you!
Winner: Weebly support is not terrible, but WordPress is much more comprehensive. WordPress wins.
Overall winner: WordPress
Weebly is by no means terrible and has a place for creating simple, if slightly formulaic, websites. As a first step for small businesses or organisations that simply want an online presence, it does a reasonable job, especially if using the higher cost packages.
WordPress is not as easy to use, but it offers much more flexibility, both in design and functionality. If web presence is important to your business, including things like Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), then WordPress really is the way to go. We may be biassed, but we are biassed for a reason!If you are looking to build a WordPress website, Milk and Tweed are specialists. We have built hundreds of amazing WordPress websites for a wide variety of businesses across the country. Give us a call on 01249 847 447 or drop us an email at email@example.com. We would love to hear from you.