One of the first decisions you’ll face when building a site for your business is whether you want to use a website builder or a content management system.
A website builder like Weebly will provide everything you need to launch a site, from website building tools to hosting, domain registration, SSL certification, templates, and support. In exchange for this ease of use, you’ll have to give up some control over your site. You can’t drag and drop elements anywhere on your posts and pages. You can’t edit parts of the underlying source code. You can’t pick a third-party hosting provider.
Using a content management system like WordPress will provide much more flexibility. You can completely customize the appearance of your site, edit the underlying code, choose your own hosting, and much more. As a result, you’ll have to take over more of the responsibility of setting up and running your site.
We've discussed the different software powering Weebly and WordPress. Now we'll take a closer look at the following key differences between Weebly and WordPress so you can select the right solution for your site.
Feel free to click on any of the links below to jump to that section, or keep scrolling.
Weebly vs. WordPress
Weebly is a hosted website builder that enables users at any skill level to create a custom site using pre-designed templates, a drag-and-drop builder, and a built-in code editor. Offering a much larger selection of themes and plugins and complete control of its source code, WordPress is a more versatile alternative. With this self-hosted content management system, you can create a larger and more complex site but it will take more time and effort.
Now that we understand the different groups of users Weebly and WordPress appeal to, let's compare the ease of use of each.
Weebly vs. WordPress Ease of Use
You want a website building platform that’s easy to adopt and easy to use. To evaluate a platform’s ease of use, check out its editor and overall dashboard. This is where you’ll have to create and manage content, analyze your site’s performance, install and manage your theme and add-ons, and more, so seeing how intuitive it is it will give you a good idea of the platform’s overall learning curve.
Weebly Ease of Use
Weebly comes with everything you need to set up a website fast. Hosting is included in all of Weebly's plans, even its free one. You can purchase a domain directly from Weebly and install an SSL certificate in one click. Once you're done this basic setup, you can install a predesigned template and start creating content with Weebly's drag-and-drop editor, image editor, and mobile app.
WordPress Ease of Use
Setting up a WordPress website is more complicated than setting up a Weebly site. That's because WordPress is an open-source content management system. So downloading the WordPress software is only the first step. You'll need to select a hosting provider and purchase a custom domain in order to bring your site online. If your hosting plan doesn't come with an SSL certificate, you'll have to get one of those too.
Once you've completed those steps, the design and content creation processes are relatively the same on WordPress as they are on Weebly. With WordPress, you have a lot more themes to choose from, but installing one is easy and can be done right in your dashboard. WordPress also has a drag-and-drop block editor so creating posts and pages doesn't require any coding.
However, customizing and managing a WordPress site can be more difficult. WordPress plugins, for example, are great for adding and enhancing the functionality of your site, but you’ll need to make sure you have the time (and budget) required to download, purchase, manage, and update these extensions.
You'll also likely need to know at least some code to manage a WordPress site. That includes HTML and CSS as well as PHP. For example, resolving the "white screen of death" and fixing a redirect loop on your WordPress site might require some coding knowledge.
Weebly vs. WordPress Flexibility
The ideal website building platform will be easy to use and flexible — but these characteristics tend to be a trade off. If you want an easy to use platform, you’ll have to forgo some flexibility. If you want a flexible platform, you’ll have to forgo some ease of use. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the flexibility of Weebly and WordPress.
Weebly is less flexible than WordPress because its a proprietary website builder. It therefore limits users' and third-party developers' access to the source code, which inhibits users from customizing their site and developers from creating third-party extensions.
Entrepreneurs, start-up companies, and small online stores who don’t have the time or budget to learn and pay for a huge range of out-of-the-box features and add-ons will prefer Weebly, but users looking for a more flexible platform will prefer WordPress.
Since WordPress is open-source, you can edit any part of the WordPress source code. That means you have virtually unlimited control over your site — if you have the required coding skills or time to develop them. If you don’t, then you can also extend the functionality of your site by installing WordPress plugins. There are tens of thousands of free and premium plugins available.
Weebly vs. WordPress Support
Learning and managing a new platform — even one as easy as Weebly — is a lot of work. As you create, customize, and grow your website, you’ll have questions or need insights from more experienced users, designers, and developers.
When deciding between website building platforms, you’ll want to evaluate both their support channels and documentation. Below we’ll compare the support offered by Weebly and WordPress.
Like other proprietary website builders, Wix has a dedicated support team. This team offers support through email, live chat, phone, and support tickets Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 9 PM ET and Saturday and Sunday from 11AM to 8PM ET — with some exceptions. Chat support is limited to customers in the United States, and phone support is only available to customers in the United States with a pro subscription or above.
If you’re not able to get in touch with support, then you can try to find an answer in Weebly’s Support Center. Its knowledge base contains over 300 articles covering ecommerce to email marketing and more.
While WordPress does not have a dedicated support team, it does have the largest global community of users dedicated to improving the platform. You can reach out to community members in a number of ways, including support forums, Slack channels, and at in-person events like WordCamp. However, it’s important to keep in mind that most of these members are volunteers, not trained support professionals.
That means you might be better off browsing the WordPress Codex and the official support form. The WordPress Codex is the official online manual by the developers of WordPress. While it covers everything from installing the WordPress software to creating a custom plugin, the support forum contains over two million threads covering questions from users and additional topics.
If you find this documentation too brief or text-heavy, you can also find hundreds of video tutorials, online courses, ebooks, and other online resources for beginners on third-party sites and blogs. For example, the HubSpot Academy offers a free Build a WordPress Website Course to help any user get started.
If you’re a self-taught learner, this might sound like a dream. For others, it might sound overwhelming. Having so many resources available can make it difficult to find an answer to a very specific question. Those looking for personalized help can always check if their hosting provider offers customer support, or hire a WordPress developer.
Weebly vs. WordPress Price
When deciding on a website building platform, consider your budget. You’ll have more upfront costs with a proprietary website builder like Weebly, but that doesn’t mean it’s a more expensive alternative to WordPress. While the WordPress software is free to use, you’ll have to factor in costs for web hosting, domain registration, and premium themes and plugins.
Below we’ll break down the costs associated with building and managing a site on Weebly and WordPress.
Weebly offers a limited free version that can be used to create business websites, ecommerce websites, and blogs. It includes all of its basic features, including SSL certification, blogging and design tools, advanced site stats, and more — but it will display ads and branding for Square (the company that acquired Weebly in 2018). You also have to use a Weebly subdomain so your URL will look something like example.weebly.com.
You can connect a custom domain by upgrading to the first tier of premium plans, which is $6 per month, but it’s also ad-supported. To provide visitors with an ad-free experience, you’ll have to upgrade to the Professional or Performance plan.
These plans are $12 and $26 per month, respectively. They offer free domain registration for the first year, unlimited storage, and more advanced functionality. Advanced features include password-protection for different parts of your site and a shipping calculator for ecommerce sites.
It’s important to note that these are the annual rates for the Personal, Professional, and Performance tiers. If you opt to pay month-to-month, then rates increase to $9, $16, and $29 per month.
In addition to these monthly costs, you may also need to factor in the cost of extensions. While 57 extensions available in the Weebly App Center are free, the rest are premium. Premium apps vary in price. Some cost a flat fee of $5, while others cost up to $50 per month.
WordPress is free to download and use, but you’ll have to pay for hosting and domain registration to launch your site. WordPress hosting ranges from $3 to $35 per month on average. Domain registration typically costs $10 to $15 per year.
There are also costs associated with customizing and designing your site if you opt for premium themes and plugins. A premium theme can cost anywhere from $60 to $200. Premium plugins range even more dramatically, from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars. Some require a one-time fee, like the Yoast SEO Premium plugin, and others require annual subscriptions, like the Monarch plugin.
Because hosting, domain registration, themes, and plugins vary in price, the costs of building and managing a WordPress site range dramatically. For an average WordPress site, you can expect to pay between $36 and $300 per year.
Weebly vs. WordPress for Ecommerce
According to the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce, U.S. retail e-commerce sales totaled $211.5 billion in the second quarter of 2020 alone. This represents an increase of 31.8% from the first quarter of 2020. As sales continue to skyrocket, it’s increasingly important to consider how a website building platform can help you sell products and services online.
Weebly is a great option for shop owners on a budget. All of its plans, including the free tier, comes with basic ecommerce features, including a shopping cart, inventory management, coupons, gift cards, and an automatic tax calculator. The top tier comes with even more advanced features, including a shipping calculator, item reviews, shipping labels, and abandoned cart emails.
You may also choose to enroll in one of the cheaper plans and simply download or purchase the ecommerce add-ons you need. Some examples include a price table add-on, custom fulfillment and shipping add-on, and coupon popup add-on.
WordPress does not have built-in ecommerce features, but it does have a dedicated ecommerce plugin. After installing WooCommerce plugin, you can create and customize an entire ecommerce site.
While WooCommerce comes with rich built-in functionality, including product ratings and reviews, product filtering options, built-in payment processing, customer accounts and guest checkout, you can also download WooCommerce themes and WooCommerce plugins to change the appearance and functionality of your store. You can add abandoned cart, marketing automation, reporting, and other marketing tools. You can create a reward system for your customers. You can even translate and display the content of your WooCommerce store into over 100 languages.
While the WooCommerce plugin is free to install, there are some associated costs, including add-ons and transaction fees, to factor into your budget.
Weebly vs. WordPress for Blogging
Since marketers who prioritize blogging efforts are 13x more likely to see positive ROI, it’s important that you pick a platform with blogging tools and templates to help you get started.
Both Weebly and WordPress can help you create blog content to boost the visibility of your site and get more organic traffic, but each offers a unique selection of layouts and features designed specifically for blogging. Let’s compare the selection of each below.
Weebly for Blogging
Weebly allows you to easily and quickly add a blog to your site. You can edit any of Weebly’s 8 free blog templates to customize the look of your blog, use the drag-and-drop editor to create unlimited content, tag and categorize posts, enable and moderate comments, customize your sidebar, and share your posts on social media.
What sets Weebly apart from other website builders is its built-in code editor, which lets you customize your site’s HTML and CSS to extensively modify the design of your blog and overall site. This is an excellent feature, particularly considering how limited Weebly’s selection of templates is when compared to WordPress’s.
WordPress for Blogging
You’ll find many of the same features that Weebly offers on WordPress, including a drag-and-drop block editor, native commenting system, tags, and categories, and more.
With WordPress, you can build a site in your language, assign user roles and permissions, make your content public or private, or secure posts and pages with a password. You can also choose from nearly 3,000 themes that are specifically designed for blogging in the official WordPress directory. Hundreds more are available in third-party marketplaces.
These advanced features and design options will enable you to add a more complex blog to your site or create and manage a stand-alone blog with lots of content.
Weebly vs. WordPress for SEO
Because higher rankings on Google will increase your site’s visibility and get you more organic traffic, you want your web platform to have features and tools that can help you optimize your blog content and overall site.
Both Weebly and WordPress can help you improve your on-page and technical SEO. Below we’ll compare each platform’s SEO features and extensions so you can pick the best solution for your site.
Weebly for SEO
With Weebly, you can create titles, meta descriptions, and custom URLs that help your posts and pages perform better in search results. You can also use any of the mobile-optimized templates to build a responsive site.
Beyond these standard features, Weebly lacks the features and extensions to help you optimize your content as you write. The ten SEO apps in its marketplace are pricey and have only been given average ratings. That means that though Weebly offers a comprehensive step-by-step guide for making your site SEO friendly, most of the optimization process will fall to you.
That’s why Weebly is better for users who already have experience and knowledge of SEO best practices.
WordPress for SEO
WordPress offers more features and tools for building an SEO-friendly site. Like Weebly, WordPress enables you to easily customize your image alt-text, meta descriptions, headings, and custom URLs and choose a responsive theme to design your site.
What sets WordPress apart is that you can edit any part of your site’s underlying code to optimize it or download or purchase a range of SEO plugins. That way, if you have coding skills, then you can remove any unnecessary code that’s slowing down your site or preventing search engine bots from crawling and indexing it. And, if you don’t, then you can download or purchase WordPress plugins like Yoast SEO, WP Rocket, and Redirection.
While you’ll have to take care of managing and updating these tools, they can help simplify or automate the process of optimizing your content, page speed, redirects, and more to improve your on-page and technical SEO.
The Key Differences Between Weebly and WordPress
If you’re creating a site for your business or looking to migrate to a new platform, Weebly and WordPress are great options. Selecting the right one for your business will require careful consideration of how its functionality aligns with your needs.
To help you pick the best fit for your business, we’ve summarized the key differences between the two platforms below.
|Software||Proprietary website builder||Open-source content management system|
|Ease of Use||Fast and easy set up since hosting and SSL certification included in plans, and can purchase domain directly from Weebly. No coding knowledge required.||More complicated set up since you'll have to purchase hosting, a custom domain, and SSL certification separately. Some coding knowledge required.|
|Flexibility||Lacks flexibility in favor of ease-of-use. As a proprietary website builder, you can’t edit the underlying source code and you’re limited in options for add-ons. That means you’re mostly limited to the built-in functionality Weebly offers.||Forgoes some ease of use for flexibility. You can add rich functionality to your WordPress site, but have to either edit the source code or install and configure a range of plugins.|
|Support||Dedicated Customer Success team offers support through email, live chat, phone, and support tickets Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 9 PM ET and Saturday and Sunday from 11AM to 8PM ET. There are exceptions. Chat support is limited to customers in the United States, and phone support is only available to customers in the United States with a pro subscription or above.||No dedicated support team. Does have the largest user community available through slack channels, support forums, and events in addition to an official manual and thousands of support threads and third-party resources.|
|Price||Free with ads and a Weebly subdomain. Premium plans are $6, $12, and $26 per month, if purchased for an annual term. Month-to-month rates are higher. You can also purchase premium apps, which range from a flat fee of $5 to a monthly subscription of $50.||Free to use the software. Costs associated with domain registration, hosting, and premium plugins and themes range from $36 to $300 per year, on average.|
|Ecommerce||All plans come with basic ecommerce features, including a shopping cart, inventory management, coupons, gift cards, and an automatic tax calculator. More advanced features are available in higher tier plans or via add-ons.||No built-in ecommerce features. Can install WooCommerce, a dedicated ecommerce plugin for building and customizing an online store.|
|Blogging||Offers basic functionality for creating and managing a blog, including a drag-and-drop editor, built-in commenting system, and social media integration. While it has a limited selection of blog templates, Weebly’s code editor offers granular control over your site’s design.||Offers more advanced blogging functionality, including user management and content visibility, in addition to the standard features. The selection of blogging themes ranges in the thousands.|
|SEO||Besides standard functionality, there are only a few features and apps available in the Weebly App Market to help you optimize your SEO.||In addition to standard functionality, you can choose from hundreds of plugins that help optimize your on-page and technical SEO.|
Originally published Oct 30, 2020 7:00:00 AM, updated December 07 2020